If you’re going to accuse Muslims of an international conspiracy that uses food certification to impose a secret religious tax on literally everybody to help funnel money towards terrorism – without providing evidence to support the claims – you may as well do it with a smile.
That’s the first big takeaway from Cory Bernardi and the Coalition’s
anti-Muslim witch-hunt senate inquiry into food certification, established with the assistance of crossbenchers last week.
It may be less than a week old, but with three submissions already so far, it’s easy to see why Bernardi and his party were so anxious to put the time and energy of the Australian senate towards this inquiry.
The Australian Crime Commission has previously said it has no evidence halal certification in Australia funds terrorism, and Dr Jan Ali, a senior lecturer in Islam and modernity at the University of Western Sydney, told New Matilda last week it was a “wild allegation”.
But in a submission to the inquiry, Australian citizen Florence Corneloup has hit back in the best way possible: with a sternly worded letter, in purple comic sans font.
What’s really interesting about this submission is that in lieu of banning Muslims from being able to have food certified as halal, Corneloup argues there should be a tax refund for people who end up buying certified products. It’s too late for Budget 2015, but Joe Hockey’s people should take note for next year.
Channeling the language of the Prime Minister, Corneloup also writes: “I would like very clear labeling so I can choose not to support a death cult.”
Not a bad idea. In the interests of clear labeling, New Matilda has developed a stamp which can be used to easily identify death cults, and products which support them. We’ll be rolling it out in the coming weeks and months, to help readers identify Death Cult products, which they may then choose to boycott (or support).
There is, of course, another side to the story. When New Matilda spoke to an academic and a halal certifier last week – both said they thought the inquiry could have some positives, and might finally put to bed the myths around the process.
Both would be happy to see a national standard in place, something that will help Muslim consumers feel confident in the process.
In an encouraging sign the inquiry won’t be a total waste of time and money – the first submission actually flags issues around the labeling of low GI foods, arguing clearer standards would be useful for diabetics.
But if the other early submissions are anything to go by, the inquiry will be dominated by conspiracy theories about Muslims and thinly veiled prejudice.
As George W. Bush himself might say, ‘Mission accomplished’.
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