Christian leaders are whipping up public hysteria against halal meat, claiming that the meat has been sacrificed to a false God. The Evangelical Church of Botswana and the Francistown Minister Fraternal this week spoke out against the proliferation of halal food in supermarkets and restaurants arguing that most Batswana end up eating halal food without their knowledge. The word halal means “permissible” in Arabic. It refers to food, objects, or actions that are allowed in Islam. Among other things, halal meat must be killed with a sharp knife and drained of blood.
No carnivorous animals, birds of prey, or meat contaminated with non-permissible substances can be used. This, in and of itself, is a healthy way of preparing meat. Some Christian churches however have a problem with Allah’s name being pronounced over the meat during the butchering process. They interpret this to mean the animal was sacrificed to a false godÔÇöan idol. Evangelical Church of Botswana, Master Matlhaope says they are worried that most Christians end up eating “food sacrificed to idols.” He said that this could hurt Christians’ faith since it is against their religion.
He said government should intervene to control the proliferation of halal because most Batswana are Christians. Indications, however, are that the halal hysteria among some Christians may be a proxy for deeper fears about Islam. Francistown Minister Fraternal Chairperson, John Ramotshabi said he suspects that there is a secret motive behind the proliferation of Halal food in supermarkets and restaurants patronized by Christians.
Ramotshabi said that is why they petitioned President Ian Khama, but said despite the petition nothing has changed. “Most Batswana are ignorant and may end up eating halal product unaware. We are a tolerant religion but we should not be abused. “, he said.