Many Muslims are making “the unorthodox decision to become vegetarians and [have] inflamed debates about Islamic dietary laws among scholars and religious leaders,” reports the quarterly magazine What Is Enlightenment? (March-May).
While Islamic law and tradition allows and even encourages meat eating, animals have to be killed under strict conditions. The spread of factory farming across the world in recent years has conflicted with the Islamic “halal” teachings on raising and slaughtering animals for food. The dilemma is intensified since Muslims are not permitted to eat carnivorous animals, yet many factory farms feed animal remains to livestock.
Websites addressing the conflict between factory farming and Islam are numerous, and there is a more recent growth of pro-vegetarian Muslim sites. For instance, the website Islamic concerns.com. provides free vegetarian starter kits and lists pro-vegetarian fatwas (Islamic legal pronouncements). These websites argue that “beyond the technical violations of Islamic dietary laws, factory farms, with their intense cruelty to animals, contradict Islamic principles” of kindness and compassion, writes Maura R. O’Connor.
(What Is Enlightenment? P.O. Box 2360, Lenox, MA 01240)