It’s Because Of My Religion That I Became A Vegetarian

Muslims have two days every year on which they have a serious cause for celebration. But, every year when Eid al-Adha – the Festival of Sacrifice – takes place, animal rights organizations pick up their spears immediately. The hypocrisy and the bad daylight in which a single group is put, in this case clearly the Muslim community, has reached a boiling point in me. I’m sick of the bickering because the debate is unfair and is done on the wrong level with an unambiguously racist overtone. The debate is no longer about animal rights, as it’s not only the Muslim community that slaughters without sedation.

Lately I’ve been receiving more and more questions as to why I’m a vegetarian. My answer is simple. I do not need the animal rights organizations to come and tell me what to do when it comes to animal rights when 750 verses from the Quran are about nature and the relationship between humans and nature. How many Westerners know that the eighth part of the Quran is about ecology? Everyone links ritual slaughter with halal, but what not many people know is that ritual slaughter is bound to a couple of rules that need to be followed strictly. For example: the animal cannot be tied up in order to slaughter it; the animal cannot see the preparations made before slaughtering; in order to not hurt the feelings of other animals, one animal cannot be slaughtered near others; the meat of animals that was treated badly during foster or transportation becomes unlawful.

Meat is consumed in massive amounts. That’s exactly why we should seriously question the livestock industry. Factory farming doesn’t always follow the rules Islam teaches us about this. When animals have eaten feeding flour containing blood or animal carcasses, they essentially become carnivores and this causes the meat to no longer be suitable for Muslim consumption. But that’s not even the worst part.

The cruel way on which the animals in factory farming are often treated, is in many ways opposite to the Islamic precepts. An animal that has not lived a worthy life and has been physically or mentally harmed during its life, is unlawful in Islam. Even if that animal is slaughtered ritually, it was still treated badly before and is therefore not halal for consumption.

Because of Islam’s importance of physical, emotional, and psychosocial animal welfare and the many conditions that follow, factory farming is contradictory to Islamic law. Neither production on its own, nor trade, transportation or consumption are allowed according to the Islamic model. I am no theologist, but with the knowledge I have and the moral feelings the meat industry provokes in me, I simply cannot consume meat myself.

Attack on nature

I’m often portrayed as a Muslim woman who is a vegetarian and does not believe in the halal industry. Which is true, but then why do I no longer buy meat? Because I do not believe in the entire meat industry, and the halal industry is simply a part of it. It’s the industry in its entirety that should undergo some changes. Our massive meat consumption is an attack on nature as a whole. Thanks to my religion, Islam, I have become a vegetarian, in spite of pseudo animal rights organizations.

Each year, animal rights organizations, and now politicians also, are complaining about sedated slaughter. What scientific research has discovered about the subject is no longer the essence. Because if independent research found that unsedated slaughter is bad for animal welfare, religion would support this. But we lack that, so we’re unable to take a specific point of view.

Do the animal rights organizations realize that the actual slaughter of the animal is merely the final phase? So in fact, we’d only start caring about the animal in that final phase and not before? I believe that the period of them still living is far longer than the moment on which we decide to consume them.

In an ideal scenario, policies could apply the strict prescripts of Islam in ecology. If we were to strictly monitor the meat industry and take control whenever needed, we’d be really thinking about animal welfare. Everything starts with the production, and it’s exactly that which determines consumption.

Allow Muslims to celebrate and enjoy their holiday and let us work on animal welfare every day, instead of only during the Festival of Sacrifice.
Eid mubarak!

Article written by Latifa Matheeussen

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