Australias Senior Jewish Leader says anti-halal campaign 'ignorant and prejud

2015-04-27 06:30:25 | Al Muslim News
Australias Senior Jewish Leader says anti-halal campaign 'ignorant and prejud


One of Australia's most senior Jewish clerics has come to the defence of Australian Muslims, saying the anti-halal campaign headed by the group Reclaim Australia and backed by some parliamentarians is an attack on religious freedom.
"The current attack we are hearing against halal certification in Australia is wrong," Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, one of Australia’s most senior Rabbis, said.
"It is the product of prejudice and ignorance. If it was against kosher certification it would be labeled anti-Semitic. If anyone believes anyone is funding terrorism and breaking Australian law, let them go to the police with evidence and the police will investigate it,†he said.
"All this has absolutely nothing to do with the legitimate rights of the Islamic community to practice their religion in Australia through the certification of food as being halal, and has absolutely nothing to do with the rights of Australian manufacturers to seek halal certification for the foodstuffs in order to sell them to Muslims," Rabbi Gutnick told to The Age newspaper of Victoria, OnIslam reported.
The senior cleric's statement was made while marking Yom Ha'Shoah, the day Jews commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. He wrote that he was inspired to speak out by those (Muslims) who risked their lives to protect Jews from Nazi persecution.
A controversial liberal backbencher, Andrew Laming, had earlier claimed ministerial support for a plan to amend halal labeling laws – a claim immediately denied by the minister purportedly responsible.
Laming says halal certifiers are religious profiteers -- an argument taken up by many anti-halal campaigners. He has been working on a plan to give Australian businesses the power to self-certify their goods as halal and claimed to have "secured ministerial support for his plan".
But the claim was immediately denied by the office of Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash, who oversees food labeling. Her spokesman said the plan had never received approval from her office.
Rabbi Gutnick, who is a senior rabbi at the Kashrut Authority of Australia and New Zealand, had said the anti-halal campaign was an attack on Australians' religious rights, according to a local newspaper.
Under Laming's plan, food manufacturers selling on the domestic market would have the choice of obtaining halal certification from a religious body or being able to make a similar claim themselves.
"You should be able to make a claim that a food is suitable to a minority group without certification," he said.
In response to his claim, the Australian Food and Grocery Council say food businesses already have the ability to claim halal status for their products without getting a religious certification.
"Domestically, companies have these options now, including making an uncertified claim – they just need to be able to substantiate it if challenged," a Council spokesman said.
"There is also a lot of misinformation here in Australia about halal certification – and any initiative that helps clear that up would be welcome."
Anti-halal campaigners, like the former One Nation candidate Mike Holt, and Kirralie Smith of the Halal Choices website, have been propagandizing that halal certification fees are being used to fund “terrorismâ€.
With no evidence on the funding terrorism assumptions, Holt and Smith have been leading calls for boycotting companies with halal certification.
Muslims make upto 2.2 % of Australia’s 23.7 million populations belong to several nations and communities. Islam is the country's second largest religion after Christianity.
The concept of halal -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food. Muslims do not eat pork and consider pigs and their meat filthy and unhealthy to eat.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, must be mentioned.


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