Pamela Geller, anti-Muslim blogger extraordinaire, sounded the alarm today over the latest “Islamization of America” outrage.  She discovered that Butterball whole turkeys are certified halal, and in this she sees the latest example of “stealth” infiltration of Islam into all things American (read: non-Muslim). This Thanksgiving, she frets, the jihad starts with what's on your table.

She called on good Americans (read: non-Muslims) everywhere to take a stand against the halal turkeys (which may, after all, be stuffed with sharia instead of gizzards.)

Boycott Butterball, she wrote, because:

Turkeys that are halal certified — who wants that, especially on a day on which we are giving thanks to G-d for our freedom?


Oh the ironies that riddle her blog post!

Irony #1: Although Geller uses “G-d,” the traditional Jewish way of spelling the name of the Almighty, she seems unaware of how similar kosher, the traditional Jewish way of preparing food, is to halal. She protests what she calls the cruelty of halal slaughter:

Halal slaughter involves cutting the trachea, the esophagus, and the jugular vein, and letting the blood drain out…

From a description of kosher slaughter:

The procedure consists of a rapid and expert transverse incision with an instrument of surgical sharpness (a chalaf), which severs the major structures and vessels at the neck. See here for more details.

Irony #2: She calls Thanksgiving a great holiday celebrating our freedom and asserts that the way turkeys are slaughtered matters:

Halal turkey, slaughtered according to the rules of Islamic law, is just the opposite of what Thanksgiving represents: freedom and inclusiveness, neither of which are allowed for under that same Islamic law.

So Geller is using the Thanksgiving turkey as a symbol of what she perceives as a free and inclusive America.  There  are generations of native Americans stretching back to the first Thanksgiving who might have a different perspective.  The turkey they shared with the pilgrims was, unlike the halal Butterball, symbolic of values that actually did destroy a civilization.

Irony #3: The halal certification that prompted her rant may not actually reflect Islamically correct slaughter.  I confirmed with a Butterball consumer affairs representative (as did one of Geller's readers) that their “whole turkeys are halal.”  I pursued the issue by asking if that meant their turkeys are slaughtered individually following Islamic guidelines, beginning with saying Bismillah over them.

I have not been able to get a response to this question, despite trying throughout this afternoon and evening through Butterball's consumer affairs department and media relations representatives.

I would love to be told that mass-produced poultry are slaughtered humanely, but I find it impossible to believe.  Meat production is about making money, and doing individual slaughtering with care and attention, as Islamic law requires, is not the way to minimize costs.

Perhaps there is confusion between halal and dhabiha (zabihah).  It's strange that they emphasize that whole turkeys are halal.  What happens when they chop the turkey up that makes it haram?  Do they spray it with bacon grease?  Unless they tell us, we can't know.

Bottom line: if Americans can't bear the thought of putting something labeled halal in their mouths, their best bet is to stick with ham – a meat guaranteed to be free of Islamic influence, stealthy or otherwise.

61 Responses

    • DustonB

      I agree Nihal, she never has been the same since that house dropped on her sister.

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  1. Laura Jackson

    Subhan’Allah! This was such a great read! So humorous, informative, yet unpretentious and empathetic to that poor lost woman PGeller. I laughed so good… Jazakallahu Khair for all you do. Sr. Laura

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  2. Lane

    Thanksgiving has nothing to do with freedom. It was more of a pact or some form of resolution between the pilgrims and the natives at the time to make it seem they were getting together and able to sit as one at the same table. You look at history after words well then you will see that the natives were a temporary guest yet to be deceived. Also that lady doesn’t have any knowledge like most people who attack islam and critic . There level of understanding is merely little to none. As for muslims we shouldn’t be bothered by this cause we know what is right . They don’t want Halal fine. Go eat you mass produced foods that have numerous mounts of preservatives and bi products that have nothing to do with it. I guess living a life style too a moral and ethnic standard is offending these days. They will find anything too open there mouths about Islam even if it makes them look stupid which most of it does. Taking ayats out of context and bending them too there will. There loss our gain. Inshallah brothers and sisters in Islam be safe and guard yourself and your dean from deception and useless arguments aimed at attracting the side that we all try too contain . Just be sober and smile cause its Sunnah. Salaam wa alaikum

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  3. Abdullah

    As Salaam Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    Pam is not just a loon but she is also representative of mainstream American thinking. For example, Herman Cain’s offensive comments towards the Muslims have not harmed his position in the GOP polls.

    These type of people do not care about the details. The headline is what is important. Because of her rant hundreds if not thousands of people are going to believe butterball is trying to spread Islamic law.

    The Muslims so far have inadequately addressed this growing problem. In the first place, we wrongly think that the anti-Muslim crowd are on the fringes of society. Lastly, we pander. When pandering fails, we pander some more.

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    • chuck hird

      Abdullah, Don’t you think you are going a might bit too far when you say the mainstream of American opinion would believe the Butterball turkey is spreading Sharia. This is absurd. You are right on by referring to P. Geller as a loon. It doesn’t surprise me that Geller might believe. I also have a hard time believing a Butterball turkey is Halal.

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      • Abdullah

        Hello Chuck,

        I didn’t say that mainstream America would believe that Butterball is spreading Shariah. I said “hundreds if not thousands”, which I feel is a good estimation of the direct influence Pamela Geller has.

        Thanks for responding to my comment.

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      • chuck hird

        I stand corrected. I should have read more carefully. Yes, probably thousands would.

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  4. Abu Sumaiyah

    Kosher is not all similar to halal. For example, jews cant eat shrimp, Muslims can. Also, Jews cant eat a beef sandwich with a glass of milk. They cant cook beef in the same pot as chicken, and so forth. Also, they cant use electricity on Saturday. Also, the jews have kosher wine.

    Really, kosher is extremely different.

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    • mimi

      Salam,

      The author was comparing the kosher and halal slaughter of animals only.

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  5. Apricot

    I agree with the last point. If they don’t like the halal turkeys, they should just eat ham. No Muslim influence there, for sure. LOL.

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  6. umm omar

    Sooo, I’m guessing she WON’T be participating in Thanksgiving this year?

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  7. Moe

    Dang “Moslems” trying to ruin our holidays by making us eat animals who were slaughtered with dignity! >:(

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  8. Mina

    Are we even supposed to celebrate thanksgiving since it’s not an Islamic holiday?

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    • Sister

      No sister . We only have eidhul fitr, eidhul adh-ha and jumua’a. Everything else is not part of our deen and should be avoided

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      • mimi

        I see thanksgiving as a cultural event. This tradition started because people had a harvest time before the winter and in order to be thankful to God for the harvest, they had a nice dinner with family and friends. That said, I agree that as Muslims we have two prescribed festivals for celebration. But, if you are invited by a close friend or family member to a thanksgiving dinner , I don’t see the harm in attending a dinner to thank Allah for the harvest this season. Allah (S.W.T.) knows best.

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  9. Farhan

    How is it Stealth Halal Turkey if it says so on the package? I mean, stealth halal fish I can understand, MAYBE stealth beef. But Turkeys are pretty loud.

    Either way, as a person of Pakistani heritage, this Thanksgiving I plan on making peace with the Indians.

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    • Ruth Nasrullah

      Actually, I think they’re not labeled halal, and that is why Ms. Geller sees this as a “stealth” method of forcing Islam down Americans’ throats (pun intended).

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    • greentea

      Gellar calls it stealth coz her fan base is mostly illiterate Anti-Islam folks who can’t read labels.

      *slightly edited – Comments Team*

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  10. Umm Qamar

    This is ridiculous. Why should we be so concerned whether the turkeys are Halal or not. No disrespect to the author of this post, I actually enjoyed reading it. However Muslims shouldn’t be concerning themselves with Thanksgiving or any of it’s trimmings. According to the Gregorian calendar you have 364 other days to worry about whether the turkey you’re buying is Halal or not. Similar to what the author said you can go ahead and assume that no one has said Bismillah before properly slaughtering the meat from your local grocery store anyways. I just wanted to bring attention to the fact that the Prophet(saw) never celebrated any Kufar holidays regardless of how innocent they seem and neither should we.
    Salaams and love to everyone
    SN: Protect your deen!

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    • Ruth Nasrullah

      Jazak Allah khair for your response.

      The main issue as I see it (and hopefully this came through in the post) is Geller’s assertion that unlabeled “halal meat” is part of a conspiracy to “Islamize” America.

      At this point I see no reason to believe that Butterball slaughters turkeys according to Islamic guidelines – so unless they have a different meaning of “halal” they are lying. But in the end it doesn’t matter if they do or don’t. It’s the message Geller is sending that matters.

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  11. Robin

    I also called Butterball and got a nice gentleman on the other side. After calling the two largest halal certification orgs here to find out if they certified Butterball turkeys as halal and being told no, I asked the Butterball representative if he could tell me which halal certification org certified their turkeys. He got back to me after about two minutes and told me no one knew, took my phone number and said someone would call be back within an “unspecified time frame”. If you look at Butterball international website it clearly says their turkeys are RUSSIAN (have no clue what this is) and halal certified. Butterball sells their product in several Muslim countries. Now, the website does NOT say if they have turkey farms in those countries or if they are shipped there frozen from here. It would be 100% understandable if they did have farms there and TRUE halal slaughtering practices were taking place at their slaughtering plant. I have a bit of a problem thinking that all the turkeys slaughtered HERE at the Butterball plants are slaughtered in TRUE halal method. Butterball also does not place a halal certification logo on their turkeys here. Looking at USDA guidelines for turkey slaughtering, they are supposed to be stunned first and then their throats slit for bleeding. The throat slitting and bleeding is done by EVERYONE who slaughters a turkey! Remember the infamous video clip of Sara Palin with the turkey being slaughtered behind her? I was told they are aware of the boycott being called and it had “gone up to the corporate office” and a statement would soon be made. This whole thing is BEYOND ridiculous! I am waiting for the “stealth jihad turkey” to fly low through my kitchen window, jump into my oven and blow up ms whack job gellar. Happy Thanksgiving to all, ms. gellar is celebrating “freedom” all right, the “freedom” to continue to be an IGNORANT hate mongerer.

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  12. Abu Muhammad

    I think we as Muslims should go on their websites,blogs, Facebooks accounts and not let them off that easily. I agree with Winston Churchill quote below:

    “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

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  13. Shakeel

    Can someone give a little more clarification that Butterball Turkeys are halal.Than i and other Muslims can go to the local supermarket and buy it.

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  14. Umm Sulaim

    I was having dinner while reading this and there was no turkey on the menu; I lost my appetite.

    Now I feel like eating turkey, not with a full belly I won’t.

    Umm Sulaim

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  15. naila

    assalam u alaikum

    instead of putting our heads on this un wanted topic its better to ignore it …..evry time they will try to play new things …but they dnt know Allah swt is the best planner

    just dnt involved with any kuffar festivals like our beloved prophet said ..for us every day is thanks giveing day to Allah swt we dnt need one single out day … inshallah

    jazakallah khairan

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    • Ruth Nasrullah

      Walaikum asalaam. I don’t think we can ignore the ammunition the Islamophobes use to marginalize Muslims or create false fear. Throughout the country attempts are being made to make Islamic practices illegal – literally illegal.

      I would argue that what aspect of American culture we accept or reject is a different issue than what one of the “misinformation experts” tell the public.

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  16. Robin

    I called the plant in Arkansas Shakeel thinking they would know directly which halal certification org certifies their turkeys The (again) very nice woman said they don’t have the name and referred me back to the customer service line I called yesterday. They still don’t have it either and a second request for my name and number was taken to be given to corporate to answer my question. Someone in the media with a valid press card should try calling to get it. CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, or ICNA could probably also get a better response to the question I would think. Butterball does claim their turkeys are halal certified on their international website.

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  17. Leo

    Please forgive my ignorance but what is the difference between zabiha and halal?

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    • Rasheed

      Halal is a fiqh term; halal basically means “permissible.”

      Zabihah is when the animal is slaughtered in accordance to the guidelines. i.e. say bismillah, cut at the throat to make the death painless, and other points.

      Some Muslims eat zabihah-only meat, which makes non-zabihah meat haram.

      Some Muslims believe Americans are people of the book and will buy non-zabihah meat. Doesn’t make the meat haram necessarily, because there is a difference of opinion on zabihah vs non-zabihah meat.

      For accuracy sake, and to prevent arguments, I think it’s best to just say “zabihah” meat when referring to the animal slaughtered in accordance with the guidelines.

      More info from here:

      http://www.differencebetween.net/object/comparisons-of-food-items/difference-between-zabiha-and-halal/

      Allahualam

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      • Zaif

        Just to add to Rasheed explanation, there is an organization that started a few years ago called Halal Advocates that inspect and certifies slaughtered animals in accordance with the Sharia. All American Muslims should check out their website halaladvocates.org as they clearly defined halal versus dzabiha issue.

        Wassalam

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    • Ayda from down under

      salams us muslims in Australia are also having the same problem..many mass chicken suppliers are claiming that they are halal but are not. muslims worldwide have to stand up to these lies in tgheir countries. hand slaughtered meat by a muslim butcher is the best way to go guys. alhumdullillah here in oz we have that. stand up and be heard brothers and sisters.

      salams

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  18. Ruth Nasrullah

    Just spoke to yet another person at Butterball’s customer affairs line. He said he doesn’t know the details but that apparently last year someone came into the plant and saw that their methods were “in concordance” with halal methods and they just had to do some paperwork or something (to quote him) to be able to sell their turkeys as halal. I once again left my name and number asking someone to contact me who knows the details.

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    • ummMaryam

      salamu ‘alaykum,

      please see the below very alarming you tube link of only a few minutes. it’s a clip from bbc of what is injected into chicken (yes, gasp, from pigs). seeing all the replies to your posts from ppl trying to contact the big chicken companies makes me think the issue in the U.S may be similar. ie, whole chickens are halal (vs haram with pigs) because they don’t inject pig byproducts, but cut up pieces like breasts have retained water and fillers from pigs. so, like the others, i highly doubt they are doing zabiha. anyway, see the clip and think twice about regular grocery store chicken unless you verify. we like to buy smart chicken. (that’s the brand) because we feel it is halal(no haram injections) and tayyib, and Allah knows best.

      this is happening in England.. Who knows where else it is happening?

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  19. Umm Abdullah

    Assalamu alaykum,

    Someone should point out to Ms. Geller that she’d better stop eating fruits and vegetables, breads and cakes (unless they’re made with lard), pasta, pizza (unless it’s got pepperoni), seafood, etc… and she’d better not drink any beverage except one with alcohol in it – no water, milk, tea coffee or fruit juice… otherwise, she’s eating and drinking something that’s HALAL!

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  20. Robin

    Hi again,
    To let you know I posted twice on the facebook page for Butterball asking them which certifier they used. The second time I was not only not answered (when the admin on the page was clearly logged on), my question was deleted. Now that I have read a clear definition given by Rasheed (Shukran Rasheed) of halal vs Zabihah halal I think it is very possible that the meat is halal as in USDA halal (permissable) but not Zabihah, the latter over which the Islamophobic uproar is being heard, that “Islamic prayers” were being said over the turkeys. (HORROR!!! As if swallowing any of the meat would make your head spin around and an exorcist be needed!!!!!)

    My conclusion, ALL turkeys have their throats cut and are bled out. This is the USDA ONLY approved method of slaughtering turkeys!!! http://www.fsis.usda.gov/pdf/psit_turkey.pdf

    Read, turkeys are stunned first, their throats are slit and they are bled. VOILA,

    AH HA!!!! Read this, export requirements to Egypt, scroll down and you’ll see the part about halal

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/egypt_requirements/index.asp

    See the part about “Islamic halal?” Uh oh, here’s the list of halal certified poultry plants for export to Egypt

    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/regulations/Egypt_Requirements_US_Plants_Halal/index.asp

    xport Requirements for Egypt: Attachment

    U.S. Poultry Plants approved for export of halal whole poultry to Egypt

    P – 7987
    Amick Farms, LLC
    2079 Batesburg Hwy.
    Batesburg, South Carolina

    P – 1249
    George’s Food LLC
    19992 Senedo Road
    Edinburg, Virginia 22824

    P – 32
    Mar Jac Poultry, Inc.
    P.O. Box 1017
    Gainesville, GA. 30503

    P – 18285
    Perdue Farms,Inc.
    2047 Highway 9 West
    Dillon, South Carolina 29536

    P – 2186
    Tyson Food
    501 N. Liberty St.
    Harrrisonburg, VA
    *************
    OH MY MY!!! Pammy better get busy! And that’s just the list for Egypt halal certified. I bet ya those Islamophobes may have eaten a chicken or two in need of exorcism without even knowing it! Meat products listed too!

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  21. Robin

    Look at the difference between the halal claim for Butterball and the halal claim for Tyson:

    http://www.zabihah.com/md.php?id=91

    Tyson Foods
    Headquarters: 2200 Don Tyson Parkway, Springdale, AR 72762
    14
    products
    Description: One of the largest producers of poultry, Tyson Foods is also one of the largest producers of Halal poultry for the international market and offers certified fresh, Halal poultry in the United States. Certification has been provided under the supervision of Hajj Habib Ghanim Senior, President of the Islamic Society of the Washington Area (ISWA).

    Name of the certifier given for Tyson. No name given for Butterball. Butterball says all their turkeys are halal. Tyson says they “offer certified fresh, Halal poultry”

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  22. Ibn Amjad

    Asalamu Alaykum

    JazakAllah Khair for this post, great read.

    Just a side note to my Muslim brothers & sisters:

    Yeah I too think it’s funny and I think Pammy is a character, but it’s also scary. Because what she’s doing in my opinion doesn’t fall under the category of “free speech,” rather it fall under the category of “hate speech.”

    This is hate speech and make no mistake about it. And this hate speech may only be growing. Allahu Alim.

    Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater is not free speech. Likewise, shouting “the evil Muslims this and the evil Muslims that” is not free speech. Just replace the word “Muslims” with “Jews or Blacks” — how would people in America react to that?

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    • Ruth Nasrullah

      Walaikum asalaam, Ibn Amjad. I agree with the sentiment of your post, and agree that this may be a growing trend, but I don’t think hate speech is unprotected by the first amendment. Only hateful speech that incites imminent violence can be considered illegal – like shouting fire in a crowded theater, it would have to be an immediate and obvious danger such as “kill those Muslims in this room right now.”

      I’m not an expert, but I’m not aware of any case in which hateful speech has been determined not to be protected under the constitution. I think we need to be extremely cautious in supporting limitations on freedom of speech – I fully support Geller’s right to say the things she does, and the constitution allows me complete freedom to disagree.

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  23. Shakeel

    Jazaakallaahu Khair! To all the helpful responses on proof of Butterballs’ Turkey being ZABIHA.

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  24. Robin

    http://video.msnbc.msn.com/the-rachel-maddow-show/45424172#45424172

    It seems the Rachel Maddow Show contacted Butterball who told them only the turkeys exported to certain countries are certified halal.

    There’s the answer, even though once the uproar began, all three separate Buterball reps I spoke to each told me their turkeys are all halal. I am concluding that Butterball handed this situation poorly and did not put out the memo to their reps as they should have. It was “fun” watching Pammy get all worked up though.

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  25. Shakeel

    Assalaamu Alaykum! I have been doing more research about the authenticity of Butterball processing Halal Tutkeys’ and i spoke to a supervisor of consumer affairs.He clearly explained to me that all Butterball Turkeys are processed the same as the Turkeys which are exported to Muslim countries. They are slaughtered according to Islamic requirements and are not required to put a label of halal certification on the Turkeys’ here in the U.S by the U.S.D.A. Again he clarified that the Turkeys’ are all slaughtered according to Islamic requirements. SO BISMILLAAH IM GOBBLING ON SOME TURKEY TONIGHT INSHAA ALLAAH,LOL(dont take offense i’m just being humerous my brothers and sisters. If you want to find out for yourself call Butterball and ask to speak to a supervisor.

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  26. abu jacob

    I confirmed with a Butterball higher-up. They meet Halal USDA Standards, meaning their turkeys are slaughtered with the physical method that would be used in a halal slaughter, but the slaughterers are not Muslim, nor do they pronounce any name/prayer over the animals.

    In fact, the main reason they do this is because they then ship the meat to 3rd party ‘Islamic’ distributors who then can per USDA standards label the meat halal and typically ship it overseas. This is the Brazil phenomenon: most meat in the Middle East is imported from Brazil with similarly shady standards on slaughter.

    Of course, imam shafi’ doesn’t require tasmiyyah as one of the wajibaat of halal slaughter, so this would sort of make animals ‘halal’ under some very lenient rulings, but it’s something to be aware of when you’re at the Haramain (don’t want dua to be rejected bc of impermissible meat in your system). I confirmed with every single major international chain (except Kudu- their meat is watiniyyah) recently that they get their meat from Brazil. No kidding.

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  27. Shakeel

    Assalaam. Br. Abu Jacob i appreciate your info but i was told by a Supervisor and informed that all the whole turkeys’ are slaughtered according to the Islamic requirements of Muslim countries which are supervised by Muslim organizations. Please give me some sources that i can do research on what you have written about Brazil etc.

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  28. Shakeel

    I did call and speak to a supervisor and was told the same as Br. Abu Jacob wrote he was told. Yesterday i was told different.So my conclusion is i cannot trust what their Reps say because they are double talking and saying they are Halal and then when you seek clarification you find out the opposite.May Allaah protect us from being deceived ameen.

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