Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine flu: Is it Halal?

Ha! Our friend Tom Heneghan at FaithWorld points out that Swine flu, it seems, is not kosher in Israel. But then he wonders, is it halal in the Muslim world? Good question.

This is the story that prompted him to ask this question:

Our Jerusalem bureau had this interesting little story today about the swine flu outbreak:

Swine flu not kosher in Israel
JERUSALEM, April 27 (Reuters) - Swine flu? Not in the Jewish state.

“We will call it Mexico flu. We won’t call it swine flu,” Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, a black-garbed Orthodox Jew, told a news conference on Monday, assuring the Israeli public that authorities were prepared to handle any cases.

Under Jewish dietary laws, pigs are considered unclean and pork is forbidden food — although non-kosher meat is available in some stores in Israel.

If swine flu isn’t kosher, then it probably wouldn’t be halal either. So is swine flu being renamed anywhere in the Muslim world?

NB: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website advises: “You can not get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products.”

Well...I just checked both English (Dawn) and Urdu (Jang) newspapers in Pakistan - and they still seem to be swine. I haven't checked local newspapers in Swat - but then the Taliban probably don't believe in the germ-theory of disease to begin with :)

Any news, how it is being reported in other Muslim countries?

P.S. This is no joking matter. The WHO has raised its alert level and the death toll from the flu in Mexico is now 149.