Skip to Content

French author argues ‘halal’ is a recent invention

The French anthropologist Florence Bergeaud-Blackler argues in her book, Le marché halal ou l'invention d'une tradition [The Halal Market or the Invention of a Tradition] that strict Islamic dietary laws were invented by multinational corporations.

Published: July 5, 2017, 11:31 am

    Read more


    Bergeaud-Blackler says that the “halal” food label, which is religiously permitted food for Muslims, was “recently invented” for a potential commercial market, in a collusion between Iranians and the multinational agrifood industry. In an interview with the French daily newspaper, Libération, she said:

    “I speak of invention of the ‘halal market’ in the sense that we are not dealing with an ancient tradition imported from Muslim countries. The halal market never existed in the Muslim world until food ‘big business’ created it and exported it. The halal convention was born in the 70s and 80s. At this time, two ideologies triumphed on the international scene: on the one hand, Muslim fundamentalism, including the proclamation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, and, on the other hand, neo-liberalism, with Thatcher and Reagan. This convergence, unscheduled and unexpected, would allow these two ideologies to work together to establish a halal food industrial protocol”.

    According to Bergeaud-Blackler, halal food, for centuries, had only been the prohibition of pork. All food, with the exception of pork, that had been produced both locally and non-locally, by “People of the Book” [Christians and Jews] was considered halal.

    However after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, halal became a food requirement sanctified by economic interests. In the 1970s, Iran and Saudi Arabia, engaged in a competition to spread their vision of Islam throughout the world, were aided by multinationals such as Nestlé, to set up the large global halal food market.

    A report by Thomson Reuters and DinarStandard estimated the halal food market in 2014 at $1.37 trillion, representing almost a fifth of the total food and beverage market worldwide, and an increase of 6.2 percent compared to 2013.

    “In Europe, the halal market is growing at an estimated annual rate of between 10-20 percent. It is a demand driven by a general desire for Sharia compliance among a growing Muslim population,” says Paulius Kuncinas, business analyst and managing editor at Oxford Business Group.

    Nestlé is currently number one worldwide, followed by Aldo’s, Cadbury, Kraft, Kellogg’s and others. Fast food outlets such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Red Rooster, KFC and Subway also have an halal meat option.

    Agrifood businesses helped to separate Muslims and non-Muslims food in European countries. “Splitting in two the space between what is permitted and what is not, creates a certain social anxiety and leads to a behavior of avoidance. When you eat exclusively halal, you do not invite home non-halal people, for fear this person will invite you in return. These patterns of avoidance combine with speech that rejects of “impure” food. The confusion between halal and purity is disturbing.”

    Gilles Kepel, professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, noted the same separation by means of nourishment: “By exacerbating the question of halal, the political actors of Islamism are leading a logic of rupture — Muslim children are incited to abandon school canteens, and this helps them to distance the youth from the school and from the nation”.

    Kepel believes halal food is the second battle Islamists are leading in France and in Europe after the veil. “Initially, halal is presented as a consumption pattern; halal is part of a demand for pluralism: we eat halal like vegan, organic or kosher. And retail companies are not mistaken: their supermarkets offer a wide range of halal products in the aisles, with an estimated market of 5 billion euros…. the political actors of Islamism… see halal as an opportunity for community control and they strive to radicalize and exacerbate…”

    Halal food has begun to be a major source of conflict in France. Companies face growing demands for halal food in canteens, and although they are not legally required to supply halal food, many companies fear that if they do not comply with the demands, they will be called “racist”.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, is one of the Catholic bishops who signed the letter, which was read out in churches throughout Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland over the Easter weekend. Photo: The Catholic Church

    Care prompts bishops to criticize transgender ideology

    The Catholic bishops of the Scandinavian countries presented an open five-page letter criticizing transgender ideology on March 21, just before Easter. The document primarily expresses care and advice and was read aloud in Catholic churches in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, is one of the signatories of the document.

    FREEZING IN THEIR HOMES is the new grim reality for many Brits and Northern Europeans. Margaret is 92 years old and has just come in from the winter cold, but no warmth awaits her at home. She fears her own home more than the icy streets. Next to her are four thick blankets, and on the shelf above the fireplace, which she can no longer afford to buy wood for, is a meter showing the daily cost of electricity (inset). It shows £1.03, about 13 SEK. When it reaches £3, about 38 SEK, she is forced to turn off the little heat she has to afford it. Still image: ITW News

    Brits Forced to Live in Darkness and Cold

    Food prices are rising at a furious pace, fastest in Scotland in almost half a century. At the same time, energy prices are at record highs. People are forced to choose between freezing or going hungry, and a majority of Scots are forced to live in cold and darkness to cope with bills. Old generations' tricks for saving and keeping warm are returning. Nevertheless, it is feared that 10,000 Brits will die of cold homes this winter. We present the Swedish Public Health Agency's guidelines on indoor temperature. Governments in Europe are introducing rationing and monitoring of food purchases. Net-zero emissions are a lie that, in practice, de-industrializes the West and dramatically lowers our standard of living.

    Thousands of Flemish farmers block roads in Brussels against nitrogen policy

    BrusselsMore than 2500 farmers from Belgium's Dutch-speaking Flanders region gathered at Brussels' central Arts-Loi street and blocked roads with tractors toward Brussels to protest the regional government's plan to limit nitrogen emissions.

    Orban: EU energy sanctions costing citizens billions

    BudapestHungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned that some western states could soon send troops to Ukraine. He also criticized the fact that the EU sanctions against Russia had cost Hungarian taxpayers tens of billions of euros.

    Italy: New leader of the Social Democrats is one of Soros’ ‘preferred politicians’

    RomeDuring the election campaign, Elly Schlein presented herself as the standard-bearer of the poorest. However, her background and previous work raise doubts about her honesty.

    UK greenhouses shut down due to high energy costs

    LondonIn Great Britain, a particularly depressing facet of the crisis is now showing its first contours - and thus anticipating what is likely to happen in other European countries in the near future: because of the exploding energy prices, agriculture is being strangled and fresh produce has to be rationed.

    Lisbon opens borders to all Portuguese speakers

    LisbonNot only the German and Italian governments keep opening new paths for immigration. Portugal, too, has opened a Pandora's box and is paving the way for possibly millions of non-European immigrants to the EU – something which is not mentioned by the mainstream media.

    Illegal immigration to Italy has reached its highest level ever

    RomeIn Italy, despite the overwhelming right-wing electoral success in September, there is still nothing to be seen of the promised asylum turnaround – on the contrary. Giorgia Meloni has been in office for five months, but the arrivals of migrants in Italy have doubled compared to the previous year.

    Dismantling diplomacy with ‘feminist foreign policy’

    BudapestGerman Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) wants to counter German security issues abroad with feminist politics. Gender training, LGBTQ events and quotas are now part of their new guidelines, which are intended to bring about "cultural change". The German ambassador to Hungary, Julia Gross, provided an embarrassing example.

    Germans demand investigation of Nord Stream sabotage

    BerlinAfter the sensational revelations by US investigative reporter Seymour Hersh about the perpetrators of the Nord Stream attacks on September 26, 2022, the German government has remained silent. It does not want to comment on Hersh's research results, according to which the pipelines were blown up by Americans and Norwegians.

    Go to archive