Bloggers Call For Boycott Of Campbell's Halal Soups
WASHINGTON: Here something to stew over: Campbell’s Canadian-made tomato soup has become radicalized and is linked to terrorists, or at least, that’s what some whacky US conservative bloggers would like you to believe.
Campbell’s soup, a staple of pantries for over 100 years, has released a “Halal-certified” line of soups hat allow Muslims to consume the products according to Islamic dietary laws.
Islamophobes are now frantically calling it a “Muslim takeover.”
Pamela Geller, who has gained notoriety through her widely read anti-Muslim site called Atlas Shrugs, is calling for a boycott of some 15 soups made by the Canadian subsidiary of New Jersey-based Campbell Soup Co.
These soups, sold strictly in Canada, are certified by the Islamic Society of North America ISNA, which has been certifying halal foods since 1988.
But Geller, who gained fame by whipping up opposition to an Islamic community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, is adept at keeping herself in the news. She claims ISNA has ties to terrorist groups, including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
A number of extremist conservative groups, including JihadWatch.org, have joined Geller’s call for the soup boycott.
What seems to be lost in the American blogosphere is the fact that Campbell’s halal soups are not offered in the US, and the company says it is not in their plans.
Campbell Co. of Canada introduced the soups in a few Canadian markets in January, although American bloggers didn’t catch up to the news until earlier this month. Campbell’s site is available at: http://www.campbellsoup.ca/en/products/health.asp?label=halal.
The company says ISNA was selected after consultations with professionals in the field of Islamic foods and nutrition, and with Islamic scholars.
“This boycott is a product of the growing ‘Islamophobia machine’ that seeks to demonize Islam and marginalize Muslims in North America and worldwide,” Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, told Arab News.
“Pamela Geller, the person behind the boycott, is the leader of the anti-Muslim hate group ‘Stop the Islamization of America, or SIOA. SIOA is an outgrowth of a similar group in Europe that seeks to block the construction of mosques on that continent.
“Geller is notorious for actions such as posting a video on her personal website that claimed… Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by Islam… Geller once called for the destruction of Islam’s Dome of Rock in Jerusalem,” said Awad.
ISNA has denied any ties to Hamas and has specifically condemned religious extremism and violence.
In an interview in Sunday’s Washington Post, Geller said she has no objection to the halal certification itself. Rather, she said, she opposes Campbell’s decision to have its Canadian products certified by ISNA, an organization that government prosecutors alleged had ties to Hamas in a 2007 conspiracy case.
In its ads for the halal soups, Campbell calls ISNA “the largest nonprofit, religious, educational, and non-political Islamic organization in North America.” Campbell investigated ISNA’s background and found “no issues of concern,” said a company spokesperson who said the group was referred to Campbell by a Canadian trade organization whose member companies have used ISNA for their halal certification for years.
As for the impact the boycott calls have had on Campbell’s soup business, the company says it has not noticed any effect on its sales.
By BARBARA FERGUSON