Pizza Haven has refused to pay for a Muslim man and his family to fly to Mecca after they discovered bits of bacon in a vegetarian pizza, and earlier today Muslim spokesmen supported the decision.

Mohammed Sameem, from Hastings, maintains that Islam requires that he travel to Mecca for spiritual purification because eating porcine meat is strictly forbidden under Muslim law.

Spokesmen for Muslim organisations today distanced themselves from Sameem’s claims however, claiming that they were embarrassed because such penance is not necessary.

In a statement released by the Federation of Muslim Associations of New Zealand, spokesman Abdullah Drury commented that the trip to Mecca was unnecessary: “If a Muslim consumes such food by mistake and unintentionally, without deliberation, he or she should seek Allah’s forgiveness […] Islam maintains that sins that are not deliberate are the most easily forgiven ones by Allah.”

Sameem claims that the trip is necessary however because he is a Sunni Muslim, and stressed he will still go even if “I have to sweat my own money to get there”. Azmat Ali, president of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand told The Dominion meanwhile that it is definitely not essential for any kind of Muslims to travel to Mecca in such circumstances.

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Colin Mellar, national operations manager for Pizza Haven, told the same newspaper that the complaint around the “elusive pizza” was still being investigated. He has offered Sameem an apology and a free replacement pizza.