McDonald's Faces Boycott Threats On Twitter For Serving Halal Meat In India


McDonald's menu in India has no beef or pork products, serving instead a range of vegetarian options as well as chicken and fish.

But after the global fast food chain revealed that its restaurants in India are all halal certified, many people in the country who are mostly Hindus, started questioning McDonald's and angered by this decision.

"All our restaurants have HALAL certificates. You can ask the respective restaurant Managers to show you the certificate for your satisfaction and confirmation," said the fast-food company, when answering a user's inquiry that asked whether "McDonald’s India was halal certified?".

This followed by a series of rage by many people on Twitter, who called for a boycott of the U.S. fast food chain, with the hashtag #BoycottMcDonalds trending in India.

Some activists in the country said this was yet another instance of right-wing Hindu groups finding an opportunity to attack Muslims.

The Arabic word "halal" means permissible and, in relation to food, refers to meat and meat-containing products that are prepared on the basis of Islamic law, and doesn't involve stunning.

Stunning is prohibited in the Islamic faith, according to the Halal Food Authority (HFA), a non-profit organisation that monitors adherence to halal principles. .

According to an angered user, "This is a blatant and intentional assault on Hindu beliefs. India is 80% Hindu, and there 4% Jain, Sikhs & Buddhists in addition to it. But, McDonald's had betrayed all these 84% people just to appease the 14% Muslims.

"It's time people of all Indian Religions #BoycottMcDonalds," he added.

Many Twitter users were also angered by McDonald's that chose halal food, instead of accepting the "jhatka" method, another form of animal slaughter in which the animal's head is severed in a single blow.

"McDonald's can't force halal meat upon a vast section of Hindus who eat jhatka," said another angered user.

"Their sensitivities can't be ignored. If McDonald's can keep in consideration the sensitivities of a particular group, why is it ignoring the others?" said Vishnu Gupta, national president of Hindu Sena - a right-wing group. "If Mcdonald's doesn't change its policy, and start serving both halal and jhatka in its outlets across India, soon our men will protest against the food chain on streets."

Some however, concluded that this was yet another instance of right-wing Hindu groups finding an opportunity to attack Muslims.

The campaign is like suggesting India as a place not for Muslims and any of their Islamic rituals.

"It is an absolutely Islamophobic atmosphere which is existing in India now and each and every occasion is used by right-wing Hindus to attack Muslims," said Shabnam Hashmi, an activist based in New Delhi, to Al-Jazeera.

"It's the extreme right asserting themselves to convert India into a Hindu nation."

Nishita Sood from Delhi said that this campaign is nothing but a form of prejudice and bigotry against Muslims, suggesting that, "The entire nation is suffering from it. They are just making an issue out of a non-issue because of their hatred."

McDonald's is not the first company that has faced anger from right-wing Hindu groups in India for serving halal meat. IndiGo the Indian low-cost airline for example, faced an online campaign threatening boycott for serving halal meat on its flights.

Another case was when a man refused to receive food delivered by a Muslim driver from Zomato. Following this issue, Zomato India said that food does not have a religion. It is a religion.