Jan 10, 2017

Guess who’s coming to $150-a-head anti-Islam dinner?

Who on Earth would turn up to Kirralie Smith's "Defending Freedom of Speech Halal Choices" fundraiser? Spoiler: it's Bernardi. And Christensen. And attention-starved Ross Cameron.

Irfan Yusuf — Lawyer, author and commentator

Irfan Yusuf

Lawyer, author and commentator

The other day my mate and I went to Nissin World Delicatessen, a popular supermarket for expats in central Tokyo. In the meat section, I saw imported meats from Australia, the United States and New Zealand. The Kiwis do roaring business here in Japan, and the huge, loud halal signs don’t seem to worry anyone. In this majority Buddhist nation, and even among its expatriate community (many of whom would be nominally Christian), the idea of eating the flesh of a cow or lamb slaughtered in the name of Allah isn’t going to lead to a House of Councillors inquiry.

The same is largely true in Australia (apart from the futile Senate inquiry into kosher and halal certification). Indeed, most halal-related litigation Muslims involves halal butchers suing halal certifiers, halal certifiers suing other certifiers and religious bodies seeking to enforce contracts in which certifiers promise to pay some stipend. Halal v Halal.

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15 thoughts on “Guess who’s coming to $150-a-head anti-Islam dinner?

  1. Kfix

    So how are the Big Macs over there Irf?

    It would be interesting to know if the reason that the “other prominent” toerags aren’t showing up for this one is that they have more to gain than lose from Australia’s suffocating libel jurisdiction? Or (perhaps like Jackie Lambie as someone pointed out yesterday) are they finding they aren’t getting any traction from brownophobia?

  2. Nigel Stanley

    The fundraiser is not very attractive, more a collection of ‘yesterday’s men,’ it appears. I didn’t think Cory would be generous enough to shell out $150 for the usual luke-warm dinner plate, nor Georgie Boy, either. Or are they guest speakers and get free food?

    1. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

      Doubtless they will claim travel allowance so that George can say grace (on behalf and for the benefit of a grateful nation) and Cory can deliver a speech about government submarines and climate change. Scones and nibbles will be provided by a ladies auxiliary.

  3. tonyl

    Angry Anderson again?

  4. AR

    I’d happily pay $150 to defend free speech as long as i didn’t have to associate with any of the people mentioned in the article.

  5. Matt Willis

    The only valid criticism of halal certification is that it panders to people’s irrational beliefs in a god. The other stuff about Islam being a different beast from the other religions and being a totalitarian faith has been said over and over by the Harrises and Dawkinses of the world.

    Had these folks stuck to the facts they’d be fine, but on the face of it they’re now fighting a battle they’re bound to lose in court.

  6. Dion Giles

    I think the issue differentiating halal from kosher is that kosher products are purchased only by those who choose to buy them whereas the halal certification charge is a tax (jizya – see Google) on the entire population on a range of goods wide enough for it to be impossible to choose not to pay it.

    1. Matt Hardin

      Your statement is untrue with respect to kosher. I worked in a starch plan t that made ingredients for biscuits, cakes and thingof that nature and we had a RBI me in and declare the plant kosher. This cost a smal fee. I think you will find as long a list of kosher products in the “normal” aisles of a supermarket as halal products.

      1. Dion Giles

        It’s based on a section of my local Coles marked “kosher” and none marked “halal”.

        1. Marty Wallace

          Do they have a section for Atheists?

    2. Kfix

      The halal certification charge is no different to the kosher certification charge – it’s a voluntary process for those who wish to sell goods that meet the certification requirements.

      Jizya was (for it exists no longer, except possibly in ISIS and Taliban controlled territory) a tax on non-Muslims imposed by Muslim governments for political and economic purposes entirely unrelated to halal products.

      1. Dion Giles

        My point is that voluntary (supposedly) for the sellers doesn’t mean voluntary for the buyers on to whom the charge is passed. If we are talking peanuts it’s a non-issue. It the sums nationwide are large (say $1m or more) it would be worth an inquiry including the degree of choice the producer (such as the chook farmer) has over paying it. Just so we know we’re not funding a protection racket while there’s relentless government pressure on the poorest among us to make sacrifices “for the Budget”. The GST is theft enough.

        1. Kfix

          But that’s still exactly the same as kosher, if you buy kosher products. It’s also the same as RSPCA certification for eggs, or organic certification, or other marketing costs for that matter (as that’s essentially what it is for those who don’t believe in the religious aspect, and I’m talking about organic as well as halal here). It’s a commercial decision made by the producer, and to the extent that there is a racket going on forcing the producers to conform to certain practices you would be better off looking at the supermarket duopoly than at any of the individual cost areas.

          1. Dion Giles

            This one’s religious. Let’s see what it’s costing us. Open inquiry. If it’s big bucks, enforce real choice for producers to decline it without penalty and report anyone who threatens a penalty so it’s not a jizya or a protection racket to add to the GST.

          2. Kfix

            “enforce real choice for producers to decline it without penalty”

            What penalty do you think is being enforced, and by who? If Coles (say) decides it wants to offer certified products as a marketing strategy and so requires certification of its suppliers, are you going to make that illegal? If you don’t get certified, people who want to buy halal products won’t buy yours, that’s all that will happen. That’s not a penalty, that’s commerce.

            I really don’t get the level of fantasy around this issue. No one is penalising or forcing anyone, other than the big supermarkets as they do with all sorts of suppliers around all sorts of issues, and to the extent that those practices are unethical or otherwise undesirable that has nothing to do with the underlying reason for the various certifications.

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