Kosher and cows – Religious strife in Norway

Corned beef KosherCorned beef, jokingly referred to as 'god in a can' is a definite no-no to Hindu. Jews and Muslim may agree in most cases. Photo:

Kosher and cows – Religious strife in Norway over food

Norway Today recently wrote about the application for a Muslim-only school in Oslo. There are, however, several other problematic religious issues on the agenda. Some of these, naturally, revolve around food.

Over the last few days there has been calls to remove declare origins of gelatine and the right to import Kosher meat. The latter sentiment is shared by conservative Muslims.

Mosaic leader out against proposal of a Kosher ban

Leader of the Mosaic Religious Society of Norway, Ervin Kohn, lashes out against the Animal Protection Association of Norway’s proposal for a ban on imports of kosher meat. He warns of anti-Semitism.

“The Norwegian Slaughter Act is anti-Semitic as it is. If Norway prohibits the import of kosher meat, that constitutes a violation of human rights. The Animal Protection Association is not lacking in cheek when they propose this so soon after the disclosures of how conditions for pigs are in several places in Norway,” Kohn tells Vårt Land.

The Animal Protection Association of Norway (Dyrebeskyttelsen) calls for a ban on imported meat that has been slaughtered without anaesthetics. Such a ban will stop imports of both halal and kosher meat. That is, meat slaughtered according to Islamic and Jewish methods, respectively.

Kohn believes that the issue is about whether the Norwegian society will remain tolerant towards other religions. The Leader points out that 60,000 animals are killed during the Norwegian hunting season, without these being stunned first.

“Do they intend to have special labelling of hunted meat? Norwegian authorities should make a similar, cultural exception for Jews and Muslims,” Kohn concludes.



Hindu leader asks for labelling of gelatine

An American Hindu leader asks that Norwegian food producers inform which raw materials are used to make gelatine. Many gelatine products are made from animals.

Gelatine is a protein that is extracted mainly from cattle or pigs, but also from fish. It is used in both dietary supplements and medicine, in blood plasma and in jams, chocolate, jelly, puddings, cake cream and liquorice.

Hindu leader, Rajan Zed, now asks that the Norwegian government and the Food Safety Authority put pressure on the food producers. He wants the goods declaration to state the origin of the gelatine used. This is because eating animal products (meat) is in strong conflict with Hindu religious beliefs. Their belief system, for instance, views cows as sacred animals.

“It will be a shock to Norwegian Hindu to realize that some of the most popular foods they may have eaten, in good faith, may contain meat as part of the gelatine protein. This is because this is not specifically stated on the product declaration,” Zed writes in a press release. He is known as the leader of the Universal Society of Hinduism

The Love Guru and IPA

Zed lives in the USA, but has also been noticed in Norway earlier. He has, among other things, harshly criticised the Norwegian Media Authority. This, after it, in 2008, allowed the screening of the American comedy «The Love Guru» featuring Mike Myers. The film had an age limit of 11 years, something Zed believes will cause Norwegian children and youngsters to ‘grow up with a distorted view of Hinduism’.

He also reacted, earlier this year, to that the Egersund brewery Berentsen used an elephant head label on the beer bottles of ‘Bombay IPA’. He believes the image represents the Hindu god Ganesh. The Norwegian brewery denies this allegation.

Rajan Zed has issued his latest recommendation to King Harald, Prime Minister, Erna Solberg (Conservatives), and Minister of Agriculture, Jon Georg Dale (Frp) as well, according to his press release.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today
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