Punjab Supermarket & Halal Meat – It is a business, but Muslim law dictates that meat must be slaughtered according to strict rules. Now, as the animal welfare lobby calls for an end to the practice, Decca Aitkenhead investigates the £30bn-a-year global halal industry.
Mohammad Tariq left Mirpur in Pakistan and came to Bradford when he was seven years old. It was 1965, and his clearest memory was the cold. “Oh, it’s dark, Yorkshire is so dark. You get snow in the winter and rain in the summer. His father spoke a little English, his mother none. One of the first Pakistani families to settle in Bradford, ran they are in the business of butcher and grocer.
Punjab Supermarket & Halal Meat
In 1974, his parents sold out and flew to Kashmir. His children were left behind. Tariq moved to east London to study business; then Paizle will work in his uncle’s restaurant. The Scots were friendly, he says, but only for a while, and when his uncle returned to Pakistan in 1984, Tariq returned to the job he had known since childhood in south London. His brother opened one of Southall’s first halal shops and Tariq became the manager and worked with two other brothers. It soon became one of the busiest shops in west London.
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By 1993 there were 20 other halal butchers in Southall. The shop was taking in £40,000 a week and Tariq wanted to expand, even start a franchise, but his brother refused. A pair fell. For eight months, Tariq drove a small taxi, but he had a wife, two sons and ambition, and he was frustrated until he found an empty shop at the end of a high street. with a large car park behind it. On March 19, 1994, a new green sign appeared on the door: Tariq Halal Et.
“The first three months were very difficult. There are only two butchers and myself, and we only sell meat. I took out my binoculars on the pavement to see where the next customer would come from. This is not the right place for the Asian mentality; He wanted to stand out from the crowd, and that part of Southall was dead. No one gave us hope. But I looked at the parking lot and thought, two or three years down the line…’
Tariq worked hard. He slept for several hours in the bed above the store, and his wife was so fed up that he took him out. But I didn’t lose faith. I believed him with all my might. If you do something right, he will try to help you. And it happened. Last year, Tariq Halal Meat paid around 2.5 million euros. It employed 16 butchers, opened a wholesale company and sold its own brands of rice and spices. Customers travel from outside London to buy Tariq’s meat. He wants to go national immediately.
But if the government accepts the recommendation of one of its advisory bodies, Tariq’s work will be complete. In June, the Council for Food Animal Welfare produced a report that argued that the halal and ethical method of animal slaughter is inhumane and should be banned immediately. That said, animal welfare should not be sacrificed for religious freedom. Many commentators agreed; Journalists wrote of animal cruelty “suffering” and “speaking in their own blood” and animal welfare campaigners came out in support of the FAWC report.
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Ministers of State are now considering its implications. If he agrees, two million Muslims in this country will no longer be able to buy British meat.
Conversely, the halal meat debate suggests another conflict between Islam and Britain, East-West ideas about what it means to be civilized, under attack by intolerance. But in reality, modern science, industrial economy, and even their relationship with their own clerics lead to a more complex debate within the Muslim population. In order to protect halal, society must decide what it means.
Tariq sits behind a desk in an office above his shop and watches the shop’s operations on a large CCTV screen. He had a heart attack earlier this year and is struggling to follow doctors’ orders to take it easy. The display shows a neat, well-preserved array of rice and spices, chutneys and dates. There are mangoes from Gujarat, tahini from Damascus, nougat from Lahore and Heinz baked beans. The meat counter displays lamb’s tongues, livers, kidneys, small chickens, and large beef legs. In the back of the shop, young men from Afghanistan and Pakistan in white coats and hats cut, trim and shape. Others carry a dead body on their shoulders. The language in the shop is a strange mix of London Punjabi, Urdu and Arabic, but the white A4-sized certificates on the wall are in English, clearly stating that the meat for sale is butchered according to approved halal traditions. Halal Food Service.
Tariq confirmed: “We are very careful when we deal with abattoirs. We do not deal with any abattoirs that kill pigs. We have a stipulation with the transport companies that we cannot carry pork in the same vehicles as our meat. We must there is an hour gap between halal and non-halal slaughter, so there is a chance of mixing in. absolutely not – what can i say?
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But what is halal? Often the meaning is not controversial. The Qur’an says that the animal should be well cared for, fed and watered. It must be alive and unharmed. A religiously trained Muslim murderer must use a very sharp knife, pray to God, cut the veins and trachea and let all the blood drain from the body. The only problem is that pure halal ritual slaughter forbids shocking the animal before cutting its throat. He must be fully alert until he bleeds to death. He found the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s research ridiculous, saying it could take two minutes for animals to die and mocked the boss, saying “the animal doesn’t suffer”.
Tariq shook his head sadly. “Inferior in the English way. The animal is given a large electric shock, the head bolts, sometimes two or three times before it works. It was terrible. In Halal, blood flows within seconds. Listen…’ and he picks up the phone to call one of his cows, asking how long it takes for a cow to die, by all means. The phone was replaced with some fun. ‘Look? Thirty-five to 38 seconds, English side. Eight seconds to the side. I know English style is really more stressful. ‘
He was a gentle, solemn man, and it was a pleasure to see him. The campaign to defend open-ended slaughter has been led by more conservative members of society, the Halal Food Organization and others, who have gone public to condemn the shockingly unhalal and assert the right to religious freedom. They are united.
And Tariq is nervous. He seems confused about something, and when I ask him to clarify what he means by halal, he seems to glare and shut up.
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“It’s a very moving topic. I couldn’t wait to ask it. This is a terrible question. He hesitated again, looking uncomfortable. “You see, today there is a fight between the mullahs. They cannot decide for themselves what is truly halal. Half must say one thing and the other half another. I have never seen two imams who can come together and agree on anything.’
The truth is that the meat sold by Tariq – certified halal – is already admired before it is butchered.
“He’s not dead,” he explained quickly. “Surprisingly, it took him five seconds to wrap the chain around his leg and remove it. Unlike English, it only takes five seconds. The animal came back to life as its throat constricted. It smokes. ‘
So how many Halal slaughterhouses kill animals without shocking them? Tariq held her chin in his hand. “I can count on the fingers of one hand.”
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There is no conscience in Tariq’s shop. “We are good Muslims here. We’re just doing the best we can,” he said. “Nowhere in the poem is there any mention of shock.” One of his butchers knocked and entered, spreading a mat on the floor and silently praying.
But the conflict between the public line taken by groups like the Halal Food Organization and the practice they actually allow has made the issue more delicate. It’s weird
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