Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The "Quick Halal" Affair

Oy vay iz mir. Now we've got a new national identity issue: can Quick serve only halal hamburgers? Which tenet of secular republicanism does this violate? And how did the Caisse des Dépôts and Marine Le Pen get mixed up in the affair? Read it and weep.

20 comments:

satchmo said...

I saw a headline about this a few hours ago but didn't read the article, thinking it was *merely* a joke, instead of a real action on the part of the joke that is the FN.

Insert kosher hot dog joke here....

MYOS said...

Pretty good recap here:
http://eco.rue89.com/2010/02/16/quick-a-t-il-raison-de-bannir-le-porc-de-ses-restaurants-halal-138839

At first I thought that ALL quick restaurants in Roubaix refused to serve "hamburgers with bacon" but apparently only a handful do. Sure it's an inconvenience if you want the bacon hamburger and have no car, but Marine Le Pen must be desperate to ride that wave. On the other hand, people may actually fall for "Sarkozy is pushing forced islamization upon France" (I hope I translate correctly.)
For a rebuttal, see Eco89 above.

MYOS said...

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2010/02/17/quick-teste-les-hamburgers-halal-dans-huit-restaurants_1307527_3224.html

Unknown said...

What we have to do to gather a quick vote!!!

Passerby said...

Quick decided to run an experiment and have a few restaurants, some in Roubaix, serve only halal burgers.
It's a simple story. halal meat tastes the same as regular meat. Quick probably intended to test the inconvenience of not serving bacon.

(Personal preference disclaimer: I like bacon, but don't live in Roubaix and never ever go to Quick).

However, I'm not suprised at all that the FN is making noise around this story. For one, times are tough and they need all the publicity they can get.
But more importantly this is a perfect example of what the FN has been claiming from the start: the aliens are in the country in great numbers and destroying French values.
They're not making a fuss about a neighborhood muslim restaurant serving halal meat. They are saying: see the 2nd largest burger-chain in France is considering taking pork out of the menu and serving muslim food only.
From a FN stands-point this is priceless. With little efforts they can prove their point:
1. There are too many (muslim) aliens
2. Not only are they rejecting republican values, they are imposing their beliefs on the general population.


Marine, like her father, is an acute populist. I find it nteresting that she felt the need to come-up with a state conspiration theory crazier than a X-file scenario.
The story in itself had enough "meat" to make her point politically. To me, the fact that she tries to blame the government shows how much she fears "la droite décomplexée" and feels that she cannot just get voters just by blaming "les arabes & les noirs".

Passerby said...

Articles & comments keep appearing on the internet on this Quick "affair".

According to Bondy Blog, to get the halal label, the halal food cannot be near non-halal food.
Hence the impossibility for Quick to sell both halal and bacon burgers.


http://yahoo.bondyblog.fr/static/quick-halal-succes-et-polemique.html

Unknown said...

salut passerby!

Unknown said...

does any large fast food company in the US serve halal food?
and i am not talking about food based on cultural habits. does any big US company cater to a religion?
don't yous think the uproar would be similar if it was the case?

FRANCIS said...

Malika Sorel, Algerian-born french citizen, writes "les Français accepteraient-ils l’idée que la viande qui leur est servie dans un restaurant soit préalablement bénie par un prêtre ? Je crois que notre pays glisse lentement mais sûrement vers la folie. Il est plus que temps de le ramener à la raison !"
http://puzzledelintegration.blogspirit.com/archive/2010/02/18/pele-mele.html

brent said...

I don't know of any 'large fast food companies' that serve Halal in the US but there are lots of small operations that do, and lots more that sell kosher (in France we're not talking about a whole big chain--just eight outlets). And no, to my knowledge no one makes a big deal about the 'exclusionary' nature of kosher and halal restaurants in the US, or the large food company Manischewitz the 'caters to a religion', and frankly most Americans would consider it idiotic---and flat-out racist-- if they did. Which is to say, sadly, yes, France seems to have a widespread problem with Islamophobia, and it's not just Marine LePen but a Socialist mayor and apparently a large cross-section of the population, whose attitude toward the Muslims in their midst is starting to look a lot like Vichy redux.

Unknown said...

brent, i am talking of a chain on the level of burger king or wendy's. do you really think there would be not reactions in the us if they went halal?
manischewitz has nothing to do with a major chain that caters to the whole public
and long live ethnic restaurants
in the case of france, it is a religion dictating what is to be served, and in this case a company anticipating a market based on a religion which is even worse
quick is not the first fast food chain to do so:
http://eco.rue89.com/2010/02/05/kfc-affirme-que-son-poulet-est-halal-mais-ne-convainc-pas-137050

Unknown said...

Windsor67, I just went to my pantry and took down, at random, an item from my shelves: Trader Joe's Albacore Tuna. On the can you will find a discreet label, Pareve, meaning it contains neither meat nor dairy products and can therefore be eaten with either meat or dairy by Jews who keep kosher. This has been a standard practice in the US for years, and you can find labels like this on products from all the major food chains.

Unknown said...

and what about the gelatin that is found inthe Quick breads and sauces? they contain gelatin, pork based gelatin. that halal affair is just hypocrisy

Anonymous said...

Brent, did you even bother to read windsor's post?

I suggest you read through his arguments before spewing Francophobic drivel (the reference to Vichy is a red flag).

Unknown said...

arthur
i am not talking about brand names
but about a fast food chain
can you imagine KFC going 100% halal in the US as it is in france?

Anonymous said...

In reply to Windsor67, I would say that if KFC thought it could make more money by going 100% kosher or halal in the US, then it would do so. Big deal. Someone else would rapidly come in to cater to customers who objected.

As for the Quick affair, the most intriguing aspect for me is the one on which no one has commented -- viz, that a debate over French culture and identity, and Republican values, is now fixed on the availability of a bacon cheeseburger (long one of the classics of French cuisine, as we all know) at a fast-food outlet.

Did we pass Through the Looking Glass at some point recently?

(TexExile posting as anonymous because -- once again -- my computer will not let me on with my identity...)

Unknown said...

I agree with Tex and with Brent: the obsession with Islam in certain French quarters has reached the point where reason has been abandoned. And I am no francophobe.

brent said...

I remain puzzled that Windsor67 keeps referring to 'a large chain going halal' when Quick is test marketing in EIGHT of its 360 or so chains. While it seems unlikely to me that Burger King will suddenly 'go halal,' I would be surprised if it WASN'T considering a similar market test in a few of its Detroit outlets, say. And the fact is that this would cause no scandal whatsoever in the US, where cultural particularities, including religion-based ones, enjoy a different level of respect than in France. To say so is not 'francophobic drivel' but an attempt at cross-cultural criticism. I hope my Vichy reference is hyperbolic, but as I watch every national party (except my friends at NPA) jump on the anti-Islamic bandwagon, I'm (sadly, but sincerely) not so sure.

Passerby said...

19 posts (and counting) in 2 days.
This is clearly a polarizing issue. Which proves that the FN was spot-on.


@Brent: what Windsor & myself meant is that regardless of the number outlets (which as I pointed out as well, are ONLY 8; out of 324), when a big chain makes this kind of move the impact on public opinion is much larger.

If we were talking about "Ali's Burger" in Roubaix very few would care. But when you mention Quick or McDo, people think: "Hey I have one next door. How much time before Quick decides that this restaurant need to go halal as well?"
In 95% of the cases the answer is "never, as the demand doesn't meet the offer".

Similarly, it's easy to think: "what if one day I'm in Roubaix and I want to enjoy a Quick Bacon burger?"
Once again, the probability of this happening is almost null, but I think most people can project themselves better if it's a brand name they know.

MYOS said...

Tellingly :
"Luc Chatel a pour sa part indiqué qu'il n'était "pas un fana du communautarisme". "Je respecte les traditions, y compris alimentaires, de toutes les communautés mais je pense que la société française, son histoire, sa culture, ça n'est pas le communautarisme"
AND
the same Luc Chatel is cutting out "the moslem world" and aspects of inter-mediterranean ties in the late middle ages from, respectively, geography and history syllabi at the lycee level.