A Swedish councilor, Michael Öhman, belonging to a local wing of the Sweden Democrat party is facing criticism for suggesting that Halal meat has magical powers that turn people into Muslims.
In order to ban Halal food in schools he suggested: "You become Muslim if you eat halal meat" Michael Öhman told Sala Allehanda newspaper earlier this week. The members of the party claim that Halal meat violates the animal cruelty laws of the country.
When asked if its problematic to feed Halal meat to non-muslims Mr Öhman claimed that: "It is unimaginable to eat halal for non-Muslims, it is only for the believer, you become Muslim if you eat halal meat."
Mr Öhman’s comments have been criticised and mocked in the social media. A user mocked the politician’s comments by saying , “If only you knew how magical halal meat is. How do you think that Aladdin could fly on a carpet?
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Another user remarked on twitter saying: “What happens if you mix halal and kosher meat? Which magic is the strongest?”
Methods of halal butchering involve cutting the throat of the animal -- whilst reciting an Islamic prayer -- while taking care not to damage its spinal cord. The method is only problematic if the animal is not stunned before the act, whereas in Sweden all animals are stunned before slaughter.
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“Swedish halal slaughter meets the same requirements as other slaughter [in Sweden]. We don't care about religion, only animal protection,” Shivar Magdal, veterinary inspector at the Board of Agriculture, told Sala Allehanda.
Moreover, the politician was also proven wrong in suggesting that serving halal food breaks the rule that Swedish schools are not to be associated with religion. “The school should be non-denominational, that is no confessions of faith or prayers. Eating halal meat is not a confession of faith,” School Inspectorate lawyer Sofia Wirlée told Sala Allehanda.
However, RT reports that the move to ban Halal food is unlikely to gain support since the majority of the population ‘generally support plurality’ and there is a overall acceptance of Muslim values.
The article originally appeared on The Mirror