Some of Australia’s top food brands are being targeted for boycott via social media for producing halal foods, claiming the certification fees “directly support terrorism”.
Vegemite, Four ‘n’ Twenty pies, the Byron Bay Cookie Company, Nescafe, Colgate and Western Star Butter are among the companies being targeted for making products with halal certification.
A number of meat processors have also been singled out for producing halal products.
Halal food is prepared according to Islamic law and is similar in religious philosophy to the Jewish practice of kosher food.
The Facebook page “Boycott halal foods in Australia” has been operating for two years and calls for boycotts claiming halal fees are used to “fund Islamic expansion by any means”.
Boycott Halal is a global campaign with a strong social media presence. A change.org online petition calls on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to ban halal certification fees “as part of the Australian governments’ fight to combat terrorism”.
The petition claims:
Items such as Vegemite, an Australian icon for decades, now include a mark-up for halal certification – a mark-up which directly supports terrorist organisations.
In recent weeks The Byron Bay Cookie Company has come under sustained attack and abuse on social media pages for being halal certified and making Anzac biscuits.
The company says it is seeking legal advice after the abuse it received.
The comments posted on its Facebook page range from racist to bigoted and ignorant, including:
“No Byron Bay anything for me either. I stand firm on boycotting anything Halal. No food should be about religion. No law should be about religion.”
“Is it true that you have paid Halal certification?
If you are, you should HAVE TO display a Halal logo on your packaging. I think it’s only fair I should be given the choice as to whether I wish to buy products carying a religious certification even though in this case it’s a totalitarian regime’s certification.”
“I didn’t realise rolled oats where a meat and had to be slaughtered a certain way! Do you have to face Mecca while harvesting the crops or something? How can you not see that this halal cert of BISCUITS is not necessary!”
“What a disgrace, the thousands of Anzacs that died on the beaches at Gallipoli will be turning in their graves.”
“You guys make me sick, hopefully you lose a lot of business because of the Halal certified Anzac biscuits. Very un Australian”
Others have responded in support of the halal certification.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the company, which turns over around $13 million, says:
Byron Bay Cookie Company cookies are halal certified as we proudly make products that are enjoyed by people all over the world. We are fiercely proud of being an Australian business whose products are locally manufactured and exported to markets throughout Asia, Europe and America.
These export sales are an essential part of our business, and crucial to preserving investment and employment here in Australia.
Four ‘n’ Twenty Pies is also being abused on Facebook with angry commentators saying things such as:
“Hope your marketing people read all the posts, you jeopardise 97% of the market by being conned into paying an Islamic food tax for what 3% maximum???”
“I buy a packet of your pies every week….will no longer as you are Halal certified…..disgraceful”
“Dear four n twenty, you keep justifying your decision to pay the dhimmi tax, which is exactly what halal is, by stating over and over again that its only 5% of your range. You fail to realise that it is the principal of this that disgusts us Aussies. Do you think islamic countries pay for kosher certification? Do you think they care about what christians believe? We are in the midst of global cultural genocide and your quest for political correctness has alienated many loyal customers. You are a bunch of islamophiles and your actions are tearing our culture apart.”
Even the South Australian family-owned beer company Coopers came under attack earlier this year for producing halal-certified malt extract.