ISNA Halal Certification Program sign now


We, the undersigned, call for a postponement of the ratification of the proposed ISNA Halal standards until recognized Muslim scholars have addressed the issues of Shariah compliance within the context of the global food system, and the Muslim community has had a chance to weigh in with their own opinions and questions.

Such an endeavor requires more time for research and debate, but is essential to ensuring that the standards attain the input of scholars and are in alignment with the sentiments of the Muslim community in the United States in conjunction with the realities of the larger Muslim community.

These standards are highly problematic; they will allow the same very low quality meat that is now being offered in the Muslim community to be certified as halal.

Although certification is a very lucrative business, we are selling ourselves short; for the sake of a share in this market, we are selling our health, our children's health, and any dignity we have as Muslims in the eyes of the world when they see what we consider as 'halal': tortured, disease-infested animals raised on farms that employ modern-day slave laborers - all so that we can have access to a lucrative market and cheap food.

What is even worse than that is the Baraka of Allah most High that we will forfeit as a community because of the completely unwholesome food we are consuming; food raised in the most corrupt and pernicious ways.

By allowing our community to implicate us in these issues through this certification program, we are indirectly condoning and perpetuating the many manifestations of corruption and oppression in the world today.



The CONTENTS of this document are:
1. The ISNA Halal Certification Program objectives
2. Brief list of problems with the standards
3. Our request
4. FAQ
5. Quranic proofs related to food production and consumption



(1) The ISNA Halal Certification Program objectives:

i) To make Halal standards that will become law in the state of Illinois
ii) To activate Muslim leaders to establish halal as Muslim identity in North America
iii) Unifying National Halal Standards ISNA will propose the National Halal Standards



(2) The STANDARDS for Halal slaughter being proposed by ISNA are problematic in many areas. A few examples are described below:

ANIMAL TREATMENT AND FEED:

Animals are raised in the most unimaginably cruel and inhumane ways, living in fear and pain for most if not all of their lives

Livestock are castrated, dehorned, branded on the face, chickens are debeaked, all without anesthetic, and these are standard practices

They are raised in completely unnatural and unhygienic environments, wreaking ecological havoc on the surrounding communities

Even if animal feed is vegetarian it is made up of grains, among other synthetic supplements and additives, which is a diet given to ruminants to fatten them up as fast as possible

This makes the meat high in fat, cholesterol and Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Grass raised meat, which is not to be found in the conventional market, is low in fat and cholesterol but high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids

While millions of people die of starvation, 40-50\% of the global grain is fed to animals

OUR HEALTH:

Sick and tumor-plagued animals are not only allowed to be sold as food, they are the norm

Over 25 million lbs per year of antibiotics are used for livestock because these corporate farms are sanctuaries for super-diseases

Pesticides in the meat are a serious health problem for the consumer

GMOs (genetically modified organism) are in the animal feed. We do not yet know the effects of eating this meat, but large groups of specialists and consumers are warning against GMOs in the food and this must be respected and thoroughly researched

HUMAN SLAUGHTER:

Most slaughterhouses are not equipped for humane slaughter of animals, which Islam requires

These standards do not address the fact that if these animals are not stunned, they have to be shackled alive, hung upside down by the back leg, which is grossly inhumane

FARMER / WORKER ABUSE:

Agriculture is one of the most exploitive and hazardous industries today in the US and worldwide

About 5 million U.S. farmers have been forced out of the market in ~60 yrs

About 300,000 acute pesticide poisonings annually in the US and 25 million globally

MNCs VS. LOCAL FOOD:

Many of ayahs of the Quran speak to the requirement of wholesome food, in addition to its being lawful. Moreover, the Quran addresses the immorality of aggression and corruption of the earth in relation to human activities that impact on the land

We have reached a peak in all recorded human history of corruption and aggression in the earth, and it is intimately intertwined with agriculture

One of the large MNCs (Multi-National Corporations) we are supporting with our buying power is Monsanto, which is taking over the seed market in many countries like India and now in Iraq thanks to US Order 81 that illegalizes Iraqi farmers from saving their seeds and requires them to buy patented seeds from Monsanto.

The answer to the problem is to do as the Muslims who emigrated to Madinah did, to create our own markets



(3) IT IS OUR REQUEST:

To postpone the ratification of Halal standards until duty-bound, recognized Muslim scholars have properly addressed the issues of Shariah in an exhaustive way within the context of the current globalized and industrialized food system so that comprehensive and germane Shariah rulings can be researched, derived, and debated.

This label of halal is a serious matter of religion, encompassing the health and wellbeing of humanity and Gods creation

And you shall not sayby way of mere falsehoods that your tongues represent: Such and such is lawful and such and such is forbidden! So as to forge a lie against God. Indeed, those who forge lies against God shall not succeed. Small enjoyment have they in life, and then a most painful torment awaits them! (Sыrat Al-Nahl, 16:116)

Note that this commandment is stated by Allah, Exalted and Most High, in direct relation to the commandment of our food consumption, strongly implicating the Muslim communitys need to be resolute in the social stand they take regarding lawful and wholesome food consumption.

So [stand firm in faith, O you who believe, and] eat from what God has provided you, [if it be] lawful and wholesome. Yet give thanks for the blessing of God, if, indeed, it is He alone whom you worship. Indeed, He has but forbidden you to [eat] carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that over which other than [the name of] God is invoked [at the time of slaughter]. But whoever is compelled [by circumstance to eat any of this]without being rebellious and without being a willful transgressor[will find] then [that] God is, indeed, all-forgiving, mercy-giving. (Sыrat Al-Nahl, 16:114-15)

Any Halal standards should have the real consensus of the Muslim community



(4) FAQs

IS IT OUR POSITION THAT ALL INDUSTRIAL FOOD IS HARAM?

No. The issue is that the food is undoubtedly not tayyib/wholesome

Halal and haram are part of a spectrum of positions: obligatory, recommended, allowed, disliked, forbidden and we should utilize the spectrum instead of just the two polar positions

In addition, halal and tayyib are intertwined as illustrated in the following:

a) It is haram to corrupt the things that life depends on; so in that respect it is haram to corrupt water. This does not necessarily mean that the polluted water is then haram to drink, but one who has any sense would seek out clean and wholesome water.

b) And so it is with food, the act of corrupting the food is haram. That does not mean the food itself is haram, or that we must stamp it haram, but we have to seek out tayyib/wholesome food.

c) The unwholesome, when it comes to food, is, in fact, questionable as to its permissibilityand requires Muslim jurists capable of forming independent positions to opine on it before it can be condoned.

We may not be responsible for the haram acts of corrupting the food, but we are responsible for leading Muslims to believe this food is tayyib. Moreover, leading Muslims and others to believe that corrupted food is halal raises serious concerns about the Shariah legitimacy of such a position, for it places Muslims in the position of supporting the corrupting entities with their purchases.

As Muslims, we are responsible for enjoining righteousness and prohibiting corruption accepting food from and giving our money to some of the most corrupt organizations on the face of this earth (which is NO exaggeration) is enjoining corruption!

IF THE FOOD IS NOT TAYYIB THEN WHAT WILL WE EAT?

There are local farmers who are being squeezed out of their livelihood by the MNCs; it would serve both our interests to create cooperative relationships with them

The organic market is the fastest growing market right now, at 20\% per year. There is already a great demand and the supply is growing we have no excuses.

One model could catalyze the formation of other models around the nation and the globe for Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

There is already a growing local food movement. All we have to do is join forces with them and offer the invaluable solutions we have access to in the Quran so that our solutions are divinely inspired and not trial and error!

IS THIS UNREALISTIC AND IDEALISTIC?

Organic standards that were fought for are now being compromised by the corporate interests because it has become a profitable market

Local Food movements are now growing because this is a far more effective solution that hits the root of the problem. But they are struggling with, among other things, policies that favor the large, highly subsidized corporate farms

That the laws exempt religious food standards from federal and state policies puts us in a most advantageous position

We are not using the situation to the full benefit we can achieve from it; we have a great opportunity to become the real leaders in the increasingly critical issue of food consumption



(5) AYAHS of the Quran related to food [that are not given due attention]:

(Sыrat Al-Nisв, 4:119) And I shall, most surely, lead them astray. Moreover, I shall, most surely, fill them with fancies. Thus, I shall command them: And they shall slit the ears of cattle [in false ritual]. And I shall command them: And they shall [seek unnatural] change [to] the creation of God. But whoever takes Satan as a patron, apart from God, has most surely suffered a manifest loss.

a) GMOs maybe the most significant and obvious way that humans are now changing creation.

b) Raising animals in unnatural environments with unnatural feed is changing the creation of God

(Sыrat Al-Baqarah, 2:204-06) Now, there is among humanity, [the like of] one whose words about the life of this world please you. And he [openly] calls upon God to bear witness as to what is in his heart, though truly, he is most relentlessly contentious. For when he turns away [from you], he strives in the land to spread corruption therein and to destroy tillage and livestock and God does not love corruption. Thus when it is said to him: Be [truly] God-fearing! arrogant pride carries him into [yet more] sin. Thus sufficient for him is Hell and a most woeful cradle [it is]!

a) MNCs, which are defined by law as a person, use media to create demand for their products, by using words and images about the life of this world that will please youbut what they are really doing is spreading corruption in the earth and destroying crops and livestock!

(Sыrat Al-Nisв, 4:29) O you who believe! You shall not consume one anothers wealth by false means. But, rather, let there be [free] trade with consent among yourselves. And you shall not kill one another. Indeed, God is ever merciful to you.

Sыrat Hыd, 11:85) And, O my people! You shall fill the measure and the balance with justice. And you shall not defraud the people of their [rightful] things. Nor shall you make mischief in the earth, sowing corruption [in it]. (

a) The Quran is telling us that we should not be supporting practiceseven (or, perhaps, especially) if those practices are that of an entire industrythat are destroying millions of people globally even if it goes by the nice name of Free Trade or the official-sounding acronyms of GATT, NAFTA, CAFTA and so on. The fact of the matter is that we are consuming others possessions wrongfully!

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Cathy HawkinsBy:
Transport and infrastructureIn:
Petition target:
ISNA

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