Muslims in Norway will be able to follow local Christmas food traditions this year, after a butcher unveiled the country’s first halal reindeer meat. Harry Dyrstad, owner of specialist wildlife abattoir Vilteksperten, north of Trondheim, enlisted the help of a certified halal butcher and has 100 reindeer ready to be sent off to the shops. The butcher has had interest from as far afield as Dubai, and he is looking forward to bringing reindeer to the previously unexplored Muslim market.
After invitation from Mr Dyrstad, the Islamic Council of Norway visited the abattoir and has given their seal of approval on the reindeer meat.
Mr Dyrstad is currently in the process of butchering the animals to send them off to shops around Norway, but says he plans on exploring other markets.
‘We had the idea one-and-a-half years ago,’ Dyrstad told The Local.
‘We spoke to someone who had some contacts in Dubai, and he said that if you want to sell reindeer meat, it has to be halal, so we had to try.’
Mr Dyrstad has also looked into the possibility of curing some of the halal reindeer in order to introduce ham to the Muslim community.
Muslims in Norway will now be able to join in the tradition of reindeer for Christmas dinner, as well as tasting ham as the abattoir plans to cure reindeer meat to produce something similar to pig.
‘We got some information that we could produce some ham from the reindeer, so Muslim children can have ham on their sandwiches,’ he said.
Reindeer meat is popular across Scandinavia and is served in many homes as part of Christmas dinner, a tradition in which Norwegian Muslims will now be able to take part in,
‘It is going to be exciting to see how Muslims receive the novelty of reindeer. This is a completely new halalproduct that Muslims have not had access till before,’ Mehtab Afsar, General Secretary of the Islamic Council of Norway, told Adresseavisen.
‘I have been told that this is a very good meat, but I have never tasted it myself.’
Reindeer is both farmed and wild in Norway and the rest of Scandinavia. The Sami, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia, have been herding reindeer for centuries and are the group of people more often found still living off reindeer farming.
Their local language has more than 400 words for reindeer, the meat and products involved in reindeer herding.
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency)