Halifax MLA mistakenly gives non-halal hotdogs to Muslim group
Published Wednesday, August 20, 2014 8:03PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 20, 2014 11:29PM EDT
A Halifax member of the legislative assembly is apologizing over a hotdog debacle that has many in the Muslim community shaking their heads.
At a weekend barbecue, Patricia Arab told a group that the food she was serving was halal -- permissible for Muslims to consume.
Arab, having apparently been misled about halal requirements, thought saying a prayer over the chicken wieners would be sufficient.
“For me it is a big deal,” said Imam Ibrahim Al-shanti. “I'm sure it's not her intention to make fun of it, but it looks like that.”
Al-shanti, a founder of the United Muslims of Halifax, said he’s been receiving complaints from the community about the Liberal MLA’s actions. But Arab insists her heart was in the right place.
“My intentions -- and those of the organizers -- were based solely on good faith and respect for Muslim values and beliefs,” Arab said in a written statement. “I in no way meant to offend anyone or diminish the sanctity of Halal.”
“I have reached out to members of the Muslim Community to apologize for my role in this misunderstanding."
Arab’s interpretation of halal was loosely based on truth -- under Islamic law, a prayer does need to be said as the animal is killed. But there are several other specific requirements, said Al-shanti.
“You have to slaughter it by hand, and leave their blood to drain out,” he said.
In a city with a Muslim population of about 20,000, Al-shanti said a provincial politician should know better. But it shouldn’t be a problem for those who ate the meat, he said.
“It’s not a big sin if they don’t know, if it’s not intentional.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell