Another Muslim non-story


by Rumbold
25th March, 2010 at 6:19 am    

A man was unable to buy a burger from KFC, given that KFC had stopped selling that burger. This shouldn’t be a news story; businesses remove products from circulation all the time, because of a drop in demand, increasing costs of raw materials and so on. If a local newsagents stopped selling cola bottles, it wouldn’t hit the headlines. So what was different about this story to attract the attention of the Daily Mail?

A diner was left furious after a KFC restaurant refused to sell him a bacon burger – because it wasn’t halal.

Ahh… Muslims are involved.

A private business decided not to sell an item which it is not obliged to sell, and had stopped offering in that branch. KFC are responding to what they see as market signals. Nobody is obliged to eat there:

Mr Phillips was told he would have to travel to another KFC five miles away to buy his bacon burger. He protested that this was too far for him to travel.

This is an example of the Muslim non-story. A Muslim non-story is an otherwise unremarkable piece of information (see above) that suddenly becomes newsworthy when Muslims are involved. The tabloids encourage these stories, because of the fear of Muslims as the ‘other’.

Take this story from last year: a shop that is part of a chain had stopped selling pork on pizzas because of a lack of demand. The offended party, a Mr. Savage, said:

I’m all for racial and religious tolerance but if anything this is intolerant to my beliefs and discriminatory against me. I had to travel two miles out of my way to their next nearest branch – I was appalled.

Sound familiar?


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  1. Yakoub — on 25th March, 2010 at 6:31 am  

    What annoys me is when the tabloids get whiff of a school turning halal because the percentage of Muslims on the roll warrants it. The are hundreds of schools in Britain that are already 100% halal, but that’s beside the point. It only takes one local hysterical bigot talking to the tabloids to start a ‘campaign’. And people say papers don’t tell them how to think…

  2. Tim Footman — on 25th March, 2010 at 7:21 am  

    If my newsagent stopped selling cola bottles, that *would* be a major headline. Isn’t the supply of gummy sweets guaranteed under human rights legislation, along with Quavers and Irn Bru?

  3. cjcjc — on 25th March, 2010 at 8:01 am  

    Although relatively trivial perhaps, and leaving aside the animal welfare problems with halal killing, you have produced a good example of the kind of “daily life” immigration related changes which can and do rile a lot of people.

    @1 – why should animal welfare be subordinate to the demands of any religion?

  4. Adnan Y — on 25th March, 2010 at 8:46 am  

    “Mr Phillips was told he would have to travel to another KFC five miles away to buy his bacon burger. He protested that this was too far for him to travel.”

    Neither mind the halal aspect – he went to a KFC (as in fried CHICKEN) for a BACON burger. That’s akin to me going down to a vegan/vegetarian restaurant and stomping my foot in anger because they REFUSE to serve moo-cow beef, bloody just the way I like it*. How dare they…

    (“Back in my day, political correctness gone mad, grumble grumble Alf Garnett grumble grumble..”)

    Part of me gets the impression that he just wanted to make a scene…

    *= I’m actually a vegan, and I have seen such a situation occur at a vegan restaurant. You’d think that the twit would have seen the ‘vegetarian’ sigh on the bloody door…

  5. Golam Murtaza — on 25th March, 2010 at 8:53 am  

    The poor national newspapers have to fabricate evil British Muslim stories on days when we British Muslims lazily don’t do anything evil enough. I really did mean to go out and bomb something that day. But I stayed in and played on my X-Box instead. I can’t resist ‘Battlefield Bad Company’. Sorry.

  6. Random Guy — on 25th March, 2010 at 8:56 am  

    Indeed Golam, damn that Battlefield Bad Company keeping me hooked on my PC – it’s stopping me from helping the Mail generate more stupid headlines! :D

  7. Mam Tor — on 25th March, 2010 at 9:07 am  

    Although a relatively trivial story, there are some salient points to be made.

    The most important of which is that the largest, (modal) group of consumers of halal meat are in fact non-muslims.

    They consume halal products via the takeaway and restaurant trade. So legislation that was introduced to allow for religious sentiments will result in the largest consumers and perhaps providers, being either non-religious or a different religion.

    In terms of the original legislation it means that it has failed to provide the protections necessary. The only good thing is that most of the animals are now stunned, as long as various groups don’t manage to get the definition of halal changed.

  8. Boyo — on 25th March, 2010 at 11:30 am  

    Some of my local Muslim newsagents don’t stock porn, presumably for religious reasons (i know, such a frustration!) but that wouldn’t make such a great Mail story would it…

    MUSLIMS STOP MAN FROM GETTING HANDS ON BIG JUGS MAG

    LOL

  9. halima — on 25th March, 2010 at 11:46 am  

    “@1 – why should animal welfare be subordinate to the demands of any religion?”

    Are you vegetarian? In which case you have to ask the same question of the bacon eaters.

    if you’re not vegetarian, are you arguing for better standards in halal butchers? Yeah, why not, those that need better health standards like all food suppliers can upgrade.

    I suspect, though, cjcjc , you’re not really for the halal school of food… so maybe you are an animal welfare campaigner…Haven’t seen you protest much about animals, here, though, but a lot about the lifestyles of Muslims….Be it halal today, or a non-story about Muslims tomorrow…

  10. Adnan Y. — on 25th March, 2010 at 11:47 am  

    Boyo:

    Even better if you leave out ‘MAG’ hehe

  11. cjcjc — on 25th March, 2010 at 12:21 pm  

    Suspect away.

    However I object to all religious exceptionalism.

    Haven’t seen you protest much about animals, here, though, but a lot about the lifestyles of Muslims.

    I don’t recall many animal related topics.
    Though we keep our own chickens and a few sheep.

  12. platinum786 — on 25th March, 2010 at 12:26 pm  

    Makes me want to go to KFC…

  13. Wibble — on 25th March, 2010 at 12:52 pm  

    Golam & Random Guy:

    “Jihadis Using Computer Games For Terror Training” – there’s your headline :)

  14. notmarvin — on 25th March, 2010 at 12:52 pm  

    The are hundreds of schools in Britain that are already 100% halal, but that’s beside the point. It only takes one local hysterical bigot talking to the tabloids to start a ‘campaign

    You’re the bigot if you think that everybody should comply with eating meat that’s been ritually slaughtered to incantations from the Quran.

    It’s perfectly legitimate to reject kosher or halal or flying spaghetti monster beheaded meat.

    ..

    Still if this man doesn’t like the fact he can’t get the food he wants in his locality because it’s a high percentage Muslim area then he can always to another area. I can’t imagine the remaining pubs to be too lively.

    …Of course that would make him a racist by Sunny’s terms, it would be white flight. If he’s brown and congregates with his own culture/race/religion then that would be different… :P

  15. Random Guy — on 25th March, 2010 at 1:33 pm  

    Wibble @ 14: LOL, I spoke too soon. It would tie in very nicely with their “Computer Games are of SATAN!” running theme…

  16. Sarah AB — on 25th March, 2010 at 2:05 pm  

    @cjcjc – I can’t imagine the average welfare arrangements/conditions of slaughter for most animals who are turned into fast food are better than those which are slaughtered using halal methods.

  17. Golam Murtaza — on 25th March, 2010 at 2:07 pm  

    @ Wibble and Random Guy

    I’ll have you know that Battlefield Bad Company leaves a LOT to be desired as a Jihadi training programme. I keep getting ‘killed’ by hyperactive 12-year-old American gamers and my Islamist fervour is getting badly dented. I want my money back.

  18. platinum786 — on 25th March, 2010 at 2:23 pm  

    that’s probably coz of your weapons selection bruv.

    Stick to the Russian weapons, not those made by the great satan, and practise the martyrdom operations by running into a hail of bullets, taking out as many people as you can before you die.

    :P

  19. Cjcjc — on 25th March, 2010 at 2:51 pm  

    Well Sarah I suggest you look into it a little rather than relying on your imagination.

  20. damon — on 25th March, 2010 at 3:23 pm  

    I don’t think it’s a non-story, but just think that the Daily Mail is not a good place to have it.

    I’m not sure if ‘nobody is obliged to eat there’ is a line I would use. Does that also mean that Daily Mail type readers comments are just to be totally ignored as the rantings of islamobhobes?

    Perhaps it does. But the way that communities develop and certain groups of people tend to cluster in certain areas – at least when they are new to a country, is a part of this story too I think.

    I have no problem with businesses selling what they want or think that their customers want – but if say MCDonald’s in the UK decided as a company to no longer sell cheeseburgers, to comply with Jewish kosher rules, that might also get some people’s backs up too.

    I remember one caller to some radio programme saying he had moved from Luton to Dunstable, because he wanted to live near a high street where his culture was reflected.
    Which is something to be just mocked and jeered perhaps, but not ignored completely IMO.

    Feelings of ‘loss of community’ are powerful – and I have read of African Americans in particular, being quite sensitive to gentrification or new waves of immigration into neighbourhoods that were once ”their own”.

    However stupid this one story might be, I think it is linked to that wider fear of change and perhaps even globalisation/homogenisation.

  21. Sarah AB — on 25th March, 2010 at 3:30 pm  

    cjcjc – apparently halal chicken (for kfc) is stunned – which I assume overrides the usual main objection to halal. Although I’m not particularly preoccupied by animal rights I see the biggest problem in animal welfare as the way in which the chickens (or whatever) are actually treated while they are alive – crowding, illness, etc. Even when the moment of slaughter (say for a cow) might be technically humane and very modern the circumstances leading up to the slaughter could be very stressful. So I don’t think it’s especially rational to fret about halal (or kosher) food unless one is consistently extremely demanding about animal welfare (which rules me out as I like foie gras).

    Damon – I take your points though and it’s useful to include the parallels with different situations (which don’t involve Muslims!)

  22. cjcjc — on 25th March, 2010 at 3:36 pm  

    Animal welfare was not the main point of my post.

    What I most object to on the halal/kosher issue is the very fact that exceptions are made for religious groups.

  23. Wibble — on 25th March, 2010 at 4:13 pm  

    “you have produced a good example of the kind of “daily life” immigration related changes which can and do rile a lot of people.”

    I’m sure you have built a whole list of them…

  24. Sarah AB — on 25th March, 2010 at 4:32 pm  

    Ok cjcjc – I think I was responding to your comment (3)’why should animal welfare be subordinate to the demands of any religion’. I suppose it could be argued that as KFC is a brand it should be uniform. But I don’t find the situation (of the man unable to buy the bacon burger) terribly different from not being able to buy meat in a vegetarian restaurant. Is the halal kfc more or less objectionable than a (hypothetical and rather pointless!)vegetarian kfc?

  25. cjcjc — on 25th March, 2010 at 4:39 pm  

    Just to be clear, I object to the fact that halal/kosher butchery is exempt from certain regulations only for religious reasons.
    Such meat can only be sold, whether by KFC or any other outlet, because it has been given such an exemption.

    Exceptions should not be made on the grounds of religious belief.

    As to the KFC situation, are you deliberately misunderstanding?
    Damon addresses the point well.
    Trivial, perhaps, but “loss of community”, or fear of rapid change, or however you wish to put it is a legitimate concern surrounding large scale immigration.

  26. notmarvin — on 25th March, 2010 at 4:40 pm  

    Damon you make good points if only a little scared to have the strength of your convictions.

    Perhaps you’d sound terribly right wing if you said people often like to live where they feel their culture is reflected and actually be referring to a person with white skin.

    The point you made about Kosher, correct, and on that point has any other religious group taken over a KFC or McDonalds and demanded non-Beef or vegetarian or Kosher only products? So this may be a first – and it’s The Muslims who are doing it! Arr naaah!

    If there was a Kosher only McDonalds or KFC we’d hear about it in the Daily Mail too.

  27. Wibble — on 25th March, 2010 at 5:28 pm  

    “has any other religious group taken over a KFC or McDonalds and demanded non-Beef or vegetarian or Kosher only products?”

    I see the Muslim Brotherhood’s hands all over this… ;)

    KFC is a business trying to find ways of making more money. If the halal menu doesn’t do that for them then they’ll drop it.

    Anyway, here’s something related for the States: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?215485

  28. Don — on 25th March, 2010 at 6:08 pm  

    I seem to remember watching a documentary a few months ago which suggested that the halal label was less than reliable anyway.

    I know that halal and kosher are not exactly the same, but would a halal restaurant be considered to also be kosher? Is there a dairy/meat issue with halal?

    Anyway, KFC doesn’t reflect my culture anymore than a kebab shop or a sushi bar.

  29. Sarah AB — on 25th March, 2010 at 7:13 pm  

    @cjcjc – “are you deliberately misunderstanding?” No – but it is possible that my sense of a kind of obsession with Muslims in (some bits of) the media makes me tip over into overcompensatory protectiveness (I respond similarly to the media’s obsessive scrutiny of Israel).

  30. damon — on 25th March, 2010 at 7:22 pm  

    Wibble, that’s an interesting link.
    Someone says the soup they are selling is vegetarian, but is actually made with an animal based stock. OMG!

    I have watched the the number of halal butchers shops in London growing, and wondering if it was permissible for Jews and Muslims to buy from butchers that also sold pork chops and sausages?

    Many traditional high street butchers shops have gone out of business because of the supermarkets, but the halal ones seem to be going strong.

    If (and I stress if) traditional butchers shops like Kennedy’s had been forced out of business because of halal rules, with new people in the neighbourhood shunnining the pork selling shop and favouring the new halal shop … how would one (PP for example) talk about that?
    Consumer choice and the market?
    http://www.croydonguardian.co.uk/news/1722245.0/?act=complaint&cid=643987

    I think that Kennedy’s of south east London lost out because of the supermarkets – but what would we say if they had been ”forced” stop selling pork sausages, or face a boycott from pius muslims who had come to the area in recent years?

    Please don’t beat me up over this – it is a devil’s advocate kind of point.

  31. Don — on 25th March, 2010 at 7:54 pm  

    if they had been ”forced” stop selling pork sausages, or face a boycott from pius muslims who had come to the area in recent years?

    Well, if it’s a pork butchers then it is scarcely a ‘boycott’ if they don’t get many jewish or muslim customers.

    And if they realy are that exceptional they could relocate to be nearer their customer base, or go online. I can’t see myself buying sausages online, but I’m set in my ways and I’m sure many people would.

    Even in little old Hexham we are regularly losing established butchers, bakers, wine merchants and purveyors of sundries to the quality. Tesco.

    how would one (PP for example) talk about that?

    Just bloody talk about it however you want. If someone calls you a rat-bastard of whatever stripe I’m sure you can live with it. You’ve already been called a BNP troll (later withdrawn) so what else is going to happen?

  32. muslim — on 25th March, 2010 at 8:30 pm  

    given that every time PP runs a Muslim story they also get a huge amount of posts, their clearly is a market for loonies obsessed with Muslims (just look at the Recently Popular section). Hence the papers doing likewise, though cant decide if its the chicken who came first or the egg.

  33. muslim — on 25th March, 2010 at 8:39 pm  

    Don
    “I know that halal and kosher are not exactly the same, but would a halal restaurant be considered to also be kosher? Is there a dairy/meat issue with halal?”

    While kosher food is generally considered halal (eg Muslims can consume it) and indeed when Muslims first came to the UK before halal food outlets were established, they would frequent kosher butchers, I believe the reverse is not true and pious Jews are not permitted to consume halal (or other than kosher) meat

    Is Halal meat Kosher?
    http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/554,136400/Is-Halal-meat-Kosher.html

    However here is a Muslim article that argues that Kosher isnt halal ( a moot point really given the number of halal places available)

    http://www.soundvision.com/info/halalhealthy/halal.kosher.asp
    http://www.albalagh.net/halal/kosher_meat.shtml

  34. Rumbold — on 25th March, 2010 at 9:21 pm  

    Damon:

    What is wrong with letting the free market decide? If a shop isn’t selling what people want then why should it conitnue?

  35. Boyo — on 26th March, 2010 at 6:07 am  

    “given that every time PP runs a Muslim story they also get a huge amount of posts, their clearly is a market for loonies obsessed with Muslims”

    “Muslim” @ 32

    Er….

  36. Kismet Hardy — on 26th March, 2010 at 8:51 am  

    Muslims have gone too far. Next time we playfully jab our fingers on that red dot on their foreheads and jokingly say ‘no no ding ding, you cannot have a council flat’, what will they do? They’ll chop our hands off. It’s bad enough we allow these muslims to carry swords in their hats to school, but enough is enough. It’s time they were all sent back to Africa before they force meow meow on ALL our children

  37. persephone — on 26th March, 2010 at 9:41 am  

    Its funny how some issues are put under the label of ‘losing community’ or ‘losing culture’. Especially when related to KFC and Pizza food outlets which are from American & Italian cultures.

    It seems parts of globalisation & certain overseas cultures are seen as ‘alien’ whereas others are not.

  38. Wibble — on 26th March, 2010 at 9:53 am  

    “I have watched the the number of halal butchers shops in London growing, and wondering if it was permissible for Jews and Muslims to buy from butchers that also sold pork chops and sausages?”

    In Reading, there is a shop that caters for both South Asian and Polish markets. They have a Halal butchers at the back (so no pork butchery), but they have a fridge area where they have packaged Halal and non-Halal meats e.g. salamis etc. They try to separate the two sets of products but some folks may get confused (e.g. there are Halal salami-like products made from chicken etc). The shop also sells alcohol. I think the shop is under Hindu or Sikh ownership. It always seems busy.

  39. Shahzad Alikhan — on 26th March, 2010 at 2:12 pm  

    Hmm. If KFC becomes halal, given the number of halal fried chicken shops already in existence, I can’t think of any place to go that would serve NON-halal fried chicken…

  40. damon — on 26th March, 2010 at 4:03 pm  

    Don @31 ”Just bloody talk about it however you want.”
    I do mostly, but am still somewhat wary after getting banned on another forum and called a racist bigot troll for writing things like I do here.

    I have heard of ”pork butchers” before, but it’s not an expression that I have heard a lot in south London. Mostly butchers were just ”the butchers”. Maybe it’s more common where there were Jewish communities living in some numbers.

    Rumbold, I mostly agree with you, and I was making the case of ”what if? – which may be a way of making an argument that some people don’t care for.

    You could make up all kinds of ”what if” scenarios if you wanted to work out all the possibilities to a subject like this. And one of the questions you might be trying to answer could be: ”At what point might you concede that some of that Daily Mail readers comments type complaining was justified?”

    Of course even the word ‘justified’ here is problematic and would require further definition.

    persephone – fair points there. But this idea of ‘losing community’ can come in all sorts of ways and effects communites everywhere. Even if it is just nostalgia for how a place was years and years ago when you were young, and how it has changed over the years.

    I typed out an article by the broadcaster Dotun Adebayo on PP ages ago. It was post 36 of this thread.
    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2356

    I didn’t really agree with Adebayo on what he said, but he’s a clever and articulate man (he even got an MBE last year). The Brixton he is nostalgic for is not the same Brixton that John Major grew up in, and it has changed alot in the last decade – where halal butchers shops are big business it seems. There must be half a dozen in Brixton market alone. And many of the shops and businesses are run by new immigrants. Lots of Kurdish and Afghan people seem to be running them.

    My reason for writing like this is that I wonder where liberal people should draw the line between trying to understand some people’s everyday prejudices, and condemning them.

    My ‘line’ is more flexible (and even forgiving) than some people on the left would draw – I have found.

  41. chairwoman — on 26th March, 2010 at 4:24 pm  

    damon

    The selling of meat used to be far more ‘specialised’ than it is now.

    Game needed a licence (it still might, not sure), and rabbit was generally sold by poulterers, who, surprisingly enough, sold chicken, duck, and other, er, poultry and poultry products (including eggs).

    Pork butchers were more like the French Charcuterie, where you would buy pork products rather than meat, sausages, black puddings, brawn, pork pies, etc.

    Pork meat was sold at regular butchers next to lamb, mutton, and beef.

    Any help?

  42. Don — on 26th March, 2010 at 5:52 pm  

    Not to mention the incomparable saveloy dip.

  43. Ben J — on 26th March, 2010 at 7:28 pm  

    Only one butchers (AFAIK) still sells chitterlings in Bristol at the autumn slaughtering time (pig’s small intestines, eaten cold with tomato ketchup). They used to be a Brissle delicacy – a town also once famous for its pie shops.

  44. damon — on 26th March, 2010 at 7:55 pm  

    Any help?

    Yes chairwoman it was. I had never heard of French Charcuterie before, and now I know all about them from wikipedia.

    An hour after reading your post I walked past and went in and chatted to the guy behind the counter of this shop in south Dublin.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3421/3367822139_acc7dec347.jpg

    No saveloy dips there – but It made me think more of this issue. He was working there since the late 70′s he said, and he remembers another butcher on the other side of the road who had been there from decades before that.

    I was in the Clonskeagh mosque in south Dublin for friday prayers earlier this afternoon.

    http://images.google.ie/images?um=1&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial&channel=s&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=clonskeagh+mosque&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&start=0

    They did mention the ”Zionist plot to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem” like the other main mosque in Dublin did last week I’m afraid to say.

    But still … nice people, nice vibe, loads of ten year old boys being ushered in halfway through, after coming from school on mini busses.

    But the restaurant afterwards is still too expensive – just like everything else here in Ireland.

  45. Qasim — on 27th March, 2010 at 6:31 pm  

    thanks damon
    Can’t believe you missed this story:

    The muslims ate my homework
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIBHK3FobRw

  46. damon — on 27th March, 2010 at 8:38 pm  

    Qasim – Is that really helpfull?

    You’re saying you think what I have said is islamophobic I think.
    It would be good in my opinion, if you saying that was the beginning of a discussion rather than the end of one.
    If that’s the end of your discussion, then that worries me about the future.

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