Indonesia’s Tempo Magazine reports that meat entering the country must be certified halal – that is, prepared under Islamic guidelines – by groups licensed by the Indonesian Clerics Council (MUI).
Tempo reports that Australian groups seeking certification must pay large ‘donations’ to the MUI, and foot the bill for groups of its representatives to visit.
Head of Halal Certification Authority based in Sydney, Mohammed El-Mouelhy, told Tempo that even though he agreed to the terms, he never got a halal label and was never told why.
Tempo reports seeing receipts for one business’ deposits to the head of the MUI, Amidhan Shaberah.
The largest was $10,000, apparently to stop the MUI revoking the license of a business called Australian Halal Food Services.
Australian abattoirs are also being made to pay hundreds so the approved groups can inspect their facilities.
Director of meat processors JBS Australia, John Berry, told the magazine the high cost of halal certification was limiting business and concerning meat exporters who deal with Indonesia.
AAP has approached the MUI for comment.
Indonesian Twitter users expressed outrage at the report.
Some called for the end of the MUI ‘monopoly’ and many called its conduct ‘haram,’ or forbidden by Islamic law.
‘Heart conduct must be halal too,’ user Rudy tweeted.