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Butcher’s “Non-Halal Certified” sign vilifies Muslims, Ad Board suggests sign should instead read “Unfortunately, Non-Halal”

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A butcher in South Australia has breached the Advertisers Code of Ethics by marking non-halal approved food products as “Non-Halal Certified,” according to the Advertising Standards Community Panel.

The panel was in agreement with a complaint that argued the sign, which appeared on the shopfront window, “pokes fun” at Muslims and “perpetuates a culture of vilification towards religious minorities, that results in harm towards them.”

The Adelaide-based business said the sticker was not intended to offend, but to inform shoppers that their food products are not halal certified.

Responding to the complaint, the business said: “The sign is only stating that we are not halal approved. In no way is it meant in a malice way. We are 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.”

The majority of the panel disagreed, suggesting the sign incites hatred and contempt of Muslims and would have been less likely to breach advertising standards if the message said, “Unfortunately, non Halal” or “Not Halal approved.”

According to the ruling:

The majority of the Panel considered that the sign’s wording and images amounted to a depiction that was inciting hatred or contempt of a group of people based on their religious practices or Muslim origin.

The panel noted the advertiser’s response that this was not the intention of the signage. The Panel noted that had the sign stated ‘Not Halal approved’ or ‘Unfortunately, non Halal’ this would be less likely to have been considered discriminatory or vilifying signage.

The panel also took issue with the fact that the wording was accompanied by imagery of an emu and kangaroos, suggesting “Islamic dietary practices are not Australian” and giving off “a strong impression” that Muslims are not welcome in the store.


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