Muslim Judicial Council defends halaal procedures

For anyone in Cape Town or South Africa who has been following the saga of the Muslim Judicial Council being blamed for given halaal clearance to a company that sold pork as halaal…

MJC defends halaal procedures

By Yazeed Kamaldien

January 20 2012 at 10:53am

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) on Thursday defended its halaal clearance procedures following calls within the local Muslim community for the council to be scrapped.

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) on Thursday defended its halaal clearance procedures following calls within the local Muslim community for the council to be scrapped.

The MJC certifies products as halaal (fit for consumption), but it recently lost face in the community after Orion Cold Storage, where the MJC certified some meat as halaal, admitted to labelling pork – forbidden for Muslims – as halaal. Emotions in the Muslim community flared up when the pork scandal resurfaced this week when a television programme slammed the MJC for ducking questions on the issue.

MJC acting president Achmat Sedick said on Thursday: “We have not certified anything which is not halaal. On the basis of that, why must we defend the right to exist? I don’t understand that.

“Orion deceitfully relabelled the (pork) products as halaal. The criminality lies with Orion and not the MJC.”

Sedick said the MJC cleared 18 consignments of meat Orion had imported, but was not responsible for checking all of Orion’s imports.

Various Muslim groups took court action against Orion late last year. It was subsequently stripped of the right to label imported meat as halaal.

Sedick said the MJC was “evaluating our systems” around halaal meat imports.

“We have not changed anything about our procedures and certification. We are looking at the process of clearing all imports and exports to make sure that this does not recur. If there are things that we could tighten up then we will,” Sedick said.

National Consumer Forum provincial co-ordinator, Imraahn Mukaddam, who had led a campaign against the MJC’s halaal unit, accused the MJC of acting like a “corporate monopoly”.

“Islam is not a trademark. Muslim markets cannot be sold as a franchise. The capitalist exploitation of the Muslim community must stop because the corporate clergy class have lost our trust and proved their incompetence. We demand change now,” he said yesterday.

Mukaddam also questioned why the MJC had certified halaal products for Orion, but failed to monitor the company’s operations.

Sedick replied that the MJC worked with “companies like Pick n Pay and Woolworths who sell halaal and non-halaal products”. He explained that it was called to only clear items regarded halaal.

Ganief Hendricks, leader of the Al Jama-ah, said: “What has aggravated many Muslims is that Orion employees have joked that they have fed Muslims with pork for many years. I am very concerned Muslims will take the law into their own hands.”

He said there was talk in the community that a fatwa (decree) had been issued to punish senior MJC members and captains of the Muslim meat industry for “being complicit in selling pork to Muslims”.

He had been in contact with six top meat wholesalers from whom 80 percent of Muslim butchers bought their stock, Hendricks said.

“It is clear that Muslims across South Africa have been fed with pork and this is a blot against every halaal certifying authority and every butcher in the country,” he said.

He had met City of Cape Town officials “to ensure that the city plays its full role in ensuring Muslims are not duped into eating pork”.

“A report is being prepared for action by the city,” he said. – Cape Times


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About Yazeed Kamaldien

Self-employed journalist and photographer from South Africa.

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