Do Your Best and Allah Will Take Care of the Rest: Muslim Turks Negotiate Halal in Strasbourg

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Abstract

As the market for Islamically permissible (halal) products expands, so do critical discourses on the production and consumption of halal in Europe. In France, one of Europe’s largest and fast growing halal markets, while some fear a halal takeover of the French foodscape, others question the authenticity of the products stamped with halal signs. This paper writes against both discourses by exploring the meaning halal takes beyond the sign. It examines how halal attains its meaning as a product of a complex relationship of trust. In describing this relationship, it draws on accounts provided by members of the Turkish community in Strasbourg, France and examines the decision-making process through which Muslim Turks navigate the European foodscape and access halal products. Rather than being driven by alarmist calls, the paper urges to revisit and learn from the ways Muslims negotiate halal in a field long shaped by uncertainty and doubt.

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