Was That Tucker Really Halal?

… ‘burp’ who cares, just show me the money”

About five years ago it was suggested to me that food products with the little Arabic looking symbol on it could be funding terrorism. That sounded outrageous at the time. I was also told Cadbury and Vegemite carried the halal certification symbol on them. So I went home to investigate.

During the following week I began ringing some companies to ask what I thought were simple questions, like, “Are your products halal certified?”

I got anything but simple answers and some companies were quite evasive, secretive and many gave me the run around.

I ended up on the phone with Mr Mohamed El-Mouelhy of the Halal Authority of Australia. He thought I was a Muslim. I didn’t correct him.

What he said to me was absolutely astonishing. After lecturing me about the Koran and Hadiths, he said every good Muslim should know they cannot trust the halal symbol. He claimed many certification companies disregard Sharia Law and are only in it for the money.

That got my little justice bell ringing so I kept pursuing the matter.

After contacting approximately 500 companies I‘ve discovered that inconsistencies, corruption, intimidation, threats, misinformation and deception are rife in this halal certification industry.

Both Muslims and non-Muslims are being taken for a ride by a scam that generates an estimated $3 trillion worldwide.

As of the 27th August 2014 there were no fewer than 21 competing halal certification agencies in Australia, approved to certify red meat alone.

There are many more agencies that also certify confectionary, health products, pharmaceuticals, and all varieties of processed foods.

In many cases certification is completely unnecessary as the item is already considered permissible or is in no way related to halal!

There are no standards across the industry.
They compete with, and denigrate, each other.
They threaten to label businesses as racists or bigots if they refuse to pay certification fees.
They falsely claim non-Muslims don’t have an issue with it.
There are many undertones reminiscent of mafia style tactics.

One chicken supplier was forcibly boycotted by retail outlets under threat of the local Imam. His business lost hundreds of thousands of dollars over the ensuing three years, so he approached the Imam and agreed to pay the halal certification fee despite the fact he didn’t have to change any of his operations.

The Imam then punished him by increasing the fee.

He then forced him to pay a penalty for not being halal certified over the previous three years!

One concerned Imam preached a sermon about the halal rort. He said, “…and the fact that they charge such exorbitant fees for their services puts the customer at a distinct financial disadvantage in the market place, for the price the companies have to pay is passed directly on to the customers.”

He went on to say, “Halal certification has become a form of stealth tax, taking money from the pockets of ordinary Muslims and putting it into the coffers of the Islamic organisations and ulama (Muslim legal scholars).”

Buyer beware – many of your everyday shopping purchases fund this scam and it’s about time we demanded to know exactly where this money goes?

[Editor’s Footnote: Rushdi Siddiqui, Founder of Saudi Azka Capital gave an interview on Amilin TV about the significance of the convergence of the halal food sector with Islamic Finance. He said, “I consider this to be the tip of what is a very big iceberg as I have just glimpsed the part that is under the water.”]