Ham, Haram, and Hate Crime

H/T to the Grit and his irrespressive urge to get a fatwa for this story about a middle school student in Maine being investigated for a hate crime. The story is also covered in the local press here.

The reponse seems a bit over the top. In that the student intended to offend Somali students by putting a ham sandwich on their table, I think he should be punished. I don’t think it was appropriate to attack someone’s religious sensibilities regardless of how bizarre they are.

But how bizzare are they? Islam runs along rather broad spectrum when it come to beliefs. On one end of it, you can understand way the late Church Fathers saw Islam as just a really bad heresy rather than a new religion, sort of a Middle Eastern version of Mormonism or Oneness Pentecostalism. On the other end, it’s just plain crazy. That’s the official theological term for it.

One of the victims, whose mother didn’t want his name released, said “we didn’t know what was in this bag. One of my friends reached inside it. It was a big ham steak. There were five of us at the table, all Somali. Right then, I could feel allah condemning me to burn for eternity for being within a 6.2 meter radius of ham, so yeah, it was a hate crime.”

I think he missed the lessons at the madrassah about the Compassionate, Creator God. I mean, I teach Islam for a living – admittedly on a basic level – and I have never seen proximity to meat (or anything forbidden – called haram) as being an immediate ticket to hell. What is with the 6.2 meter thing? I’ve got to go check the Qur’an again.

It brings to mind the words of Melvin Udall in As Good as It Gets.

But here’s another thing: “we didn’t know what was in the bag” and from elsewhere in the article, “That ham sandwich in a bag where we couldn’t even see”. So what are you doing going in the bag? Come on people, put on your thinking caps. Someone leaves a brown bag on your table. He’s white. White people eat pork. The most popular sandwich meat? Ham. If you’re worried about touching something haram, it’s probably going to be in that lunch. I would just assume he didn’t get his sandwich filling from the local halal butcher.

But let’s look at the 6.2 meter thing again. That’s 20.3 feet in real money. They are in a public school cafeteria. Do they stay at least 20 feet away from the serving line and from any students eating pork? Why do I know this is a problem? I checked the menu for the Lewiston Middle School Cafeteria. Today they had Mini Corn Dogs (unclean meat by a lot of standards) and Ham Italian. In fact, whatever else they have, they have Ham Italian every day. So every day the Somalis are within 20 feet of a student eating off a plastic tray, they should feel Allah condemning them to burn for eternity.

And are the students carrying sandwiches from home required to store their food away from any Somalis? If they carry their lunch with them during the day, or if they put it in their locker located with 20 feet of a Somali’s locker and the Somali visits his locker between classes, once again he is condemned to burn for eternity.

This is a school that is both intentionally and negligently bringing Somali students into proximity with pork. Surely the Somalis can bring a lawsuit against the Lewiston Public Schools. If they are going to be politically correct – and wouldn’t we expect anything less from Maine – they must immediately ban all pork from the school. All other meat needs to be purchased only from halal butchers. Any meat not killed in the name of Allah is just as haram as pork.

Then they need to bring the Maine Revised Statutes into line with Sharia.

Did I mention Melvin Udall in As Good as It Gets?

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3 Responses to Ham, Haram, and Hate Crime

  1. the Grit says:

    Hi David,

    Good one!

    the Grit

  2. Elizabeth says:

    A Hate crime ?

    Does this mean that supermarkets who stock pork products and also non-Halal meats are actively promoting hate crimes too ?
    What if I barbecue pork chops in my back garden, and the smoke drifts over the garden wall – if my neighbours are Jewish or Muslim, is this a hate crime too ?

    Why don`t we just ban all pork products and non-Halal meat while we are at it…….

  3. the Grit says:

    Hi E,

    That, I suspect, is the eventual goal.

    the Grit

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