Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News-2013-05-21
Burger King has just opened (9 May) the doors to its first store in Cape Town, South Africa but calls to boycott the franchise have been voiced by People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD).
Pagad claims the owners of the local franchise behind the fast food giant are of “questionable morality”. Pagad spokesman Osman Sahib told the Daily Voice: “Pagad calls on people not to support Burger King because the owner is directly involved with gambling. For the same reason we ask our people not to support GrandWest Casino or go into liquor stores, we want people to avoid Burger King.
Cape Town businessman Hassen Adams who bought the franchise for R9.1m is also the founder and director of Grand Parade Investments which is a stakeholder of Grandwest Casino and the parent company of Burger King SA.
Osman reiterated the boycott was not a personal attack on Adams, “I must make it clear that this is not a personal attack on Adams because he is Muslim, but because of what he represents.”
“We are not only speaking on behalf of Muslims, Pagad represents all people who stand for justice and morality. However, Muslims know that when there is doubt about the morality of something, they must refrain from it. Adams has built his entire business by investing in gambling and casinos, something which is outright forbidden - not only in Islam, but also Christianity,” said Sahib.
Sahib also condemned the organisation that granted Burger King Restaurant halaal status. The franchise is certified by the The Islamic Council of South Africa (ICSA). “We are questioning the halaal body that granted the certificate knowing that Adams represents an institution of Satan. Are our halaal bodies now just there to fill their own pockets at the expense of the Muslim public?” he asks.
However ICSA, which certified Burger King halaal, defended their action. Operations Manager and food technologist, Aabied Akhewari said,“People are making the mistake of judging Mr Adams about his business dealings because he is Muslim.”
Akhewari said their halaal organization was not certifying Mr. Adams or Grand Parade Investments but rather certifying Burger King, and the store belongs to the Burger King franchise in South Africa.
“Our main aim is to certify the food the business is selling is halaal. People must remember... many owners of franchises are not Muslim. If a Muslim wants to walk into Burger King, they can be 100 percent certain that the food they are buying is halaal,” said Akhewari.
Radio Islam’s Mufti Zubair Bhayat said in an instance like this a person should abstain from eating at the restaurant.
The opening of Burger King with no bacon irked some South Africans. A few customers called Talk Radio 702 on Monday to complain there were no bacon dishes and asked why the company was catering to a minority.
Burger King South Africa CEO Jaye Sinclair said the company respects South Africa's multicultural society and doesn't want to limit its customers
Meanwhile the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said it will hold a "fatwa committee" meeting in Cape Town today to decide if the Burger King outlet should have its halaal certificate revoked.
Spokesman on issues of halaal at the MJC, Ahmed Sedick told the Times Newspaper, a "fatwa committee" of "five to seven members" was set up to rule on the halaal status of Burger King in relation to Adams. He said the council had no qualms about Burger King's methods of food preparation because they followed the protocols necessary for them to be declared halaal, but Adams's business dealings were problematic for many in the Muslim community.
Radio Islam did try to get a comment from Hassen Adams but he was not available by the time of going to print with a representative from Grand Parade Investments stating Adams and his personal assistant were occupied in meetings.