In April of this year, the American company Mondelez that owns Toblerone reportedly decided to certify the world famous Swiss chocolate as halal. It became public only in December after an article in the Swiss newspaper Blick was published, sparking heated public debate.
"Islamisation does not take place — neither in Germany nor in Europe. It is therefore certainly pure coincidence that the depicted, known chocolate variety is now certified as ‘HALAL'", Jörg Meuthen, a Federal spokesman for the party Alternative for Germany (AfD) says in a Facebook post.
After the changes in the policy by the company that produces Toblerone were revealed, it was not only politicians who took note, but social media users as well. The latter started intense discussions on Twitter under the hashtag #BOYCOTTTOBLERONE.
While the majority of Twitter users were outraged by the decision of Toblerone's parent company, Mondelez…
Iconic Swiss chocolate becomes Halal to conform with Islamic purity law https://t.co/xFOSp9Li0J— Voice of Europe 🎄🎅 (@V_of_Europe) December 18, 2018
Yes it is because now its ONLY halal so we have no choiche but to get it halal. Submissiom for money. Do you understand that this is islamisation? #BoycottToblerone— Winston Smith 🇮🇹🇺🇸🇨🇭🇮🇱🇬🇧🇭🇺🇯🇵 (@WSmithmedia_F) December 18, 2018
there I was eating my Christian chocolate and next thing you know I am being told to grow a beard and worship Allah, PC gone mad, or something #BOYCOTTTOBLERONE— Alexander Mac (@alexmacse) December 19, 2018
@MDLZ is @Toblerone now #Halal? If this is true and until I hear different, I will be boycotting it. I can't be encouraging cruelty to animals and I think you should reconsider if you want decent peoples custom back. #BOYCOTTTOBLERONE— Allan Shipham (@Big_Boss_Al) December 18, 2018
I will never, EVER buy another toblerone!!! #BOYCOTTTOBLERONE— Lisa Temple (@Lisa_Temple) December 18, 2018
Sorry kids you won’t be finding these in your stockings from now on, #Santa🎅doesn’t buy #Halal He’ll be boycotting #Toblerone #Boycott #BoycottToblerone #Christmas #Holidays 🎄🎁⛄️❄️ https://t.co/CWwKp80cwT— IrishEyes (@AriaQuinn6) December 18, 2018
…there were those, who saw nothing bad in the new certification rules.
#Boycotttoblerone wow my favourite chocolate is halal. Mean even better standard of hygiene. Will grab myself a box or two.— lovetoblerone (@lovetoblerone1) December 19, 2018
#Boycotttoblerone just heard that my favourite triangles are halal. Best news ever. Just bought a box for Xmas.— buytoblerone (@buytoblerone) December 19, 2018
To everyone saying they will #BoycottToblerone because their chocolate was found to be halal (and it has always been because it hasn't changed), are you also boycotting all eggs, vegetables, fruit, pasta, most cheese and bread? Cause all that stuff is coincidentally halal too.— rob (@mspk7305) December 21, 2018
Valérie Moens, a Mondelez spokesperson later explained that the halal certification doesn't imply that the product itself will change as Toblerone satisfied the halal-criterion before the official certification, according to the Huffington Post.
"That is why it's important to us to respond to the different preferences and food requirements of our broad range of consumers worldwide", the Huffington Post cites Valérie Moens as saying.
The translation of word "halal" is Arabic for "permissible", and is used by Muslims to verify whether the product satisfies various Islamic requirements. The halal certification procedure in turn reportedly implies that the products produced have to be approved by imams.
Since the beginning of the European refugee crisis the number of individuals seeking asylum has significantly increased and was estimated at 25.8 million (4.9% of the overall population) of Europe as of mid-2016, according to the Pew Research Center.