"Hate campaigns" are detracting from the reputation of Australia's $13bn halal industry overseas, according to one of the country's largest Islamic certifiers, which says anti-halal campaigners are "manipulating the public to harm the Australian economy".

The halal industry has been reluctant to comment on the Senate inquiry into food certification, instigated by Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, but broke its silence on Tuesday in a submission obtained by Guardian Australia.

"Under Australian law it is not acceptable to vilify one's race or ethnic background but it seems acceptable to vilify Islam," Mohammad El-Mouelhy, from Halal Certification Authority Australia (HCAA), wrote.

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