Adult music is forbidden in Islam

Guest column - Hello halal - but where's the moral

Hello halal - but where's the moral

A guest column on companies discovering Muslims as consumers

So now we've been discovered. We are the growing target group, the economic trend of the future, the x-factor for new sales markets. While some are gripped by sheer horror in the growth forecast, the prospect of a growing customer segment makes economic analysts and investors shine.

We are talking about the increasing number of Muslims worldwide, in Europe and also here in Switzerland. The "NZZ am Sonntag" has published a detailed background article on this. For once, the themed freighter "Islam" is not groaning under the threat of terrorism and Islamism on stormy seas, but instead, heavily loaded with containers, sets off to quickly delight the new clientele with consumer goods.

Anyone who wants to make coal in the future cannot ignore us consumer-hungry, affluent Muslims. Especially not about us Muslim women. Especially the young, well-educated among us, like the rest of the well-fed world, want to indulge in consumerism - but only if it bears the Halal label.

Halal means “permitted” and, if something is not harmful to health and morals, becomes an Islamic seal of approval for both behavior and goods. For the financial services sector, for example, it means that there is no investment in gambling, prostitution or alcohol.

Speculative transactions and interest payments are prohibited. So much for the theory, which in practice has long been a growing and lucrative business. Most of all, Muslims in Europe want to eat halal. In other words: There is great demand for meat from animals that are slaughtered according to the Islamic rite.

Just: In times of global warming, questionable factory farming, cruel animal transports and industrial slaughter, shouldn't halal be taken a lot further? Can it be right and good to eat meat and kill animals when our need for food can be best met by other means?

Is the consumption of meat really harmless to health for animals and humans after the use of antibiotics and other drugs in animal feed? Shouldn't at least the meat be organically and regionally produced, does it want to receive the Halal seal of approval? Similar questions also arise in the growing fashion market. “Islamic fashion” means first and foremost: The woman wears a hijab, or headscarf, and does not show skin but fabric.

Whether this was really bought under halal conditions, i.e. with fair wages, and produced under healthy and humane conditions, remains uncertain and also unlikely.

“Shop till you drop” seems halal - at least if you don't skip the compulsory prayers on the shopping tour. I don't know whether the stylish girlies, wearing Gucci sunglasses and perfectly made up with halal cosmetics, pull it off.

I don't care either. Because it is a question of conscience and a matter for every single person. What I think is questionable, however, is the emptying of the content of the halal term, which is becoming a pure marketing instrument. So it can happen that a Muslim woman can be photographed for the «Playboy». Of course, she doesn't pose naked, just in a tight shirt and black leather jacket, lascivious and with a red kissable mouth - but with a hijab. Hooray!