Why Judaism and Islam Prohibit Eating Pork and Consuming Blood as a Food?
To date, many influential religious leaders from both Judaism and Islam have attempted to provide answers to the question of why both these religions prohibit eating pork. The most straightforward answer is that the Lord has prohibited the eating of pork and all unclean meat, including unclean fish, birds, mammals and other creatures. Followers of Judaism and Islam, respectively, must eat only kosher or halal food. Prohibitions on eating unclean food are written in the Torah and in the Koran: “He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah. For Allah is Oft-forgiving Most Merciful” (Surah the Cow 2: 173), and “He has only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and any (food) over which the name of other than Allah has been invoked. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Surah the Bee 16: 115). In principle, the laws governing kosher food in the Torah are the similar. Their traditional prohibition on eating pork and unclean food has often been used as an excuse to spark hatred of Jews and Muslims. In this paper, we attempt to study the possible sources of the prohibition to provide evidence-based answers as to why the prohibition exists, and to counter the xenophobic misrepresentations and slurs on these subjects. As it is not possible to cover all aspects of kosher and halal food in a short paper, we focus on examining the prohibition on Jews and Muslims on eating pork, human flesh and blood from all sources and, particularly, using the blood of mammals in the preparation of food.