Home PodcastAshraf Garda ICSA should shut its doors – IWM

ICSA should shut its doors – IWM

by Luqmaan Rawat

Durban– The Islamic Council of South Africa (ICSA) was called out by the Islamic Watchdog Movement (IWM) after they found an ICSA Halal sticker on a wrapping labelled as pork sausages.

According to a post on IWM’s Facebook page, they received a call from a community member reporting the problem. The product was found at the North Beach Spar. Maulana Mohammed Twala, from IWM, released a video after the incident to expose that pork sausages were found in the Halal section with an ICSA sticker on it.

ICSA soon after made a statement stating they had made their own investigations. The product displayed was in fact Halal, they said, but there was a mix up with the wrapping. A worker mistakenly put an ICSA Halal sticker on the wrapping.

Sheikh Thafier Najjar, the CEO of ICSA, provided some clarity on the Ashraf Garda Show about the situation, after one of ICSA’s auditors had visited the shop.

“The wrapping says beef and pork. Now the product was wrapped with that wrapping which was wrong. The owners of Spar apologised to us. Openly apologised to us about what was done wrong … The wrapping does not say it is Halal. It is the sticker that is put on that says it is Halal.”

The problem, according to Sheikh Najjar, occurred when a Spar employee placed the incorrect wrapping and sticker on the product. Spar has apologised to Sheikh Najjar and has acknowledged their mistakes.

“This is what they sent to us. They humbly apologise for the confusion and ordered the correct labels to be done, to be put on … They understand, according to them, they wrote to us saying they understand the culture or belief and of course it was unfortunately a human error from which they have learned according to what they said to us.”

Sheikh Najjar stressed the mistake was caused by human error and not because there was a fault in their systems of operations. He further promised that ICSA will be “tightening up” to ensure these mistakes never happen again.

However, these measures, claims Maulana Twala, are all lies by ICSA. There are no measures in place and in fact, they have already removed their certification.

“They lied on air, and they said they put extra measures to rectify the human error that was done. On our visit to Spar we found that ICSA removed their certification from Spar on the day that we did the video. They are no longer certifying Spar. By them telling the community that they are putting extra measures is a lie because they have already run away.”

Maulana Twala went on to express the owners’ upset at having certification taken away from him after being with ICSA for eight years. By taking away his certification, the owner feels as if ICSA is blaming him when they have been negligent.

Sheikh Najjar also claimed the inspector who was supposed to be at Spar was on leave and therefore they had rolling inspectors visiting the shop. According to Maulana Twala this too was a lie as the inspector was not on leave, but he was fired two weeks ago for stealing.

Furthermore, Maulana Twala said they were told that there have been no rolling inspectors coming to the store. Maulana Twala and Muhammad Mall, also from the IWM, were present at the store at the same time inspectors from ICSA were. However, when Mall questioned them if they were Aalims (qualified scholars), they said no.

“Brother Mall asked them if they were Aalims and they said no. He asked them if they were experts in Halal and they said no. They don’t know anything [about Halal]. I asked them if they are Ulama and they said, ‘no we are not Ulama’.”

There was no inspector, there was no Halal supervisor and the people who came to the store are not qualified auditors. These are errors on ICSA’s part, claims the IWM, which should be addressed through more than a statement.

Mall questioned how a store that serves cooked pork and sells frozen pork can be certified. He clarified that he is not calling for the store to close its doors but for ICSA to close its doors as they are not servicing their clients.

This is not the first time, they say, that IWM have encountered this problem. This visit makes it the third time that the IWM have received a call regarding this Spar.

For Mall, there are two factors that need consideration.

“One is that ICSA lied and removed their certification and never informed the community. They said that they are taking the correct steps and measures and sending senior auditors. Why are they sending [auditors] to a store that isn’t certified? Number two, the Halal supervisor was not on leave. He was dismissed for stealing.”

Maulana Twala and Mall said they are going to be busy for the next month as they have had many complaints from various people regarding ICSA certified places.

Mohammed Mall from the IWM will be on Salaamedia’s Ashraf Garda Show to address the statements made by IWM at 8:50 am.

Sheikh Thafier Najjar on the Ashraf Garda Show: 

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