MJC defends halaal procedures

2012-01-20 12:05
Cape Town - The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has defended its halaal clearance procedures following calls from the local Muslim community for the council to be scrapped, the Cape Times newspaper reported on Friday.

"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," MJC acting president Achmat Sedick told the newspaper.

The council, which certifies products as halaal, was criticised by the Muslim community for allegedly certifying as halaal pork sold by the company Orion Cold Storage.

"Orion deceitfully relabelled the 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, he said.

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

'Corporate monopoly'

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," 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," he said.

"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."

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