Europe’s far-right community is boycotting Toblerone chocolate after learning that the sweet is now halal.
The certification that enables practicing Muslims to eat the well-known triangular chocolate actually came in April, but a social media post by a spokesman for the far-right Alternative for Germany party, known as AfD, brought it to the forefront last week. Then came the hashtag #BoycottToblerone, which has since spread to other countries, including England, France and the Netherlands.
Extremists are pointing to the chocolate as an example of how Islam has seeped its way into Europe.
“Islamization does not take place – neither in Germany nor in Europe,” AfD spokesman Jörg Meuthen posted on Facebook. “It is therefore certainly pure coincidence that the depicted, known chocolate variety is now certified as ‘HALAL.'”
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Halal means a food has been prepared according to Muslim law. Among the rules are bans on pork products and alcohol. Food that is not halal is called haram.
Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelēz International, which owns Toblerone, told CNN that the production process for the chocolate made in a factory in Bern, Switzerland, didn’t need to be adjusted to earn the halal certification.
The anti-halal issue “is of those recurring Islamaphobic themes not only in this country, but around the world,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights and advocacy group. “Food is something universal and that’s why the haters latch onto it. It’s something that touches everyone and they see this as a productive vehicle for their bigotry.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer