KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 ― McDonald’s policy of only allowing halal-certified birthday cakes into its outlets could fuel the view that Islam is an intolerant religion, PKR’s Islamic Council leader Wan Ji Wan Hussein said today.
He said the jurisprudence on food matters in Islam on matters of “halal (permissible)” and “haram (forbidden)” is not complex, citing the views of notable Islamic scholars that Muslims should not be fixated with how food is processed.
“There was a fiqh (understanding) that with food where you cannot see its preparation, you should not be too fixated on whether the ingredients are halal or not,” he told Malay Mail Online.
“What they are doing will only make Islam look like this very rigid religion when, actually, especially on matters of food, it is quite simple,” he added.
The preacher added that in the climate where prejudice towards Islam is already high, the controversy surrounding McDonald’s halal cake policy would only draw more negativity towards the religion.
“It makes Islam looks extreme. And what will happen is it will further alienate non-Muslims from the religion,” he said.
Yesterday, the fast food chain confirmed that it allows customers to bring their own birthday cakes as an exception to its “No Outside Food” policy, as long as the cakes are certified to be halal or permissible for consumption by Muslims.
“This condition is critical to preserve the integrity of our halal certification,” the company said, adding that it was in line with fulfilling requirements for its halal certification.
The move drew criticism as being extreme.
Earlier today, civil society group Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) said the federal Islamic authority’s halal certification should apply only to an eatery’s food and not its premises.
Its co-president, Gan Ping Sieu, said the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) “should not penalise halal-certified eateries that allow diners who bring in non-halal certified food into their premises”.
“Rightfully, Jakim’s halal certification applies only to food served in F&B outlets. There is no such thing as halal or non-halal premises,” he said in a statement.
Several Muftis contacted by Malay Mail Online could not be reached for comments.
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