Appoint national halaal body
Appoint national halaal body – MP
January 26 2012 at 11:59am
A MUSLIM parliamentarian says he has written to the Speaker of Parliament on establishing a single national halaal authority that would replace existing bodies scattered countrywide.
Cape Town-based MP Haniff Hoosen, secretary-general for the Independent Democrats, told the Cape Times yesterday that this was meant to protect Muslim consumers.
“I have written to the Speaker of Parliament that it is my intention to file a private member’s bill. This is the opportunity that any member of parliament has to file a proposal to establish a law,” Hoosen said.
He said the ongoing scandal involving Orion Cold Storage and the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) had offered fertile ground for the establishment of a new authority.
The MJC alleges that Orion labelled pork as halaal. Orion denies these allegations and said in a statement this week that it had been “sabotaged” by disgruntled employees.
The MJC has since called a public meeting tonight at the Darul Islam Mosque in Surrey Estate at 8pm.
Hoosen said he had consulted with four major halaal authorities, including the MJC, on establishing a central halaal clearance authority. He said that the response from the organisations had been “lukewarm … because they fear they might not profit”.
This national body would be responsible for checking whether meat was halaal, or fit for consumption under Islamic law, for local Muslims. Hoosen said that it would also charge a fee for certifying products as halaal, but legislation would determine that it donated profits to Islamic institutions.
“There are four major organisations that deal with halaal accreditation nationally. They all have different standards. We need one national body that would set required standards,” said Hoosen.
He said halaal authorities could only withdraw halaal certification from a non-compliant company. “That company breaks the rules and then goes to another halaal authority for a certificate and gets it. There is no record of non-compliance because there is very little co-operation between the organisations.”
Hoosen said he was concerned that Muslims were consuming non-halaal goods. “There are many other companies that are not respecting Islamic laws around halaal matters. If a body is established by government, there could be laws that would ensure a fine or imprisonment for those who break the law. ”
Patrick Gaertner, of the Muizenberg-based Orion Cold Storage company, issued a statement this week on allegations that his company sold halaal-labelled pork to Muslims. Pork is forbidden for Muslims. “Allegations that Muslims have been ‘fed pork for years’ are untrue.”
“Orion maintains that it has been the subject of a two-pronged vindictive sabotage of its business operation. One for blackmail and extortion and the other for the benefit of its competitors. Orion is taking all possible steps to assist SAPS and Sars in their investigations against the perpetrators of these crimes.”
Gaertner also claimed that “a former business associate of Orion … (and) his brother-in-law” made video clips that indicated that Orion labelled pork as halaal in an attempt to bribe his company.
“One of the video clips … was offered for sale to Orion at a price of R1.2 million. Orion refused.”
He also said that “acts of sabotage were committed”.