Jewish Journal

In Iraq, Sunnis and Shiites Spar over Halal Chicken

by Jonah Lowenfeld

January 14, 2011 | 10:02 am

In Iraq, when it comes to chicken, Shiites and Sunnis disagree over what is or isn’t halal. Shiites eat Khafeel. Sunnis eat Sadia. Both brands are produced in Brazil.

Anyone familiar with the question of whose kosher designation is trustworthy could probably relate to this morning’s story about the way sectarian divides in Iraq are playing out in the choices of halal chicken brands that Iraqis are making:

At a wholesale market in east Baghdad, the first thing you see in the chicken section is a big poster with the fatwa, or religious ruling, that sanctions Khafeel chicken.

But many people say the religious institution that issued the fatwa is also profiting from the boost in sales of Khafeel chicken. Shop owner Abu Zuhair says that’s wrong.

“This should not be a money issue,” he says in Arabic. “It should be a way for the religious establishment to help poor people.”

See the rest of Kelly McEvers’s story at NPR.org.

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