Qatar: Scholars slam Danish move on halal meat

burgerDOHA: Sale of meat products imported from Denmark in the local market could be hit with several Qatar-based Islamic scholars coming out heavily against the decision of the Denmark government to ban the religious slaughter of animals.

Denmark has banned religious slaughter of animals for production of Halal and kosher meat, effective from Monday. Kosher is the Jewish term for meat slaughtered according to Jewish religious traditions.

European regulations require animals to be stunned before slaughter, but they grant exemptions on religious grounds. Denmark has removed this exemption, drawing strong protests from Jewish and Islamic groups.

The ban was called “anti-Semitism” by Jewish leaders and “a clear interference in religious freedom” by the non-profit group Danish Halal.

Defending his government’s decision, the minister for agriculture and food, Dan Jørgensen, told Denmark’s TV2 that “animal rights come before religion”.

Al Jazeera quoted the monitoring group Danish Halal, which launched a petition against the ban, as saying that it was “a clear interference in religious freedom limiting the rights of Muslims and Jews to practice their religion in Denmark”.

Last year, politicians in Britain said they would not be outlawing religious slaughter despite “strong pressure” from the RSPCA, the National Secular Society and other activists.

Reacting to the ban, several Qatar-based Islamic scholars have made it clear that animals stunned by electrocution are considered dead and not permitted for Muslims to eat.

They called upon the authorities to be cautious and make sure that all imported meat in the local market is Halal. Popular Danish products in the local market include chicken and meat burgers.

According to Abdussalam Al Basyouni, a noted scholar, the issue is not limited to Denmark since, in his view, there is no proper monitoring in some Western countries to ensure that the meat is Halal.

Another scholar Muawafi Mohamemd Azb said, “Denmark’s decision represented a dangerous shift that Muslims should take seriously. They have to oppose this decision and convince European countries exporting meet to Arab world to respect Muslims values and religion because Islam clearly states that eating dead animals is haram.”

Ahmed Al Farjani said animals killed by electrocution is considered dead and can not be eaten by Muslims.

He said even from a scientific point view, eating the meat of animals killed without spilling the blood is not good for health.