Extortion is a crime you don’t hear about very often. A crime that drums up images of men with slicked hair, Armani suits and chuffer driven limousine but as the FBI has virtual eradicated the "mafia", extortion like paid hit men and guys named Lucky has faded from the headlines.
Nicole Baute article Halal Food Monitor Riles Sellers from the July 29/08 issue of the Toronto Star seems to point to a modern day case of extortion involving Muslim Imam and the Halal meat market.
In 2006, the HMA began a full-fledged effort to monitor halal slaughtering practices, encouraging consumers – namely, members of their congregations – to buy meat products certified by the agency. It invited businesses to join for a price: $13.50 an hour for slaughterhouses, abattoirs and meat processors, and between $75 to $150 a month for restaurants, butchers and manufacturers of nonmeat products.
Badeshah said his wholesale customers were demanding he be certified by the authority, because their customers were following the advice of their imams. He said HMA was charging him $1,500 a month, the cost of two days a week of supervision, plus administrative costs – more than he was able to pay, especially because his 11-year-old son has been sick and needs expensive medicine. He says he reached an deal with the agency to pay them when he could, but Badat said no such deal was made.
Badeshah's certification was withdrawn last week because he was not able to pay the money owed.
Star’s staff reporter Baute however was not the first to bring this to my attention. One of my communities local meat shops proudly displays a Halal only sign despite the fact that their chicken is purchase from a extremely reputable slaughter house that is in fact not certified by the HMA. In a "off the record" conversation with my favourite of three brother butchers, Quick Split Wing explained to me that most of his Muslim customers are well educated Muslim all too aware of the wide scale extortion carried out in the name of Allah, most with roots in countries like Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey are all to aware of how the laws of the Qur`an can be bent and manipulated for financial gain.
Mr. Wing explained how a long time customer who had little concern or understanding, which one my butcher wasn’t quite sure for the issue of extortion by church had informed him that by just having the sign posted in the window he, the butcher was taking the onus off of the buyer and putting the responsibility squarely on his own shoulders. At $7.99 a pound for boneless breasts this is apparently something my Punjabi butcher is willing to take up with Allah on the otherside.