Vague ramblings

H.a.l.a.l. spells “racism”

Posted in Irritants, Life by Ian Cundell on 12 May, 2014

Someone once said that those people who like sausages should never ask how they are made. It is the ugly sister of asking a magician how a trick is done. The trick is not quite so amazing, the meal not quite so appetising.

Oops - the Daily Mail has removed it

Animal rights? Yeah, right!

If people realising how meat gets to the table was what the past fortnight or so’s furore over the use of halal meat was really about, that would be fine. But the well-known hot-bed of Marxism-Leninism The Spectator skewered the “animal rights” angle of the hullabaloo rather well. While it is harsh, and in my view wrong, to presume that animal rights is a middle class concern – and unsurprisingly condescending about working people – this is The Spectator. Expectations need to be set accordingly.

But it is not an animal rights issue.

In 2007 Subway came to the – not terribly surprising or controversial – conclusion that it could sell more sandwiches if it adapted to the tastes and requirements of local communities. That, of course, is not how the Daily Mail saw it when it stumbled upon this shocking tale seven years later. It was, we learn, about appeasing Muslims. They didn’t have a go at kosher butchers, needless to say, because the Jewish community has a bit more practice at fighting racism and even the Daily Mail knows better these days.

Soon enough The Sun piled in and a flood of “revelations” about halal meat in supermarkets and take away chains spewed forth. It would be lovely to think that the all-too-predictable line up of media outlets have suddenly found common cause in their concern for Daisy, Buttercup and Ermentrude.

But they haven’t, have they? You only need to browse social networks to see who this is really fuelling.  The jumped-up football hooligans of the English Defence League are all over this like a rash, asserting that fulfilling demand for meat – or just sourcing it from perfectly legal abattoirs – is “creeping Islamification” and “appeasing the Muslims”. Kosher is rarely, if ever, mentioned. It is about Islam. And there are a shocking number of fellow travellers, either too ignorant or too lazy to fact check and they provide an awe-inspiring echo chamber.

It’s almost as if there’s an election coming up, isn’t it?

the aim is to stir up the white working class. And if you don’t think that is realistic, you don’t remember how popular Enoch Powell was with dock workers.

This is the right wing press finding a new and acceptable way to play the race card, because let’s be very clear about this: the people they pander to are not remotely interested in the teaching of Islam (except where they can use the most twisted, extreme and psychotic to tar all Muslims). They are using “Islam” or “halal” as substitutes for a word they know would be beyond the pale: Paki.

The narrative of “forced” or “appeased” or “creeping” has only one target and it isn’t Yusuf Islam. It is your neighbour from Bangladesh, your taxi driver from Pakistan, your Afghan shelf-stacker, your shop keeper from Goa (you don’t seriously think these people care that most Indians aren’t Muslim, do you?). The particular target, to spell it out, are the Asian working classes. Things that don’t fit this are ignored or belittled because the aim is to stir up the white working class. And if you don’t think that is realistic, you don’t remember how popular Enoch Powell was with dock workers.

This is why the “Islam is not a race” and the “how is halal a race” retorts that I have seen in frightening frequency over the past couple of weeks are so utterly dishonest or – to be fair – delusional.

This is the magicians trick, and this is how it is done.


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