Asda in Halal Storm

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By Ted Jeory

giant Asda has risked sparking a racial backlash in the place where the
BNP won its first ever council, by closing its traditional fresh meat
counter and replacing it with a halal only section.

The chain has decided to make the move at its large store on the Isle of Dogs, east London.

Within weeks, anyone wanting fresh pork chops or ham off the bone will
have to go to the pre-packed meat section, with Muslim customers having
a wider choice from the halal counter.

Asda insisted it was “responding to customer demand” and had done a
deal with a local halal butcher to reflect the ethnic make up of the
area’s population.

Yet figures show that
while the borough of Tower Hamlets is almost half Muslim, the Isle of
Dogs is about 80 per cent non-Bangladeshi.

Workers at the store said furious non-Muslim customers would not meat
derived from cutting the throats of animals and letting them bleed to

Politicians were concerned last
night that the move could reignite racial tension on the Isle of Dogs,
where Derek Beackon won the BNP’s first council seat in 1993.

Local MP and farms minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “As the major
supplier on the island, Asda should not be restricting choice.”

Peter Golds, leader of the Tories on Tower Hamlets Council, said the decision was “insensitive”.