AR Modak’s letter warrants a response (Halal phobia unnecessary, April 6). SA is a fully fledged constitutional democracy and therefore allows free choice without fear or prejudice. This is a powerful medicine in a society as diverse and complex as ours.
The effect of the unfounded claims and behaviour of those who are against halal products must be judged on the standards of reasonable and strong-minded individuals, not those of weak and vacillating minds nor those who sense danger in every dissenting point of view.
Freedom of choice that is legitimate and constitutionally protected cannot be held to ransom by any intolerant group.
The reaction of people and their unfounded allegations does no credit to the maturity of a democratic state by making an assumption that people will be led to disharmony by the availability of halal products.
Our commitment to freedom of choice demands that it cannot be suppressed unless the situation created by allowing that choice is pressing and the community interest is endangered.
The multibillion-rand retail food industry caters for every religious group as well as vegetarians. The reality is that many non-Muslim food shoppers also prefer halal products because of price, availability and, most importantly, health issues.
It is a fact that no one in SA is compelled purchase halal products.
To accuse the retail food industry of favouritism towards halal products is an outrageous distortion. What we are witnessing today is a form of anti-Muslim hysteria in the guise of protesting against the halal label.