Monday, May 23, 2016

Halal is Everything

Methinks Malay Muslims are becoming incredibly silly because of their obsession with everything labelled “Halal”.
There is a smartphone that is “blessed” with Islamic values and virtues. Supposedly developed by dubious scholar Dr Zakir Naik, it is called the Peace Mobile 2. The phone claims to be “the world's only authentic Islamic android smartphone” and offers Islamic themes for its hundreds of wallpapers, ringtones and over 80 hours of the popular Mumbai-based televangelist’s talks through its PeaceTV application in three languages, including English.
And if believers are anxious about safeguarding their fragile faith online, they can opt for a “Syariah-compliant” web browser that aims to steer them away from the sins and temptations of the Internet. Dubbed the “Salam Browser”, the free-to-download program claims to filter out websites with content incompatible with the Muslim religion.

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There are also halal speed dating, halal mineral water (“Lumin Spring”) and the latest, halal eggs.
On Saturday, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) even described the egg fixation – which went viral on social media – as silliness that has gone overboard.
And what about ice cream made up of blessed ingredients, Quran-recited chickens and modesty diapers for childbirth?
I am sure you will also remember halal trolleys, halal train service and halal airline ("Rayani Air").

Rayani Air flight crew prays before departure at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Malaysia. AP Photo.

Of course, by now you would have known that Malaysia’s first syariah-compliant airline flopped after only a couple of months. There were multiple cancellations, an inability to print boarding passes, delays, non-payment of salaries, pilots refusing to fly and maintenance problems.
The Department of Civil Aviation must be foolhardy to have allowed Rayani Air to take to the skies. And the mind cannot even begin to fathom how the company could receive the go-ahead, despite not having sufficient funds to operate beyond the first few months.
All this hullabaloo over "halal" labelling means that many of the adherents have only a superficial understanding of Islam.

Businesses quickly smell profits. And so these Malay-Muslims become easy prey when commercial ventures creatively come up with goods and services that purportedly make the Malays believe they would be “more” Islamic. Naive. Impressionable. Exploitable.

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