Last week Europe's first conference on halal tourism took place in Granada, Spain. The brainchild of CM Media, the Halal Tourism Conference 2014 saw people from around the world gather to listen and learn about the Muslim market. Tourist boards, travel agents, tour operators, halal certification bodies and hotel managers made up most of the attendees.
Personal experiences of hipsters are a far cry from Williamsburg, New York but instead it was like watching pockets of East London being swallowed up by a swarm of skinny jean wearing, flat white drinking locusts. As preened men were dubbed "Metrosexuals" and "scallies" evolved into "Chavs"; in my circle "Indie" became "Hipster".
The recent anti-halal hysteria has nothing to do with the welfare of animals. It's just good old-fashioned Islamophobia. This is not to say that some people don't have sincere concerns about the way in which animals are slaughtered: they do. But these are not the people now jumping on the anti-halal bandwagon.
The debate surrounding both regulations upon halal slaughter and the sale of halal meat in commercial outlets is an important one. There are the legitimate concerns of various groups in the debate surrounding Halal meat in the UK, but these concerns were likely not at the root of The Sun and The Daily Mail's decision to report on the issue.
Andrew Rosindell, the secretary of Parliament's animal welfare group, has joined voices demanding the end of religious slaughter in the UK. As someone with experience in the meat industry, specifically halal, this news troubles me. It troubles me because the argument is flawed, and flawed on many levels.
Anyone who takes Muslims and Jews to task for brutal methods of slaughter yet eats meat regardless of the suffering involved is no less callous. Does the matter of a few more seconds of suffering as they are slaughtered make much difference to the animals who, during their entire short lives, have been treated with unthinking savagery?