Oh the Irony! Pamela Geller and the Stealth Halal Turkeys
She called on good Americans (read: non-Muslims) everywhere to take a stand against the halal turkeys (which may, after all, be stuffed with sharia instead of gizzards.)
Boycott Butterball, she wrote, because:
Turkeys that are halal certified - who wants that, especially on a day on which we are giving thanks to G-d for our freedom?
Oh the ironies that riddle her blog post!
Irony #1: Although Geller uses "G-d," the traditional Jewish way of spelling the name of the Almighty, she seems unaware of how similar kosher, the traditional Jewish way of preparing food, is to halal. She protests what she calls the cruelty of halal slaughter:
Halal slaughter involves cutting the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular vein, and letting the blood drain out...
From a description of kosher slaughter:
The procedure consists of a rapid and expert transverse incision with an instrument of surgical sharpness (a chalaf), which severs the major structures and vessels at the neck. See here for more details.
Irony #2: She calls Thanksgiving a great holiday celebrating our freedom and asserts that the way turkeys are slaughtered matters:
Halal turkey, slaughtered according to the rules of Islamic law, is just the opposite of what Thanksgiving represents: freedom and inclusiveness, neither of which are allowed for under that same Islamic law.
So Geller is using the Thanksgiving turkey as a symbol of what she perceives as a free and inclusive America. There are generations of native Americans stretching back to the first Thanksgiving who might have a different perspective. The turkey they shared with the pilgrims was, unlike the halal Butterball, symbolic of values that actually did destroy a civilization.
Irony #3: The halal certification that prompted her rant may not actually reflect Islamically correct slaughter. I confirmed with a Butterball consumer affairs representative (as did one of Geller's readers) that their "whole turkeys are halal." I pursued the issue by asking if that meant their turkeys are slaughtered individually following Islamic guidelines, beginning with saying Bismillah over them.
I have not been able to get a response to this question, despite trying throughout this afternoon and evening through Butterball's consumer affairs department and media relations representatives.
I would love to be told that mass-produced poultry are slaughtered humanely, but I find it impossible to believe. Meat production is about making money, and doing individual slaughtering with care and attention, as Islamic law requires, is not the way to minimize costs.
Perhaps there is confusion between halal and dhabiha (zabihah). It's strange that they emphasize that whole turkeys are halal. What happens when they chop the turkey up that makes it haram? Do they spray it with bacon grease? Unless they tell us, we can't know.