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Mon 24 Feb 2014 10:51 AM

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Denmark tries to play down criticism over halal slaughter ban

Islamic leaders and governments have called for a halt to the importing of Danish meat

Denmark tries to play down criticism over halal slaughter ban
(Getty Images - Photo for illustrative purpose only)

Denmark has attempted to play down growing criticism by muslims over its ban on the religious slaughter of animals, saying “Islamic principles is still legal in Denmark”.

Amid calls by Islamic leaders for governments to stop importing Danish meat, Danish Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Dan Jorgensen said in a statement on Sunday that “such (halal) slaughter is still legal in Denmark”.

The Danish Embassy in Riyadh also tried to diffuse the situation, telling Arab News “there is no ban on Islamic slaughter in Denmark and animal sacrifice according to Islamic principles is still legal in Denmark”.

“Unfortunately, the Danish government executive order has been portrayed and misinterpreted by the media, as if it was directed against the halal form of slaughter,” said Fikre El-Gourfti, deputy chief of the Danish mission.

He said the current procedure of stunning an animal before slaughtering it “is in accordance with the resolution of the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL).”

European regulations require animals to be stunned before slaughter except on religious grounds. Denmark has removed this exemption.

Fouad Tawfik, an Islamic scholar, told Arab News the halal way of slaughtering animals had been “scientifically proved to be better for animals as well as humans than killing them by electric shock”.

He refuted the embassy’s statement, saying stunning of animals is not Islamic and MWL would not approve of such a religious edict.

He advised Muslims to move to eat chicken and fish until they get halal meat.

“Muslim countries must stop importing meat from Denmark as long as it prohibits Islamic way of slaughtering animals,” he said. “It’s the right of Danish Muslims to get halal food.”

Zaid Khan, a blogger, urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to import halal meat from Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia. “The Danish decision should make us think in a proactive manner,” he was quoted as saying.

Islam is the largest minority religion in Denmark. According to the US Department of State, approximately 3.7 percent of the population in Denmark is Muslim.

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Mike Redwood 6 years ago

Denmark does not export halal red meat to the middle east or any other part of the world. However Denmark has a huge export of halal poultry(chicken), especially to the middle east.

2fillsworth 6 years ago

So when a European Country bans Halal slaughter, it is seen a un-Islamic, and people call for bans on their products, yet in Gulf countries, non halal beef and lamb products are not permitted and we are told to leave if we do not like it.
Do I sense a small double standard here?

Moin 6 years ago

it is because it is not prohibited for non muslims to have halal meat Einstein.

who2 6 years ago

@2fillsworth
No, it is the normal double standard we are used to.

Klay 6 years ago

Moin, given a choice non muslims would not eat halal meat. In europe you have a choice. In the middle east you do not.