The New Paper’s sensationalist report on halal food in cinema misleading

False to say that ‘food sold in cinemas are not halal’.

Singapore tabloid, The New Paper (TNP), had on Monday (Sep 17) published a front-page report on the halal status of food sold in cinemas. The report titled, “Food sold in cinemas not halal: MUIS” quoted the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS).

The tabloid went further by proclaiming that “Muslim moviegoers call for halal-certified food options as cinemas here attract people of different races and religions”.

The report quoted two Muslim cinemagoers who spoke to TNP:

Student Fatimah Mujibah, 19, said: “All cinemas should apply for the halal certification. Halal options should be available for Muslims because outside food is not allowed in the cinemas.”

She added that most Muslims would assume that food sold in cinemas is halal.

“If the snack bars are not halal, then we should be allowed to take our own food in,” said Fatimah.

“Then again, if everyone does this, the cinema could end up being dirty.”

Madam Kamariah Othman, 46, a teacher, said: “I do not see any relevant excuse for cinema snack counters to not get halal certification. After all, cinemas attract audiences of different races and religions.”

A netizen from Facebook group Halal Cafe & Restaurants in Singapore found the report misleading.

Facebook user Decry Hardiyanto Bin Zaidi said, “Title really misleading. Food sold in cinema is not halal against food sold in cinema is not halal certified have different meaning. Anyway are we become demanding that the world must revolved around Islam?

What Hardiyanto meant was that there is a difference in meaning between ‘halal food’ and food that is halal-certified.

It is false to say that ‘food sold in cinemas are not halal’. The soft drinks and potato chips sold in their packets are halal-certified by MUIS.

A majority of Muslim netizens in the Facebook group felt that the report by TNP put them in the bad light as the halal status of food sold in cinemas are not a big issue for them in the first place.

In Singapore, halal certification is issued by MUIS for a fee of about S$750 a year. Application for the certificate is on a voluntary basis.

There is, however, a rising number of Muslim entrepreneurs opting to self-certify their establishment as “100% Muslim-owned”, which basically tells wary Muslim customers that although they are not halal-certified, they are Muslims and as such, observe the rites and rulings governing halal food preparation.

The biggest takeway from this report however, came from this guy:

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