Please note this is not about halal food. Q Society's spokesman Andrew Horwood points out: "Halal food itself is not of concern. Nearly all our food is naturally permissible to Muslims and observant Muslims can make food of unknown origin halal by proclaiming 'bismillah' over the food before eating.*
What is of concern are the recently invented certification schemes, designed to permeate the supply chain from feeding trough to super market shelves and restaurant kitchens; including many non-food goods and services.
According to meat industry groups and research, two thirds of chicken and lamb meat and over half the beef sold in Australia now comes from Halal-certified suppliers. Most dairy products as well as other food and many non-food items are certified to sharia standards, but not always labelled.
Islamic organizations have estimated the value of the global halal certification market at USD 2.3 trillion in 2013, growing by 20% per year. No other religious group has imposed a similar tax-like scheme on the general public.
Investigative researchers in France, Canada and the USA have found links between halal certifying organisations and shop fronts for terrorist groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Similar research in Australia is yet to be undertaken.
Grand Mufti Dr Mustafa Ceric has suggested at an international conference in 2010, that Islam can conquer the world through the Halal (certification) movement.
We politely but firmly object. Q Society has three simple and fair policy proposals:
1. Apply the 'User Pays' principle
If observant Muslims insist on special rituals and halal certification for their food, then Islamic community organisations should provide these services and cover the fees and extra expenses for the suppliers. Religion is always a contentious issue and should never be imposed onto others.
2. Insist on clear labelling
All products and services from halal-certified suppliers should be clearly labelled by one standard symbol. This way the consumer can recognise when meat, meat-based products or other products and services come from halal-certified sources. Then consumers can make an informed decision
3. No more discrimination
In most Australian abattoirs Muslim males only are employed as slaughterers. Non-Muslims and women are not halal. This is discrimination on religious and gender grounds. We understand that halal-slaughtered meat is important to observant Muslims. We propose if abattoirs require exemption from our non-discrimination laws, that they be owned and operated by a religious organisation. This is similar to religious schools, for which Australia allows certain exemptions from non-discrimination laws.
* Nowhere in Islamic scripture does it say Muslims should eat only halal-certified food. Most observant Muslims know perfectly well that nearly all our food is by default halal:
Koran Sura 2:173 (Al-Baqarah) reads: "He hath forbidden you only carrion, and blood, and swine flesh, and that which hath been immolated to any other than God. But he who is driven by necessity, neither craving nor transgressing, it is no sin for him. Lo! God is Forgiving, Merciful."
Koran Sura 5.5 (Al Ma'idah) prescribes: "The food of the People of the Book (that is Jewish and Christian people) is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them."
And from the hadith narrated by Aisha (Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 273) Muslims know: "Some people said, "O Allah's Apostle! Meat is brought to us by some people and we are not sure whether the name of Allah has been mentioned on it or not." Allah's Apostle said, "Mention the name of Allah and eat it."
Watch our halal certification information video. Share it with your family and connections.
Read, download and distribute our Q on: Halal Food and Halal Certification paper and our petition form from our website qsociety dot org dot au
Pick up a stack of our "Why Swallow This?" fliers at the next Q meeting and do an hour of letter boxing each week in your neighbourhood.
Talk and write to your local state and federal MP and Senators. Ask them to consider our three policy proposals
When shopping ask for non-halal certified options. You are not a bad person if you do not want to support Islamic organisations with your shopping dollar.
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