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Muslims and pigs
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evilsproutOffline
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PostPosted: 03-02-2006 20:29    Post subject: Muslims and pigs Reply with quote

I'm asking a lot of pig questions today aren't I?

Is there anyone well up on Islamic law that can give me some pointers as to exactly how Muslims treat unclean animals, especially pigs? I know it's strictly prohibited to eat or touch the beast, but how does this extend to attitudes to photographs, toys and other pig-shaped artifacts?
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stunevilleOffline
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PostPosted: 03-02-2006 20:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you are Smile.

By way of coincidence, I was looking up something similar this week as part of a project, when I came across this page, a blog that catalogues some reported instances of pig toys, piggy banks and even a tissue box depicting Piglet being banned (the page includes a rather amusing cartoon, but let's not go there Wink).

What's interesting is the implication that many of these bannings were enacted so as not to offend broader Muslim sensibilities, as opposed to being a response to numerous direct complaints or protests. It seems that one complaint can galvanise some organisations into ludicrous degrees of over-reaction, for fear of who knows what.

Any Muslims out there comment? The ones I've asked in pursuit of the aforementioned project had no objections: like the Jews i asked, they had no problem with bacon sandwiches being on sale in the canteen, provided the Halal and Kosher stuff was kept seperate and was prepared with different implements. In essence, so long as they weren't being forced to eat it either by accident or design they didn't really care.

As for pig toys and images, again none of them had a problem with it at all. they wouldn't necessarily buy them themselves, but they wouldn't object to them being around. One Muslim said, and I quote:"What, you want us to fast-forward all the bits of the Muppets with Miss Piggy in them? Get real Rolling Eyes."
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evilsproutOffline
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PostPosted: 03-02-2006 20:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems we're researching exactly the same thing, Mr Neville Wink
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gerardwilkieOffline
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PostPosted: 04-02-2006 09:37    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to live and work in Turkey , and all my friends there were aghast that I could eat a pig , as horrified as we would be of people who ate cats or dogs or stuff , although I did have a couple of friends who tried bacon once , and they thought it tasted really nice .

There was no problem in representing pigs as toys or anything .

One curious thing however was that one of the local kebab shops sold kebabs whose meat looked and tasted like gammon . I asked the owner what type of meat it was , and he insisted it was chicken , but it was pink and tasted like pig (maybe he had some pig smuggling black market on the go , to get cheap meat).
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Timble2Offline
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PostPosted: 04-02-2006 12:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

A multinational company that I worked for used to produce a calendar every year with a fine art theme. One year they did Gainsborough, and included the picture with the young girl and two pigs. The customs/censors in Saudi Arabia ripped out the month where the picture appeared from every copy that was send to clients, contacts, agents and customers.

(Not a FOAF, the chap you compiled the calendar was my boss.)
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gerardwilkieOffline
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PostPosted: 04-02-2006 13:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose it depends on the nation you are in . Some Islamic countries are very fundamental ( Saudi Arabia in particular) and follow sharia , or Islamic law , down to a T. Other nations , like Turkey , are far more liberal ( lots of alcohol is drunk , gambling is commonplace , not everyone prays at mosque on Friday etc.) , so I suppose that is reflected in the different attitude towards pigs between Saudi and Turkey.

I never did see one pig the whole time I was there , but the Turkish word for any type of pig-meat , domuz eti , is kind of used as a euphemism for horrible food in general.
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byroncacOffline
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PostPosted: 04-02-2006 23:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ban on Muslims eating pigs comes from 'The Chapter Of the Table' in The Koran:

Quote:
Ye are forbidden to eat that which dieth of itself, and blood, and swine's flesh, and that on which the name of any besides God hath been invocated; and that which hath been strangled, or killed by a blow, or by a fall, or by the horns of another beast, and that which hath been eaten by a wild beast, except what ye shall kill yourselves; and that which hath been sacrificed unto idols.


It's a little bit archaic but I'm working from two elderly translations of the text. It's pretty clear that pig meat is a no-no but I can't find a reference as to why an image of a pig should cause any problems!?

Oh and if your researching it yourself the Chapter of the Table is sometimes known as the Chapter of Contracts.
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Alexius4
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PostPosted: 05-02-2006 05:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swine were somewhat taboo beasts across several ancient cultures; it has been suggested their tendency to haunt battlefields and cemetaries in search of carrion may have something to do with their malign reputation. Modern pigs are altogether more charming brutes.

While there flesh is a no-no unless pressed by direst need, the living beast itself is not vilified as such, perhaps because they are seldom encountered in real life. Dogs, on the other hand, are shunned by many as unclean to the touch, but a little water solves that one.

Interesting how carrion eaters attract all the bad publicity, isn't it?
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Mighty_EmperorOffline
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PostPosted: 05-02-2006 05:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alexius4 wrote:
Swine were somewhat taboo beasts across several ancient cultures; it has been suggested their tendency to haunt battlefields and cemetaries in search of carrion may have something to do with their malign reputation. Modern pigs are altogether more charming brutes.


My understanding was that this arose in the Middle East because of the difficulties with keeping them fressh or disease free or some such.
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Anome_Offline
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PostPosted: 05-02-2006 06:55    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's also their tendency to carry parasites (tapeworms, trichnosis, etc) that are quite nasty in humans. Meaning that unless they are thoroughly cooked, there is a high risk of catching something nasty and dying.

When you look at the kosher rules, there is a great deal in there, such as the prohibition of pork and shellfish, that makes a lot of sense if you are spending 40 years in the wilderness and don't necessarily have access to reliable food storage or cooking facilities.
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YithianOffline
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PostPosted: 05-02-2006 07:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anome_ wrote:


When you look at the kosher rules, there is a great deal in there, such as the prohibition of pork and shellfish, that makes a lot of sense if you are spending 40 years in the wilderness and don't necessarily have access to reliable food storage or cooking facilities.


Very true. Time for an update now though, surely?

Edit: Hello Alexius4, nice to see you about. Cool
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Anome_Offline
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PostPosted: 05-02-2006 08:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, there was that bit in the New Testament where God gave the OK to eat pretty much anything. But of course, Jewish tradition does not include that bit.
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Rrose_SelavyOffline
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PostPosted: 05-02-2006 12:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

The poor pig. Much maligned unfairly.

Stupid Pig? No relatively intelligent and often more trainable than Dogs or cats.

Dirty Pig? Give the choice, very clean , refusing to excrete where they eat or sleep.

Sweat like a pig? Pigs are unable to sweat , so they wallow in mud to stay cool.

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evilsproutOffline
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PostPosted: 05-02-2006 13:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rrose_Selavy wrote:

Sweat like a pig? Pigs are unable to sweat , so they wallow in mud to stay cool.


This phrase comes from the fat that comes out of a roast pig when on a spit.
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Mighty_EmperorOffline
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PostPosted: 05-02-2006 15:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anome_ wrote:
There's also their tendency to carry parasites (tapeworms, trichnosis, etc) that are quite nasty in humans. Meaning that unless they are thoroughly cooked, there is a high risk of catching something nasty and dying.

When you look at the kosher rules, there is a great deal in there, such as the prohibition of pork and shellfish, that makes a lot of sense if you are spending 40 years in the wilderness and don't necessarily have access to reliable food storage or cooking facilities.


Yep - it makes sense to encode your food safety laws as religious laws. Makes them harder to break Wink

From Wikipedia's halal entry:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halal

Quote:
Forbidden substances

A variety of substances are considered haraam (forbidden), including: pork, blood, animals slaughtered in the name of anyone but God, carrion, carnivorous animals with the exception of most fish and sea animals, and all intoxicants (specifically alcohol). A section of the Muslim community believe that fish which do not carry scales as well as lobsters and crabs are considered haraam, while others believe that only those animals living in "both worlds" (land and water) are considered haraam; for example, frogs. Fish with scales are halaal if they are allowed to die on land (they cannot be beaten to death or cut apart while still alive).


and interestingly:

Quote:
Comparison with Kashrut

There are some similarities between the Jewish dietary laws known as Kashrut and Muslim dietary laws. For example, both forbid all pork products, both prescribe certain methods for slaughtering animals and poultry (including the recital of a blessing to God over such animals before slaughter), and both forbid the consumption of blood and mandate that it be drained from animals after slaughter.

On the other hand, there are material differences. Islam forbids alcohol, while alcoholic consumption is allowed in kashrut (although there are strict rules that govern the kosher winemaking process). Muslims are allowed to eat the vast majority of seafood, while in kashrut all shellfish, molluscs, and selected other varieties of fish are forbidden. According to kashrut, any combination of dairy and meat products is forbidden, whereas this is considered halaal.

The Qur'anic verse 5:5 declares that the food of the People of the Book is halaal. Many interpret this reference to imply that the dietary laws are similar enough to (though less restrictive than) those regulating kashrut that Muslims can consume kosher meat and other food products when there are no halaal alternatives. Of course, kosher products that include alcohol among their ingredients are still haraam.

In certain instances, some Islamic authorities have permitted Muslims to rely upon kosher certification (particularly in regard to slaughtering) when halaal food is otherwise unavailable. This view is subject to debate, however, and is rejected by many, for a variety of reasons. Jewish authorities do not allow reliance upon halaal certification as a substitute for kashrut and many Islamic authorities argue the same for kashrut certification. Islamic groups advise using Kashrut certification only as a last resort.


which leads to:

Quote:
Reasons for the Biblical dietary laws

There continues to be a debate on the purposes and meaning of the laws regarding Kashrut.

In Jewish philosophy it is recognized that many of the 613 mitzvot cannot be explained rationally. They are categorized as chukim, comprising such laws as the Red Heifer (Numbers 19). There are three basic points of view regarding these laws:

    * One view holds that these laws do have a reason, but it is not understood because the ultimate explanation for mitzvot is beyond the human intellect.

    * A second view holds that most of the laws have some historical and/or dietary significance (such as preventing the consumption of unhealthy food, or differentiating oneself from non-Jews through dietary restrictions); and

    * A third view holds that these laws have no meaning other than to instill obedience.
    Quote:
    Some Jewish scholars have held that these dietary laws should simply be categorized with a group of laws that are considered irrational in that there is no particular explanation for their existence. The reason for this is that there are some of God's regulations for mankind that the human mind is not necessarily capable of understanding. Related to this is the idea that the dietary laws were given as a demonstration of God's authority and that man should obey without asking for a reason (William H. Shea, Clean and Unclean Meats, Biblical Research Institute, December 1988).


This view, however, has been rejected by most classical and modern Jewish authorities, and by modern biblical scholars. For example, Maimonides holds that all the laws given by God have a reason, that we are permitted to seek out what these reasons may be, and that we should feel comfortable in knowing that rational reasons exist for all of God's laws in the Torah, even if we are not sure of what some of these reasons are. For Maimonides, the idea that God gave laws without any reason is anathema.

Perhaps, others argue, laws in the category of chukim were given BECAUSE of the well-known Jewish tendency to rationalize and probe - a sort of reminder that yes, the Universe should be, and is explainable, but you can't understand everything. A reminder that, just as we should not sacrifice our intelligence to the alter of Obedience, we should also refrain from sacrificing our sense of mystery, at the altar of Intelligence.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashrut
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