Muslims demand halaal answers
Cape Town - Protesters in Athlone, Cape Town, demanded public access on Tuesday to the processes the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) follows in declaring meat halaal.
The small group, some of whom were People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) members, were outside the MJC offices to raise public awareness of the issue.
The protest was part of ongoing unhappiness in the Muslim community over halaal approval.
Last year, Cape Town meat distributor, Orion, approved by the MJC, was found to have pork in products that were labelled halaal. Pork is a food forbidden by Islamic law. The company later defended itself in court saying it was sabotaged.
The Orion debacle led to many Muslims now wanting to know what went wrong with the MJC's procedures.
Pagad spokesperson Cassiem Parker said on Tuesday the MJC had yet to explain to Muslims why it had failed at the Orion distribution centre.
"The MJC has not come to the Muslim public and explained to us where the holes in its scrutinisation of Halaal meat exists, or who the staff were that failed to do their job properly," Parker said.
"This is a service that the Muslim community is paying for and we want to know why it went wrong," he said.
Meanwhile Pagad was telling Muslims to treat meat with the MJC stamp as non-halaal.
"There are other Muslim authorities that consumers and suppliers can trust to approve halaal meat," he said.
The MJC had created a Facebook page and posted a video on YouTube in an attempt to clear its name. When asked to comment on the protest, the MJC referred to a media statement it issued in December.
In that statement, MJC secretary general Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie said meat certified by the MJC Halaal Trust (MJCHT) was halaal.
"The MJCHT consistently exerts itself in serving our community by exploring all possible avenues to ensure that imported food complies with strict halaal standards," Allie said.
"Those who have spread the seeds of doubt and created suspicion, division and dissension in the community, contradict the basic principles of Islam which guides us toward harmonious interaction and good, honest and truthful relations amongst humanity."