Well, as readers will know, I am firmly opposed to halal slaughter as it inflicts additional and unnecessary cruelty in the despatch of animals for the table and desensitises the butcher to suffering. The BBC reports that a butcher named Naeem Butt has today been sentenced by Preston Crown Court for the brutal murder of Saheel Ahmed who was having an affair with Butt’s wife. Butt employed a foot-long knife to sever Ahmed’s jugular in a ritual fashion and to stab him repeatedly. This revolting crime has surely left Mr Ahmed’s family in a state of distraught bereavement, and one can only speculate as to the terrible state of mind of Shakra Ali, Ahmed’s lover, whom Butt had previously assaulted.
To what extent had Butt become desensitised to the process of killing by his practice of halal butchery? The process of slaughter can never be pleasant, but the additional cruelty employed in slitting a conscious creature’s throat and watching it bleed to death cannot in my opinion have anything other than a disturbing effect upon the mind of the person who repeatedly carries out such a process. Desensitisation to suffering seems a likely side effect.
Sadly, Asian Image reports the police as stating that Butt’s crime combined ‘rage, jealousy, revenge’ and ‘an element of honour’. The use of this term ‘honour’ to justify brutality, particularly towards women, is a nauseating piece of cultural baggage that has no place in any civilised society. There is nothing ‘honourable’ about brutally murdering a man or beating your wife and generally treating women like chattels to be terrorised at will. Butt’s actions betray his fragile sense of masculine ego, but alas, the mental outlook that underpinned his behaviour is consonant with a patriarchal religious culture whose misogyny was systematised and legitimised by its founder: Mohammed.
One can only express condolences for the family of Saheel Ahmed and for Shakra Ali, and be thankful that Butt has been found guilty. Let us hope that he receives a suitably condign punishment.