Halal - A Growth Industry
A Muslim website, linked at François Desouche, sings the praises of halal foods, and wants us to believe that the business of halal has greatly contributed to strengthening the French economy:
Muslims, so often blamed by some politicians in their demagogic and stigmatizing speeches, are an asset to France, both in terms of her internal economy and her influence abroad.
In November 2009, INSEE (Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies) reiterated that Muslims bring good fortune to French agriculture. Every year, sheep farmers wait impatiently for the aïd al-adha holiday, that provides them with a veritable breath of oxygen. Strangled by large corporations who buy their meat for a pittance, the farmers are even willing to suffer penury and to hold on to their animals in order to raise prices. Major agro businesses have also been rescued by Muslim consumers: hinting at companies such as Charal, Doux, Socopa or Duc, an expert explained to Les Echos (a site devoted to economics) that "certain companies would no longer be in existence if they had not invested in this special market." So it's not surprising that almost 50% of French lamb is halal or that Quick managed to save eight restaurants by converting to halal.
Note: A reminder that the French government has for a long time proclaimed that immigrants bring "good fortune" to France. The author of the article is simply using a slogan that the French have been hearing for years.
Aïd al-adha is the holiday during which sheep are slaughtered (usually inhumanely), despite efforts by animal rights groups. There are various spellings of the holiday. Here, I am using the one in the article.
Quick, a fast-food operation, recently switched to halal foods in many of its restaurants, causing an uproar, especially among those who frequent those restaurants. I reported on it here.
Halal, and Muslim consumers, are therefore a boon to France and her economy. Numerous entrepreneurs know this and invest in the market, not always in the best conditions (let's just take Doux, that sells with impunity chickens that are not halal, but that are stamped halal, with the recently-granted blessings of the Paris mosque.) Just glance at a few of the providers of the Metro company and you will realize that French industry is profiting from halal.
The article goes on to discuss other companies that have chosen to "go halal" and the great advantages that result for the French economy. One such company, Isla Délice, has launched a publicity campaign to promote halal foods. Their illustration at top, from al-kanz , reads: "Proudly Halal", a mocking insult to France's proud symbol.
Those interested can also read about the decision to serve halal in 52 primary schools in the borough of Harrow in North-West London. The photo below is of Harrow High Street. The whole report is in the Daily Mail.
An article at Novopress says that the French army is now fed halal rations. For years soldiers have been offered a menu "without pork". But now, a further refinement gives them the possibility of eating halal. The two illustrations below show the two types of ration cards:
For several months now Halal rations have been appearing discreetly, and have been distributed systematically along with traditional rations. After school luncheons, halal sections of groceries and supermarkets, fast food companies such as Quick, it is now the army's turn to adapt to this rapid evolution that now affects all echelons of our society. An evolution that leads one to ask a question that could have far-reaching consequences if the army were ever called upon to put down ghetto riots: what is the percentage of French soldiers of the Muslim faith?
Note: I cannot answer the question, but I seem to remember that a few years ago commenters at the message boards were talking about 20%.
In still another halal story, François Desouche links to the blog of La Droite Libre, a satellite of Sarkozy's UMP party. La Droite Libre describes itself as "liberal conservative", which means it favors both free enterprise and conservative values, a claim that should be taken more as a threat than a description, considering the record of Sarkozy's UMP. La Droite Libre was founded by one Rachid Kaci, an advisor to Sarkozy.
The article in question deals with halal foods served on board Air France:
France continues to lose its traditions: passengers who fly with the national company and who travel to Muslim countries find that they are automatically being served halal meals. The manager of a famous Parisian night club was returning from Morocco when he found himself in this situation and remarked upon it to the flight attendant, saying he was angry not to be able to eat a non-halal meal. The chief flight attendant answered that he shared his indignation, that he had to obey the company's orders, but he hoped the situation would become "known to the general public."
If it is, after all, logical for airline companies to offer meals that conform to the eating habits of their country, religious meals ought not to have a place in our national company, which should just offer a few "neutral" dishes to satisfy potential religious customers who failed to plan ahead. Those who adhere to specific food traditions have a choice of numerous airlines where they can find exactly what makes them happy.
This new infringement of laïcité, after school lunches, cafeterias, and fast food chains, only confirms the stupid spiral of submission to the ever more urgent demands of religious communities. And it goes hand in hand with the regulations of another era (you have only to watch the ritual of animal slaughter) and with traditions incompatible with our culture. (...)
Note: There is nothing wrong with this communiqué, except that it does not address the core issue of immigration itself, only one of the inevitable consequences of having a large Muslim population. And who is responsible for this population and the inevitable consequences?
The readers' responses are interesting, but this one caught my attention. It is signed by someone calling himself "Fooled once, but never again":
When will the UMP stop taking its citizens for mental retards? Stop gesticulating like calves engulfed in the quicksand they willingly walked into. You made many promises, some innocents believed in you, but now even the dumbest of those innocents knows that you are liars. Creating off-shoots of the UMP will not prevent gulls like us from remembering the term UMP before the term off-shoot, or trend, or preference. Your party always sends out communiqués as soon as the plebe on whom you feed is no longer biting at your electoral and careerist bait. You want nothing to do with the French. Worse, you have contempt for them. You have chosen to lose and you have lost. Face it.
We shall see (in 2012, if not before) if this type of reaction is representative of the French voters who put Sarkozy in office, and if it is, will they vote for Marine Le Pen...
Finally, Ramadan comes early this year. It begins on Wednesday August 11, in the middle of the vacation period. More on that in the days to come...