Recently I made a seemingly innocent comment on Facebook that Flakes are my favorite chocolate. Outrage followed. How dare I as a Christian eat chocolate that is Halal certified?
So let’s talk about that.
First up: What is Halal?
Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible”.
Muslims are not allowed to eat foods explicitly prohibited in Islam. These include:
- Pig meat (Nooooo imagine life without bacon)
- Meat of an animal that has died of natural causes, or as a result of strangling or beating
- Blood in liquid form
(From an article on the ABC Website)
Muslims choose to eat halal food because it meets requirements that they believe make it suitable for consumption. Halal originates from rules set out in the Qur’an and the Hadith which have been followed throughout generations of Islamic practice. For Muslim consumers, knowing how the food was produced is an important consideration.
As a concept, Halal does not only pertain to food. Halal means “permissible” and can refer to any aspect of life covered by the teachings of Islam. Halal is a part of sharia as a system of morals to guide Muslims’ actions and behavior, but this should not be confused with halal as part of a codified system of sharia law. Halal prescriptions might be considered by observant Muslims to be religious obligations, but Australia is a secular country and halal forms no part of any Australian law.
So let me sum up…Halal merely says that a food item can be consumed by a Muslim.
Ok so here is what I think:-
1) I can eat Halal food and it doesn’t matter.
Let me quote 1 Corinthians 8:1-8
Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. 2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.
Hey now re read Verse 8.
8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.
So people, I am pretty sure Verse 8 sums it up.
Let me making it slightly clearer by quoting from the Message Paraphrase Version.
4-6 Some people say, quite rightly, that idols have no actual existence, that there’s nothing to them, that there is no God other than our one God, that no matter how many of these so-called gods are named and worshiped they still don’t add up to anything but a tall story. They say—again, quite rightly—that there is only one God the Father, that everything comes from him, and that he wants us to live for him. Also, they say that there is only one Master—Jesus the Messiah—and that everything is for his sake, including us. Yes. It’s true.
7 In strict logic, then, nothing happened to the meat when it was offered up to an idol. It’s just like any other meat.
Substitute ‘Flake’ for meat and there you have it…..A theological framework to eat Flakes.
Can somebody give me a Hallelujah or an Amen?
2) There are bigger issues that we should rage about when it comes to Chocolate?
Let’s talk about the Prophet Amos. He prophesied strongly against systemic injustice in a very prosperous era of the Nation of Israel.
“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, ’Bring, that we may drink!’“ (Amos 4:1)
The ‘cows of Bashan’ were rich women who were apparently oppressing the poor and crushing the needy. How were they doing this by what they were drinking? Well the wine they were asking their husbands to bring to them, was being produced by exploitative labour practices. So the very fact that they were drinking this wine, God was holding them to account. God was saying they were ‘crushing the needy and oppressing the poor’, by using products produced in non ethical ways.
How does this relate to us today and our Flake journey? Well 40% of the world’s cocoa is produced in the Ivory Coast. Cocoa is what is used to produce Chocolate. Right now in the Ivory Coast there are 15,000 child slave labourers, some as young as 11, working 16 hours a day to produce the main ingredient of chocolate, so Westerners like you and I can eat things like Flakes. Now the producers of Flake, Cadburys, do say that they source their cocoa ethically and some of their chocolate bars carry the Fair Trade symbol….I do note though, that not all their chocolates carry the symbol. Makes me wonder exactly how much of their cocoa is ethically sourced.
So what’s the bigger deal in the economy of God when it comes to chocolate? Halal certification or the ethical sourcing of it’s main ingredient?
I suggest it’s the latter.
Well the bible actually suggests it’s the latter.
3) I assume those outraged by my love of Flakes refuse to eat anything at all Halal Certified.
Here is a list of some of the popular brands in Australia that carry the Halal certification.
- Coco Pops
- Just Right.
- Coon Cheese.
- All products of Sarah Lee.
- Nescafe Coffee
- International Roast.
- Kraft Peanut Butter.
- Weis Ice Cream Bars.
- Macleans Toothpaste
For me personally, I am going to continue to enjoy all these products and any other Halal certified as I am not letting Islam control my life.
To stop using anything Halal certified, aren’t you giving the worshippers of Allah, power over what you can and can’t eat. To me that sounds dumb. I eat Vegemite. Jesus is still the Messiah and I didn’t even think of a Muslim at breakfast this morning.
As I write this blog, I know that I am going to be accused of being on soft Islam. So let me say clearly, I hate the Islamic push into the Western World. I hate the intimidation that comes on Christian leaders, Politicians, and anyone who may slightly resist the Islamisation of Australia and indeed the world. I would certainly hate to see Sharia law ever become part of the Australian way of life. But if I eat a Flake Chocolate, am I condemning the world to the worship of Allah?
I suggest no!
Are we better served to be outraged at the systemic injustice in the production of Chocolate.
I suggest yes.
Anyway, that’s what I think,
You may be interesting in some of my other Islam orientated Blogs:-
- How Islam Treats Women – Reviewing Four Books on This Topic.
- Honour Killings–Are they rooted in Islam?
- My Sermon Notes on Islam – Essential Basic Information
- And Now The Courts of Australia Silently Scream Allahu Akbar
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Categories: Australian, Current Affairs, Islam, Uncategorized
I’ve heard that the reason people are up in arms over Halal certified food, is because the companies (eg Cadburys) pays for the certification, and many believe that the money paid goes towards Islamic extremism/terrorism causes. Personally I have no idea if this is so.
This is the way I see it to,why are companies paying for this certification and where does the money go?
I agree 100%.
But, for me personally (ie; I don’t preach it to others or get upset if you disagree), the fact that excessive fees are paid for certification and those fees go directly to support an evil organisation – this is what leads me to look for alternatives.
I still eat flakes (coz I luv them) but when I can buy a quality substitute that isn’t halal stamped – I will.
As far as I’m concerned my God is bigger and mightier that any so-called idols in the world today. So When I have to eat any “questionable” food in whatever shape or form, a prayer of blessing and thanks to God over that food is enough to make it quite acceptable to partake of.
Peter, I don’t think you sound soft in any way. I’m reminded of the Gospel when I think of halal. Because of the grace we have in Jesus, I don’t have to strive to come before God by means of religious laws. His grace is enough. But I need reminding of this and halal (or for that matter kosher) stamps help remind me even when shopping.
Great reading thanks Peter. Enjoy your flakes!!!
Sorry Peter, but I have to ask why you title this “… on Halal Certification …” when you don’t actually address Halal Certification?
As I understand is, Halal Certification in its simplest form is Muslims insisting that non-Muslims pay them to tell other Muslims that our perfectly good food is OK to be eaten by Muslims, which in effect is supporting the propagation of Islam.
(BTW an aside, Flakes were once advertised on TV in a sexualised way that was degrading to women.)
P.S. While I agree you’re free to eat Flakes, remember what Paul also said to the Corinthians:
9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. [which apparently it is]
10 For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? [so keep it to yourself?]
11 For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. [serious stuff]
12 And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. [even more serious]
13 Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble. [Substitute ‘Flake’ for meat and there you have it…..A theological framework to not eat Flakes 🙂 ]
Yeh, no. The problem isn’t food offered to idols.
The problem is knowingly participating in fundraising for a demonic ideology hell-bent on world domination by the sword or stealth, the perpetrators of persecution on the world’s most persecuted people group: our brothers and sisters in Christ.
No there’s nothing wrong with Halal food. Water is halal (permitted), so you’d better hope not. So is fruit and veg. But when halal certification fees, a complete rort without any basis in Islam other than possible stealth jizya (tax on infidel) are being paid out of the money received by the companies such as Cadbury, Nestle, Kraft, Macleans and Sarah Lee, you’d better believe you are fundraising for an ideology whose first victims are its own people kept in spiritual darkness and bondage, the people it is enthusiastically evangelising, and the victims of its merciless global jihad against all who call Jesus Lord.
They openly admit the profits raised go to Islamic mosques and schools in Australia. Australian mosques and schools freely admit they send significant sums to overseas Islamic mosques and schools, who in turn send it to places we cannot trace. And where overseas do violent jihadists network and receive their violent indoctrination? Yes, Islamic mosques and schools.
So simple question: knowing you’re probably participating in fundraising for a demonic ideology which violently persecutes Christians in many nations where it enjoys a majority presence, is finding a different brand for your chocolate, cereal, dairy, coffee and ice cream the worst fellowship in their sufferings we might endure?
There is no economic case for it. Uncertified foods sell internationally extremely well, and supporting cartel behaviour is not a justification for fundraising for an unAustralian antichristian ideology. Perhaps we might even suffer enough for Christ to write to those companies and thank them for their quality foods which you won’t be investing in while they continue to fundraise for Islam. Coincidentally, they can self-certify and pay no fees, assuring diligent Muslims that no alcohol or pork are included in their products, like Easter eggs.
You’re not soft on Islam, at all. Any comments as such miss their mark. You do seem to miss the point of consumer activism and ethical consumption though.
Hey – don’t ask, don’t tell. If you don’t know if any particular product is fundraising for Islam, don’t worry about it. Enjoy. Sorry, but I have to ruin Krispy Kremes for y’all too – Halal certified.
But when you do know, and you know the company is investing their profits into Islam, which is directly responsible for more Christian persecution than anyone else internationally, perhaps you can share with our brothers and sisters their your views on the interpretation of Corinthians to what Australian Christians should do.
1. The problem with your application of the paraphrase of Corinthians is that the persecution of Christians at the hand of Islam is not imaginary.
2. “Bigger issues” (than Christians fundraising for the world’s biggest persecutors of Christians) don’t mitigate or diminish important issues. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.
3. You assume correctly for me – I do refuse to eat anything I know is Halal certified, even if I didn’t pay for it.
I would NOT go so far as to say anyone making donations to Islam is sinning. I’m not a martyr, of course. The non-Halal-certified brands are many, and far from suffering. I’m optimistic that when enough of us understand the power of consumer activism, these massive companies will stop using a Judeo-Christian culture to fundraise for an evil ideology which is diametrically opposed to everything we love about Australia.
My final thought on your title before I give Paul the final word on what he said about food offered to demons. Are you sure you’re arguing what Australian Christians SHOULD do about halal certification, another issue, or what Australian Christians MAY do about halal certification?
“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23
I love your work, your writing, your views, and your ministry, and can’t wait to read more.
FLAKEY THEOLOGY ;
Yes Peter ! Just catching up on your blog here… Kinda as Adrian & David are saying.
I was glad to see you wrote about Halal… ( hey, I think I was the original ALERTER to Flakes being certified ) My concern was EXACTLY that extra money ( ie MY money ) paying into the support & indoctrination of anything Islamic by the certification.
I had no thoughts whatsoever of ‘ food being offered to idols’ An interesting perspective, but yes, like you said, we are free in Christ. Free indeed!
Perhaps , as was mentioned, as CHRISTIANS we need to be more diligent in making a stand & writing to the manufacturers saying we WONT buy their products because of where & how the certification money is spent. There are options. I was a Kraft & Cadbury buyer but have changed.
I have expressed my new-found knowledge & concern to many friends & checkout personel but I too, will take up the challenge & write directly to the producers.
Go for it Kate
Great blog… think it brings a good balance in the debate between should I buy or should I not! I think the whole idea of halal is flakey…. and child slavery is something we all need to think about! How can we combat that and not worry about a label on the packaging of the stuff we eat. If Cadbury spawn child labor through the purchase of those employing it then shame on them…
Like you, Peter, I love chocolate but despise the use of child labour to produce it. But although I personally can eat almost anything, Halal, Kosher or other, I think the main point is not about idols or whether God likes certain foods over others (He made everything good) To me it is more about the money being used for political purposes (promoting sharia nd funding anti Christian activities) Under an Islamic ‘government’ it won’t be just children who are used as slaves but any non Muslim. God bless. Keep writing your blog – you make people think which is always a good thing
I feel a new blog coming on.
To me it is all about the cost of Halal certification and who is getting the money and where that money is going! I avoid Halal certified foods for those reasons and if more people looked into it I think there would be a lot more people “up in arms”. Sometimes Aussies are too laid back!
Hit it outa the park Champ
My one and only concern is where is my money going?….hmmm think about that for a moment, I for one refuse to allow my money to fund Islam. I agree eating the food is no concern at all (for all the reasons you’ve expressed) however if given the choice would you donate to an Islamic cause belief? With halal products you’re not given a choice.