Halal supermarket ordered to sell pork and alcohol

A halal supermarket in a Paris suburb has been told by local authorities it must start selling alcohol and pork or else it will be shut down.

Good Price discount mini-market in Colombes has been told by the local housing authority, from which it rents its premises, that it has not followed the conditions on the lease that stipulate that the shop must act as a “general food store.”

The authority argues that all members of the local community are not being served properly if there are no alcohol or pork products in the Good Price store, which is run as a franchise and which last year replaced another small supermarket.

“The mayor of Colombes, Nicole Goueta, went there herself and asked the owner to diversify the range of products by adding alcohol and non-halal meats,” the mayor’s chief of staff, Jérôme Besnard, said.

He said locals, particularly older residents, had complained that they could no longer get the full range of products at Good Price, which replaced a regular supermarket, and had to travel some distance now to do their shopping.

“We want a social mix. We don’t want any area that is only Muslim or any area where there are no Muslims,” Mr Besnard said, adding that the town’s reaction would have been the same had a kosher shop opened on that spot.

The Colombes housing authority argues that the store breaches French republican principles by prioritising a certain group within society rather than catering to all categories.

It has taken legal action to bring an end to the lease which would normally run until 2019. The case goes to court in October.

Soulemane Yalcin, who runs the shop under franchise, said he was merely catering to the demands of his customers in this area of large public housing estates.

“It’s business,” said Mr Yalcin.

“I look around me and I target what I see. The lease states ‘general food store and related activities’ – but it all depends on how you interpret ‘related activities’,” he told Le Parisien newspaper.

He has hired a lawyer to fight the housing authority’s bid to get him evicted.

French soldiers injured in knife attack

Three soldiers guarding a Jewish community center in Nice were attacked by a man armed with a knife. Two were injured.

Sharon Baron, a police official in Nice, said that the attack had been apprehended near the Galeries Lafayette. The assailant had carried an identification card with his name, Moussa Coulibaly. He has the same last name as the man who took a kosher supermarket hostage and killed five people, including a policewoman.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland said that the suspect has no relation to the previous gunman and that French authorities “are treating this as a potentially terrorist incident.”

A local police official stated that the assailant wielded a knife of no less than 20 centimeters and attacked one soldier, injuring him in the chin. He then attacked the other two before being stopped by nearby police officers.

The attacker is around 30 years old and has a record of theft and violence. His motives remain unclear.

French comedian to go on trial for supporting terrorism

French comedian Dieudonné Mbala to stand trial for allegedly condoning terrorism via Facebook. (Photo: The Telegraph UK)
French comedian Dieudonné Mbala to stand trial for allegedly condoning terrorism via Facebook. (Photo: The Telegraph UK)

French comedian Dieudonné Mbala has been charged with condoning terrorism following a Facebook comment in which he expressed support for Ahmedy Coulibaly, the gunman who took hostages at a kosher supermarket and killed five people.

While in court Dieudonné stated: “of course I condemn the attacks without any restrain and without any ambiguity.”

He angered French officials after posting a statement online which read: “Je suis Charlie Coulibaly,” after thousands marched in Paris under the slogan “Je suis Charlie” in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo. Dieudonné was arrested January 14.

Following Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve’s request that authorities investigate the comedian’s remarks, Dieudonné responded that he was being “treated as a public enemy when all he wanted to do was make a joke.”

Many see his arrest as a violation of free speech and an example of the government’s double standard.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland said “The case has raised new questions about French values of freedom, equality and fraternity.” Dieudonné could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. In addition to the recent allegations he already faces already other charges after being convicted for inciting anti-Semitism.

“He is currently involved in several trials here, on charges ranging from slander, to incitement of racial hatred, to condoning terrorism. In all cases, he denies the charges,” an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

Dieudonné Will be Tried in Court for ‘Advocating Terrorism’

French authorities announced an investigation of French comedian Dieudonné for “advocating terrorism” following his Facebook post after the Paris attacks. (Photo: The Telegraph UK)
French authorities announced an investigation of French comedian Dieudonné for “advocating terrorism” following his Facebook post after the Paris attacks. (Photo: The Telegraph UK)

French authorities announced an investigation of French comedian Dieudonné for “advocating terrorism” following his Facebook post after the Paris attacks.

“Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly”, the comedian wrote, playing the expression “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) off a reference to Friday’s kosher supermarket attacker Amedy Coulibaly.

Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve referred to the comedian’s remarks as “contemptible” when he visited the heart of Paris’ Jewish community. In response to Cazeneuve’s remarks, Dieudonné said the government is trying to “ruin my life when I am only trying to make people laugh.” He then removed the Facebook post.

Dieudonné is known for creating the quenelle, an inverted Nazi salute. In 2013, French soccer player Nicolas Anelka was suspended for five games for making the hand gesture. The comedian also drew criticism for his post following the rally in Paris attended by over a million people, calling it “a magical moment comparable to the Big Bang.”

The French government has banned Dieudonné’s shows because it considers them anti-Semitic. The comedian will now be tried in court for his remarks and could face between five to seven years in prison and up to an 100,000 euro fine. His lawyer responded to the charges by saying: “We live in the country of freedom of speech?…The government must provide proof.”

In September the court opened an investigation against Dieudonné following a video in which he joked about the beheading of James Foley by ISIS.

Toy Gun Affair With Images of Islam, Auchan Apologizes

A toy gun sold in the French supermarket Auchan has sparked debate. The gun features a logo that resembles a star and a crescent moon, symbols generally associated with Islam or Muslim-majority countries.

The toy gun was sold for one euro and was reportedly distributed in the Paris area. The gun resembles an AK-47. Numerous Internet users tweeted their outrage, prompting the distributor to promise to remove the product from store shelves.

French supermarket Auchan apologizes to customers after marketing a toy AK-47 with a crescent moon and star, symbols associated with Islam. (Image from Auchan circular)
French supermarket Auchan apologizes to customers after marketing a toy AK-47 with a crescent moon and star, symbols associated with Islam. (Image from Auchan circular)

Move over organic – the new big business in food is halal

The Haloodies, a growing group of food lovers who are bored of curries, fed up with kebabs, and long for nothing more exotic than a shepherd’s pie. Their increasing spending power has sparked a race among retailers, wholesalers and canny restaurateurs to carve out a chunk of a market that is worth about £420bn globally.

 

This week an estimated 20,000 Haloodies will congregate in east London at the Halal Food Festival, the world’s first gastronomic celebration of halal produce. All of the UK’s major supermarket chains are sending scouts to help them find ways to exploit the trend. Attendees can browse food stalls offering anything from hot dogs and sushi to French and Moroccan dishes without worrying how the meat was killed or even transported.

 

Imran Kausar, a doctor by training, who masterminded the festival, said British Muslims were no longer “economic migrants trying to make do [but] affluent and aspirational members of the middle class [who wanted to] expand their culinary horizon.” He added: “While typical British dishes have got more exotic, Muslims want the reverse. We want regular stuff like shepherd’s pie, which we see everywhere but we can’t try.”

 

Contrary to stereotypes, not all those planning to go will be Muslim by faith: there is a small but expanding group of people who opt for halal much as they might choose free-range or organic meat. Around 4 per cent of the UK’s population is Muslim, yet halal produce comprises more than 15 per cent of all meat sold in the UK, according to Saqib Mohammed, the chief executive of the Halal Food Authority, one of the two main organisations that regulate Britain’s halal food industry. “Some is exported but the rest is being consumed by non-Muslims,” he said, adding: “Educated non-Muslims are convinced that halal meat is more hygienic.”

 

Restaurant chains are changing their menus to use only halal chicken. Although halal is most often used in connection with meat, the word simply means “lawful” and refers to any object, not just food, or action or behaviour that is deemed permissible under Islamic law. For meat to be considered halal the animal must be alive and healthy before it is killed, crucially with a single cut across the jugular. All the blood must be drained from the body and the slaughterer must recite a special Islamic prayer as the animal is killed.

 

The point that arouses controversy is whether the animal has been stunned first: stunning livestock is compulsory throughout the EU but most member states, including the UK, grant exemptions to Muslims and Jews. That said, Food Standards Agency data published last year shows that 84 per cent of all cattle and calves slaughtered by the halal method in the UK in 2011 were stunned first.

Muslim employee sues Irish supermarket chain for unfair dismissal

A Muslim convert sues her previous employer, Dunnes Stores, a major Irish supermarket chain, for unfair dismissal. The Latvian-born woman converted to Islam after having worked for Dunnes Stores. When she started wearing the headscarf subsequent to her conversion she was told by the local store manager that “she couldn’t come to work wearing the hijab”. After not returning to work, Dunnes Stores dismissed her. The hearing of her case is currently underway.

Right-wing group launches anti-Islamic campaign in Chelmsford

26 July 2012

Members of English Defence League (EDL) organized a march against plans for a new mosque in Regina Way, Chelmsford, as part of the Waitrose supermarket development. Chairman of the EDL southeast Paul Pitt told the media that: ‘We are campaigning hard against this mosque and making sure that it does not happen. Chelmsford has just become a city, we do not want to see a mega mosque here.’
Three EDL members, none of whom was from Chelmsford, were arrested at 3pm on Saturday on suspicion of committing racially aggravated public order offences.

Lack of Halal Food in German Supermarkets

27.05.2011

The offer of halal foods in German supermarkets is scarce and many of them are reluctant to widen their range of food that meets the requirements of practicing Muslims, even though the demand is increasing and the potential for future sales promising. It is estimated that approximately 80% of Germany’s 4 million Muslims conform to Islam’s dietary requirements. Many of them consume what local Turkish and Arabic shops, rather than supermarket chains, have on offer.

 

The reluctance on the side of the supermarkets to introduce a wider range of halal foods is based on the “problematic image” of halal slaughter, which many associated with cruelty to animals. The process of halal butchering has changed, however, and the animals are now sedated before they bleed out.

 

Toronto supermarket promotes halal products

Toronto Star – May 4, 2011

The sign at the halal meat counter at Sunny Foodmart says “We can speak your language!” It lists 10 (Urdu, Punjabi, Turkish, Russian, Bengali, English, Pashto, German, Arabic and Parsi) that staff can speak, though there are certainly more, like French. Sunny Foodmart is owned by three Chinese Canadians who have stocked food from a multitude of cultures and reached out to Muslim customers with a certified halal meat counter.

Provincial and federal food agencies don’t do religious certification for the halal market, so self-regulating certification agencies have sprung up. Sunny pays $150 a month to the Halal Monitoring Authority (HMA), which inspects and certifies slaughterhouses, meat processors and distributors, butchers, restaurants and fast-food outlets.