If you aren’t aware, our federal parliament is holding an inquiry into food labelling.
Oops. That probably sent you to sleep.
So let me put it another way. Our federal parliament is investigating the halal certification racket. And now that I’ve got your attention, understand this: you have two weeks left to have your say. Seize it. There’s no point complaining that the head honchos won’t listen if you don’t take the opportunity to speak when it’s given to you.
To lodge a submission, click here. Or, if you wish, you can sign my comprehensive 87 page report by clicking here. I hope you do. It’ll only take about 30 seconds and the more who sign, the more likely it will be considered.
Over the next few days, I’ll be writing about the problems with halal certification. And there are many of them. But let’s start in the beginning…
On the morning of 1 January 1915, Australia suffered its first Islamic terrorist attack. It was also the only attack on Australian soil during the First World War. The attackers, Mullah Abdullah and Badsha Mohammed Gool, answered the call of the caliph and opened fire on the annual New Years’ Day picnic train leaving Broken Hill. That train was filled with families; over 1,200 men, women and children were on board.
Three hours later, both Abdullah and Gool lay dead beneath a homemade flag. They took the lives of four Australians and wounded seven more before the men of Broken Hill were able to secure their town.
Several days before the atrocity, Abdullah had been convicted of slaughtering animals without obtaining a license to operate an abattoir. As the local imam, he had been illegally conducting ritual halal slaughters.
Australia might have won the First World War with other allied nations but an objective observer could not but conclude that it was Mullah Abdullah who eventually emerged victorious over the issue of ritual halal slaughter in Australia. From his perspective the attack was not in vain. A century after Abdullah raised his rifle, abattoirs are advertising for slaughtermen with a key requirement: they must be Muslim. And it appears that the vast majority of Australian meat is now prepared in accordance with Sharia law.
When it comes to Islam, Abdullah’s vision for Australia has come much closer to realisation than most could possibly have imagined. And the brave men who defended the residents of Broken Hill from its imam would probably find it disturbing that modern accounts of this terrorist attack paint Abdullah as the victim of discrimination.
Almost exactly 100 years after the Battle of Broken Hill, another Muslim answered the call of the caliph. Just like Mullah Abdullah, Man Haron Monis died beneath a homemade flag after killing innocent Australians. And just like Abdullah, Man Haron Monis had a run in with the law in the days before the attack as a result of his Islamic activities: he had been sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who had died in another war, this time in Afghanistan.
The similarities between these deadly attacks are also compounded by coincidence.
During the Lindt Café terrorist attack, speculation was rife that Man Haron Monis chose to besiege the Lindt Cafe because it was not halal certified. This speculation was ignited by news reports stating that a prominent figure in the world of halal certification had left the Lindt Café just minutes before Man Haron Monis attacked.
This was an embarrassing admission, but not for reasons that you might think.
I’m not suggesting for a second that this coincidence was anything more than a coincidence. Furthermore, unfounded and emotional conspiracy theories only assist to hide the real issues while undermining the credibility of those who pursue them.
The coincidental presence of a halal guru at the Lindt Café proves nothing about Man Haron Monis’ motivation and it is not required to suddenly link halal food with terrorism anyway. That link was already conclusively proven a century earlier during the Battle of Broken Hill.
However, these reports damaged the credibility of claims made by proponents of halal certification that Muslims must only eat food that has been certified. Why? Because it’s clear that Muslims don’t need to eat halal certified food. They just need to eat halal food. There is a big difference.
It’s more than ironic that an Islamic terrorist attack has uncovered an uncomfortable truth: senior halal certifiers are happy to attend non-halal certified cafes. And so they should because this is the point. A café does not need halal certification to sell great coffee to those trying to be good and faithful Muslims.
Consequently, Australians have solid reason to view the claims of halal certifiers with scepticism.
The hundred years between the two successful Islamic terrorist attacks in Australia show how much this nation has changed. At the Battle of Broken Hill, one of Australia’s few early halal certifiers was behind the trigger. At the Lindt Café terrorist attack, the media was reporting that one of this country’s many modern day halal certifiers was lucky not to be ducking for cover.
This dramatic change is proof that halal certification has been entrenched in Australia’s food production process, although many Australians may not realise it and even fewer have asked for it. Yet, as the events of the last decade prove, the growing imposition of Islamic Sharia law regulations over the minutiae of Australian life has not made this country safer. Furthermore, despite the increased efforts to ‘integrate’ Islamic stipulations in all areas of society, terrorist activity and violent demands have only grown. This should be no surprise. Islam is historically marked by an aggressive stance towards those it meets that is only matched by an eternal, internal state of civil war.
It is little wonder that so many Australians, therefore, view even non-violent Islamic programs with a legitimate suspicion, whether they relate to halal certification, or other measures regarding Islamic ideology. The majority of Australians are not just opposed to Islamic violence. They are opposed to Islam and this is reflected in credible polling. In fact, research conducted in October 2013 found that only 16% of Australians believed that Islam made Australia a better place.
The federal government inquiry looks into the labelling of halal certified food. As such, it does not investigate the general question of Islamic violence. Consequently, this inquiry is not the appropriate forum to raise those issues in detail. However, this is a point worth noting: if the government truly believes that concerns about Islam and Islamic violence are ill-founded, the best way to counter these concerns is with information.
It is hard to envisage a better way of doing this than by ensuring that Australians are given information about the food they eat, especially when it is the product of an Islamic ritual animal sacrifice and certification fees help to fund Islamic programs.
As such, let’s hope this inquiry into halal food certification doesn’t reach the conclusion that requiring producers to include information about the Islamic content of their products is not put into the ‘too hard’ basket. That occurred with regards to the Battle of Broken Hill. As a result, the only attack on Australian soil in the First World War was not officially recognised as part of this nation’s anniversary commemorations. This led the Mayor of Broken Hill to express his disappointment in the federal government and its sense of sensitivity.
Let us also hope that in 100 years we are not saying the same thing about the Lindt Café terrorist attack. The only way that will occur is if the federal government starts putting the interests of all Australians above the sensibilities of a minority. It has an opportunity to do this with this inquiry. Unfortunately, however, if an inquiry specifically formed to look into issues regarding halal certified food cannot stomach the pressure it will not bode well for the future. If that does happen, I greatly fear that the Lindt Café terrorist attack will also inevitably share another sad similarity with the Battle of Broken Hill: governmental amnesia, forgotten history and a deliberate decision to ignore the threat we face from an ideology that seeks to impose itself over all aspects of Australian society.