Water Bottle With Hindu Deity Next To Halal Logo Offends Muslim Groups

The Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia is finding fault at a mineral water bottle brand for "insensitively" printing the halal logo next to an image of Lord Murugam's statue at Batu Caves.

The Cactus brand of disposable water bottles has offended Muslim groups who are asking for the sale of the product to be immediately suspended

A Muslim consumers group today demanded authorities to punish a mineral water bottler for using the image of a Hindu god on its labels, claiming its placement near a “halal” logo was insensitive.

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Among the groups was the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM), who first complained of the “insensitive” juxtaposition yesterday. They were accompanied by Pejuangan Warisan Islam Melayu Malaysia (PEWARIS) officer Shamsudin Bin Bakar when making the report.

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The problem? The depiction of Hindu deity Lord Murugam at Batu Caves next to the Halal logo is "insensitive" and is able to cause "chaos within the Muslim community".

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Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) has questioned the use of the halal logo on a mineral water bottle that included a picture of a Hindu deity. Its chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan said the inclusion of the picture, for the Visit Malaysia 2014 campaign, had created doubts within the Muslim community.

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Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) claimed that it was wrong for bottlers Chuan Sin Sdn Bhd to use the image of Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity, on its labels as it was offensive to the country’s Muslim community. “How can Chuan Sin place the picture of another god next to the halal logo? This is a very sensitive issue to the Muslims of the country.

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Calling the image placements "a disgrace to Islam", the Muslim groups are calling the police and JAKIM to investigate and take serious action

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PPIM head of monitoring and financial services, Sheikh Abdul Kareem, claimed the practice violated the Trade Descriptions Act, which states that no religious symbols may be used on the label or packaging of a product. “As a mineral water manufacturer, they should be more sensitive. This action is a disgrace to the religion of the constitution, which is Islam. We urge the Home Ministry to take action and tell them to respect that,” said Sheikh Abdul.

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He urged supermarkets to suspend the sale of this product immediately and urged Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) to investigate the matter and take serious action as it violated the Trade Descriptions Act that stated no religious logos could be used.

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“We want the police to investigate this matter and take the appropriate action, may it be the Sedition Act or any relevant act. “This matter is sensitive to the Muslims of the country,” said PPIM head of monitoring and financial services Sheikh Abdul Kareem after lodging a police report here today. “We want action, we are not asking to give them a warning, because we see as an immeasurable accident,” said Sheikh Abdul.

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"The logo is feared to have elements of worship through the water," Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan

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Nadzim also questioned how the halal logo that was endorsed by JAKIM could be used when the religious picture was there. He said if the bottled water was sold without the halal logo it would have been okay. “But the inclusion of the picture will cause chaos within the Muslim community.”

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“The logo is feared to have elements of worship through the water,” he told reporters.

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With immediate effect, mineral water producer Spritzer Berhad will be withdrawing all its water bottles that carry the Halal logo along with the Batu Caves picture

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Mineral water producer Spritzer Berhad will withdraw all its water bottles that carry the Halal logo, along with the the picture of a Hindu deity, from the market with immediate effect. The company’s Public Relations Manager Winnie Chin said the company’s sales representatives would be asked to withdraw the products from the shelves of every retail outlet nationwide.

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Apart from withdrawing the product from the market, Spritzer would also cease the ongoing printing process, and prevent the products ready to be marketed from being sold or displayed.

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Public Relations Manager Winnie Chin explains that the photo of Lord Murugam was a result of a collaboration with the Malaysian Tourism Board's effort to promote Visit Malaysia Year

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Chin clarified that the photo of the Hindu deity was merely a result of the company’s collaboration with the Malaysian Tourism Board to promote local tourism hotspots. “We applied for a permit from the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board and got clearance from them to print images of tourist hot spots on our bottles. This includes Penang’s Gurney drive, The Helang Square in Pulau Langkawi, Taiping Zoo, KL Twin Towers and Putrajaya.”

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“Our company is not insensitive to religious issues. We just didn’t expect tourist hot spots would be associated with religious issues. “This is unintended, we did not purposely offend anyone,” Chin told The Rakyat Post. The company, however, would not issue a public apology for now and focus on the tasks at hand. Chin said the company became aware of the complaint only this morning and PPIM did not try to establish any formal contact or notify it before going to the press.

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PPIM is unforgiving, saying that if the company wanted to put any promotional visuals, it has to adhere to the Federal Constitution, of which Islam is the official religion

“Even if it is used to promote tourism in Malaysia. The problem is there is a halal logo there and in Malaysia, Islam is the religion of the constitution. “If they wanted to put anything there to promote Malaysia, they have to follow what is written by the constitution,” said Sheikh Abdul, without citing the constitutional article relating to the issue.

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“We as Muslims are really sensitive towards images such as these, in our food or in our homes. And for a company that is based in Malaysia, should have known how sensitive the Muslims that make up the community in Malaysia,” said Sheikh Abdul.

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