Germany in social media storm over halal meat

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

One user on Twitter called the #HalalChallenge "racism in the guise of animal rights".
One user on Twitter called the #HalalChallenge "racism in the guise of animal rights".

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German social media campaigners have called for pork to be placed in the halal section of supermarkets to challenge the “cruel” way animals are slaughtered, but critics argue this is an Islamophobic attack.

The campaign is spreading across social media under the hashtag #HalalChallenge. It encourages people to put pork on the halal counter and film it... then post the video to your Facebook timeline or Instagram or on YouTube or wherever, then nominate your friend to participate, according to the Halal Challenge’s Facebook page.

Hundreds of photos and videos posted on Twitter can be seen, with German citizens taking pork products in supermarkets and placing them on top of halal products.

‘Psycho’

The group said it took its inspiration from the Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral social media trend that saw people post videos pouring freezing water over themselves to raise awareness of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The group is also selling stickers to people online, encouraging them to put them on the supermarket shelves where halal meat is sold. It claims to be acting out of the interest of animal welfare, citing the “psycho act​” of halal slaughter, which requires the animal to be conscious before it is killed.

But according to the German news agency Deutsche Welle, many of the people using the #HalalChallenge hashtag are known for their right-wing views, rather than concerns over animal welfare.

The challenge has caused many Germans to come out in defence of the Muslim population, with one user on Twitter calling the challenge “racism in the guise of animal rights​”.

Shaykh Tauqir Ishaq, head of certification at the Halal Authority Board, condemned the halal challenge and said: “It’s racism and Islamophobia under the guise of animal rights. Most of halal is actually stunned in any case. There is also a marketing issue with this as most Muslims, if they see pork next to a halal product, won’t buy the halal product. So the supermarkets will be very unhappy about this from a sales perspective... I obviously condemn what’s going on in Germany but it’s nothing to worry about.” 

The opinion of Ishaq was echoed by Rizvan Khalid, senior director at Euro Quality Lamb, who said the challenge was a "pretext for prejudice​".

Related topics: Business, All Asia-Pacific, Meat, Supply chain

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