Many people have claimed on social media that Halal meat is just a dietary preference along the lines of non-vegetarian and vegetarian food. The Halal controversy erupted after Zomato attempted a PR stunt on Twitter. However, people have failed to appreciate the details of the process of Halal that makes it an explicit religiously discriminatory practice much like untouchability.
Halal can only be performed by a Muslim man. Thus, non-Muslims are automatically denied employment at a Halal firm. There are certain other conditions that must be fulfilled that makes it quite clear that it is intrinsically an Islamic practice. Guidelines are available at the official website of a certification authority of Halal in India which makes it clear that non-Muslim employees cannot be employed in any part of the slaughtering process.
Throughout the document that lists the guidelines to Islamic slaughtering, care is taken to mention the religion of the employees involved. It makes it abundantly clear that only Muslim employees are allowed to participate in the entire process at every stage. Even the labelling of the meat can be done by Muslims only.
The Department of Halal Certification of the European Union makes it even more clear that employment opportunities at a Halal firm will be exclusively available to Muslims. It says, “Slaughtering must be done by a sane adult Muslim. Animals slaughtered by a Non-Muslim will not be Halal.” It states further, “The name of Allah must be invoked (mentioned) at the time of slaughtering by saying: Bismillah Allahu Akbar. (In the Name of Allah; Allah is the Greatest.) If at the time of slaughtering the name of anyone else other than Allah is invoked (i.e. animal sacrificed for him/her), then the meat becomes Haram “unlawful.””
Thus, it’s quite apparent that when a person demands that he be served only Halal meat, he isn’t merely exercising a diet preference but he is also playing a part in deciding who is involved in the process of slaughtering the animal and labelling it. Furthermore, Muslims are barred by their scriptures from consuming non-halal food. Thus, when a Muslim specifically demands Halal meat, it’s an explicit instance of them demanding service that can only be performed by Muslims. The obvious implication is that a Muslim denies service from a non-Muslim due to his religious identity.
The Halal certification department also specifies the exact Islamic method of slaughtering. It says that the slaughtering of the animal must be done in just one stroke without lifting the knife, using a sharp knife. It says that the windpipe (throat), food-tract (oesophagus) and the two jugular veins must be cut in a single stroke. Care must be taken that the head is not severed and the spinal cord is not cut. The rules also say that meat slaughtered by a machine can’t be halal, it must be slaughtered by a Muslim person.
It’s a whole industry where employment opportunities in certain sectors are completely unavailable to non-Muslims. It’s discriminatory towards people of not only the Hindu faith but also Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, and others.
Many people want to say that demanding Halal food is just a matter of choice, just like vegetarian of vegan food. But that is totally incorrect, while people become vegetarian by their choice, Muslim people have no choice in this context, the Islamic rules say that they are forbidden from consuming Haram or non-Halal food, they must consume Halal food only. The Halal rules originate from Quran along with Hadith and Sunnah, and Muslims have to follow these rules. Just like for most Hindus not eating beef is not just a matter of personal choice, a Muslim refusing to eat pork or any other meat slaughtered by a non-Muslim is also not a matter of choice, in both the cases the religion prevents them from consuming the same.