South African Muslims furious at 'halal pork' scandal

Image source, (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption,
Cape Town has South Africa's oldest Muslim community

South African Muslims have reacted with outrage to allegations that a leading meat importer labelled pork as halal.

The head of Cape Town-based Orion Cold Storage said he had received death threats since the allegation surfaced. He says he is the victim of a smear campaign by rival businesses.

Muslim companies have obtained a court order banning Orion from using the halal label, which means food has been prepared according to Islamic law.

Muslims are banned from eating pork.


The company has also been accused of relabelling kangaroo meat from Australia and water buffalo meat from India as halal, even though they were not approved by South Africa's Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), which issues halal certificates in the country.

The MJC said it had suspended its dealings with Orion.

Orion has, in turn, laid charges of sabotage, blackmail and extortion against two rival businessmen.

It acknowledges that some pork may have been labelled halal, but alleges that its rivals paid some of its employees to switch products and labels before being loaded on to trucks destined for South Africa's main province, Gauteng, says the BBC's Mohammed Allie in Cape Town.

Orion head Patrick Gaertner told a local radio station that, whatever the outcome of the case, it would take his company several years to rebuild its reputation.

He said he had received several death threats while his company's delivery vehicles had also been damaged.

Cape Town is home to South Africa's oldest Muslim community.

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