“The ban on halal-certified products in Uttar Pradesh is a deeply concerning development, not just for the Muslim community but for anyone who values religious freedom and secularism. It’s imperative to critically examine such policies and their underlying motivations to ensure that the principles of equality and justice are upheld in a diverse society like India.”
PEGASUS REPORTERS, LAGOS | NOVEMBER 20, 2023
In a controversial move, the Uttar Pradesh government in India, led by the BJP, a fundamentalist party in India, has imposed a ban on the production, storage, distribution, and sale of halal-certified food products, medicines, and cosmetics. The regional government had long been planning to impose the ban on Halal-certified products. This decision, effective from November 18, 2023, has raised serious concerns among various communities, particularly among Muslims in and out of India for whom halal certification is a religious requirement.
The state government cites public health and the prevention of confusion as the reasons for this ban. They argue that halal certification, which signifies compliance with Islamic law, interferes with the quality standards set by the Food Safety and Standards Act, of 2006. However, this rationale has been met with skepticism and criticism, with many viewing it as a thinly veiled attempt to further marginalize Muslims in India.
Since assuming power in 2014, the government led by Prime Minister Modi and the BJP has been criticized for fostering divisive sentiments.
There are concerns that policies implemented by the Indian government may be aimed at adversely impacting the economic stability of the Muslim community within the country.
This move by the BJP-led government in Uttar Pradesh is seen by many as part of a broader pattern of policies that are perceived as anti-Muslim. Halal certification is crucial for Muslims, as it ensures that food and other products adhere to Islamic dietary laws. The ban not only affects their religious practices but also potentially targets businesses owned by or catering to Muslims.
The ban on halal products must be viewed in the context of rising Islamophobia in India and worldwide. Policies like these, which directly impact Muslim religious practices, can exacerbate feelings of discrimination and alienation among the Muslim community. It also raises questions about the commitment to religious freedom and secular values in the world’s largest democracy.
Critics argue that the ban is not about public health but about ordering and marginalizing a significant religious minority in India. By delegitimizing halal certification, the government is accused of infringing upon the rights of Muslims to practice their religion freely. Moreover, the exemption of halal-certified products produced for export suggests a double standard that undermines the public health argument.
The ban on halal-certified products in Uttar Pradesh is a deeply concerning development, not just for the Muslim community but for anyone who values religious freedom and secularism. It’s imperative to critically examine such policies and their underlying motivations to ensure that the principles of equality and justice are upheld in a diverse society like India.
By Hafiz. M. Ahmed/halatimes.com
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