The practice of political correctness may soon be tallying another casualty: the pig. Increasingly, as America and the rest of the Western world continue accommodating Muslim religious demands, pork food products are being singled out for removal from dining tables and pig-related trinkets banished from the desks of office workers.
If this continues, good ol’ American food, such as barbeque replete with hot dogs and ribs and the typical American breakfast of eggs, bacon and sausage, might be seen as the equivalent of political poison. Could outright censorship of pig depictions in drawings, pig references in literary works and pig portrayals in movies be far behind? Could the well-known, cartoon figure Porky Pig become a cultural embarrassment of our unenlightened past as we fear to utter the “P” word?
Though the notion may seem more appropriate for a comedy routine, an increasing number of pig-related incidents, accommodations and Muslim demands in recent years points to an uncertain future for our porcine friend and its place in our economy, culture and our culinary traditions.
In October of 2005, the United Kingdom, clearly further along on the road to dhimmitude due to its proportionally large and more radical Muslim population, banned piggybanks as promotional gifts from its banks. At about the same time, government social welfare offices called for the removal of all pig paraphernalia, including pig calendars, toys and accessories from employee desks. These new regulations were ostensibly implemented so as not to offend Muslim patrons.
Meanwhile, in the United States in 2007, several school districts removed pork products from their cafeteria offerings. Dearborn, Mich., schools banned pork completely to avoid the possibility that Muslims students might unknowingly eat it. The district later added special halal foods to its menu to cater to the demands of its Muslim population. An elementary school in San Diego that offers Arabic, single-gender classes and Muslim-only organized prayer, no longer offers pork to any of its students. And in Oak Lawn, Ill., where the administration is debating elimination of Christmas holiday celebrations, pork has already been banished from the school lunchroom.
Orthodox Jews, who follow kosher laws that prohibit the consumption of pork, have never demanded such special considerations for their chosen dietary habits nor have Jews feared accidental pork ingestion. They privately moderate their consumption according to their religious observances and often consume food prepared at home according to prescribed regulations.
Contrast this to how Muslims and their dietary habits are treated. In April 2007, a 13-year-old middle school prankster was suspended and his behavior labeled a hate crime for placing a bag with a ham steak on the lunch table of a group of Muslim students. That same month, Muslims started a Facebook group, “Fight Against Pork in Frito-Lay Products.” The more than 1,800 participants sought to pressure the company to remove pork enzymes from its cheese seasonings.
Last year, Somali Muslim employees at a St. Louis Park, Minn. Target store refused to handle pork products, citing religious reasons. Target made special allowances for Muslim employees, who now scrutinize customer purchases and can call for assistance when a pork product appears at their check stand. Presumably, the Muslim employees knew they would be encountering bacon and pepperoni pizza when they signed on for their jobs and have no problem collecting a salary paid out of profits from pork sales.
In 2007, the Year of the Pig, an imam in Taipei complained after receiving a greeting card from Taiwan’s foreign minister depicting celebrating pigs. When “Year of the Pig” postal stamps were issued, the Taiwanese government cautioned citizens about using them on letters and parcels to Muslim friends or to Muslim countries. That year, China banned pig images and the mention of pigs in television advertisement to avoid offending the country’s Muslims.
This year, the popular story, The Three Little Pigs, was banned in a primary school in the United Kingdom as the school’s administration thought references to pigs might offend Muslim pupils. Another school removed all books containing stories about pigs, including the talking pig ‘Babe’ from classrooms following complaints from Muslim parents. In 2007, a UK church school production of The Three Little Pigs was renamed The Three Little Puppies to maintain multi-cultural sensitivities. Ironically, the pig is mentioned often in the Koran as a derogatory reference to Jews.
In further accommodation to Muslims, Fortis Bank in the Netherlands and Belgium dropped its pig mascot. Knorbert the pig was eliminated after seven years with a statement from a bank spokesperson that “Knorbert does not meet the requirements that the multicultural society imposes on us.”
A recent BBC report described how pork butchers are gradually being put out of business as Turkey adopts a more fundamentalist Muslim character. Pork slaughterhouses are being closed in record numbers to accommodate shariah law countrywide.
In 2004, a Muslim-owned investment company, Arcapita (formerly Capital Crescent Investments) acquired the 1,200-unit Church’s Chicken chain. In 2005, Arcapita, with a net income of $70.5 million and assets worth $1.2 billion (2004), enjoined a franchisee from selling pork products. In correspondence with the franchisee, the corporate owners cited violation of shariah law as the reason for prohibiting the sale of bacon, ham and sausages. The restaurant owners were thereby forced to surrender to corporate demands and operate under shariah law.
Where will this end? Will “Animal Farm” be banned at our high schools and university campuses? Will the words “pork barrel spending” and “porker” be eliminated from the vernacular? Will Piggly Wiggly supermarkets be forced to change its name and re-brand its products? This could all be quite amusing if the implications weren’t so grave.
The pig is an icon of American culture, a culinary tradition and an important component of our economy. While high grain prices and competition from Chinese imports are recognized as the two greatest threats to the industry, hog producers could be overlooking a larger threat to their livelihood looming on the horizon.
Pork production is a vital part of the U.S. economy, producing more than 22 billion pounds of meat annually, contributing almost $40 billion to the GNP and employing more than 500,000 workers in pork-industry related jobs. In addition, important pork co-products include heart valves, skin grafts for burn victims, gelatin, plywood, glue, cosmetics and plastics. At 28% of total world production, the U.S. is the second largest pork producer after China, which produces close to 50% of the world total. Pork ranks third in U.S. meat production behind beef and chicken and average yearly per capita consumption is about 50 pounds.
If the momentum to alter America’s dining habits and cultural traditions to suit Muslim religious habits continues, American liberty, freedom and culture could actually be threatened. Laughable though it may seem on the surface, Arab petrodollar profits have the heft to use an economic, backdoor approach to implement shariah law in the United States against the will of the public. As Arab Muslims continue to heavily invest in our economy, they will continue to force submission to shariah law and undermine our democracy, individual rights and religious freedom. We must be vigilant and aware of this threat and act against it vigorously and immediately.