Like yesterday’s celebration, for example. Rightwing media told a ridiculous tale of Muslim terrorists attempting to denigrate the country, and by imposing their own terrorist-like religion upon the holiday.
It started with an opinion piece written by Pamela Geller on Monday’s “American Thinker” site.
Citing a “citizen activist” as her source, Geller claimed the Butterball company, a chief provider of the turkey traditional enjoyed for Thanksgiving meals, had produced its birds to be sold in the U.S. in a halal format. (And in case you don’t know, “halal” is a dietary guideline practiced by Muslims.)
Already known to be an anti-Muslim zealot, Geller declared this to be a secretive “scandal” pulled by Butterball.
“Non-Muslims in America and Europe don’t deserve to have halal turkey forced upon them in this way, without their knowledge or consent,” Geller wrote.
Even worse, she implied that Butterball was attempting to sneakily convert its American consumers to the Islamic faith. “Infidel Americans are unwittingly going to be serving halal turkeys to their families this Thursday. … Halal turkey…is just the opposite of what Thanksgiving represents,” Geller claimed, calling for a boycott of Butterball products.
She even created a “Boycott Butterball Turkey” page on facebook. And the story got taken from there all over the rightwing side of the worldwide web.
Islamophobic sites such as Jihad Watch (“You’re eating halal”), Bare Naked Islam (“WARNING!”), and Now the End Begins (“Butterball Turkeys Support Islamic Terrorism”) promoted the rumor. From there it went to conservamedia The Blaze (“Islamic Butterball?”). Two other “Boycott Butterball” pages made it to facebook, as well (1 and 2).
And on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, it wound up on Bryan Fischer’s radio show on the American Family Network. (See video)
Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association, Fischer stoked the phobic flame a lot higher. “Every single, solitary Butterball turkey in the United States of America has been sacrificed to Allah,” he repeated several times. The poultry was “ritually slaughtered, as according to Islamic practices, and has had an Islamic prayer prayed over that bird while it’s being slaughtered.”
But this story about Butterball turkeys amounts to chicken feed, it turns out. It’s not true.
Anything it sells overseas to countries with halal guidelines is prepared in halal format (which, as you’ll read about just further down, doesn’t require any bizarre rituals), but that’s to allow those particular birds to be sold there and there alone.
“(O)nly turkeys exported to specific countries are certified halal.”
Wrong once again, rightwing media.
They weren’t just assaulting Butterball, either. It was avenue for them to launch attack on the whole Islamic faith, somehow using dietary restrictions as examples of religious terrorism.
Doing so, though, only reveals the ignorance of these rightwing sects. There are other faiths, including Christian churches, that practice dietary restrictions, too, after all.
Take Catholics, for example. During the season of Lent right before Easter Sunday, Catholics are to avoid eating any meat on Fridays. (This restriction was once to be held throughout the 40-day period, by the way, and not just on Fridays alone; as a Catholic myself, I’m glad to have entered the world after that was changed.)
Mormons don’t stay away from meat, but are to have it in limited quantities, though. They also refrain from caffeine and alcohol.
Seventh Day Adventists steer clear of alcohol, avoid caffeine for the most part, and don’t eat pork or shellfish. Many of this faith are strict vegetarians, even.
The halal dietary recommendations practiced by Muslims are very, very similar to the kosher practiced by those of the Jewish faith, too. No pork or birds of prey, the slaughter of animals to be consumed should follow a routine of sorts, and any blood is to be rejected and disposed. Jews also avoid shellfish, and can’t consume any grape products made by non-Jews.
Many Native American and Meso-American tribes were historically vegetarian in their faiths, like the Choctaws, Cherokees, Aztecs and Mayans. Meat was only eaten in circumstances when other foods were not readily available (such as during the winter following a bad harvest season), and only after rituals thanking the animals, and the supreme being who created them, for their sacrifice.
Add in the dietary restrictions of Hindus, Sikhs and many other religions (even Rastafarians), and you’ll see that such practices – even if they vary somewhat from faith to faith – are all quite similar in both purpose and format.
Simply put, these dietary practices are goals that everyone receives proper nutrition, refuses things that could have negative health effects, avoids things that could steer one away from faith, and shows some respect and appreciation for the living things we slay for our own consumption.
And how is the halal requirement of Muslims employed in the case of a turkey? Well, in a method known as “dhabihah,” you’re supposed to use a sharp knife to get the job done quickly and with as little pain upon the animal as possible. Hit both arteries but avoid the spinal cord.
No songs or dance or chants or religious rituals are required, unlike what those rightwingers want you to believe. Out of sympathy for the animal (one of God’s creatures, you know), it’s recommended you just get it over with fast. That’s it.
So what’s wrong with it? In fact, this method seems quite humane, doesn’t it? Sort of Christian, even.
And that’s a key point that these so-called Christian rightwingers should keep in mind before they start their next anti-Muslim campaign with no foundation.
After all, when they engage in these silly attacks on that faith, they are actually attacking their own faith, too.
Islam is a format of faith adapted to and delving from specific culture, much like the Greek Orthodox, Mormon and Lutheran Churches are within the wide range of Christian faiths. (Shoot, even voodoo is Christian, developed within the Caribbean culture of long ago.)
And these rightwingers need to take a quick peek at the Koran used in the Islamic faith before they throw it into the fire at their next burning.
It mentions Christ by name over two dozen times – more times than Mohammed, even. (And no matter what the right-wing zealots say, Mohammed is only listed to be a human prophet in the Koran and not a god himself).
Our one God chose the Virgin Mary to give birth to Jesus, it reads.
The Koran says Christ performed miracles while on earth.
And, according to the Koran, Christ holds the throne in the Kingdom of Heaven, and will return to earth in a second coming on the Day of Reckoning.
Sounds like what you learned in your Christian Sunday School, don’t it?
(The Koran also tells the tales of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, David, Solomon and many others you’ll find in both the Christian Old Testament and Jewish Torah.)
Just like belief in these holy principles is required of all Christians, Muslims are required to believe them and believe in Christ, too.
And like Christianity adapted directly from Judaism, growing mainly in western cultures, and includes the Jewish Torah in its bible (the Old Testament), so too did Islam develop directly from Christianity, this time in Middle Eastern cultures, and with tales of Jesus in the Koran.
But unlike Christianity, which is very separate from the faith from which it originates by declaring the One God in a separate, new and three-fold format, Islam maintains belief in the icon from which it developed. It recognizes Jesus very close to the ways all Christian churches do – the miracle-performing Son of God who will rise again.
All told, it seems quite clear that these so-called Christians who took antagonistic stabs, using an argument without any foundation that they accelerated with unfounded, unproven and completely made-up claims, only wound up rather non-Christian in their rightwing zealotry.
Lying is a sin, after all.