Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 18, 201
Andy Warhol found artistic inspiration in a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. These days, some activists are finding sinister Muslim connections in the same can.
Campbell Soup Co., the Camden, N.J., food giant, has been fighting a grass-roots boycott of its products after its Canadian subsidiary rolled out a line of soups certified as halal, meaning they’re prepared according to Islamic dietary laws.
Campbell Co. of Canada introduced the soups in a few Canadian markets in January, although American bloggers didn’t catch up to the news until earlier this month.
That’s when the tempest in a tomato-soup can started.
Blogger Pamela Geller began calling for a boycott earlier this month via her widely read site, Atlas Shrugs. Other bloggers soon joined in.
The halal soups, designated with a special label, are available only in Canada. The company has no plans to offer a similar line in the United States, said John Faulkner, a company spokesman.
In an interview, Geller, who was instrumental in whipping up opposition to an Islamic community center and mosque in Lower Manhattan, said she has no objection to the halal certification itself. Rather, she said, she opposes Campbell’s decision to have its Canadian products certified by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), an organization that government prosecutors alleged had ties to the terrorist group Hamas in a 2007 conspiracy case.
“No one is suggesting they refrain from this line,” Geller said. “No one is suggesting they not have halal food. I’m not against halal food any more than I’m against kosher food. My issue is who’s doing the certifying.”
ISNA, an organization based in Plainfield, Ind., was designated an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the prosecution of a charitable organization that funneled money to Hamas, the Islamist organization that rules the Gaza Strip. Hamas has been named a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
Critics like Geller also allege that ISNA has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist political movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s. The State Department does not include the Brotherhood on its list of foreign terrorist organizations. [more]