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Blood runs hot over halal offering

FULLY STOCKED Walmart agreed in November to sell halal meat at its Oxford location due to a number of requests made by Miami University students. Since that decision, community members and others have reacted in anger, spreading anti-Muslim messages. The grocery store continues to sell the meat despite the outcry.

Photo by Sammie Miller

Walmart agreed to start selling halal meat in their Oxford location in November after receiving a number of requests from Muslim students at Miami University.

Since, the store has kept the Crescent-brand halal meat stocked for its Muslim customers, but has experienced backlash. The news of the store's decision to sell halal products was shared on many anti-Islamic blogs and generated hundreds of comments from people who felt outraged by the store's decision.

According to Dean Garrison, a contributor for D.C. Clothesline - a blog that describes its purpose as a place to "air out America's dirty laundry," - Walmart's decision to sell halal meat is proof of the existence of what he calls a politically correct culture that is continually determined to meet the demands of the Muslim community.

"We are forced to please every single minority, at least those supported by the left," Garrison said. "No matter how the majority feels or how it may tread on the rights of that majority. This is just one more reason to boycott Walmart."

Garrison does not stand alone in that opinion.

Oxford local Jane Goulet expressed deep discontent at Walmart's decision to provide halal meat for the local Muslim community.

"I will not be shopping at [Walmart] stores anymore," she said in an online comment. "They are bowing down to the Muslim. I will start shopping at other stores."

On his website, Garrison said that Walmart's decision is a direct result of the government's attempt to equalize the Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

"I don't know about you, but I am growing tired of having Islam shoved down my throat," he said. "Barack Obama is a Muslim who is interested in turning America into a Muslim nation."

According to the Quranic definition, halal livestock should be slaughtered by slitting the throat of the beast, bleeding the animal out by the throat, all while invoking the name of Allah in prayer. The discrepancy lays between those who believe this slaughtering method to be humane and those who do not.

Although Walmart has opted to offer halal meat in their Oxford store, it appears it is making such decisions on a case-by-case basis rather than instituting a countrywide policy to that effect.

According to store manager Elijah Woodard, he has received several phone calls from people who disagree with his decision to offer halal meat. Many of the callers voiced their objections to the way in which halal meat is slaughtered. Woodard directed these complaints to Walmart's corporate headquarters.

"No one is being forced to purchase the meat," Woodard said.

The local Muslim community has benefited from the presence of halal meat in stores, saying that it has made grocery shopping more convenient.

"It's good that there are more places selling halal food now," Kevin Dunphy, who is Muslim, said. "We are having an influence here. How dare [Muslims] try to assert their rights and participate in this society like everyone else?"