Imam appeals for animals at slaughter house to be killed using Muslim method
In various areas around Malta, a number of butcher shops have opened, owned by Arabic owners, which sell halal meat and principally serve the Muslim community which number into their thousands. Television Malta has investigated the Muslim custom of killing animals for halal meat, which for some people is considered cruel and abhorrent.
The Imam Mohammed El Sadi is asking for the slaughterhouse to also kill animals using the Muslim method.
This method has become a controversial issue for the West because it is considered cruel to animals and in fact, it has just been banned in Belgium.
While defending the Muslim custom, the Imam explained that for the meat to be halal, the animal has to be killed in a particular way. “Before we kill the animal, we have to have a sharp knife, and the animal cannot see the knife and should not be killed in front of another animal. Then we kill the animal in God’s name. Bismillah allahu akbar, which means in the name of God, the most merciful, allahu akbar.”
The Imam said that when the animals are killed at the Marsa slaughterhouse, they have to be unconscious after a stun gun is used. “European law imposes that all animals, and not just the ones which the Muslims kill, have to be stunned before they are killed. That does not concur with the Muslim tradition.”
He added that the Muslim tradition of slaughtering animals is for hygienic and health reasons. “We slit the animal’s throat from the neck so that all the blood is drained from its body because the blood is bad for our health. It contains a lot of microbes and germs which cause disease. Therefore, there is an important hygienic significance for the blood to be drained from the animal so that it does not remain with the meat.”
The Imam’s wish is for this method to be allowed without the use of a stun gun. “We spoke with the authorities to give us permission or to make an exception so that these animals we want to kill are not stunned first, and we hope that one day we will be granted this exception.”
We asked the Imam whether he thinks this method is dignified or cruel to animals. He said, “when you slit the animal’s throat and the veins are cut, the blood does not reach the brain. The animal is killed without feeling pain and it does not suffer.”
Walid Nabhan, a Palestinian who lives in Malta and was raised as Muslim, sees it differently as he does not agree with the slitting of an animal’s throat for food. “When you see the blood spreading everywhere, as I used to see as a child, I think it is a very disturbing scene.”
He believes that the halal tradition and the spread of blood may be leading to the brutal murders seen in terrorist acts. “In some ways, it is contributing to terrorism because seeing a lot of blood like that becomes meaningless.”
Walid Nabhan believes that even this tradition should also be adapted to today’s times.
Television Malta spoke with an Algerian butcher who sells halal meat in Malta. He said that even the Maltese ask for this type of meat. “We sell lamb, chicken, rabbits, even turkeys at Christmas and New Year’s”, explained Hocine Youbi.