Friday, October 21, 2016

Jakim Don't Like Dogs

Yay-y-y!!! We made global news again!

We are in the spotlight because we provide comic relief to a world weary of political shenanigans, battered economies, never-ending wars, escalating terrorism and unwaning natural catastrophes.

At the very least, we make people laugh at us.

Jakim (Islamic Development Department of Malaysia) this week confirmed its decision to make it mandatory for food outlet operators to abort words that are linked to non-halal references on their menus, to qualify for halal certification.

The issue surfaced after an executive with US pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s revealed that their application for halal certification had failed due to, among others, concerns over the “pretzel dog” (left) in their menu.

A department spokesperson had explained that food items containing the word “dog” could confuse Muslims, as the animal is considered unclean by Islam.

Now if that is not crass stupidity, I don't know what is.

For God’s sake, the “pretzel dog” is just the name of a food product. Not that the food has anything to do with the canine animal or that it contains dog meat.

The incident is the latest in the growing trend of religious conservatism in Malaysia – the only country in the world that prohibits non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” and other Arabic terms.

To be sure, religious authorities in Malaysia are doggedly undermining the country’s fast disappearing moderate image. These people are bent on painting an intolerant picture of Islam to the world and worse, make Malay-Muslims look as if they are very stupid too.

Should they wish to continue being idiotic, then they mustn’t stop there! Why not ban the word “pretzel” too?  

After all, a common origin story of pretzels is that they were created by a Christian monk around 610 in Italy. 

According to The History of Science and Technology, the monk baked strips of dough that he folded into a shape resembling a child crossing its arms in prayer.

And can you recall the June incident last year when a Malay-Muslim consumer complained about eating food with a label that says “Church’s”? Was he implying that Muslims shouldn’t eat food from churches? Hmmm…

Anyway, he was referring to Texas Chicken’s “Church’s” brand of dipping sauce. Just to enlighten him and other worried Malay-Muslims, Texas Chicken actually goes by the name “Church’s Chicken” in the US of A – and no, it is not related to Christianity at all.

The sauces he was worried about were in fact, imported from the home country, and therefore, they carried the Church’s Chicken branding.

So Jakim – don’t limit to pretzel dogs! Your "ban" list should include “hot dogs”, “root beer’, "ginger ale", “cross buns” and “hamburgers”, to name a few.

It is not limited to food items either. 

Hush Puppies should face the ban because Malay-Muslims might believe that the shoes are made of dog skin. And Christian Dior will no longer be permitted in Malaysia  because Malay-Muslims  might be converted to Christians when they use their beauty products.

We just can't be too careful. We must be alert. Everything and anything that can confuse Malay-Muslims must be avoided because the latter's faith is very fragile. We need to tread carefully. Poor Malay-Muslims!

I attended the Scope Toastmasters meeting in Petaling Jaya and I am thankful to be given a speaking slot.

I delivered my CC#4 speech “Smeagol, the Stoor Hobbit”. An intriguing speech that saw comparisons being made between this fictional JRR Tolkien character and I.

And the audience must have liked the speech that I earned a pink ribbon (below) – yup, I was voted Best Speaker.

This speech represents my thirty-seventh round of the Competent Communication manual.

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