Hougang Eatery Has Signboard With Quranic Verses & Sells Indian Muslim Food But Isn’t Halal; MUIS Has Responded

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Our nation prides itself on diversity. The cultural wealth we hold so dear to the heart are stuff of envy for most other countries.

And that is why it’s ever so important to not take it for granted. The harmony we took years to achieve – and is nowhere near perfected – rests upon a precarious balance of respect and understanding.

Where it concerns taboo and practices, it’s certainly beneficial to tread the subjects with extra care.

For instance, we know better than to be careless when it comes to the dietary restrictions of different religions. It borders on irresponsible to be misleading with the necessary labels that will permit the patronage of certain demographies.

Case in point, a restaurant recently turns out to lack a Halal certification, even though it appeared to be Muslim-owned.

The Restaurant Is Non-Halal Certified

On Sep 14, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) posted a series of tweets regarding the Al-Afsana Restaurant located at Hougang Ave 8.

The eatery was brought to the council’s attention when doubts arose online over its Halal status.

The signboard of the outlet bears Quranic verses and the phrase “Indian Muslim Food”. Apparently, they also claim to use all Halal ingredients.

However, MUIS clarified that the Al-Afsana is in fact not certified as Halal, nor did it apply for the certification.

Daughter of Owner Came Forward to Explain

Two days before MUIS’ clarification, Halal food guide The Halal Food Blog publicized some statements made by the owner’s daughter.

In the Facebook post, they revealed that the owner, who recently passed away, was not a Muslim.

Salam everyone. Here's an interesting topic.. Have you heard about the hubbub over Al Afsana Restaurant in…

Posted by The Halal Food Blog on Friday, 11 September 2020

Nonetheless, the owner’s daughter assured that Halal certifications can be produced for all ingredients used.

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In spite of that, she emphasised that her father “never made any claim that the restaurant was halal-certified by MUIS”, though she acknowledged that “sometimes people get confused”.


The blogger felt that the restaurant was “(intentionally) misleading”, creating the impression that the eatery was permissible by displaying Quran verses.

They further raised the question on whether MUIS should have the power to request for restaurants to omit Quran verses from their fixtures.

Ultimately, they held that “Halal is an individual responsibility”, and that the safest solution would be to ask the question prior to dining.

Modifications to be Made

Both MUIS and The Halal Food Blog had noted that the signboard will be modified to leave out verses from the Islamic scriptures.

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The succeeding owners also have plans to obtain Halal certification.

Until then, as the Chinese saying goes: “those who do not know, do not sin”.


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