Did you know? Halal is the Offspring of Neoliberalism and Fundamentalism

Did you know that, according to anthropologist Florence Bergeaud-Blackler, the halal market is a recent invention, born as an industry, offspring of neoliberalism and fundamentalism?

Reference: Florence Bergeaud-Blackler : « Le halal est né industriel, fruit du néolibéralisme et du fondamentalisme » (Halal was born Industrial, a Product of Neoliberalism and Fundamentalism), by Sonya Faure & Maryam El Hamouchi, 2017-01-05.

Halal means “permitted” in Arabic. As a theological term it signifies that which a Muslim is allowed to do. But the market has transformed it so that it is now a prescription, that which must be done to be a “good” Muslim.

According to Bergeaud-Blackler, the halal market did not exist as a custom in Muslim countries until industrialists exported it there. The halal market was born in the 1970s and 1980s, as two ideologies triumphed on the international stage: fundamentalist Islam (for example, the declaration of the Islamic Republic or Iran in 1979) and the neoliberalism of Thatcher and Reagan.

Previously, Muslim food habits were limited mainly to the taboo on eating pork. Ritual slaughter was practiced mainly at ceremonies. Islamic butcher shops are a recent phenomenon, a product of the Islamization wave in the 1980s. Halal becomes a strategy of fundamentalists to isolate Muslims in closed communities.

As for the kosher market, Bergeaud-Blackler considers it very different from the halal market. The former has existed for centuries, long before industrialization, and the merchant and religious aspects are more separate than is the case with halal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *