An Australian butcher has refused to take down a sign that declares his meat is “not halal certified” — and liberals are furious.
The Valley Butchers in Adelaide, South Australia, found itself in hot water over a complaint to the Australian Advertising Standards Authority after the owner put up a sign that originally read “not halal certified” on the shop front.
The majority of the Ad Standards Community Panel agreed that the sign made fun of halal certification and was “offensive” and “demeaning to people who are of that faith and Muslim ethnicity”, adding that there was no such thing as “non halal” certification.
However, Valley Butchers argue the sign was just a factual answer to a frequently asked question about the nature of their meat:
“The sign is only stating that we are not halal approved,” the store owner told SBS News Australia.
“In no way is it meant in a malice way. We where getting asked quite frequently whether we are halal approved, so I am just stating that we are not, and that saves a lot of wasted time.”
But complainants didn’t agree.
One was quoted in the Ad Standards finding, alleging the signage “perpetuate[s] a culture of vilification towards religious minorities, that results in harm towards them…. It pokes fun of a specific group of people based on religious belief.”
The board agreed, saying the sign contributed to “inciting hatred or contempt” against Muslims.
“Using the phrase ‘non-Halal certified’ in conjunction with imagery of Australian animals was a suggestion that Islamic dietary practices are not Australian,” it said.
The butchers then responded.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Valley Butchers thanked people for their “support and encouragement” and committed to keeping the sign – which they later changed to “not halal certified” – on display.
“As long as we own the shop the sign won’t ever come down,” they said, with hundreds of people commenting in support.
The shop changed the sign to read “not halal-certified” and does not intend to make any more changes.
But the advertising watchdog found the new sign still gave the impression it was not inclusive.
The shop has now been threatened with legal action to enforce the change.
The shop also faces prosecution for using the iconic imagery of an Australian emu and kangaroo.
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