Muslim clerics have harshly condemned a sign at a supermarket advertising “halal pork” for sale. The eating of pork is an abominable sin in Islam, such that it is considered haram (forbidden). Halal is permissible or lawful.
“It is an attack on Islam, it is an attack on Islamic teachings, it is an attack on Muslims,” Imam Mushtaq Sulamani said in response.
Shocked that something like this could happen, he said, “When pork is always haram according to the Koran, according to the Muslim law, it can never be halal. Our non-Muslim brothers, everybody knows that,” Sulamani stressed.
The well-made sign plastered on its food display case and which carries the logo of Persad’s Supermarket, the outlet advertising it, was captured in a selfie with a man who appeared to be of the Muslim faith. It has been making the rounds on social media, attracting objectionable comments.
The sign has since been pulled and the company said it was the error of a new employee.
Sulamani reacted with shock, “Oh my God. We will have to make an official release, come out and speak and educate people.”
Dr Waffie Mohammed was among those who viewed it as an attempt to humiliate and antagonise the Muslim community. He said it is not the first time such an error has been committed and such disrespect of their religion will not be tolerated.
“But it is wrong, the Islamic cleric said. “It is unfortunate that sometimes non-Muslims do this with the intention to attract Muslim sale. It has happened in the past.”
However, Mohammed said their reaction would not be one of anger or emotion, but information to ensure that it is not repeated in the future. He said in the past they would have approached the perpetrators of this grave sin and informed them the eating of pork, drinking of alcohol and other unclean blood issues, is prohibited in Islam.
He said on one occasion, the perpetrator apologised and took down the sign and they thought that matter was resolved.
“But we are living in a non-Muslim society and others still commit this error. We need to inform them that this is wrong. We will not go and misbehave and show anger, but we will not tolerate it. It is not something to be tolerated.
“This is something Muslims do not like. It is against our faith and some people try to conceive such ideas to try to antagonise Muslims by doing such things. Whether the intention is to humiliate or antagonise, we should not react with emotion. We have to get people to understand and not commit such errors in the future.”
Several unsuccessful attempts were made to contact Anand Persad from the chain of supermarkets. However in a Facebook post attributed to Sharaz Mohammed, the company apologised to the Muslim community and the national community.
The post read, “Assalmu Alaikum! On behalf of my team at Persads, we do humbly apologise for the error made by a new member of staff on the wrong use of the words in the signage of the product. Being Muslim as well, I observed the sign whilst doing my routine walk through and immediately corrected the issue and also initiated a retraining on the individual responsible for making this sign.
“Again we do accept responsibility for what was published and systems will be put in place to ensure that such never reoccurs. To the Muslim community and by extension the national community to please accept our sincerest apologies as it was not intentional.”