... and a Royal Commission into the halal scam you're not supposed to know about (Part 7)
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
A mostly clueless, lazy and uninformed media lies asleep at the wheel, waking up occasionally to contrive shock-and-awe at every wink, mispronunciation or twitch of Tony Abbott. In the meantime, the biggest scam ever to involve every Australian - Muslims and non-Muslims alike– is allowed to proliferate right under the media’s snoring nose.
But when it is awoken by reader and consumer outrage, it is forced to grudgingly raise an eyebrow, doing so with laughable ignorance.
Take this prime example:
Just a week ago on Friday 20th February 2015, the ABC’s chat panel show The Drum, took notice of a current legal case in the NSW Supreme Court with private halal moneyman Mohamed El Mouelhy (there he is again) of Halal Certification Authority Pty Ltd and halal critics from the Q Society and Kirralie Smith of Halal Choices, in what’s been described as a landmark case in this country.
Drum panellists included two distinct contrasts: One, an halal-informed journalist, Paul Sheehan, the most reliably informed journo on this issue.
Sheehan is unique in the dying mainstream media in his understanding of the halal scam. The other panellist, an oblivious comedian called Mikey Robins, believes halal is some sort of wonderfully yummy exotic curry food or something we should all embrace like nasi goreng, bang bang chicken or a black bean stir fry. Mmmm….yummy yum yum. Food.
Cop this comment on halal from Mikey boy:
“And, you know, diversity quite frankly…diversity in food culture to me is as exciting about as diversity (sic) in culture. We have to look at it in two issues. Are people frightened by basically cultural food that they’re not used to or is there as you said a legal problem here?” WTF?
Clearly muddle-headed Mikey hasn’t given a minute’s thought to what the word ‘halal’ means, and yet he is allowed to mindlessly gibber on our publicly funded national broadcaster on a supposedly-informative news opinion show.
The look on Paul Sheehan’s face as the camera panned to him was priceless – he had that gobsmacked look you get when you cannot believe what you have just heard.
Nothing illustrates better the vacuous ignorance the Australian media has of halal certification than that uninformed ABC comic.
But the outcry in Australia is not about refusing culturally enriching yummy food. Our decades’ long history of embracing multi-nation foods and cultures puts paid to that dumb statement.
Nor is consumer anger about the export market, that's a false-flag card the moneymen pull out to frighten off our politicians and media.
The outcry is by everyday Australians paying Sharia law costs on the moneymen’s terms at the local checkouts - and every day at local restaurants, cafes, burger chains, sushi outlets, kebab shops, pie shops, theme parks eateries, pizza chains, ice cream shops, pubs, bakeries, grills, and canteens.
It’s also about transparency – just where the hell does our food money go to?
The halal certification juggernaut has big, much bigger ambitions than the present theft from our wallets and purses. The certifiers now have our kids’ kindergartens in their sights.
Private company Halal Australia (Pty Ltd) has established a fresh Facebook page, “Halal For Aussie Kindergartens”. Its stated aim is to have, “every kindergarten in Australia halal by 2018” (for a substantial fee of course).
Australian parliamentarians are aware of the growing objection from angry consumers and constituents forced to pay a food tax to which they’re opposed both ideologically and financially.
It’s estimated the average household is forking out hundreds of dollars per year in halal certification fees, while the moneymen work their way through the marketplace, identifying anything and everything for halal certification.
Now for something very few Australians know about:
“Sharia Creep” in Australia began under the Whitlam Labor Government, through the earliest approved halal certification scheme.
Halal certification took root in 1974 when a two-man delegation from Saudi Arabia visited our sunny shores bearing a cheque for $1.2 million made out to the Australian Federation of Islamic Council (AFIC). A million bucks was a lot of money back in the mid ‘70s.
The "donation" came with certain conditions, one of which was that the export of red meat to Saudi Arabia would only be permitted if it were halal certified.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia put to the Whitlam government that AFIC would be its official halal certifier – for a fee placed on our abattoirs.
This compulsory certification fee would generate cash flow for AFIC so it could build mosques and Islamic schools without being dependent on Saudi Arabia for financial support.
The Saudis gave AFIC this $1.2 million to get it up and running and to in future hand funds out to other Islamic bodies in Australia to help build mosques and Islamic centres around the country, with the approval of the Australian Labor Government.
Thanks again, Gough.
Others followed; in 1980 the Arab Emirates specified AFIC exclusively certify halal red meat exports and in 1982 Kuwait followed suit.
The exclusive AFIC dominance in our meat export industry in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s allowed the body to charge outrageous fees without any oversight.
To avoid paying the outrageous AFIC fees, corruption set in. Certificates, signatures and seals were being forged. An AFIC-registered halal slaughterman was found signing false certificates allowing non-halal meats including filthy, bloodied and fly-blown scraps scraped from contaminated floors, to be exported, causing a huge scandal in the industry and compromising the integrity of Australia’s halal red meat exports.
Here's another thing very few Aussies know about:
In 1982 the Fraser Liberal government ordered a Royal Commission into red meat exports.
The anticipated results from the investigation, which would have irreparably destroyed the reputation of our export and local meat industries, caused Commissioner Albert Edward Woodward to hear all evidence in camera (private session).
The explosive evidence, which has been kept secret all this time, was made public for the first time in late 2012 under a Freedom of Information application by Editor-At-Large of The Canberra Times, Jack Waterford, who was a copy boy during my time there.
Waterford uncovered findings by Justice Woodward which described how “Hammond Wholesale and Retail Meats” trimmed off the dyes legally required on pet food and then sold it for human consumption. It was also sold on a wide scale as halal meat.
The FOI documents also disclosed, “The flesh of donkeys, goats, kangaroos, buffaloes and horses killed in the field and without regard to hygiene...was used indiscriminately to produce food for human consumption", the report said.
The documents also referred to previously unreported large scale substitutions of halal meat.
Woodward said the operators of one large meat company, which he didn’t name, regularly falsified halal certificates for meat that hadn’t been slaughtered in accordance with Islamic rites.
But Woodward couldn’t pin down the scale of the fraud as Muslims, claiming religious entitlement, had refused to answer questions at the Royal Commission, but it was admitted that Muslim slaughtermen had signed certificates for animals they had not killed, nor had they seen killed.
Woodward said, “The size of the operation can be gauged from the fact that, when found out, some $2 million worth of meat certified in this way was still being held in cold storage.”
Justice Woodward found that one Muslim meat worker was paid .20c for every falsely certified carton... and in one ten-month period this figure had totalled more than $38,000.
It was found another unnamed export company sent chilled meat to the Middle East and forged the signature of a diplomat from another Arabic nation to speed up its operation.
In conclusion, Commissioner Woodward recommended the introduction of a single certification system with an official Australian Government certificate and an official Australian Government stamp.
[That recommendation was never taken up, leading to the unregulated dysfunctional debacle we now find ourselves in, 40+ years later.]
Disputes later arose between the AFIC and the Saudi Arabian Embassy, while other disgruntled Islamic bodies got their noses out of joint over the favouritism shown to AFIC.
The Saudis found themselves caught up in a massive Aussie halal scandal, it was like a Saudi prince trying to separate his harem of bitchy concubines fighting over their share of Aladdin’s cave of bling.
So in the early 1990s Saudi Arabia moved to recognise 55 Islamic associations from around Australia, granting them accreditation to certify halal meat for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
As with the Indonesian MUI, our red meat and other exports are now held to ransom and dictated to by an overseas Islamic kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has been allowed to tell us how many halal certifiers we have operating in our local Australian market, impacting on costs at our supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants.
The Islamic Council of Perth Western Australia notes on its website in regard to the unregulated debacle:
“Even private individuals with no credible links to religious authorities or Muslim organisations have set themselves up as “halal certifiers” to the discredit of this nation’s reputation in the Muslim world.”
Things don’t seem to have changed much since the secret Royal Commission, with one anti-halal certification Muslim meat wholesale supplier telling me, “If Muslims only could see what actually goes on in the abattoirs they wouldn’t eat the meat. Halal certification doesn’t mean anything.”
Meanwhile the Supreme Islamic Council of Halal Meat in Australia (SICHMA) confirms it uses its halal certification funds to expand Islam in Australia, as the Saudis intended.
SICHMA states in its constitution, under point 2 titled “Objects of the Organisation”:
“The Organisation shall be a non-profit religious organisation dedicated to the promotion of the Islamic religion, culture and principles.” What a wonderful tax-free aspiration... and all paid for by Aussies.
It goes on to state that the objectives are to prepare halal meat, “strictly to Islamic Sharia”.
The Islamic Council of Queensland also states:
“The Islamic Council of Queensland (ICQ) implements the Halal Certification Program with a view to ensuring that all food outlets in Queensland certified as ‘halal’ abide by the requirements of Shariah law...
“Islam is not a mere religion. It is a way of life with rules and manners governing every facet of life. Since food is an important part of daily life, food laws carry a special significance.”
They also spell out that the concept of halal in Islam has very specific motives. Among them is to preserve the purity of the (Islamic) religion.
Under sub-headings of the SICHMA Constitution it says the resources, in other words profits, will be used, “to unify Muslims of Australia from diverse backgrounds for the cause of Islamic dawah”.
This basically means they will fund activities that preach and proselytise for the purpose of gaining converts to Islam.
Directly under that it says the profits made from the halal certifying of meat will be used to “implement a system of Islamic education”. This means schools for Muslims where they teach insidious Sharia Law and all that it entails.
SICHMA is not alone in these objectives.
The Islamic Council of WA stated in its annual report that it uses its profits to make, “...ongoing donations to Syria. Because of the difficult civil conditions, the donations were made through ‘Al Imdaad’ charity, to ensure that no recriminations could be directed at ICWA”.
This is a clear, albeit perhaps unintentional admission, that “donations” are indeed channelled through Islamic charities in order to avoid declaring where they finish up. Namely northern Syria! Now I wonder who is in charge of all monies arriving in al-Raqqa.
Australia Halal Food Services states on its website, “...the money raised goes to nurturing and educating Muslim minds”.
The Chairman of the Indonesian MUI halal certifiers, Dr Amidhan Shaberah said in 2013, “Australian businesses should donate profits to Islamic mosques and schools via halal certification.”
While enforcing price-fixing in the Australian halal certification industry he said, "They should contribute for mosques, Islamic schools, the Islamic community and other social activities.''
Addressing a reception hosted by the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) held in his honour and other delegates of Global Halal Congress, The Grand Mufti of Bosnia Herzegovina, Dr Mustafa Ceric urged the Muslim Ummah (community) in 2010 to, “Conquer the world through the halal movement.” He said, “As halal means pure and hygiene the non-Muslim world has no hesitation (choice) but to accept it.”
When asked what happens to the money, halal private moneyman Mr Mohamed El-Mouelhy told radio 4BC he is the sole shareholder of the organisation “Halal Certification Authority Australia”. He said that the “Authority” is a proprietary limited company. He declined to speak about the financial details – how much money organisations pay to receive accreditation from his “Authority” and what he does with our food money. He said that is his private business.
On February 11, 2015 he told ninemsn.com.au, "Halal Certification Authority is a private organisation and is not under any obligation to reveal any of its workings, expenses, revenue or profit that is between me, my accountant and the ATO."
Politicians are being besieged daily by emails, phone calls and visits from constituents demanding a stop to the Islamic food tax.
Some MPs are now addressing this issue on their websites, social media platforms and now meeting in Canberra to make halal certification a priority before the next Federal election.
Senator Jacqui Lambie is introducing a private Member’s Bill that would demand an examination of where the funds go to.
There are currently 33 government listed halal certifiers in Australia.
Consumers are involuntarily boxed into paying for Islamic causes and funding private profit. It’s almost impossible to avoid the halal tax when almost 80% of our grocery goods (including foods from cafes, restaurants, fast food outlets etc) are halal certified.
Some who are opposed to the tax are now resorting to sourcing from farmers' markets, growing their own foods, buying only Dick Smith Foods (who refuses to pay) or visiting the website halalchoices.com.au for a list of halal certified companies and products to avoid.
Halal Choices was established about five years ago, and is constantly updated and run by a country housewife and mum, Kirralie Smith, who has spoken to and corresponded with food producers across Australia to bring information to consumers.
She has led the charge almost singlehandedly to expose this massive industry. She now produces a consumer guide booklet (from her website) and has launched a phone app to help consumers to choose to buy, or choose not to buy, halal certified foods at supermarkets.
Halal Choices helps place the power of choice back with the consumer.
But it should not be up to one single unpaid Aussie housewife to do the job of government.
NEXT: THE LONE WOLVES