Gadafi, Darwin’s fair dinkum Aussie Halal butcher

Dr Ross Ainsworth, 22/10/2021


The management of the Lakim shop is very much a family affair.

ONE of the bonuses of working in the live export industry is that you get to meet some really interesting people from totally different cultures. Mohammad Gadafi Haji Mokti (Gadafi) is one of those.

Gadafi began his career in the livestock and meat industries when he became a slaughterman in Brunei at the government owned Malaut abattoir in 1994.

In late ‘94 he moved to Fred McDonald’s Batchelor abattoir south of Darwin to certify their Halal slaughter to allow imports of these products into Brunei.

Imagine the culture shock for a young Muslim on his first trip outside Brunei to a rural Northern Territory abattoir.

Brunei’s Halal certification standards are different to other Muslim countries, so they require their own specific type of religious supervision and certification before imports are approved.

After a brief return to the Brunei abattoir, he spent three years at numerous Australian processing plants certifying and accrediting halal slaughter practices, finishing with two years at the Glenco abattoir in Tennant Creek.

The end of 1998 brought a new operational role with the Glenco team facilitating the export of live animals including cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, deer and camels from Darwin to Brunei.

From 2000 to 2018 Gadafi was the resident manager of the Sultan of Brunei’s Opium Creek station east of Darwin where cattle and buffalo were produced and prepared for live export.

As a live export veterinarian I visited the station on many occasions to inspect and treat stock prior to export.

Gadafi and his wife were always the most welcoming of hosts and a meal at their homestead was a special treat.

In 2019 Gadafi and his wife left the station and opened the Lakim Halal butcher shop in the Oasis shopping centre in Palmerston, Darwin. As seen in the photo below, the shop is in the traditional Australian style, servicing both Muslim (~40%) and non-Muslim customers with a full range of products excluding pork.

Gadafi explained that many non-Muslim customers are wholly unfamiliar with the meaning of halal food.

When one customer advised him that she couldn’t buy his meat because it was halal, he took the time to explain that all meat (except for the pork) in the Coles supermarket in the same complex was also halal.

As a matter of fact, the majority of large meat and poultry processors in Australia use halal slaughter certification in their facilities because it allows Muslims to be included in their customer base without any negative impact for non-Muslim consumers or the slaughter process.

In order to achieve this Halal certification in Australia, stock are first stunned with either a mushroom stunner or electric shock; rendering them unconscious (but still alive) with a prayer of thanks to God being said by the Muslim slaughterman before the blood vessels in the throat are severed.

The primary difference with non-Muslim slaughter is that animals are killed outright using a penetrating bolt to the brain immediately before their blood vessels are cut.

The origin of this halal process is a very logical mechanism to prevent people from being offered meat from animals that were found dead.

In ancient times, when diseases transmissible from animals to man such as Anthrax were present, the only way to ensure people were sold meat from healthy animals was to make a rule that only healthy animals that had then been dispatched by having their throat cut by a trusted Muslim butcher would be approved as safe to eat.

The word halal in Arabic means ‘lawful’ or ‘permitted’ so Muslims are permitted to eat any meat from approved species prepared in this way – this excludes pork in all its forms. In ancient times pigs and other scavenging animals would commonly feed on dead animals so it was a sensible practice to not eat these species in case their flesh could pass on the diseases that had killed the dead animals they ate.

The Jewish Kosher food preparation rules had a similar intent to ensure that Jewish consumers only ate food that was safe for human consumption.

While Halal and Kosher are based on religious law, they also represented some of the earliest examples of logical food safety regulations and quality assurance.


Gadafi, Darwin’s fair dinkum Aussie Halal butcher.

Darwin has a large Muslim community serviced by two mosques with around one thousand regular worshipers.

Lakim is the most recent of three halal butcher shops in Darwin: the other two specialist shops chiefly servicing their own cultural groups with specific ethnic meat cuts and dry goods.

Gadafi, on the other hand, has created a traditional western style halal butcher shop with an Aussie-style meat and poultry offering, as well as a large presentation of cuts and products favoured by Asian consumers such as goat meat, offals, buffalo, beef rashers (bacon made from beef not pork), sausages made with natural casings and occasionally camel.

Gadafi is the quintessential Aussie butcher.

A big, cheerful, friendly person with an infectious smile who enjoys chatting with his customers as much as selling them his products.

The Lakim shop itself is a real family affair; both his wife and their four children all work in the business (when they are not at school in Darwin). Mrs Mokti is well known as an outstanding cook and often provides copies of her special recipes to assist her customers to make the best of their purchases.


The usual Aussie fare at very reasonable prices.


A traditional Asian presentation with 2 types of beef tripe, lamb brains, oxtail, lamb and beef feet.

Lakim uses Facebook to advertise their wide range of products especially useful when new and hard to find items arrive in the shop.







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  1. Megan McNicholl, 12/04/2023

    Thank you Ross for sharing Gadafi’s story. Congratulations to Gadafi and his family for all they have achieved and for their contribution to our industry. It has been both heartwarming and enlightening to read all the comments. Thank you.

  2. EBONY TAILOR, 09/03/2022

    To Gadafi,

    I live in Tennant Creek and hope to open a small food store here. Halal and Kosher meat is important to me and I hope to share this with the community. I write to see if your business could possibly sell to us. I may have a contact for freight. We are particularly interested in the cut-style of halal meat and goods that are not already available, even at lower quality, in the town’s IGA. I come from Melbourne, formerly known as Yosefine, and a friend from the community named the store “Something from the South”. I hope to work with you and hear back from your business. Many thanks, ebony Tailor

  3. Ragib Ahsan Chowdhury, 01/12/2021

    Excellent article Keep it up.

  4. Hans Thonick, 25/10/2021

    Assalamualaikum Gadafi,

    I have just received this from Dato Morni.
    Not sure if you remember me from the good olden days.
    You have done well. If I would still live in Australia I would come to visit you.I have moved to Denmark but still active in the meat business.
    Are you still in contact with Yusop. I have lost he’s contact details.
    Well done!
    Kind regards

  5. Jon Condon, 25/10/2021

    One of the very few Australian retail butcheries I have seen using AusMeat beef category trading ciphers normally found on the end of the carton – PR (seven teeth or less), YP (four-teeth or less) and Y (yearling, two teeth or less) – to describe the offering to customers. For many Muslim slow-cooking styles, the seven-tooth product would be ideal.

  6. summer prakash, 25/10/2021

    He is legend…

  7. Hakan Koyu, 25/10/2021

    Well done Gadafi & family

  8. Hj Md Jalaluddin, 24/10/2021

    Tahniah Bro….Mr Gadafi n Family … semoga sentiasa berjaya.. klau ada busness bagi2 haaaaaa … salam utk kamu semua d sana dengan doa semoga sehat n panjang umur..

    Be a success👍👍👍🥰🥰🥰

  9. Sis G, 24/10/2021

    Alhamdulillah…Thank You Dr. Ross for the inspiring article. Gadapi is indeed an ambitious, strong, funny and loving person/brother. He will never give up for what he dreamed of.  He always puts family first in whatever he does.  He always asks for blessing from our parents and now from our mother. Our late Abah would definitely proud of you. His blessing is always with you and us. 

    Eventhough we are separated by the ocean, thousand miles apart but you and your family are close in our everyday doa.

    All the best big brother…We believe from Mama’s blessing and everyone’s doas Lakim Butcher will become a world wide brand Inn Shaa Allah.

    Love from your proud sister, Sis G 🥰

  10. Tiara77, 24/10/2021

    A special thanks to Dr Ross Ainsworth for making this beautiful and interesting  article. Indeed we are super proud of him and his family.  We believe this article is very inspirational to all Bruneians. Gadafi is always willing to take a challenge and is a determined and motivational person. We understand Beside his career he was also known as a Qurban slaughter man for His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei and his royal family for many years. The most astonishing  contribution he made, was preparing the livestock and making inspections in Australia to meet the Qurban specifications and standards before shipping them to Brunei while performing the qurban slaughter in Brunei subsequently. His involvement for slaughtering with His Majesty and His Royal family at Jame Asr mosque, Inspired him with an idea which he then managed to build; A platform for convenience of the slaughter rather than performing the slaughter on the floor. This platform is still being used to this day. As a bruneian we have always been proud with his achievement once again thank you to Dr Ross Ainsworth for sharing Gadafi’s story in the news. We hope Lakim Butcher is a huge success and can develop recognition for the country of Brunei Darussalam.

    From a proud Bruneian

    • Pg Sayyid Hj Mohd Salleh, 24/10/2021

      May Allah The Creator and The Almighty bless him and his family with healthy and prosperous life ever after together with the Australian citizens… Aamiin Yarabbal Aalamiin.

  11. Nor Azimah B. BM Haji Md Salleh, 23/10/2021

    Assalamualaikum ngah… Alhamdulillah anakanda sgt berbangga melihat kejayaan angah serta keluarga di sana.. Sangat merindui semua nya.. hingga ke Jannah.. Semoga Allah melindungi dan semoga terus maju jaya dan cemerlang dalam apa jua yg biskita lakukan di sana.. aamiin yaa allah

    Assalamualaikum ngah … Alhamdulillah your son is very proud to see the success of angah and his family there .. I really miss it all .. up to Jannah .. May Allah protect and may you continue to prosper and excel in whatever you do there .. aamiin yaa Allah …

  12. Peter E Long, 22/10/2021

    Great read and great contribution to our culture and food diversity.

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