Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Silence Of The Ham

This blog post has been a long time coming. I've always wanted to air my views about all these Halaal certifying authorities and for lack of a better phrase, what a crock of bull I think they all are.
I never really wrote about it before because my friends, family, total strangers and my legal team all advised me against it, citing the libel and defamation of character legal cases that would be opened against me.
It's only this year that this became a mute point, as my bank balance after the recession means I no longer have anything to lose by being sued. That Happy Meal fund I once kept in a trust account has now been exhausted, and I can finally throw caution to the wind.
Here's a little background for those unfamiliar with these Halaal certifying authorities.

For thousands of years, (millions if you count the dinosaurs who were religious), men and mammals have been roaming this earth and doing the most basic thing all men do: eating! (Sex will be discussed in a later post.)
When fire was discovered in 12BC (give or take a few thousand years), man (and by man I mean human beings, which includes women too) realized that adding heat to meat resulted in a sensory orgasm to the taste buds. You can only imagine what Marco Polo's journey to the East and subsequent discovery of spices in India did to the average Europeans palate!

Moving ahead 675 years, a guy by the name of Bilal arrived aboard the Dromedaris as a slave labourer in Durban, and worked the sugar-cane fields of what is now known as KwaZulu Natal.
When his cousins, uncles and 429 other immediate relatives disembarked and set up home in the Natal South Coast, predominantly in areas such as Stanger, Verulam and Chatsworth, Bilal soon realized that they were going to have a huge dinner problem that night since no women were imported from India on the same ship.
By 8pm that evening, the entrepreneurial and resourceful Bilal had set up the very first Muslim-owned fast-food outlet: Bilals Bunny Chows.
Nobody knows why or how the term "Bunny Chow" was coined, but rumour has it there was a rabbit and a Chinamen involved somewhere.

Some time in the early 70's, two mercurial friends from vastly different backgrounds were discussing the success stories of members of their respective faiths.
Saeed, a devout Muslim who owned a fabric store in the Oriental Plaza in Fordsburg, and who was renowned for selling his cloth cheaper than Rajeev Patel in India who owned the factory which made the material and sold it to Saeed; and Avraham Ben-Zion, an orthodox Jew from Norwood in Johannesburg who's family sold Hazmat suits to the emergency services sector.
Saeed and Avraham were discussing the booming fast-food industry in South Africa, and contemplated how they could best capitalize on this growing segment. During their discussions, Avraham mentioned Kashrus Beth Din and how this single body certified all kosher food as being fit for Jewish consumption, and how fantastic it was that this non-profit organization provided a much-needed service to consumers, manufacturers and retailers alike.
Saeed was astounded. Partly at the remarkable effort involved in such an operation, partly at the immense trust and faith that would be required by all parties involved, but mostly he was astounded that the notorious money-hoarding Jews hadn't yet figured out a way of making money off this crucial service!
He immediately set about forming his own authority, one which would target the Muslim population of the country. His authority's objective would be to certify all foods consumed by Muslims throughout the country as being Halaal. The fact that Muslims by nature were already extremely critical of what they consumed did not deter him in the slightest. The fact that Muslims were renowned for supporting their fellow Muslims in an effort to ensure that there was a chain of trust from manufacturer to supplier to consumer did not deter him. The fact that Muslims were buying fresh meat from butcheries named Mohammeds Butcher and fast-food from Akhalwaya's Take-Aways and such similarly named obviously Muslim outlets did not deter him.
Our intrepid entrepreneur knew that the combination of fear to consumers and potential losses to the industry was sufficient armour with which to battle and divide the sheep. The time was ripe to fleece the people, and he would rely on sheer ingenuity by pulling the wool over their eyes!

Fast-forward twenty years and Saeed was now wealthy and mighty beyond numbers and words. He was so wealthy in fact, that the mere mention from this Halaal certifying deity that a certain business had not been verified by him, was sufficient to see the business lose loyal support and ultimately close down!
He was so wealthy and mighty that the mere mention that he had not verified Sheikh Haji Mohammed Ebrahim Kareem as being Muslim, and hence the samoosas made by Sheikh Haji Mohammed Ebrahim Kareems wife, Aalima Bibi Fathima Nawaab Rasool, could not be verified as being Halaal, was sufficient to prevent the entire Muslim population from buying any samoosas made or sold by this humble family.
Forgotten were the days when the Muslim society would walk into a store, greet the owner or manager cordially and inquire as to the Halaal status of the food served, and upon being satisfied, sit down to a hearty meal.
Forgotten were the days when people would share a common trust, and there was honour between buyer and seller.
Saeed in his brilliant shrewdness had devised a way in which trust and honour were replaced by fear and uncertainty.
He had found a loophole that the Jews in their mastery of all things capitalist had overlooked.
He had found a way to make the Muslim nation fear the unknown, and to charge manufacturers and suppliers and retailers to appease those fears!

Saeed had a vision where one day, every product made and manufactured, would carry the stamp of his Halaal certifying authority, and each stamp would come at a price. It would be like owning your own money-printing press! He would compete with the Reserve Bank to see who could print money faster!

By the turn of the 21st century, Saeed was making so much money, he was regarded by most as God's Banker. He was charging to certify everything and anything as being Halaal, even shoes and clothes! The depth of gullibility of the South African Muslim knew no limits. They were being led to the slaughterhouse like blind sheep. Nobody questioned. Not even when Saeed declared the most idiotic items as being unfit for Muslim consumption, simply because the manufacturer or supplier was not willing to pay him his extortion fee!

Reactionary groups were quickly formed to object to Saeeds business practices, but not with the intention of shutting him down. Instead they were furious that Saeed was not sharing the proceeds of his extortion. Within 10 years there were more Halaal certifying authorities springing up all over the country.
They had realized that the old business adage "where there are sheep there will always be a need for shepherds" would hold true for many more years, probably until Jesus came back to earth.

Avraham Ben-Zion watched in awe as such a simple act of enjoying a meal, buying a shoe or garment, or even breathing, had been turned into a racketeering and extortionist enterprise by Saeed. He couldn't believe that an entire religious society comprising doctors, lawyers, academics and professors could be so easily duped into believing that they had to pay for the right to trust.

Many years later, Avraham Ben-Zion bumped into Saeed at a local Mochacho's Chicken Outlet. The two sat down to a hearty meal and Avraham finally asked Saeed the question that had been burning inside of him for over forty years : How much is enough Saeed?
Saeed raised his gaze and smiled at Avraham.
"Until they wake up my friend, and realize the truth. Until they wake up."
Avraham sat in disbelief as Saeed detailed each new certification, and how he thought "I'll try this one on them, push the envelope, and see if they wake up." Each time the masses willingly followed. He certified fruit, and they followed. He certified water, and they followed. He certified shoes, and they followed. He certified jackets and clothing, and they followed. He certified items which had absolutely nothing to do with consumption, and yet they followed.
Every manufacturer and supplier and retailer of every product in the world was paying Saeed to place his stamp of approval on their merchandise, simply to settle the fear of the Muslim buyer that the product was Halaal, or approved for their use.
Then he outlined his plan for total domination!
He was in the process of certifying air. The very air we breath.
"Surely they will not fall for this!" Avraham Ben-Zion exclaimed.
"Surely, you would think... but they have fallen for every other idiotic idea so far, haven't they?" Saeed answered.

An empire built on the fear and belief that everything made for either consumption or use, surely contains pig fat or traces of pork, unless Saeed or his merry henchmen say otherwise.

“This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and liven with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denieth the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter” (5:5).
The quote from the good book mentions neither Saeed nor any "Halaal Certifying Authority"...

On a side-note, Bilals Bunny Chows currently has over 650 outlets nationwide, second only to MacDonalds.
None of them certified as Halaal by Saeed.

On a personal note, whenever I see any of the signs below on any item I intend purchasing, I always wonder how much extortion fee's the manufacturer had to pay for the stamp of approval. Then I buy the one which doesn't have the stamp.
Eating pork is against a Muslims belief.
Being gullible and unable to use your brain to figure out right from wrong unless someone tell's it to you, is against mine.

With kind permission from

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