Julia Hartley-Brewer has said if she believed in god she'd only want to believe "in a god who wasn’t that bothered about what kind of meat I ate."
She made the comments following Lancashire Council's decision that from December unstunned halal meat will be banned from use in school meals. Council leader Geoff Driver claimed it is "abhorrent" and "really cruel" to slaughter animals without stunning them.
London-based Imam Ajmal Masroor told Julia: "There are a group of people and they have a genuine reason to believe that animals should not be stunned but should be slaughtered straight.
"The problem is one third of the chicken that goes after being stunned to the slaughter belt are already dead so Muslims can’t eat dead animals and therefore there is a big problem. How do we guarantee that the stunned animals are not dead?"
He said Muslims believe animals should be killed with the "least pain possible" but "the jury is still out on this because when you pass electricity or a bolt through an animal's head it certainly causes pain. The question is relative amount of pain - which is more and which is less?"
But Julia said: "it seems to me to be quite strange that these rules are still being applied here.
"If I did believe in a god I would want to believe in a god who wasn’t that bothered about what kind of meat I ate, I would think that my god would be bothered about whether I was a good person who did good and didn’t harm people."
Masroor argued that the Qu'ran covers these things too and the real issue here is "how can we minimise the [animal's] pain, I’m with you on that. Let’s find the best way forward."
Listen to the full interview above