A butcher shop in Australia has refused to change signage that declares its products are “not halal certified,” in defiance of advertising authorities alleging it was “inciting hatred” towards Islamic people by advertising its wares in such a way.
The Valley Butchers in Adelaide, South Australia, became the subject of a complaint to the Australian Advertising Standards Authority after the owners put up a sign that originally read “non halal certified” on their store front, surrounded by smaller stickers of Australian national emblems of kangaroos and emus.
Valley Butchers defended the sign as merely a factual answer to a frequently asked question about the origin of their meat: “The sign is only stating that we are not halal approved. In no way is it meant in a malice way,” it said, according to SBS News Australia.
“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.”
Complainants saw it another way, with one 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 amounted 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.
In response, the butchers changed the sign to read “not halal certified’ and do not intend to make any more changes:
The advertising watchdog found the new sign still gave the impression people of a certain ethnicity or religion would not be welcome in the store and have threatened legal action to enforce the change.
The shop also faces prosecution for using the iconic imagery of an Australian emu and kangaroo.