"I know that the imams think we shouldn't eat chicken, but the shops say that the chickens are halal-slaughtered. Then people are just confused. I think about this deep down, but didn't stop eating chicken," says Atef Kassabi who came in to Grønland for shopping.
He isn't the only Muslim at a loss. After the ban against eating chickens appeared in July, it has been a subject of conflict in the Muslim community. The head of the Islamic Council of Norway (IRN) together with over 25 imams signed a declarations that chickens in Norway and Sweden are not being slaughtered in the Islamic manner.
A minority of imams did not sign the declaration. They think it is ok to eat chicken.
Many Muslims refuse to listen to the IRN.
"When the imams said that people can't sell or eat chicken, they had all been warned. Those who don't follow the ban, sin. But people decide on their own," says imam Syed Ikram Shah Jilani of the World Islamic Mission to Aften
Before an animal is slaughtered in the Islamic manner it must be alive when the aorta is cut.
In May this year Mattilsynet (Norwegian Food Safety Authority) inspected 400 chickens who were slaughted by Nortura Elverum's slaughter house to find out if the chickens were alive after they were stunned with gas. The inspections took place four times and it showed that 93-99% of the chickens lived after the stunning. the imams base their ban on this and other similar checks.
Iltaf Hussain has slaughtered halal for 25 years. He doesn't agree with the imams. Monday he got 13,000 chickens that he will sell marked as halal from his shop in Tøyen. He says the slaughterhouse sifts out chickens that weren't alive during slaughter and that he vouches that they do a thorough job. "I will never sell chicken if I wasn't certain that they are halal," says Hussain decidedly.
Jews are also not allowed to eat animals which have been killed before slaughter. Anne Sender, head of the Jewish community says that the community had no chicken from 2003 to 2006. They got a big consignment from the US last year, but it will soon be finished.
Source: Aftenposten (Norwegian)
See also: Norway: Islamic Council halal concerns