Monday, October 18, 2010

Terrorists have to eat, too

A US blogger has claimed that Canadian soup is being monitored and controlled by terrorist groups. Pamela Geller, who runs an anti-Muslim blog, has called for a boycott of Campbell's soups from Canada. She claims that the Islamic Society of North America, ISNA, who does the certification of the soup as halal, is affiliated with Hamas, a terrorist organization.

The blogger is clear that she doesn't oppose halal food any more than she opposes kosher foods, showing some clear tolerance for the pesky presence of 'cultural differences'. But the ISNA has denied any claims to Hamas and/or any other religious extremist group and the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that ISNA claims to have ties with, is not listed as a terrorist organization by the US itself.

The boycott has prompted a Facebook page with 3,500 members. Of course, this boycott would have been more helpful with the following conditions:

1- The soup is not sold in the US; therefore, a US boycott of a Canadian product that is only sold in Canada is going to have something less of the desired impact that boycotts are generally intended to have, which is to hurt the bottom line of a company and give it bad press to its clientele. This boycott will achieve neither one of these intended impacts.

2- While the site offers claims, it does not offer proof. Further to that, the New York Times, a credible piece of mainstream media and journalistic integrity, has printed a rather unflattering portrait of Pamela Geller, an activist who led the protests against a Ground Zero mosque and is the leader of Stop Islamization of America. It's not difficult to decide who one would rather believe in this situation.

3- The Muslim Brotherhood is not listed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department. It's difficult to argue the danger of an organization that your own government does not list as dangerous. One would have to wonder if it's not so much the actual nature of the organization that is the problem for Geller, or its Islam affiliation, which is, to date, not a crime.

It's clear that Geller is part of the population that closely monitors the Muslim population of America for threats, both real and imaginary. So much so, she's willing to go against an iconic American company, Campbell's, and to accuse them of funding an organization that's dangerous to America. Forgetting, of course, that Andy Warhol's iconic image of the Campbell's soup can is an enduring symbol of American corporatism and its cherised capitalist system which is supposed to uphold democracy.

But there appears to be no contradiction for Geller, who makes this claim obviously on 'sources' and good faith that all Muslims in America are up to something, whether it's funnelling money through Campbell's soup cans or building mosques on US soil.

To those in Canada who may affect the boycott: eat more tomato soup. Let's show the US that we think this is ridiculous.

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