TV

A Bunch Of Anti-Halal Islamophobes Actually Think ‘Muslim Water’ Made Someone Die of Thirst

Turns out water's halal. Oxygen, too.

Remember the anti-halal brigade we reported on last month who got smacked down by Four N’ Twenty pies? Fresh from getting torn a new piehole, somehow a bunch of people who are scared of stickers on food packaging have managed to make themselves look even dumber than they did already.

First, a bit of background. Groups like Boycott Halal in Australia spend their clearly valuable time protesting against halal food – which is stuff free of ingredients that break Muslim dietary restrictions, like alcohol and pork – and have gained some momentum in recent weeks despite being manifestly insane. Last week federal Coalition MP George Christensen published a “Terror in the Tucker Box” opinion piece questioning the halal certification scheme. Despite the provocative title, dear ol’ George admits there is no proven link between halal certification in Australia and terrorism – the piece is just questioning where the certification fee money is going.

On top of that, Boycott Halal recently pressured the Fleurieu Milk Company into ditching their halal certification, likely costing them a $50,000 contract to supply Emirates Airlines. That success has seemingly gone to their head; members of the Boycott Halal group seem to think that just because a small South Australian dairy company caved to their campaign, their movement having a major impact on multinational halal-accredited corporations like Cadbury.

Which brings us to Watergate (it’s an apt title, shut up). The SBS website’s satire news arm, The Backburner, took the piss out of the halal boycott people last week with a fake news piece about a Brisbane man who died of thirst after refusing to drink water anymore, as it is technically halal (unless of course you drink the water through a delicious bacon straw).

In an adorably stupid response, the Boycott Halal folks posted a link to the article on their Facebook page, apparently thinking that it was true.

Bear in mind the “article” is chock-full of sentences like this:

“Sheen insisted that his objection to Halal certification was not on the basis of racism or anti-religious bigotry, claiming he was not personally a racist but just ‘said racist things and acted in a racist way all the time’.”

Even if they were fooled by that, somehow these people managed to avoid noticing they were reading something in SBS’s “comedy” section, complete with the word “comedy” in the hyperlink and a huge, over-the-top disclaimer at the base of the article:

“The Backburner is Australia’s most trusted news source. It is quite obviously satire and shouldn’t be taken seriously or as an excuse to sue SBS.

“The original version of this article featured an image of a man who definitely did not die of dehydration after refusing water. In fact, no one did and this is a silly joke. The Backburner sincerely and genuinely apologises for any confusion caused.”

Assemble the lawyers, SBS, you really should have covered your asses better on this one.

Even the Boycott Halal page’s own followers pointed out it was satire and asked the administrators to remove before it made the whole movement look, well, stupid.

Instead, the page operators declared it “irresponsible” and that the “reporter” responsible should be “stood down immediately pending an investigation”. At the time of writing, it is still up.

Good times.

Max Opray is an Adelaide-based freelance journalist. He writes on all sorts of things in all sorts of places, mysteriously flitting between Fairfax publications, The Saturday Paper, VICE, The New Daily, SBS and others. He tweets at @maxopray.