Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid … More.. about Brunei To Help Maldives Establish Halal Science Lab
A Muslim leader has challenged politician Pauline Hanson to visit the Toowoomba Mosque after her controversial call for a boycott of halal-certified Easter eggs.
A video of the One Nation leader speaking about an alleged “halal tax” on the community went viral on social media recently.
She argued Australians shouldn’t pay a “tax” on foods for Muslims, who make up a little over 2% of the population.
The One Nation leader urged consumers to buy Darrell Lea or Lindt Easter eggs and called for a boycott of Cadbury, which was later criticised by unions.
Halal Australia is the certifying body and said fees paid were used to maintain the normal costs of running a registered business.
There have been claims that the money is used to fund terrorism or violent politically-motivated religious organisations, but that was rejected by Halal Australia.
The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre told the ABC there was no information to indicate there were links to terrorism financing from halal certification fees. That opinion was backed by the Australian Crime Commission which reported no proven links to terrorism.
The amount of money collected has not been disclosed but one company, the Byron Bay Cookie Company, reportedly said the fee was about $1,500.
Dr Shahjahan Khan, founding president of the Toowoomba Islamic Society, explained that the majority of food available in Australia was naturally halal, and that some products were labelled to enable consumers to easily buy products that are permissible.
He said the word halal simply meant “permissible”, the opposite of which is haram, or forbidden.
Dr Khan said items that were haram included alcohol, blood and meat from forbidden animals including pigs and carnivorous animals or birds.
To be halal meat must be slaughtered in the correct manner in the name of Allah.
Muslims are allowed to eat food that is “kosher” under Jewish dietary laws, Dr Khan said.
He added pigs were anatomically similar to humans and their organs were at times used in transplants.
“You don’t want to eat the meat of your cousin.”
Dr Khan likened the certification to gluten free, vegan and heart foundation standards.
He said an opened-ended invitation to Ms Hanson to visit the Toowoomba mosque had been made.
Originally published on www.thechronicle.com.au
New Zealand’s Muslim population is not big enough to see a growth of Shariah-compliant banking options, the industry experts say.
Islamic banking, or Sharia finance, is governed by the principles of Islam.
According to Islamic law, you can’t use money to make money – it has to be from legitimate trade. It is prohibited to accept interest or fees for loans of money.
Muslim rugby player Sonny Bill Williams covered the BNZ logos from his Blues jersey while playing over the weekend, as a conscientious objection to the bank.
In New Zealand there are currently no banks operating according to Sharia law.
“I’m not aware of any banks in New Zealand that offer Islamic finance which will be compliant with Sharia law,” Ikhlaq Kashkari, president of the New Zealand Muslim Association said.
Kashkari said many Kiwi Muslims got around this by either having interest-free bank accounts, or donating generated interest to charitable organisations.
“What a lot of Muslims do is basically either not put money in an account that is interest-bearing or, take the interest, put it separately and donate it to charitable organisations or causes, with a view that it is best to use this money for charities and people in need.”
The Muslim population in New Zealand is approximately 50,000, with 35,000 living in the Auckland region.
Managing director of Sharia-approved KiwiSaver fund Amanah Ethical Brian Henry said there was demand for Islamic finance in New Zealand, but simply not a big enough population.
Originally published on www.nzherald.co.nz
Australian army has issued orders that one third of its meals to the combat troops has to be halal-certified. This followed a series of changes in the ration packs to the troops.
The new changes were approved by the Deputy Chief of Army Major General Rick Burr. The halal option comes up despite Muslims forming a tiny fraction in the Australian Defence Force.
However, the changes have made the food packs more diverse. There are kosher, vegetarian and halal options to choose from. Four of the 12 menu options will be strictly halal-certified. The inclusion of Kosher and vegetarian meals has been justified as “ending menu fatigue.”
The 9 News report said the changes would “meet ADF’s commitment to providing an inclusive working environment.” But critics point out that ADF has only less than 100 Muslims in it. There are 60,000 full timers and reserves serving in the ADF. Flaying the decision, Senator Cory Bernardi said the military has been “captured by minority interests and suspended the application of common sense.”
“Australia is not an Islamic country and our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women deserve better from the government and the politically-correct top brass,” Former Army intelligence officer Bernie Gaynor said.
There is also anguish that unregulated Halal certifiers will start getting millions of taxpayer dollars. The Halal certifiers are already facing a Federal government enquiry.
Meanwhile, it is being pointed out that Australian army’s urge to accommodate Muslim sentiments is not new. In 2015, the Australian Army removed the motto “In this sign conquer” from its 102-year-old hat badge. The motto was dubbed offensive to Muslims. This followed the directive of an imam who joined Religious Advisory Committee of the Services. The Daily Telegraph reported that Australian Army chaplains had been carrying the motto since 1913.
However, a Defence spokeswoman denied that allegation. She said the motto change was made to reflect the changing times. It had nothing to do with Crusades or religious sentiments. But the change drew strong reactions.
“The government must stop the political correctness. It must dismiss the Defence Imam for his views. And it must put Australia first,” said former army major Bernard Gaynor.
Originally published on www.australianetworknews.com
Australian Food and Grocery Council criticises ‘abusive anti-halal calls and mail’ directed at its members by opponents of the scheme.
Halal certification enables up to $13bn in food exports each year, according to Australia’s peak body for food and drink manufacturers, which has criticised the “abusive anti-halal calls and mail” directed at its members by opponents of the certification scheme. The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) also questioned claims that halal certification represents a “tax” on business, arguing the religious approval “creates more value than it costs”, in a submission to a Senate inquiry on third-party food certification.
But the AFGC has defended the industry, arguing that companies pay halal certification fees because “the net effect [is] beneficial”. “Put somewhat bluntly, manufacturers will only pay a dollar for a certification if they expect to get more than a dollar back in sales, whether directly or indirectly,” the AFGC said.
“If they pay a dollar and only get 80c worth of value, they will drop the certification.” A survey of AFGC members found “no single type of certification stands out as being especially costly or hard to obtain”, according to the submission.
It noted that staff at some member companies had been subject to “abusive anti-halal calls and mail” by critics of the Islamic certification. “Such behaviour should neither be encouraged nor condoned by this inquiry,” the AFGC said. All certifiers, halal and otherwise, could provide more transparency of their processes, it noted, including of whether “the certification scheme is run not-for-profit or as a commercial venture”.
The AFGC also called on Australian trade negotiators to press foreign markets to streamline their halal requirements, noting some beef exporters were having to obtain multiple halal certifications in Australia to meet different countries’ requirements. For example, Australia’s largest meat exporter, JBS Australia, spent $2.4m last year obtaining different religious approvals (but generated $3.3b in revenue).
Anti-halal sentiment briefly became prominent last year and is frequently raised by some far-right and Christian parties. A prominent anti-halal campaigner, Kirralie Smith, and the “Islam-critical” Q Society are being sued for defamation in New South Wales over their claims the Islamic certification industry is corrupt and funds “the push for Sharia law in Australia”.
The Australian Crime Commission, which last year completed an investigation into money laundering in Australia, has said it is “not aware of any direct links” between the industry and violent extremist groups. The federal agriculture minister, Barnaby Joyce, has warned his colleagues against “picking a fight that we never needed to have” over halal, because of the potential impact on Australian exporters.
“Unless it’s halal certified, we can’t sell it. That means the whole processing line becomes unviable,” Joyce, the deputy leader of the Nationals, said in April. “If we didn’t have the halal market in beef, that could really affect thousands of meat workers in Australia.” Tony Abbott has also defended the industry, arguing it is “just part of exporting to the Middle East, and if we want our exports to grow all the time, this is what we need to do, and I think that’s what Australians want”.
Originally published on www.theguardian.com
Coalition members in Australian Parliament are seeking an inquiry into the way food is certified as halal.
Halal food has been prepared according to Islamic law, and is free from pork products, alcohol and other specified ingredients.
Companies seeking to label their foods “halal” – an Arabic word for “lawful” – must pay fees to Islamic organisations for inspection and certification.
Recent figures show the halal sector could be worth $1.5 trillion worldwide by 2050.
However, Liberal senator Cory Bernardi said there was a lack of clarity around halal certification.
“I haven’t been able to ascertain what the cost of this religious tax is to individual companies or the overall cost to the Australian consumer,” Senator Bernardi said in a statement.
“No one has been able to explain why water, milk and cat food need halal certification.
“No one has been able to explain all the groups involved in the certification racket and where the money paid actually ends up.”
Liberal National Party MP Bruce Scott, who chairs a parliamentary committee looking at exports to the Middle East, said halal certification was crucial to jobs in rural and regional areas.
He said his coalition colleagues were not opposed to halal certification but wanted to ensure the process was above board.
“The old saying is ‘the buyer is always right’. We’ve got to make sure that we’re meeting buyer expectations and requirements for the export into those markets,” he told ABC radio.
Australia exports more than $3.4 billion of processed and unprocessed food to the Middle East each year.
Originally published on www.sbs.com.au