April 27, 2015

Australian Backlash at Halal-Kosher Certification an Ominous Sign

Melbourne - With growing numbers of Muslims in many Western countries around the world, the concept of a joint Halal-Kosher certification seems like a good marketing idea, especially for products where there are no differences between the two religious standards. But the Halal certification does not sit well with many consumers, which is why a number of companies in Australia have asked Australia Kosher to remove the kosher certification. According to Rabbi Yankel Wajsbort of Kosher Australia “rumors that money raised from halal certification helps fund terrorism are spurring the pushback,” the Australian Jewish Times reported. The companies reportedly believe it is better to have no identifying religious certification at all. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre and the Australian Crime Commission both reject the halal-terrorist link rumors, saying there is no evidence to support them, according to the AJN. “In the last three months we have probably received 10 requests from companies that say they support kosher and want to stay kosher, but how do they argue that it’s different to halal,” Wajsbort told the newspaper. “Of those 10, we have had four or five companies that have asked to remove our symbol.”

While there are a number of products in Europe that have the joint certification, it is not widespread in the US and even Israel. Despite the fact that many Muslims eat kosher products, local Imans have generally encouraged Muslims to shop at Halal stores and seek out Halal certification. In some markets in the US, say sources, Muslims frequent supermarkets to buy kosher products to make certain that they do not contain pork products. Although Muslims and Jews have often teamed up to battle anti ritual slaughter legislation, particularly in Europe, they have sometimes parted company on the issue of the stunning of animals before slaughter which Muslims accept in some circumstances.