Can you have your “Merry Christmas” cake and eat it?

LET’S call a cake, a cake and not read too much into it.

We should not be causing more diversity among races and religions in the country, instead we should strive to foster unity, what more when it involves something as innocent as a dessert.

The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) president Datuk Nadzim Johan told FocusM that Malaysians must respect other religions and learn to allow for individual preferences.

Datuk Nadzim Johan

He was commenting on a recent report which stated that a customer was shocked when he received a cake with “Happy Holidays” when he had requested that it be decorated with the wish “Merry Christmas.”

The report said the store had refused to do so since it was in the process of getting a halal certificate, quoting Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) as claiming that the halal logo issued by the Halal Management System cannot be used to promote other religions.

On Thursday (Dec 24), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri tweeted that as long as the cake was not for display, it was all right.

Since then, the cake chronicles have been made a laughing stock on the internet, with many netizens coming up with their own take on the debacle.

One such person was fierce critic of the socio-economic political problems in Malaysia, Mariam Mokhtar, who took to her blog “Rebuilding Malaysia” today with this headline: “Merry Christmas, JAKIM! What happened to your Christmas spirit?”

Mariam questioned why some quarters were afraid of the two words, “Merry Christmas”?

She asked if they feared that the Malay employee icing the cake would suddenly become Christian?

“For a few decades, Malaysian Muslims were told that they cannot wish their Christian friends Merry Christmas, and all this while, I thought we were a multiracial nation,” she said.

Nadzim highlighted that picking on such matters will not bring about any good to anyone.

“As a multicultural nation, we already have so many differences. Don’t impose your preferences on other people. If one has a problem with it, just avoid it; too bad some people can’t seem to understand.”

Meanwhile, Jakim says that there is nothing stopping shops with halal certification from decorating cakes with “Merry Christmas” greeting.

However, these cakes cannot be put on display at shops with the halal certification.

In a statement issued on Christmas Day, Jakim deputy director-general (Operations) Datuk Abdul Aziz Jusoh said greetings for festivals were allowed on all products if they were not put on display in shops which have the halal certification from Jakim.

“There is no provision (in the halal certification) which touches on the celebration of any festivals, including Islamic festivals in the Malaysian Halal Certification Procedure Manual (Domestic) 2020.

“The manual and the Malaysian Halal Management System only applies to the applicants and holders of the Malaysian Halal Certificate,” said Abdul Aziz. – Dec 27, 2020

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