Between Halal and the Secular in London

  • Johan Fischer
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


Outside Southeast Asia, London is emerging as a center for halal production, trade, and consumption. At the same time, the meaning and practices of halal are being transformed and contested. Paradoxically, in the eyes of many Muslims in Britain, this proliferation of halal calls attention to a form of impotent secular government, that is, in the eyes of some Malays, for example, “secular food” in Britain is a sign of the state’s unwillingness or incapacity to recognize the demands of religious consumers. Arguably, the frontiers of government should be “rolled forward” to protect consumers in the expanding halal market. In other words, the more the culture of Islamic consumption asserts itself and halal is globalized and delocalized as a religious market, the more the state’s incapacity to define what is legitimate halal and, thus, the unity of Islam is felt. Hence, modern and delocalized halal is pushing and challenging the frontier between “the secular” and secular government, on the one hand, and religion, on the other hand.


Muslim Woman Secular State Halal Exhibition Halal Food Muslim Group 
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© Johan Fischer 2011

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  • Johan Fischer

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