Tuesday, December 29, 2020

About Halal Cake Shops

I had a good chortle when I read this tweet from Zaid Ibrahim, Malaysian politician, lawyer and former government minister:

The reference to halal cake shops came about when MalaysiaNow had reported December 24, 2020 that a local bakery could not fulfil a customer’s request for “Merry Christmas” to be written on a cake he had ordered for delivery to a friend. Instead the cake was delivered with the words “Happy Holidays”. 

Apparently the bakery’s reason for the politically correct cake was to faithfully follow the terms and conditions set by JAKIM (Malaysia Islamic Development Department) halal certification process. 

Religious Affairs Minister Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri had to clarify that halal-certified shops are allowed to have products with festive greetings as long as it is not meant for display or on products with the halal logo. 

Of course, Malaysians become confused. One netizen @Magicmush7 asked: “How about Starbucks? Starbucks is halal certified too. Can Starbucks use cups that have Merry Christmas wording? Can the employees wear Santa hats? The hoops to jump through have no end in sight”. 

If you inspect the Malaysian Halal Certification Procedure Manual (Domestic) 2020 – a manual for companies to follow to receive and keep their JAKIM halal certification – reveals no specific requirements for festive or religious-themed greetings on products and advertisements. 

However, it does contain provisions against having immoral and obscene product packaging, labeling and advertising as well as displaying illustrations with animals deemed as “najis mughallazah” or impure by Islam, like pigs and dogs. 

It also provides a long list of names and terms that cannot be used by halal-certified companies for their brands such as ham, bacon, beer, dog or bak kut teh because of their association with non-halal products: 

Source: Malaysian Halal Certification Procedure Manual (Domestic) 2020 

The manual also prohibits the use of packaging, labels and advertising that contain statements, symbols, terms or references to the name of God or other religious deities. 

There’s no need to comment because it’s plainly obvious that we are an insecure society where our faith is oh so fragile. 

Liverpool squandered three points when they managed only a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. And it is a result that sure feels like a defeat. 

In fact, this is the first time Liverpool failed to win a Premier League home game against a side starting the day in the relegation zone – despite taking the lead – since a 2-2 draw with Slaven Bilic's West Ham in December 2016. 

Sadio Mane chested down Joel Matip's long ball forward and fired past Baggies’ goalkeeper in the twelfth minute. And then in the eighty-third minute, West Brom equalized. 

‘Twas a dreadful performance because the Reds enjoyed 78% possession – but only had two shots on target all game!

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