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