The data is this article focuses on the Islamic faith – and not the Jewish faith – as that was the information requested by the National Secular Society (NSS), which led me to my research.
Jewish processes of the slaughter of meat are not mentioned anywhere within policies from local authorities on school meals.
Which in itself is interesting, as when Muslims were pushing for halal meat in schools, their reasoning was that British schools cater for the Jewish faith, although there is no data to support this is happening in present day.
The data specifically mentions halal, and shari’ah law within the policies.
Bradford became the first local authority to introduce halal meat into school meals in September 1983.
Bradford were the pioneers of free school meals back in 1906, free school meals were trialled in the poorest areas of Bradford and after success with the scheme, it was rolled out across country.
In November 1982, after a campaign by Muslim organisations, the Education Committee approved halal meat in schools with over 10 Muslim pupils.
Previous to this, Muslim pupils were given extra vegetables for their nutrition needs.
The introduction of halal meat in schools was opposed by Animal rights activists, and people with concerns about Islam. As detailed below, a petition of over 9300 people in Bradford to oppose halal in schools was submitted by concerned locals.
In reaction to the opposition, Muslims led a march of 3000 people to the Town Hall, submitted a petition of 7000 signatories and threatened legal action, viewing it as their right to have halal meat.
The day of the vote two thirds of Muslim children were kept off school by their parents.
Here are some views from the local public at the time.
All of this action resulted in halal meat continuing to be served in British schools.
The opposition were overruled after a council meeting and vote was held on 6th March 1984. The results were, 59 votes to 15 to continue serving halal meat in schools.
Here are articles in the local press at the time.
In 1987 halal meat was being served twice a week in all Bradford schools with at least ten Muslim pupils.
Later halal was gradually introduced into other schools in the country.
If we go back even further, right back the beginning when Muslims first started forming communities within Britain, we will see it is an entirely different story.
There was obviously no halal food available, so what was the solution?
Mohammed Abduh, a Muslim reformer (1849-1905) and Grand Mufti of Egypt, issued a fatwa (legal opinion) permitting Muslims in the West to eat the food of “the People of the Book” (Jews and Christians), using Qur’an 5:5 as evidence and justification for the fatwa. This was published in many Muslim publications including “The Mission” and supported by Woking Mosque which was known as “the Muslim church” at the time.
Muslims supported this, likely due to it being the only option at the time. Muslims did not have the strength in numbers, positions of power, including in the government, Muslim pressure groups, or Councils of Mosques, nor did they have financial backing or public support for their faith, so they had to accept the only option presented to them.
However this clearly evidences that halal is not a requirement for Muslims if the environment they live in does not accept the practice.
This was at the time of the Ottoman Empire still being present, albeit it was vastly weakened by repeated wars in the Balkans which they lost.
Going back to Bradford, it may surprise some people that Bradford Council, now have a specific policy for non-stunned halal in schools, overseen by Bradford Council of mosques, which has been created with the assistance of those in BCM with – Islamic theological knowledge – to assure shari’ah in Bradford schools is adhered to.
Here is a link to the Bradford Council school meals standards.
Within this link is the halal manual, a list of schools who do and do not provide halal, and halal school audits for Bradford.
Within the halal manual it states,
“Maintaining the confidence of our Muslim customers in the integrity of the Halal food we provide is vital and needs rigorous checks throughout the entire food supply chain. Independent inspection is carried out at each stage of our supply chain to verify compliance with the requirements of Sharia law.”
On page one the halal manual starts off by saying,
“This manual has been written by Bradford Council representatives and approved by Bradford Council for Mosques and Muslim scholars.”
On page two there are three references to the term sharia law, within the whole document eleven references of the term sharia law and nine references of the term Islamic law.
Halal food means food that is permitted for the consumption of Muslims meeting the requirements of Sharia law; it must also meet the following requirements:
The food or its ingredients do not contain anything that is Haram, e.g. poisonous or hazardous to health
The food is safe and not harmful
The food is not prepared, processed or manufactured using equipment that is contaminated with any Haram or Najs according to Sharia law
Through the preparation, processing, packaging, storage and transportation the food is physically separated from any other food that does not meet the
requirements of Halal food under the requirements of Sharia law.
The manual is detailed and has procedures from slaughter, transportation, to being served in schools.
It has five modules
- Livestock Production
- Primary Processing and Cutting Plant (Abattoir / Slaughterhouse)
- Further Processing (Wholesale Butchers/Distributors
- Logistics (Central Production Unit and Wholesaler Storage and Distribution including Separation and Labelling)
- Food Service (Service delivery for the ultimate end customer)
Detailing how slaughter is to be carried out and says in points a-c.
“Stunning is not permitted.”
“The purpose of slaughtering is only for Allah and shall not be for any other purposes.”
“Slaughtering shall only be performed by an approved Muslim slaughter man who clearly understands and believes in the fundamental rules and conditions related to the slaughter of animals according to the Sharia law.”
The National Secular Society (NSS) have contacted Bradford Council in writing and requested they stop supplying non-stunned meat.
Bradford Council have made a statement regarding halal in schools,
“Bradford Council has a duty to cater for children’s religious belief when providing school meals and we take this very seriously. We have worked on this issue with the Bradford Council for Mosques for over 30 years as they are best placed to ensure that our schools are meeting the needs of children from the Muslim community.”
The statement above should leave people questioning whether Bradford Council have been supplying non-stunned meat since the council vote on halal in schools since 1984?
The NSS submitted a freedom of information request asking for specific information of halal meat in schools to 206 councils across the UK, not all replied, but the results were as follows.
- Non-stunned meat is being supplied to at least 140 schools in the UK
- Seventeen councils are supplying non-stunned meat to schools.
- One in twelve councils are supplying non-stunned meat to schools
- The majority of schools where halal meat is being provided are not Muslim faith schools.
Eighteen councils initially responded saying they supplied non-stunned meat to schools, but Ceredigion County Council in mid-Wales, later told the NSS their response was,
Saying all chickens in the supply chains for its school meals were stunned before slaughter.
- Luton Borough Council supplies non-stunned halal to twenty one schools, the data later says, ALL halal meat supplied by Luton Borough Council is also non-stunned.
- Bolton Council and Leicester Council each supply non-stunned halal to seventeen schools.
- One hundred and sixty councils said they do not supply non-stunned halal meat to schools, forty of which do not supply any meat to schools at all.
- Forty seven councils supply stunned halal meat to schools.
- Sixteen councils did not have relevant information to provide data on this matter, and two councils did not reply.
In addition to this, it stated,
“Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire supplies non-stunned halal meat to forty schools.”
Last year Lancashire County Council had the debate to stop providing stunned meat to schools,which was being served in 27 schools, this again was contested by Muslim groups, with a lengthly legal challenge the information for that is here .
Within Kirklees Council, it is currently an ongoing issue which is being contested, however a Muslim Council leader – Shabir Pandor – has attempted to silence debate on the issue by saying,
“This debate has been generated deliberately on the back of creating divisions, hatred and putting communities against one another. “We cannot afford this council chamber to be fooled into a situation where we create a scenario that we cannot control.”
He went onto say their moral outrage was,
“I cannot commit myself or my cabinet to review this policy. The answer has to be no.”
Muslims have now grown in population and gained positions of authority, as Shabir Pandor has, so the issue we are now presented with there is a growing risk the issue will not even be debated as it was in the 1980’s. Especially as there will be accusations of hatred, Islamophobia and the like, people are less willing to speak up due to slants on their character, and risk of losing their job due to their opposition to halal meat.
Kirklees council have made a statement saying the meat is pre-stunned in all schools and is Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC) certified.
Although, it is a puzzling statement as HMC claim this on their website after stating their view on stunning.
“Therefore because of all the negative aspects of stunning, the Halal Monitoring Committee has set a blanket ruling disallowing stunning in any form.”
The NSS have said this,
“Councils frequently told the NSS their meat received halal certification from a group called the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC). HMC only certifies non-stunned meat as halal.”
“The Halal Food Authority, a halal certification body which accepts pre-stunning for its main certification scheme, has told the NSS it is aware of increasing demand for non-stun meat in the UK.”
So evidently, some local authorities and councils are deceiving people, as HMC do not certify stunned meat, only non – stunned.
Although when the issue initially arose in Bradford in the 1980’s, the opposition exceeded the Muslim demand, the request to continue halal meat in schools was successful and religious needs were put above the concerns of the majority of locals, likely due to the fear of Muslim reaction.
Within the same decade, Bradford and across England experienced the results of Muslim demand due to “the Honeyford Affair” and the reaction to Salman Rushdie book, “the Satanic Verses.”
The issue is no longer halal being present in schools, but has escalated to non-stunned halal meat being served in schools without parents knowledge, plus local authorities lying about the policies of Halal Monitoring Committee.
If the excuse is used that Muslims have a right to request, and to know what food their children are being served, then surely that right should extend to all people?
Especially as all other major faiths in Britain (Christianity/Sikhism/Hinduism and Judaism) are not allowed to eat food slaughtered in the Islamic manner.
Local authorities are aware the cost to supply both halal and non-halal to schools is much higher as there needs to be two separate suppliers to prevent “cross contamination”, and this doesn’t account for how the two types of meat will be kept separate once in the same kitchen within the school.
This makes it cost effective and logical for a school to only supply one type.
Plus our government are not prepared to face the prospect of muslims becoming upset, likely due to the race riots experienced in the past, plus the rising amount of Jihad attacks experienced in recent years.
This is seeing many schools now opting for halal, and an increasing amount (as evidenced) non-stunned halal.
In the words of Bradford Council, their policy is,
“In compliance with the requirements of Sharia law.”
How many more councils are within compliance to Sharia law?
And are the wider British public aware that the British government and British people are living within compliance to sharia law?
© Islamic Blueprint-JA Statham 2019
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