Halal Certifying Bodies and Scholars
rejected non-Muslims interference in Halal issues
Report by: MOHAMMAD Zubair
(NewsHalal, Dhu-AlQa’dah 17, 1436, September 1, 2015)
Growing and developing Global Halal market facing challenges from non-Muslims aiming to gain profits by colonizing each sector of Halal including Halal Certification and Standardization. But Muslims around the world taking note of unusual interference through out the world. Why non-Muslims are interfering in the Halal which is a matter of Islamic faith and an essential obligation for Muslims?
Some non-Muslims even crossing the red lines by jumping into Halal Certification and creating their own Halal Standards which are totally unacceptable for all Muslims. Rapidly growing interference in Halal issue by the non-Muslims prompted Turkish Halal Certifying body GIMDES to call an international conference of world`s active Halal Certifying bodies, consumer organizations and scholars to discuss the issue. A conference with the title of “HCB Unity Meeting Against Non-Muslims Interference in Halal Issues” held in Istanbul Turkey on 13-14 June 2015.
Representatives from over 50 Halal Certifying Bodies, Consumer Organizations, Islamic Scholars and Halal Experts from about 32 countries including Turkey, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, UK, France, Italy, USA, Canada, Philippine, Malaysia, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Holland, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Germany, Denmark, Russia, Norway, Austria, Ireland and Bosnia & Herzegovina took part in the conference and shared their views on the issue.
Although there are growing number of Halal Conferences now in all around the world but this conference was different in theme and objectives. Given the importance of the issue, international Halal experts and advocates such as Dr. Hani Al Mazeedi, Dr. Saleh Alaayed, Dr. Adil Sabir, Moulana Muhammad Saeed Navlakhi, Dr. Shuja Shafi, Sheikh Thafier Najjar, Yusuf Patel, Habib Ghanim, Mohamed El Mouelhy and many others actively participated in the two days discussion and debates.
Halal Certifying Bodies opinions on Non-Muslims interference in Halal Standards were unified and all of them strongly rejected non-Muslims interference in Halal Certification and drawing Halal Standards. Speakers suggested strategies to stop non-Muslims interference in Halal Standards and Halal Certification. There was consensus among almost all participants that Halal is a pure Islamic issue while Halal Standardization and Certification cannot be a working field for non-Muslims.
There were harsh criticism towards European Committee for Standardization CEN which is said to be interfering in Halal Standards. President of GIMDES Dr. Huseyin Kami BUYUKOZER emphasizes that “we don’t need to hear from non-Muslims on what is halal and what is haram. Allah (SWT) mentions in the Quran” This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.”
Referring to CEN initiative to setup a standardization Technical Committee on Halal Food led by non-Muslims, GIMDES insists this kind of initiative sets a dangerous precedent as an attempt of non-Muslims authorities to regulate and standardize Muslim religious matters in the 21st century. It is an illegal act which will have serious impacts on Muslim religious freedom of worship and right of regulating their own and pure religious affairs by themselves.
Participants expressed their solidarity regarding Islamic position on non-Muslims governance of Halal and unanimously rejected any interference of non-Muslims or non-Muslims governments in Halal Certification and Halal Standards. GIMDES Istanbul conference clearly conveyed a strong message that the Muslims are fully aware of growing activities by non-Muslims to colonize Halal market and Halal issues. More events are expected to continue keep a close eye on various developments in Europe and elsewhere on the issue of Halal.
Following statement issued after the meeting;
In the name of Allah – Most Merciful Most Compassionate
CLOSING STATEMENT OF THE SPECIAL MEETING AGAINST NON MUSLIM INTERFERENCE TO HALAL ISSUES HELD IN ISTANBUL
ON THE 13th & 14th JUNE 2015
* Halal is a divine obligation based on Qur’an and Prophetic teachings.
The distinctive identity and characteristics of a Muslim outlined in Prophetic tradition is adherence to the precepts of Halal
* The interpretation, standardization, regulation, governance and application of Halal is regarded as an act of worship.
* All acts of worship are predicated on faith and belief
* Freedom of thought, conscience and freedom of religion are moral norms granted by human rights principles.
* Standardization Authorities of some countries and Unions have embarked on developing standards for Halal without regard to the Islamic Religious Sanctity of the entire Halal certification processes.
* They have established technical committees for the development of the said standard in total disregard to the religious concerns being safeguarded by Recognized Halal certification and accreditation authorities worldwide.
We, as concerned Muslims representing Halal Certification Bodies, Muslim Consumers and Religious Non-Governmental Organizations,
* The religious affairs of a faith group vests exclusively with the adherents of that particular faith community
* The crafting of Halal standards requires inter alia the skills of qualified Muslim theologians who possess in-depth knowledge of Islamic Law, which is based on Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijma and Qiyas
* Halal (Lawful) and Haram (Unlawful) are Islamic precepts that govern the entire life of a Muslim and are accordingly regulated by a deeply spiritual commitment
* The verification and administration of Halal cannot be isolated from the notion of worship and therefore should not be reduced to a matter of mere technical compliance.
* Halal Certification by non-Muslim entities is deemed null and void in terms of Islamic Law
* Intervention by organs of a Secular or Non-Muslim State in the religious affairs of the Muslim community is an infringement of its religious liberties, freedom and consumer rights
* Initiatives by Muslim governments to drag non-Muslim entities into Halal for any reason is unacceptable.
* We will not accept the legitimacy and validity of any certification or citation aimed at the regulation of Halal by non-Muslims
* We remind that Halal is a pure Islamic term and since we will never accept praying behind a non-Muslim, we will not accept Non-Muslims’ audits, inspections, testimonies, accreditations and certification pertaining to Halal and such certification documents that might be issued by non- Muslim entities will be rejected.
* We will establish a committee with representatives from Islamic NGOs, HCBs and Muslim Consumer Organizations. This committee will address the Islamic organizations and Halal Certification Bodies which have not attended the conference with the aim of reviewing and reconsidering their position in order to speak with one voice against the interference of non-Muslims in Islamic affairs and to avoid discrepancies between Muslim Stakeholders.
* We will embark on a mass awareness program alerting Muslim communities to the gross violation of their religious observances.
* With the support of all Muslim Halal organizations, we will use all the legal ways to protect and defend our religious freedom and rights.
Thus done and endorsed by the following participated Muslim organizations on the 14th June 2015 in Istanbul:
1) ADELAIDE MOSQUE ISLAMIC SOCIETY SOUTH AUSTRALIA
2) ASIDCOM, FRANCE
3) ASSOCIATION HALAL VERIF, FRANCE
4) A Votre Service, AVS FRANCE 5) AZKA HALAL, KUWAIT
6) BE HALAL UK
7) DEPARTMENT OF HALAL CERTIFICATION, IRELAND IRELAND
8) EUROPEAN SUPREME HALAL COUNCIL, LUXEMBURG
9) EUROPEAN CENTRE OF HALAL CERTIFICATION-GR GREECE
10) FRENCH UNION OF MUSLIM CONSUMERS, FRANCE
11) GIMDES, ASSOCIATION FOR THE INSPECTION AND CERTIFICATION OF FOOD AND SUPPLIES, TURKEY
12) HALAL ASSURE IP UK
13) HALAL CERTIFICATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA
14) HALAL CERTIFICATION CENTER, RUSSIA
15) HALAL CERTIFICATION INSTITUTE MACEDONIA
16) HALAL COMITEE – PORTUGAL, PORTUGAL
17) HALAL DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION JAPAN
18) HALAL FOOD & QUALITY OF ISLAMIC CENTER OF LA VALL SPAIN
19) HALAL INSTITUTE OF PORTUGAL 20) HALAL ITALIA
21) HALAL POLICE FOUNDATION NETHER LAND
22) HALAL STANDARDIZATION COMMITTEE OF CENTRALIZED RELIGIOUS
23) ORGANIZATION TATARSTAN
24) HAYRAT ASSOCIATION TURKEY
25) HET- INSTITUTE OF HALAL QUALITY CONTROL DENMARK
26) INSTITUTE FOR STANDARDS OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA BOSNIA &
27) INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR HALAL STANDARDIZATION AND
CERTIFICATION OF RUSSIA MUFTIES COUNCIL, RUSSIA
28) INTERNATIONAL UNION OF MUSLIM SCHOLARS (IUMS) LIBYA
29) ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF SOUTH AFRICA
30) ISLAMIC DA’WAH COUNCIL OF THE PHILIPPINES
31) ISLAMIC SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON AREA USA
32) ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF NORWAY, HALAL CERTIFICATION COMMITTEE NORWAY
33) ISLAMIC INFORMATION, DOCUMENTATION AND CERTIFICATION AUSTRIA
34) ISMAIL AGA FIQH COMMITTEE, TURKEY
35) KUWAIT INSTITUTE FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH KUWAIT
36) MEMURSEN TURKEY 36) MUSIAD TURKEY
37) MUSLIM ASSOCIATION IN DENMARK
38) MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
39) NIPPON ASIA HALAL ASSOCIATION JAPAN
40) HALAL FOOD INTERNATIONAL & CHILEHALAL CHILE
41) RABIA PLATFORM TURKEY
42) SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL HALAL AUTHORITY, SANHA SOUTH AFRICA
43) SUPREME ISLAMIC COUNCIL OF HALAL MEAT IN AUSTRALIA INC, SICHMA
44) THE HALAL CATERING ARGENTINA ARGENTINA
45) WORLD HALAL COUNCIL TURKEY
46) WORLD MUSLIM CONSUMERS ORGANIZATION MALAYSIA
47) VOORLICHTINGSBUREAU HALALVOEDING, Netherlands