We refer to the article in the Sunday times of 8/12/08 entitled "Halaal watchdog warns Muslim diners against 'forbidden' eateries"
There are several inaccuracies in the statement made on behalf of the National Halaal forum by their spokesperson and attorney for the Muslim Judicial Council, Mr. Zaahir Williams.
He states that "it was ultimately left to Muslim consumers to decide 'whether its permissible to eat at a certain place'" is inaccurate particularly where there is a flagrant violation of the Shariah e.g. a bar, night club etc. Determining permissibility and impermissibility is not the prerogative of the Muslim consumer. The legality and illegality of any aspect is enshrined within the Shariah (Islamic Law). Indeed, the prerogative to abide by the law or not lies with the individual.
In respect of his statement that "a lot of Muslims are comfortable to sit in a restaurant where there is a certificate that assures them that the food is halaal, but somewhere in the corner if the establishment there is a small bar for those non Muslim customers who enjoy a glass of wine", none of the National Halaal forum members viz NIHT (National Independent Halaal Trust),MJC( Muslim Judicial Council) and ICSA ( Islamic Council of South Africa), to our knowledge grant certification to outlets who serve alcohol. Is there a change in this consensus policy?
The spokesperson's statement is at odds with the MJC's position as stated by their public relations officer on air where she stated "I would like to categorically state that the MJC has not and will not in future certify any restaurant that sells alcohol."
Finally, whilst we always welcome more Halaal operated outlets, we are of the opinion that there is more that the "little choice" available to the Muslim consumer as alluded to by the spokesperson. Perhaps this incorrect perception is being perpetuated by the paucity of information and reluctance by certifiers to publish comprehensive listings of all certified outlets.