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Societal bonhomie, law and Islamic attitudes

Reader comment on item: Islamist Apparel Banned in France
in response to reader comment: "First, it was the niqab, today the food": France to ban the halal chicken slaughtering from July 2021

Submitted by Prashant (India), Sep 13, 2022 at 02:48

Dear Dr Pipes,

I liked your response to AVCR. You said that Muslims are within their rights to practice their religion as long as doing so does not conflict with the law or their neighbors. Killing the animals the Halal way does neither and so it must be OK.

Your response is absolutely on the mark. We need to live by the rule of law and stick to the definitions prescribed to us by the law. So, as long as a religious group is in agreement with the law they are good.

However, there is a little problem. Societal attitudes lead the law by a few years or decades. Whatever the people demand today, becomes the law tomorrow. So far so good. In a society where people of many religions live together, each religious group has a right to slowly shift the social attitudes while remaining sensitive to the societal bonhomie and peace.

The case of spread of Yoga and Mediation in the American life comes to my mind. Yoga is primarily a hindu practice, meditation is common among both Hindus and Buddhists. Without any excessive religious pressure, yoga and meditation have become parts of the US mainstream culture. While walking on the streets of Manhattan, you might be able to even find a sign or two about Christian Meditations also. If there is a need of any kind (e.g. Using meditation for mental health), Yoga and meditation may some day enter the US law in some form or the other. This is how the civilized societies are supposed to live. In the spread of Yoga and meditation, there was no desire on the parts of Buddhists or Hindus "to take their religion to every door" in Americs.

But what if the social sensibilities of a group are always directed by a religion that is frozen in time and refuses to change? Islamic sensibilities enter our societies driven by religious directives. Halal meat is one such sensibility. What if some ideotic politician in San Francisco makes it necessary for all restaurants to make halal meat available to all diners? What if I need to pay for the upkeep of this law with my tax dollars?

This is what, I think, people like AVCR and I are worried about. Muslims need to be sensitive to social bonhomie as much as they are sensitive to their rights. Halal meat will not be a problem if it is motivated by animal welfare or human welfare or environment or some other such thing. Alas, the only motivation behind is a stubborn religion. And, that worries me.

Submitting....

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