Fact check | Did the clerics admit that halal means spitting on food in court? No, the viral claim is misleading!
The case mentioned in the viral text is a pending case before the High Court of Kerala, filed by SJR Kumar against the Travancore Devaswom Board (TBD), the authority which manages the temple of Sabarimala in Kerala.
Kumar had filed a lawsuit against the Council, holding them responsible for using spoiled jaggery in their offerings to worshipers and objecting to the use of certified halal jaggery in the Hindu temple.
We reviewed the case and found a text copy of the hearing uploaded to Verdict, which contained the text verbatim.
Here we found that the screenshot shared by the user actually showed statements made by the applicant’s legal counsel in the plea, and not by a Muslim organization or individual.
He currently serves as the general organizer of the Sabarimala Karma Samithi, an organization formed to protect the customs and traditions of the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, and has worked with Hindu organizations for a decade.
In accordance with the petition, spoiled jaggery could possibly spoil the health of the faithful, while “halal jaggery” was not suitable for the preparation of offerings because the ingredients used must be made in accordance with Hindu practices, which is not the case with halal.
The minute of the news reported that the High Court questioned Kumar’s understanding of halal, noting that he “should have delved into the concept” before challenging the use of certified halal products.
A division bench of Judges PG Ajithkumar and Anil K Narendran hears the petition and has declared the need for a more detailed hearing before rendering a judgment on the matter.
At the hearing, the Travancore Dewaswom Board (TDB) argued that the temple uses jaggery purchased from a vendor who exports their product to Arab countries and bears a “halal” mark.
The petition stated that since the ingredients provided were halal, they were not suitable for Hindu devotees, who must consume “satvik” food before and during their pilgrimage to Sabarimala.
We contacted SQR Illyas, founder of the Welfare Party of India, to better understand the concept of halal and the religious practices associated with it.
Asked about reports of certain sects in Islam spitting and puffing on food, Illyas said they were “wrong”.
Calling it “unfortunate,” Illyas said such issues were politicized “in a cheap way” and “harmed society”.
According to TNM, many Muslim clergymen noted that the practice of blowing or spitting on food was followed by a certain section of clergymen on religious occasions, adding that it was only performed in private ceremonies.
He added that Dr Suhaib Moulavi, Imam of Palayam Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, issued a statement that the Prophet said one should not blow on food, denouncing religious colleagues who do.
Such claims are made in the context of several videos that have gone viral on the internet targeting Muslims for spitting on food. Some of these videos turned out to be unrelated and fake. The quintet demystified them in several fact-checks.
What about said video?
The man in the video, who appears to be spitting, has been identified as an employee of a Muslim hotel in Loni, Uttar Pradesh, and has been arrested for questioning.
We came across several reports on the video and found a Tweeter by the verified Twitter account of the Ghaziabad police, in which the circle officer from the Loni police station noted that the man was an employee of a hotel near the Banthla flyover in Ghaziabad.