Halal certification: logic and lunacy

Four Corners presented a programme on opposition to halal certification Australia. The front person for Halal Choices, the movement which opposes halal certification for products in Australia, is the extremely photogenic Kirralie Smith.

The idiot right has clearly decided that having tattooed bogans attacking Islam is not going to win them much sympathy and they have clearly chosen a winner with the highly presentable Ms Smith.

Kirralie Smith had a blond make-over for her TV appearance. Let's hope she used non-halal product
Kirralie Smith had a blond make-over for her TV appearance. Let’s hope she used non-halal product

The problem with Ms Smith is that  and her footage inequalities far outweigh her ability to  support the case of banning halal certification with any form of logic.

 Her argument is ” A lot of the profits go to mosques, Islamic schools and Islamic charities in this country. I don’t think that anybody should have to fund that if they don’t want to.”

Presenter Kerry O’Brien explained the background:

The term simply means “permissible” under Islam. At its most basic, that means the product doesn’t contain any trace of alcohol or pork. It also applies to the way an animal is slaughtered.

The certification is for Muslim residents, but also opens up lucrative global markets for domestic food producers.

A great deal of what we all eat in this country is now halal-approved, like bread, milk and cereals and at least 80 per cent of the chicken processed here.

Most shoppers seem not to care, but anti-halal activists argue that some of the money raised has gone to support Islamic extremism, even terrorism.

Ms Smith’s argument is that she shouldn’t have to purchase products produced by companies that may fund Islamic mosques (and by implication terrorist groups”.

There are three important points to be made here.

The first is that if she doesn’t like the manufacturer/producer does with the profits, then she should boycott the products.

The second is that many companies that have halal certification probably do not fund the building of the Islamic mosques  (think Kelloggs, Cadburys and the producers of 80% of Australia’s chicken)

The third point is that Australian Crime Commission and AUSTRAC ( Australia’s financial intelligence unit that  monitors money laundering, major crime and tax evasion) both say there are, there is no evidence or at least they have no information suggesting direct links between halal certification and terrorism.

Mike Holt from the right-wing group  Restore Australia responded  “Well, a lack of information doesn’t s, doesn’t show that it’s not there, does it. All it means is that they haven’t done their homework properly.”

 Members of the far right organisation Reclaim Australia
Members of the far right organisation Reclaim Australia

Geoff Thomson reported that Profits from halal certification have flowed into projects like Islamic schools and mosques: schools like the East Preston Islamic College, which is owned by halal certifier, the Islamic Coordinating Council of Victoria – or ICCV.

In addition, the Australians are helping fund a development in Jonggol, West Java  the extensive development includes a mosque, an orphanage, accommodation and administration offices.

Of course, to the lunatic right this is clear indication that the halal certification organisations funding terrorists. They’re not, they’re building an orphanage.

It was a pity that Four Corner did not point out that these are legitimate philanthropic enterprises because the hidden implication is that this funding is a smokescreen for something more sinister. There is no evidence for this.

There is a simple message for  the likes of Mike Holt and Kirralie Smith: The majority of Australians are not concerned that a large proportion of their supermarket purchases are halal certified. You have every right to object to the certification.  But your objection only entitles you not to buy the product. It does not entitle you to demand that the product  (or the certification) should be removed.

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