A friend of mine has a postcard on her fridge of a man with a smoking gun. It says “Good things about what I have done: All the silly people are now dead. Bad things about what I have done: I’m the only person left in the world.”
Some days, I sympathise.
I know I’m wading into dangerous custard here, but if Woolworths wants to go ahead and put a halaal sticker on their hot cross buns, they should go right ahead as far as I’m concerned. To everyone who has their self-righteous knickers in a knot about this, please get a little perspective.
Woolworths did not sprinkle your heaven-sent buns with a half teaspoon of dirty Muslim dust to make them Halaal. They were probably prepared in the same bakery as all other confectionaries, and are therefore automatically halaal.
Would you prefer that Woolworths brushes the buns with a little pork glaze as they come off the production line to stop other religions from getting their grubby paws on our divine cookies?
Christianity doesn’t have any regulations about how food may be prepared. They’ve chosen to ignore that part of the Old Testament (yet cling with cinnamon-and-raisin-sticky fingers to the bit about homosexuality), and can eat whatever they like, mixed with whatever, served with cream. Good job, carry on.
I have broken bread with Jewish and Muslim friends alike, and celebrated their holy days with them, and appreciate these gestures of interfaith sharing as a sign of all the goodness encapsulated in Love One Another - an ethos I believe to be worth following, no matter what your religious background or levels of conviction.
And if I’m cruising the aisles of my local Spar and I feel like helping myself to a punnet of sticky teglach (nom!), you’d better believe that I’m going to, without any concerns for my immortal soul over what prayers have been offered to Hashem to make them parev.
Other religions do have food regulations and without the appropriate sticker, those who practice their faith observantly may not eat the food. So religious Muslims may not eat hot cross buns without that sticker because it's like a “certified vegan sticker” for vegetarians or “guaranteed nut free” for those with an allergy. It's informative about the preparation process - a process which in no way excludes those who eat meat or eat nuts.
Are Christians actually suggesting that Muslims be barred from eating the buns? If not, then they need the sticker. If you are, then that’s a dangerous form of religious separatism you're advocating right there.
- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.
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