Halal or Kosher: Meat Me Halfway

12 Apr

Many times I’ve been asked “Why do you eat halal meat even though you’re not a practising Muslim?”

I say its personal preference, in respect of my parents who were of the Islamic faith, an aspect of my childhood years that I still adhere to, and a part of my being that I can no longer shake off. Yes, I know I’m not a practising Muslim, my lifestyle and sexual orientation being what it is. But I can’t help holding onto some beliefs. Everyone has their own personal beliefs that they hold onto – the young drama student who believes that he or she will become a famous star, the lottery player who believes that one day they might win the big jackpot, the person with an incurable disease who believes that one day they might find a cure, the person who believes in ghosts or aliens, the person who believes in no sex before marriage. The list goes on and on…I don’t question all these beliefs… I don’t question someone who is a vegan, vegetarian or on a diet.

One of my closest friends asked me THAT question once. We discussed the options, of what would happen if I didn’t eat halal meat. Well, in my case, I’d probably be damned anyway, so it wouldn’t matter. But if someone say, was a practising Rastafari at some point in their lives and was told they couldn’t eat pork as it was unclean, they were expected to keep to that directive and respect the cultural customs or belief systems. But if that same person came out of that community for whatever reason, they may find themselves not being able to eat pork but doesn’t need to justify it to anyone.

Whether I’m a practising Muslim or not, if I eat halal meat that’s nobody’s business but mine. I’m not committing an offence. I don’t think that at my time in my life I have to justify my reasons for eating halal. I don’t hear people asking Jews why they eat Kosher meat and what’s the difference between Kosher and non-Kosher? It’s almost a given. People tend to accept that the Jewish community or those that were born into the Jewish faith eat Kosher and that’s that. Considering that Halal and Kosher are very similar and the ritual of slaughtering the animal in a particular way originated in the early days of Judaism, what difference does it make?

If I say I like the taste, then another line of questions would be pursued. How is the animal killed? What’s the difference in taste? and so on. But I say it’s like tasting the difference between genetically modified, organic, free range, cured, smoked/non-smoked, caged or battery, lean or fatty, dolphin free, having meat from New Zealand, Australia or Britain, fruits from Spain or Africa, milk from cows, goats, soya/almond, the whole array of wholemeal, wholegrain, multi-seeded, plain, white, brown bread or flour, milk or dark chocolate, the various blends of tea or coffee, sugars and butters…need I say more?

People insist on what they want or have to eat for their own reasons or taste. I respect that they have choices, cultural or otherwise.
I’d just like my personal preferences or dietary requirements to be respected as much as I would respect yours.
Now, leave me alone and don’t ask me any more questions.


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