I am a Muslim and if I said I wanted to “eat a hot dog” and “drink a root beer”, it looks like the only words registered in the mind of the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) may be “dog” and “beer”.
And probably, they would write down, I wanted to “makan anjing” and “minum arak”.
Seriously, from the explanations that they have been giving about not giving the halal certification to Auntie Anne’s over the “pretzel dog” name, takes this authority to a whole new level altogether.
What if they changed it to “Pretzel Cat”, would that go through?
In a Facebook posting which has gone viral, Auntie Anne’s quality assurance cum halal executive Farhatul Kamilah Mohamed Sazali said the company has proposed a new name and is awaiting feedback from Jakim.
“Once we have Jakim’s decision, we will change our menu boards before making a fresh application (for halal status),” she wrote on Facebook.
She said Jakim also instructed Auntie Anne’s to apply for certification for its central kitchen, and to make separate applications for outlets according to zones to simplify the auditing process.
Farhatul said the initial application was for all 45 outlets in Malaysia.
“This happened to Sushi King as well, which initially only had halal certification for several outlets because the certification was granted according to zones even though the products are from one central kitchen,” she wrote.
She stressed that Auntie Anne’s is striving to pass the Jakim’s stringent halal audit, which also involves hygiene and cleanliness checks on outlets and food handlers, Malaysiakinireported.
Yesterday, in support, Free Malaysia Today reported that the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) has said restauranteurs and food producers should avoid certain words, including “beer” and “dog” in their menu as it would confuse Muslims.
Its vice-president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman also said the business community should be more sensitive when naming their products.
Now, while it may be good to know the reasons for all this hoo-ha which makes the Muslim community here a laughing stock, the question is why now? After all, it has been so many years that we have been seeing the “dog” on some of our fast food restaurant menus and “beer” on our halal supermarket shelves?
We have Beef Samurai burger. Does that mean we have a samurai inside the burger? How is that halal then? Oh, Saudi Arabians – from whom we get our fatwas usually, look set to buy over our McDonald.
We have French Fries – does it not confuse Muslims here that we may be eating fries made by French who may not be Muslims, thus according to the halal coding, may render it not halal?
We have Smoking BBQ pizza – now, does that mean “merokok” or “berasap”?
Really, there are so many issues on halalness which the authority should be looking into other than barking and biting at Auntie Anne’s or any one else over some dog in the name.
For one, they should start checking the cleanliness of all the mamak restaurants (especially their toilets) which may hang gold-gilded frames with “Allah” and “Prophet Muhammad” on their front walls but are a complete disgrace in the dirt they dish out to Islam and Muslims inside.