Thursday, 24 November 2011
Cowan Electorate: Halal Foods
I recently presented a petition in parliament calling for all meats that had been slaughtered in the manner of the Islamic religion to be clearly labelled as such. The petition, which was presented to me by the Barnabas Fund, stated that, while they support the freedom of religious groups to access food and other products that meet with the requirements of their faith, they are concerned about the massive growth of sharia-compliant products being sold to Australians, whatever their faith, often without being informed or consulted. As a result of the petition, I investigated in my electorate in Western Australia and found that almost every animal, apart from pigs, is killed in accordance with the Islamic religious requirements known as halal. So, when you go to Coles, Woolworths, IGA or other supermarkets, you cannot purchase the meat for your Aussie barbecue without the influence of this minority religion. You have no choice. And the point is that almost no Australians are aware of this, because it is not labelled.
Why is this the case? Why is it that we are being provided with meat that is slaughtered in accordance with the practices of the Islamic religion? I expect it is convenience and marketing for these meat providers, but it is important that everyone should also be aware that Mohammed, the prophet of Islam—as reported in the Hadith, the traditions of Islam, the book second only to the Koran—talked of how Islam would be furthered to those parts of the world that had not yet embraced it. He reportedly said, 'The non-believers will become Muslims when, amongst other things, they eat the meat that we have slaughtered.' This is one of the key aspects to converting nonbelievers to Islam.
As many people would be aware, halal forms part of the sharia system. Most people know sharia to be a system of laws relating to the Islamic religion. Any religion's adherents, of course, can make personal choices about the way and the standards by which they live their lives. This is as true for Christians as it is for Muslims. We should have no trouble with personal standards. But a religion is not a social or a political system, and those who believe it to be so, by implication stand against our great democracy.
Consumers are being denied information about meat. Meat killed in accordance with the Islamic religion's requirements should be labelled accordingly. By having Australians unwittingly eating halal food we are all one step down the path towards the conversion, and that is a step we should only make with full knowledge and one that should not be imposed upon us without us knowing. What is happening is wrong. Too often the minorities in this country are looked after without regard to the majority. The time has come for this to stop. I call upon the following businesses in Western Australia and every business in Australia to clearly label halal meat and stop deceiving Australians: V&V Walsh, Western Meat Packers, Harvey Beef, WAMMCo, Hillside Tender Meats, Inghams and Steggles.
In closing, I would like to recognise two Western Australian companies, Mount Barker Free Range Chickens and Dardanup Butchers Company, who have not yet yielded to the pressure to impose halal food on everybody regardless of their faith.