Recently, I posted a short story on a new halal butchers opening in Blackburn. The reaction I must say was a little disconcerting. I mean, it was only a small shop opening. The kind of regular small business openings that happen week in week out.

So, why on earth was so much hatred towards a business that was simply trying to earn a living and bringing some positivity to the town? In fact, shouldn’t we applaud entrepreneurship? Have we become so incensed with the word ‘halal’ that we hone in on it with such virulence?

If this had been a ‘kosher’ butchers would it have garnered such hatred?

I mean, you would think the town was getting a gun shop with slot machines in it.

This bullying culture which looks to drown out decent voices is something that has become more and more acceptable on news websites and forums. Sadly, it gives off a false sense of perception of a town and a place and its people. On the whole people are just happy and trying their best no matter what the circumstances. In fact, most people couldn’t care less if the food was halal or not as long it tastes good!

It seems quite apparent that some people want to dress up having issues with ‘halal’ and ‘kosher’ food from an animal welfare point of view. Yet, are unlikely to make the same case for the meat industry as a whole.

Then we have viewpoints from some Muslims themselves who think we should not post any articles about mosques or halal restaurants because by doing so we are ‘inviting criticism’. The idea is one should not stoke the angry bloke (or woman as has been the case) who gets riled up with the word ‘halal’ or ‘mosque’.

Are we really going to put the blame on the those at the wrong end of such racist rhetoric? Is it not better to challenge such views rather than simply ignore it and hopes it goes away?

Just because a story features an Asian or Muslim subject we can’t automatically assume it was only posted for that reason. If it takes place in a particular neighbourhood then clearly there will be readers who will want to be alerted to changes that affect them.

Are we also really going let the racist posts dictate what and how a business is featured?

I admit there are cases when national websites will try to focus on ethnicity to encourage readers to vent their anger. I sense however, elsewhere it is the people themselves who have a problem and should know better than to post nasty opinions under what are essentially small community articles.