THE BAW Baw Shire has responded to the creators of the “Baw Baw Says NO to Halal” Facebook page and the authors of anti-halal hate mail sent to the council.
The small Facebook group had been encouraging members of the public to reject the council’s halal programs and abusive emails had been sent to council staff.
In a statement on the council’s website, CEO Helen Anstis said the concerns were “misinformed.”
“In those messages the authors claim that Baw Baw Shire Council is, among other things, discriminating against non-halal-certified businesses and attempting to make the shire Sharia-compliant,” Ms Anstis said.
“These comments are misinformed.
“The Baw Baw Halal program was introduced in 2006 as part of the Council’s economic development strategy and at the request of local businesses to assist them to increase export opportunities and create local jobs.”
An administrator of the Facebook page said in a post to followers that abusive emails should not be sent.
“Many many (sic) people have bombarded Baw Baw Shire with emails regarding Halal Certification (sic) being endorsed here,” the administrator said.
“Quite a few have been very abusive, which I don’t recommend.
“But having said that, I can understand the rage, anger and utter frustration we all feel.”
Despite that message, the page administrator had previously posted and endorsed a letter which called the council “a bunch of losers” and said “if you allow it (halal certification) into your community you will not only be sorry later on… but you will become traitors to our nation and our culture.”
The page administrator also described businesses with halal certification as “traitors”, and the council “un-Australian”.
Ms Anstis said the council had not been influenced by the campaign.
“Baw Baw Shire Council will continue to support local businesses looking to develop both existing and new markets including halal and doesn’t sway from this commitment,” Ms Anstis said.
The council declined to make any further comment for this story.
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