Premium Kobe beef, Yubari melons get brand protection



Champagne, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Gorgonzola cheese are to be joined by Kobe beef and expensive Yubari melons as protected products after Japan granted them a special status.

A total of seven products including Kobe beef and the melons from Hokkaido were added to a list of Japanese geographical indications, the farm ministry said.

With the designation, anyone who uses the registered brands without permission could face penalties.

“We’ll promote the registration of geographic indications and increase demand (for premium farm products) inside and outside Japan,” Hiroshi Moriyama, agriculture minister, told a press conference Tuesday.

The World Intellectual Property Organization on its website defines a geographical indication as “a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin”.

The government hopes to boost exports of made-in-Japan premium agriculture products as local farmers could face competition from cheaper imports with the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.

Under the deal, most tariffs were to be eliminated or slashed on everything from beef, dairy products, wine, sugar, rice, horticulture and seafood through to manufactured products, resources and energy.

Yuji Funatsu, head of the agricultural cooperative in the city of Yubari that applied for a geographic indication, told AFP ahead of the announcement that earning such a designation means “quite a lot of pressure” to maintain quality.

Yubari melons are considered a status symbol in Japan—something akin to a fine wine—with many being bought for high prices as a gift for friends and colleagues.

A single pair of the melons fetched 1.5 million yen at an auction in Japan in May.

The best-quality Yubari melons are perfect spheres with a smooth, evenly patterned rind.

Funatsu, who has been a melon farmer for more than 30 years, said maintaining quality and brand is not easy, adding Yubari melons are a “high-maintenance fruit”.

In addition to Kobe beef and Yubari melons, Yamecha green tea from Fukuoka prefecture, cassis from Aomori, Hyogo’s Tajima-gyu cattle—some of which become Kobe beef—pumpkins from Ibaraki and black vinegar from Kagoshima also received geographic indications, the ministry said.

© 2015 AFP

Imam at Montreal Mosque explains Muhammad’s wisdom regarding wife beating

The Sheik Dr. Zain al Abidine bin Muhammad Balafrej (زين العابدين بن محمد بلافريج), of Moroccan descent, serves as the Imam of the al-Qadi Ayyad (مسجد القاضي عياض) Mosque in Casablanca and as an adviser for Islamic centres in the West.

On July 12, 2013 Balafrej visited Nur al-Islam Mosque in northern Montreal, Quebec (4675 Rue Amiens, Montreal Nord, QC H1H) and delivered the Friday sermon, which dealt with marital relationship according the Islamic Law (Sharia). The following is an excerpt of his speech (originally in Arabic):

“A woman complained to the Messenger of Allah. Her husband [who came with her] to the Messenger was present [there]. She raised three complaints. The first one: her husband used to beat her when she was praying. The second one: he used to feed her when she was fasting. The third one: Safwan [her husband] prayed the Morning Prayer only after the sunrise.

“After she said what she said, our Master the Messenger of Allah [Muhammad] PBUH [peace be upon him] said to them, the Prophet PBUH [said]: O Safawn, what do you say with regard to what your wife has said. He [Safwan] said: O Messenger of Allah, regarding her saying, he was defending himself, responding to what his wife has said, I beat her when she was praying as she was reciting in prayer two chapters [of the Koran “surah”]. I stopped her [from reciting the chapters] but she didn’t cease reciting], and therefore I beat her.

“The Prophet answered. The Prophet is the best judge in the world; he is the envoy who brought the Islamic Law [Sharia], the representative on behalf of Allah in earth, the most rightful in earth, [he is] the noblest Prophet PBUH. He PBUH said, judging between her and her husband. He said: if it was only one chapter it was enough. He ruled in favor of the man [husband] and he didn’t rule in favor of the wife. She said that he used to beat me when I was praying, and he used to beat her when she was reciting two chapters [of the Koran during prayer] while [reciting] only one chapter was enough for her prayer. She was praying two chapters and thus extended the prayer and she didn’t take care of her husband [during the prayer] and delayed taking care of her husband.

“The Prophet PBUH said to her: one chapter is enough, don’t recite two chapters in prayer. If it was one chapter, the [Prophet] PBUH said, it was enough [for carrying out her religious duty], meaning one chapter is enough, so why did you recite two chapters in prayer? The Prophet did justice between the two adversaries and ruled justly as he is the most rightful in earth PBUH…

“He [her husband] said: with regard to her saying that I used to feed her [forcibly] when she was fasting, [it should be noted that] I am a young man [meaning wants to have sex with his wife] and I cannot bear it [conjugal relations are not allowed during the fast]. [The Prophet] PBUH said judging between them… the wife is not allowed to fast when her husband is present [with her] unless he gives his permission. A wife should not do a voluntary fast when her husband is present unless he gives his permission. If it is obligatory then she can fast without asking a permission as Allah is the one who ordered her to do so.”