Looking at my shopping cart full of groceries I am astonished by the number of family staples that now carry the Halal Certified (HC) symbol.
Some of the Halal Certified items you might have in your cart include: Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Paul's Milk, Bega Cheese, Capilano Honey, Vegemite, CSR Sugar, Cadbury Chocolate, Homebrand bread (actually there are over 23 pages listing certified breads alone) to name just a few.
Check out the website www.halalchoices.com.au to see a more extensive list.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what it means to have your food Halal Certified? Who are you supporting when you buy that product, why is it certified? What does it cost? Why should I care it's just a label?
Over the next few articles I hope to unpack the deception the West is facing regarding Halal certification and open your eyes so you can be aware of the Islamic religious tax you already pay when you grocery shop.
Stores everywhere are being inundated with products that boast the little Halal Certified (HC) symbol. In Australia alone there are over 30 different Halal certification companies so there isn't one specific symbol or standard.
What is Halal?
"Halal" simply means permitted or lawful. So when we are talking about Halal foods it means any foods that are allowed to be eaten according to Islamic Sharia law. This means that for any food to be considered Halal it must comply with the religious ritual and observance of Sharia law." (http://www.halalchoices.com.au/what_is_halal.html)
Halal Certified (HC) means companies pay one of the Halal certifying bodies a fee so they can say their product is in compliance with Halal and can be consumed by a Muslim and display the HC symbol. It is interesting that "no other religion imposes a fee on us for having our food and other products prayed over by them." (http://islam4infidels.com/proof-halal-funds-terrorism)
That's rightâcompanies have to pay fees to have products prayed over in the name of Allah.
What is on the "no" list for Muslims
Many think that the list of non-permissible foods must be massive since there are so many products that are now HC but there are only four things Muslims are forbidden to eat, unless in a life and death situation.
The forbidden foods are:
- meat or any products from a forbidden animal, including pigs and any carnivorous animals or birds of prey meat or any products of an animal which has not been slaughtered in the correct manner in the name of Allah
When examining the list of what a Muslim is not permitted to eat, I am shocked to see how many everyday products like flour, chocolate, milk, cream, butter and sugar are buying into the Halal Certification scheme, even though they are naturally Halal.
"Many Australian food manufacturers seek Halal certification of their facilities and processes, in order to label their products as Halal and ensure they are able to be enjoyed by Muslim consumers... Many foods and drinks, particularly those that do not contain meat or alcohol, are inherently compliant with Halal criteria." (http://www.afgc.org.au/about-afgc/our-policies/halal-certification)
The Australian Food and Grocery Council admits many food and drinks are inherently Halal and therefore Muslims can eat them without any fear of consequence. In essence, companies are paying a Halal certification fee for products Muslims are already allowed to eat.
Does this make sense? These companies then pass those fees on to us, the customers, because companies are out to make moneyâso now I am paying for a Muslim to be able to eat food that is already permissible for them. Wow! I wish I could find a way to charge companies so I can make money off other people eating.
So what needs to be officially certified?
Nothing, absolutely nothing needs to be officially certified. Mohammed never went to the grocery store and made sure his food had a little HC on it. Except for pork, he ate what was put before him. He knew Allah had made most things naturally permissible and therefore he could eat away. Certification boards are something rather new and have been around for 50 years, but only really took off in the last 30 years.
In a Western grocery store today Muslims can eat just about anything except pork. According the Koran: "the food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them" [al-Maa'idah 5:5] It is lawful as a Christian nation for Muslims to eat our meat and food. A Muslim would only need to say the word "Bismellah" over the meat and that makes it permissible.
Please understand me; I'm very much in favour of Muslims be able to follow their religious beliefs and convictions, the same I am for all human beings. I want you to eat what you feel you can eat. If you are vegetarian, gluten-free, Hindu, Muslim, Christianâgreat!
But I don't want to pay more at the shop to support your eating habits. I will support my own eating habits and I do: when my family shops we buy Fairtrade cocoa products.
We purposely seek out certain products, even though they are more expensive, as we know they are certified and we want to support local farmers and stop human trafficking.
It is our choice. I don't force everyone in the store to buy that kind of chocolate even though I would love to (check out my chocolate article here) The same should be for Muslims. If they want to eat Halal meat they can buy it, but it should not be forced on non-Muslims. Things already naturally (Halal) permissible should not be allowed to become certified in Australia. There is really no need.
Genevieve Wilson is a happily married stay at home, home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She worked 8 years as a missionary with Youth with a Mission(YWAM). She has a heart for justice and to see the abolition of the modern day slave trade.
Genevieve Wilson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/genevieve-wilson.html