Halal Sanitized

  • Johan Fischer
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


This chapter deals with the sanitization of halal in the modern scientific world, that is, how Malays in London understand and practice halal (food) as part of modern discourses of meat/stunning, health/nutrition, food scares, science, heating/cooling binaries, and excess as well as kosher and vegetarian food. When informants evoke “science” below, this should not simply be seen as the flip side of Islam/religion. Islam in Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia more generally tends to be based on an inclination toward absorbing all styles of thought into one broad stream. This tradition is generally receptive to the argument that “Islamic doctrine and scientific discovery are really not conflicting but complementary forms of belief” (Geertz 1968: 106). For example, this is the case in several of the references and quotes below that originate in the Malaysian context and fuse discourses of health, spirituality, and Islam. This chapter ends with a discussion of the ethical underpinnings involved in modern forms of halal consumption and discourse. From being an Islamic injunction in the Koran, halal both evokes and is evoked by a whole range of discourses. In other words, this chapter captures how halal sits uneasily in and between a plethora of powerful scientific, religious, and political discourses that often overlap.


Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Genetically Modify Food Islamic Banking Meat Eating Vegetarian Food 
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Copyright information

© Johan Fischer 2011

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  • Johan Fischer

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