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Singapore’s Muslim athletes were not served pork at SEA Games: SNOC

MANILA — The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said on Tuesday (Nov 26) that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were not served pork at the 30th SEA Games, refuting a South China Morning Post (SCMP) story.

The Singapore under-22 football team for the SEA Games comprises many Muslim players. In a reply to queries from CNA, a spokesperson for SNOC said that mentions in the SCMP article relating to the allegations that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were served pork and that chef de mission Juliana Seow had spoken to Philippine media were untrue.

The Singapore under-22 football team for the SEA Games comprises many Muslim players. In a reply to queries from CNA, a spokesperson for SNOC said that mentions in the SCMP article relating to the allegations that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were served pork and that chef de mission Juliana Seow had spoken to Philippine media were untrue.

MANILA — The Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) said on Tuesday (Nov 26) that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were not served pork at the 30th SEA Games, refuting a South China Morning Post (SCMP) story.

In a reply to queries from CNA, a spokesperson for SNOC said that mentions in the SCMP article relating to the allegations that Singapore’s Muslim athletes were served pork and that chef de mission Juliana Seow had spoken to Philippine media were untrue.

“Juliana did not speak with the Philippine media nor were our Muslim athletes served pork,” said the spokesperson. “The mentions in SCMP article related to these two allegations are not true.

“We have written to SCMP to seek a correction immediately.”

The SCMP article stated that Ms Seow had told Philippine media that they were forced to order food from outside for their Muslim athletes, who were served kikiam – a kind of pork roll.

“Ramadan Aguan, information officer with the National Commission for Filipino Muslims (NCFM), said games organisers had ignored reminders from the body to serve halal food, which means no pork and meat that is slaughtered according to Islamic rituals,” reported the SCMP article.

“This week’s incident prompted the Singapore team’s chef de mission, Juliana Seow, to write a letter of complaint to organisers PHISGOC.”

In a statement to the media on Monday, Ms Seow said Singapore’s athletes and officials had encountered “teething problems” at the Games but would work with local organisers to resolve these issues.

There was no mention of the serving of pork to Muslim athletes in Monday's statement.

"What's more important is to work with the organisers to address and resolve them (the teething problems), so that our athletes and officials can compete in a conducive environment," Ms Seow said.

"We appreciate the efforts and hospitality of the Philippine organisers and volunteers in taking care of us and doing their best as hosts, and look forward to an exciting 2019 SEA Games." 

Following SNOC's statement, the original SCMP article carried a clarification which stated that Singapore's Muslim athletes "were never served pork and it was only a lack of sufficient food". The headline was also changed, removing the reference to Singapore's athletes and stating instead that Muslim athletes in general faced a shortage of halal food at the SEA Games. 

Nevertheless, it cited a letter of complaint by Ms Seow which was sent to the Games' organisers. Citing Philippine media outlets such as Rappler and Foxsports as the sources, the SCMP article said the letter mentioned that the Singapore team were forced to order food from outside — contrary to the original article which said that Ms Seow spoke to Philippine media.

Related topics

SEA Games halal South China Morning Post Singapore National Olympic Council

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