The Story of How Creekstone Farms Held Their Ground Against Islamophobia
PHOTO: A supporter of nationalist Buddhist monks wears a t-shirt calling for a ban on Islamic halal-slaughtered meat during a rally outside Colombo. (AFP: Ishara S Kodikara)
Halal meat is often the target of Islamophobes as one of their petty tactics of bigotry. While Creekstone Farm’s Halal operation isn’t exactly something that’s marketed out there, and I wondered if it was because of fear of potential problems from bigots and hate mongers.
According to Rich Swearingen, head of international sales for Creekstone, the company already received backlash from Islamophobes in the Kansas area for posting the job ad to hire Muslim employees.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Rich said depressed sounding on the phone. “It’s just very unfortunate that some people are so uneducated in our country.” He went on for a good five to six minutes about how upset the situation makes him and how ignorance is hurting the fabric of our country.
But this didn’t stop Creekstone from keeping Halal. They continued their Halal certification through the Halal Transactions of Omaha despite the Islamophobic backlash and still only hire Muslim slaughtermen. In a way, they fought against it during a time when xenophobes go as far as document meat suppliers that go Halal on their blogs.
This is what really shined about this whole ordeal for me. Sure, for Creekstone, going Halal is primarily just business. They are a company, after all. But the rants Rich had and the disgust he shared for those who hate on any and everything Islam for no reason was, to me, genuine. Here was this southern man, American, white, non-Muslim telling me, an American, second generation Indian, born Muslim, how much he hates Islamophobia and the people that propagate it.“You know it’s ironic,” I added, “because there are probably people who so against Halal meat but end up eating Creekstone beef at a high end restaurant only they have no idea it’s actually Halal.” Rich laughed.
I then asked, “would it be okay for me to reveal to the public that Creekstone’s entire operation is Halal? I don’t want any sort of backlash for your business, especially is some crazy Islamophobe starts calling for a boycott of your products of something.”
“People buy from us because of our quality,” Rich said, unaffected by the possibility of backlash. “That type of information is not going to deter our customers. They’re going to continue to buy from us, so go ahead and let others know.”
Here was a company that stood for its quality even in the face of bigotry, and that’s something I can get behind.