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August 06, 2003

The Delicious Taste of Halal Meat
Mehdi Yahyanejad  [info|posts]

halal.jpgWhen I landed in Canada six years ago, I started living in a dorm near Chinatown in Toronto with a lot of East Asians who were there to learn English. That meant that I got to try lots of crazy food from smelly kimchi to all sorts of raw fish in different types of sushi. I never cared where that food came from and cared very little how that food was made. As we know, this is not the case for everyone who comes from a Muslim country, such as Iran. There are people among our friends who make sure that their food is in accordance with their religion. Not surprisingly, this turns out to be a bit of an inconvenience in the West. It doesnít just mean that they canít come along for dim sum in Chinatown. They have constant problems whenever they are invited for dinner at the houses of their foreign or non-practicing Muslim Iranian friends. But the most difficult inconvenience to accept is that Halal meat* is not offered at social events organized by many Iranian student and community associations. The justification offered by these organizations is that they are defined as non-religious, and as such, they canít offer Halal meat, which is considered as a religious demand.

While, these organizations might be so resistant to offering Halal meat at their events, they are not resistant to offering vegetarian food because this is not perceived as a religious demand. To me, as a proclaimed carnivore with a great love for kabab, "Halalists" are not any more bizarre than vegetarians. And as long as neither group tries to stop me from eating my food, I would be happy for them to be offered their preferred food. In fact, this simple idea is a cornerstone for my personal version of secularism, which I call inclusive secularism. It says that as long as people are not asking for things that are prohibitive to others, they should be offered their options. By virtue of this rule, I fully support offering the option of Halal meat in all Iranian public events, considering that there is a sizable religious population and that Halal meat can be easily found in most big North American cities. By the same token, I donít think the demand of a religious person to remove alcohol from an Iranian public event should be accepted on the ground that he/she feels ďoffendedĒ by the presence of alcohol, because that demand restricts others who wish to drink a glass of wine with their dinner.

It is not just about food. We need to practice an inclusive version of secularism in our small community organizations to demonstrate that it works without excluding religious people. Even after so much deterioration of religious belief in Iran as a direct result of the excesses of the Islamic Republic, there are still many religious people in Iran, and it would be unimaginable for a secularism that cannot accommodate their concerns to take root. Our practices in North America can be a model for Iran.

Do I think Halal meat is more delicious? Not really!

*Here, non-Halal food mostly refers to the meat that comes from animals (such as cow or sheep) when they are not killed in accordance to Islamic law. This usage of non-Halal does not refer to pork because I have never witnessed that pork be offered in any Iranian social events. Most Iranians do not eat pork even the ones living in the West. For a more general meaning of Halal visit wikipedia.

BHS at August 6, 2003 12:31 PM [permalink]:

Surprisingly, I do find that Halal meat tastes better, just in the way I hardly find pork tasty. Yet there are so many pork lovers who seem to enjoy it very much. So, I told myself, it must be that I am brought up while feeding on Halal meat, and kept away from pork. Then I discovered sushi, my most favourite food right now. Ah well, that's just the joke of the destiny!

Hadi Jor'ati at August 6, 2003 01:34 PM [permalink]:


Grand Vizier at August 6, 2003 01:36 PM [permalink]:

Halal meat goes better with Iranian stews and Kababs because it is relatively bloodfree. However it is not very good for making hamburgers or steaks.

anonymous at August 6, 2003 02:14 PM [permalink]:

The concept of Halal meat invites you to be careful about the way animals are being fed.
Did you know about the real reason of mad cow disease ? That cows were obliged to eat their own bone powder, that the west had obliged them to become flesh eating just because they needed fatter cows to kill , to sell , to consume!

Halal meat invites you to take care of the way animals are being kept, based on this chicken are not allowed to be kept in a mass cage which doesn't keep them enough space even to stand on their own poor feet!That is apparently the reason you should buy some biologic meat, or milk or food ,although that is not enough!

Halal meat also invites you to stand against this supermarket, mass production culture, mc donald culture. It invites you to go and buy from a Muslim Store, to let your money help a muslim than an capitalist! Although I can imagine that MCDonald could install a set of HalalDONALD restaurants in Saudi Arabia or Occupied Iraq to seduce people( I gave them a good Idea , didn't I ? ) but at least these arrogant,imprisoned liberators learn to respect others. Maybe they needed to free themselves from sex,from mad market mtv culture then they could dare to come to liberate the others!

So let them invent Halaldonald, Halaldog or Mecca Cola , this is way of seducing them ! Do it, One day you will understand why I gave you this Idea so freely to steal !

yaser at August 6, 2003 03:10 PM [permalink]:

Mehdi, do you think that Iranian groups here can organize an event such as Eftari in Ramadhan? Such a simple question took two month of our association in toronto, last year. The question you raised is not always easy.

Ghazal at August 6, 2003 03:31 PM [permalink]:

The funny thing is that it seems to me foreign people can accept the fact that some Iranian observe eating halal food easier than fellow Iranians. And I guess it partly comes from the fact that human beings are very used to categorizing people, westerners think we are Iranian= Moslem = observing all the religious traditions and our own people think,
Modernize= westernize= intellectual= not religious= not observing traditions.

anonymous at August 6, 2003 04:08 PM [permalink]:

Dear Yasser
God bless you with your suggestion ! Can I invite you to something more ?

Wherever you live , there can be faithful christian families ,learn from them something ! The rituals they use at dinner... they have much to teach us, to remind us what we already have forgotten.

Eating is for them a social gathering , some of them prohibit fast food, because that culture doesn't give them space to pray god and to thank him for what he has given us , to think of those who don't have.

You might be shocked if you see that in their dinner, besied the food they serve, there lies a bible, a holy book. They feed not only their body , but also they FEED their soul !They pray , in their own language. And then they READ a holy book ,and they share their understanding together.

Well you and your friends,you all, should it be only Ramazan to give us chance to gather together!? Can't you and your friends gather every week, to feed your body with shared food and your soul with a readable book, with Quran? to feed your soul... It doens't need to think for two months.

Hajir maybe you don't like this, ok bring a poem book from Khayyam the tentmaker ,from Hafiz , from Rumi . just something to share. just something to reach together...

I invite you, us to rebirth yourselves, ourselves. I invite you to make a gathering, even if virtual , to gather together,to invite others as well.

By the way, let me tell you something, language has become our ban lately. read in whatever language you can communicate better.If you use arabic, do not use only since it is written for a holy book, but do use it to communicate better with another muslim. Then you would explore another ability from this language, Did you ever know why love in our language cannot be translated from arabic, even "mehr" doesn't resonate that meaning?
I leave it to you

pouria at August 6, 2003 05:37 PM [permalink]:

Yaser, I think the issue of eftari ir quite different. Having halal meat or vegetarian food at functions would be a matter of courtesy to the guest. This does not make the program religious in any sense.

pouria at August 6, 2003 05:40 PM [permalink]:

anonymous, halal meat has nothing to do with what you claim. As i'm sure you know, the animal is just slaughtered differently. That animal can be the flesh-eating cow or the mass-couped chicken, and in fact it probably is.

anonymous at August 6, 2003 06:01 PM [permalink]:

Halal meat has to do with what I see as commitment to nature, to humanity , to the existence!

I feel the challenge we face with these rituals is that we forget to look at them as derivatives of a lively function, we cannot reach that function unless we could be able to integrate these distributed jewels, gifts to find the absent function which is here to navigate us , which is so present in the world but absent from our minds , our souls, because we have been so busy with methods and we forgot theories. Did you know that theory , theology and theatre have the same origin... think why?

What is the origin of the religion, the ritual, the culture, the identity, the science. What is the main united function of these distributed , separated items ? The question concerning origin ! Let us think together ..

To give you a clue, forget the name, if you wanna be secularized ! But keep your eyes open , your conscience clean ! Be concious about what are you eating,how it is prepared, who is benefited from it. Don't be a blind customer!Consume with Open eyes....forget the name...forget me... let me be anonymous

Hossein at August 6, 2003 06:16 PM [permalink]:

What Ghazal is trying to say is somehow the same as Mehdi's point, I guess.
The tolerance and respect for others' believes.
As strange as the Kosher cooking is for a gentile or even a non-practicing Jew, it's completely respected. That's what we need to learn. If you invite people who you know eat Halal meat, you'd better prepare appropriate food for them.
I'm not talking about spirituality of food and what is "right" or what is "wrong". It's just
nice to respect others.

anonymous at August 6, 2003 06:25 PM [permalink]:

YOU SILENTLY CENSORED OUR COMMENTS AT ALLL .. HOW DARE YOU. Dear Coward, be brave and tell me that your invitation was not fake !Just tell me and I will believe. Don't be one of those who invite others and welcome them by knifes of censor! If we cannot tolerate each other, who we can tolerate! I didn't copy my comments for my own just because I trusted you must apologize! you must be ashamed to do this.. return me back those comments I liked most ! If just you send me them , I will forgive and forget

anonymous at August 6, 2003 06:32 PM [permalink]:

[duplicated comments removed by the editors]

anonymous at August 6, 2003 06:37 PM [permalink]:

This was a part " For you the brave ,Analyze me ,simulate me ,condemn me! But not your citizen , even the very most cleric of them! Even the most common of them! Even the very butcher of them! They need mercy, we need mercy, we all need to be freed , to be liberated ,to be forgiven .."
I will email it whoever wants it Öthis was a masterpiece. I will never comeback to this site again unless who did this apologize for this censorship policy. Your lords will let you do that to keep the face clean .

hajir at August 6, 2003 06:58 PM [permalink]:

Anon, you are always welcome to come back and participate in our discussions.

Coward at August 6, 2003 07:17 PM [permalink]:

Dear anonymous,
I am not in charge here. It seems you thought
I was. My comments are also limited. In my
opinion, limiting the comments are fine, but
the comments which were posted before this 100 word limit should not have been altered.
The following is to test the correctness of 100 limit filter.
Testing55 Testing56 Testing57 Testing58 Testing59 Testing60
Testing61 Testing62 Testing63 Testing64 Testing65 Testing66 Testing67 Testing68 Testing69 Testing70
Testing71 Testing72 Testing73 Testing74 Testing75 Testing76 Testing77 Testing78 Testing79 Testing80
Testing81 Testing82 Testing83 Testing84 Testing85 Testing86 Testing87 Testing88 Testing89 Testing90
Testing91 Testing92 Testing93 Testing94 Testing95 Testing96 Testing97 Testing98 Testing99 Testing100
Testing101 Testing102 Testing103 Testing104 Testing105 Testing106 Testing107 Testing108 Testing109 Testing110

Coward at August 6, 2003 07:30 PM [permalink]:

The_condition_of_making_a_meat_Halal only requires_that the_slaughtering be done in a certain way, namely the butcher be moslem, slaughters in the name of Allah, and does it a certain way depending on the animal. There is no mention of upbrining the animals a certain way, although some dietary restrictions could be in place. On the other hand, Kosher meat is more restrictive, for example, the chicken should be washed in cold water only, and perhaps the animal should be raised 'free range'. Depending on the_way_of_preparation_of_meat and ones_taste, Halal meat may taste better or not.

Coward at August 6, 2003 07:38 PM [permalink]:

Back to the main topic, if there are enough Halalists in those events, and it is possible to provde halal meat with the budget, there is nothing wrong to have some Halal meat dish at the event. In any case, there should always be some kind of dish that could be acceptable to Halal observers or Kosher observers or vegetarians.

Having Iftar parties are also acceptable as long as is does not exclude the non-believers. And, again the budget allows it. The only restriction could be when the budget comes from a source that does not allow religious-related activites. Even in that case, if people are really willing they do not to mention the name of Iftar at all. Just a dinner scheduled to be convenient to fasters and others.

Coward at August 6, 2003 07:39 PM [permalink]:

... Continued here:
Even in that case, if people are really willing they do not to mention the name of Iftar at all. Just a dinner scheduled to be convenient to fasters and others.

Grand Vizier at August 6, 2003 07:42 PM [permalink]:

The instruments of Our Lord are not limited. Observe and listen to the agony and fear of those who resort to superficial inventions of symbols and of the language to hide their true nature. Let them forever taste the true wrath of Our Lord. Behold the "Disenvowelment":

anonymous at August 6, 2003 10:49 PM [permalink]:

An answer to the conditional apology !I wish you could direct the direction of your social community discussion board toward the sake of your citizens, your classmates, if that was something I should have been impressed by. Honest apology comes not from letting the margins to be grow , even if they are more than text. You all know that most of you have a background from technical universities. .At least in Iran ,the best students are expected to be doctors or engineers, Having Avicenna as their Idol! Spartacus or Abuzar is for naÔve people, Are we that more precious?

Mehdi Y. at August 6, 2003 10:53 PM [permalink]:

Yaser, I don't think a non-religious organization should be able to organize an event, which promotes religion. But in the case of Iftar, I believe non-religious associations can host Iftar as a cultural event with no reference to its religious significance. There should be no praying or preaching in the event. Ironicly, this is already done in case of Charshanbe Sori, a Zoroastrian ceremony. Many non-religious organizations organize it with no reference to its Zoroastrian origin. There is more to say, but I leave it for an entry.

Gone with the wind at August 6, 2003 11:09 PM [permalink]:

We discuss Halal meat while blood and meat of two students are to be announced halal, condemned as warriors of Gods. and 9 students were forgiven because they are by our religious . In the same manner Nimrod condemned and forgave his slaves in Front of Abraham to show his power and his mercy ! Well! enjoy Halal meat ! Enjoy this heavenly feast! But this feast is not that I want to take part in!

pouria at August 6, 2003 11:26 PM [permalink]:

"Ironicly, this is already done in case of Charshanbe Sori, a Zoroastrian ceremony. Many non-religious organizations organize it with no reference to its Zoroastrian origin."
Chahar-shanbe soori can no longer be considered purely a religious festival. It is more a cultural festival. A test of whether a celebration is religious or or cultural is easy enough. If it is celebrated by more than one religious group than it can be considered cultural.

anonymous at August 6, 2003 11:45 PM [permalink]:

For the technical thinkers on Iran, we suffered under many thinkers, butchers, rulers, those who thought on us but not with us . Let's name this site technical thought for Iran, at least we acknowledge we think for Iran evenif we are not free enough from the technical recipes injected. There is difference in thinking with and thinking on! You formulate and draw an analogy between Chaharshanbe Suri and Iftar while you might have neglected the origin of terminology of culture whether in English or Persian. Culture has religious origin while its direction is different, which differentiates it from religion.

Ali Mahani at August 10, 2003 09:07 AM [permalink]:

I agree that the organisers of public events should respect the tastes and preferences of various religious and non-religious sects; yet I find it absurd that some people try so hard to give a "scientific" cover to their weird beliefs: "halal" meat protecting you from this disease, pork giving you that one, and all the rest of it. Show me one medical textbook or scientific journal with an article proving that properly cooked pork is harmful, or what they call "halal" meat is any better than other varieties. Come on, gentlemen, pull yourselves out of 7-th century Arabia; we are well into the third millennium now!!

Saeed at August 10, 2003 12:30 PM [permalink]:

Mr. Manhani, your style of arguing isn't even at the level of 7th century. Who says it's about diseases? Is praying to prevent diseases? Is going to Hajj about preventing diseases? Try to ask from those people what they see as the big picture!

Ghazal at August 10, 2003 12:39 PM [permalink]:

Ali Mahani,
I agree with your point to some extent. I always have a hard time telling people that I can not personally test existence of god with Bag bang theory or even check the consistency of them, but at the same time I dont find it absurd to scientifically study people's traditions like eating pork, smoking, drinking, ... as it has proven to
be quite useful.
I also like to add a few comments about your notion of weird beliefs and 7-th century Arabia as I find this kind of language is just degrading your reasoning.
Could you please explain what you mean by weird beliefs, do you think it is unusual? is people eating dogs unusual for you? do you define "weird" based on your own experience? I like to know if you know what percentage of population in the world prefer eating Halal or Kosher meat in the 21st century? how do you measure the weirdness of a belief? what is the relevance to 7-th century Arabia? the fact that this tradition was observed back then or do you mean people in 7-th century arabia used to prove that eating Halal meat was scientifically justified? if your 7-th century comment goes to justifying traditions scientifically back then, which I dont know enough history to confirm it, it shows that people must have been very obsessed with science even back then. but if you think traditions which were observed in 7-th century shouldn't be observed any more then you have a lot of trouble convincing most of the world to
change their life styles starting from their holidays to their wedding ceremonies ... and finally to their eating traditions. but if you think the age of the tradition is not a problem but the fact that it was observed in Arabia is, then I would guess you either have something against arabia as a land which I find it hard to imagine that you think some lands are demonized so whatever is observed there shouldn't be observed anywhere else, or you may imply that Since Arabs introduced the tradition to other people it shouldn't be observed and in that case let me remind you not only you may be categorized as racist but also may end up insulting coffee drinkers because arabs introduced Coffee to the rest of the world as well.

Coward at August 10, 2003 04:15 PM [permalink]:

I understand what opriginates the frustration of Ali Mahani. When I was in high school in Iran, the teachers of religious education used to give us a scientific spin to almost any Islamic belief. Many people had not yet reconcilated the concept that science and religion do not need to be in support of each other. I still believe many people have problems in this matter, and try to either support religion based on science or reject it based on the same science. The interesting thing to me is that to this people, either from the religious camp or the non-religious, the science is the accepted base that religion will be validated against it. That is, deep under they never have doubts about science, or recent scientific result, no scientific inquiry, ironicaly this constant inquiry is the pilar of modern science.

Mismatch Error! at August 10, 2003 08:00 PM [permalink]:

Firstly, a number of shia clerics believe that "ANY MEET PREPARED BY BELIEVERS OF THE HOLY BOOKS (Koran, Bible, Torah, Avesta) IS HALAL AND CONSUMABLE". Secondly, do you have any idea how they prepare meet in Iran? Do you think they force every cow and sheep to lie towards Mecca and say one Besmellah before each sacrifice? If yes, you're in deep dark mistake. I once visited a major sloughterhouse near Tehran, there was a long chain (few hundred metres long), all the chicken were hanging from the chain upside-down (alive). The chain took them into a box where they received a nice melow eletrical shock, and then after that (when they were somehow motionless) another blade-machine cut their heads (while hanging upside down). As Grand Vezier said, they only difference in beef (for example) is that in Iran meet is usually has less blood. Stop all the fuss about Halal meet and enjoy your meal. Bon Apetit :-)

Hossein at August 10, 2003 09:40 PM [permalink]:

Actually the process of importing meat from non-Muslim countries is quite messy. My father had some experiences at importing meat and what Iíve heard from him is quite fascinating. For example what Mismatch Error said about chicken slaughter houses is quite right. But the thing is that the guy who starts up the machine is a Muslim and before pushing the button says Besmellah. Though still the direction of the machine is quite a big problem. To be able import beef or lamb, Iran usually sends slaughters and sometimes Iranians just hire local Muslims. I remember when my father was in charge of importing meat to the country about 20 years ago, he was trying to get some Fatwas to make his job easier, but I donít remember the details and how it went finally.

Mismatch Error at August 10, 2003 11:25 PM [permalink]:

This re-iterates my point: Don't be so fussy about Halal meat, as long as you're buying good meat from a conventional channel (supermarket, trusted local market, etc) it's OK. One big besmellah for all the guys who operate machines around the world!

A Reader at August 11, 2003 08:25 AM [permalink]:
**To Saeed- Calm down, pal. First of all, my comments were not meant to be an "arguing" against halal or any other sort of food. I was just trying to show the fallacy of the arguments used by SOME folks here in Iran who cite "science" to back up religion. Non-halal food is not harmful to health or morals, as these people would want us to believe. So it all depends on whether or not you are among such people; if the cap fits, wear it!!!! As for hajj or prayers: well, I don't do them, sorry, I have nothing for or against them either, and I don't know or care what YOU do them for, health or otherwise!! **To Ghazal and other friends- First thanks for your prompt and detailed answers. Now, by "weird" I mean any hard and fast rules, do’s and don'ts, which are not susceptible of scientific proof or supported by the current medical or epidemiologic evidence. Of course medicine is an evolving science, and what is “known” today may have to be discarded in a few years, but then we must go by what we know at the moment or we won’t be able to move at all. Take any modern textbook on medicine or epidemiology and you see that a moderate intake of alcohol actually protects against coronary heart disease. In his famous medical treatise “Canons of Medicine”, the great Islamic physician and scholar Avicenna gives a vivid account of the salutary effects of various alcoholic beverages (wines). Another famous Islamic scientist, Razes, is reputed to be the first to distill alcohol from wine (inveterate boozers??!!). As for meat, I have tried pork on a few occasions, found it quite delicious, and my health is none the worse for it. Neither do I have any problems with halal foods, mark my words, they are just as pleasant and useful. And who said people shouldn't practise their traditions? Have you read the first sentence in my letter? For all I care, people may eat cats and dogs, rats and snakes, haram or halal, etc, as long as they don’t try to foist it upon us poor non-believers. Why on earth should WE be bound by what a “prophet” did in Arabia 1400 years ago, what a priest believed in Ancient Egypt, or what a Mo’bad preached in Achemean Persia? I myself have this tradition of taking a cup of coffee after my dinner everyday, and the fact that it comes from Arabs is not going to deter me one bit! What IS objectionable is imposing the practice on other people, as is currently the case in Iran. And it's not just the food you eat: women are obliged to cover their heads, many civil and military institutions force the staff to take part in prayer ceremonies or abstain from all food and drink during the month of Ramadhan. Drinking alcohol (even in private) will get you 70 lashes of the whip if you are found out; doing it in public is unthinkable. And about racism -- where does racism come into this, for Muhammad’s sake? I have many Arab friends and I am one of the few Iranians who have bothered to learn Arabic in both classic form (Faseeh) and the Egyptian dialect, just for the love of it. I enjoy Arab music and the occasional chat in Arabic, and on some occasions I’ve received a torrent of abuse from racists who take me for an Arab! So in a nutshell, people are perfectly entitled to their choices, beliefs and traditions, but let’s not pretend that what we do or believe is the ultimate truth in the Universe. Live and let live, that’s the bottom line. ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ali Mahani at August 11, 2003 11:09 AM [permalink]:

And enjoy your food and drink, of course!

Ghazal at August 11, 2003 01:31 PM [permalink]:

ali Mahani,
I basically dont see relevance of some of your arguments to my comment like, eating pork
occasionally!!? or the other one, "moderate intake of alcohol" which just seems to prove my
let me be more clear, you should have given me these answers had I asked you whether you
had ever had pork or if pork is delicious or if it harms your health after occasionally eating it.
I guess you and I wont be able to communicate very well as we dont even seem to agree on
the definition of words like weird, belief, scientific fact, etc.
I try to be as clear as I can, I went through that whole details to convince you that the use of
humiliating words or expressions can not justify a point but can be quite ambiguous as well as
they are usually biased by one's personal experience.
finally we either believe or we dont but if we do, what we believe is what we accept to be the
truth by definition, so I would support what you are implying by saying I think most people
can compromise on how different people may perceive the truth differently.

Ali Mahani at August 12, 2003 09:02 AM [permalink]:

Ghazal- just a brief note

I mentioned pork and alcohol as examples of non-halal food and drink. The point is, to the best of our current knowledge, and in contrast to claims by some people, (mostly Iranian clerics who have a habit of categorising everything as either halal or haram) these victuals do not damage your health or morals. ņ bon entendeur, salut!

Behrooz at August 16, 2003 03:49 PM [permalink]:

Ali Mahani:

"There is no compulsion in religion". It is interesting that you seem to forget that. People have free will, and can decide to indluge themeselves with things that are haraam. If you are free to consume alcohol and pork, you are also free not to consume them! It is because of this very freedom that the notions of "halal" and "haram" exist. If you want to disobey the Quran, the Prophet, and the Imams, you are quite free to do that as well ;)

ismai at September 16, 2003 02:53 AM [permalink]:

dear sir

our copana like to buy slaughtered goat meat



Narges at September 19, 2003 03:35 PM [permalink]:

I know that it is many days from those discussions on Halal meat ;but I wanna indicate something.There are 4 reasons for any rule in Islam in Islamic scholar's opinion:1)protection of money 2)protection of honor 3)protection of health and 4)protection of slip.Abdolkarim Soroush adds another reason to these four:5)Protection of identity.some rules like saying prayers in Arabic and doing some especial acts in hadj are the examples of this recent category.I think having to consume Halal meat is another rule belonged to this category.furthurmore the most important factor in Halal meat is that special point they hit in the body of animal not facing to Mecca and saying the name of God.This is something associated to Identity of Moslems which is extremely in danger.
maybe you are so international that you dont feel any necessity to do these act deal with identity,but in this world and in this era that borders are the most important things(in contrast to which they try to show) ,we'd better have ours.

Reza at September 23, 2003 04:41 PM [permalink]:

I just finished reading this weblog thread.
Mehdi jan, nice topic for discussion and interesting idea.
My few Rials:
In principle I agree with your idea of "inclusive secularism" very much. I think it represents a higher level maturity than we normally encounter.

The first natural question that your idea raises, is where do you stop in your inclusion? As there are many minorities in an Iranian community, although you use Moslem concept of "Halal" meat as an example.
That will be just one of the hard questions that those secular organizations face in practice.
Another aspect of this issue is to look at the root cause of the reluctance of these organizations to experiment with your proposed inclusive secularism.
I suggest a few possible reasons: one being the difficulty mentioned above. Another can be the fear of being associated one religion or another. This fear is common in the psyche of Iranian (or maybe even U.S. and other) intellectuals. The question of "Who is behind them?". We expect every organization to be a Trojan horse.
Another reason might be the bitter experience of the founders, as well as the supporters and audience of these organizations with institutionalized and politicized Islam in Iran and the oppression under the name of Islam. So they try to distance themselves as much as possible from religion and any aspect of it.

shane at February 9, 2004 09:30 AM [permalink]:

There is no diffrence in halal and non halal meat. It is still just anouther piece of meat the only thing diffrent about the two is, one is killed by a person of a certain religon that has to be facing Mecca and says a prayer as the neck of the animal is cut.

Wessie at February 9, 2004 09:50 AM [permalink]:

The difference is that it is very cruel way to kill an animal. Same as Kosher. Not humane!

And the idea that people should be permitted to "sacrifice" animals themselves, at home is absolutely barbaric!

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