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20 Oct 2016


PETALING JAYA: The request by The Department Of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) for pretzel store franchise Auntie Anne’s to rename its “pretzel dog” has been criticised by social activist Datin Marina Mahathir (pix).

In her posting on her Facebook page, today she said: “Oh we poor easily confused Muslims who have never heard of hot dogs before and who will have no choice but to buy one if one was on the menu.”

Adding a tone of sarcasm in the post, Marina also said that Muslims shouldn’t be spending money on junk food anyway.

Her response came along with thousands of netizens criticising Jakim’s decision after Auntie Anne’s did not receive halal certification due to the “pretzel dog” menu item.

Several social media users also question over the halal status of food and drink items such as AnW’s “rootbeer” and “coney dogs” and hot dogs following Jakim’s directive.

It is learnt that Jakim had called on the franchise to change the name of its “pretzel dog” to “pretzel sausage” instead as the department cannot approve the word “dog”.

While Jakim’s decision earned the derision of many, The Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations (Fomca) vice-president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman has called for food producers and restaurant operators to avoid certain words, including “beer” and “dog” in their menu as it would confuse Muslims.

Its vice-president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said Jakim should also be more cautious when issuing halal certification to ensure such issues do not arise once the company obtains the certificate.

Stating that Auntie Anne’s should be more mindful of the sensitivities of Muslims, Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) lead activist Nadzim Johan said that Jakim’s guidelines are in line with Islamic teachings and that the word “dog” is inappropriate.

The issue was first highlighted after Auntie Anne’s quality assurance and halal executive Farhatul Kamilah Mohamed Sazali had said that the pretzel franchise had submitted several names for a food product and was awaiting for a decision from Jakim’s panel.

In her Facebook posting on Monday, she stated that the ‘pretzel dog’ name had to be changed following Jakim’s directive.

She also said that upon Jakim’s decision, Auntie Anne’s will change its entire menu before proceeding with a new application for halal certification.