Indonesia: New agency unprepared for halal certification tasks: Ombudsman

With less than a month before halal certification will become mandatory, an assessment by the Indonesian Ombudsman has found the Halal Certification Agency (BPJPH) unprepared for the task of issuing halal certification.


The 2014 Halal Products Guarantee Law, which requires products distributed in Indonesia to be halal certified, is meant to take effect five years after the law was passed, or by Oct. 17. Observers, however, have said that certain problems surrounding the implementation remain unsolved.


According to Ombudsman member Ahmad Suaedy, halal product guarantor agencies (LPH) have not been established evenly throughout the nation, and the new price for halal certification had yet to be decided.


“They also need to set standards and procedures for the recruitments of LPH auditors and supervisors,” he said recently at a press conference at the Ombudsman office in Jakarta.


Ahmad added that a temporary solution would be for the BPJPH to rely on the Indonesian Ulema Council Food and Drug Analysis Agency (LPPOM MUI) as the LPH starting on Oct. 17.


“The MUI has approved the arrangement that local LPPOM MUI offices will serve as the LPH,” said Religious Affairs Ministry senior staff member Janedjri M. Gaffar, adding that the local offices would be effective in reaching local businesses.


However, he added that local governments, universities and Islamic centers could also function as LPH, as long as the auditors underwent training and competency exams, which would be held by the MUI.


Janedjri added that, even though the due date was near, the law would be implemented gradually to first be required for food and beverage products, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics and later for services, such as slaughterhouses.


He went on to say that businesses whose halal certifications were valid until 2020 did not need to renew their certificates.


The fee for halal certification under the new law, Janedjri said, was still being discussed with the Finance Ministry and would be announced early next month.


While certification was under the MUI’s authority, the agency charged Rp 4 million (US$287) to Rp 5 million for a halal certificate.


“We will ensure that the new tariff will not be a burden to small and medium enterprises,” he said, adding that the law stipulated “giving facilities” to MSMEs, such as providing them with government-appointed halal product supervisors.


According to Janedjri, the new halal certification registration requires business owners to file a request with the BPJPH, which will then appoint a delegation from the LPH to do the halal assessment. The result will be sent to the MUI, where a halal “fatwa” trial will be held to grant or deny products or services halal status. Lastly, the BPJPH would issue the certificate based on the MUI’s decisions.


He argued that the MUI would be “very involved” in the halal certification process, as it had the authority to declare products and services halal.


Despite the highlighted issues, BPJPH head Sukoso remained confident that the agency will be able to handle the task of issuing halal certifications.


“We remain confident that on 17 Oct. everything will proceed smoothly, it is the mandate given to use after all,” Sukoso said on Tuesday.


Sukoso added that the certification would be implemented in phases and that the agency had to take advantage of existing infrastructure with regard to the LPH, such as the LPPOM MUI, which had been issuing certificates for a long time.


Recently, 31 regional LPPOM MUI offices requested a judicial review with the Constitutional Court regarding the law, which shifts authority for managing halal certification from the MUI to the BPJPH, citing concerns regarding the new agency’s capability to issue halal certificates.


According to the law, the LPH is tasked with auditing products to be certified as halal. Each LPH should have a minimum of three auditors certified by the MUI. Meanwhile, the MUI’s LPPOM has 1,601 certified halal auditors in offices across the country’s 34 provinces.


The MUI expressed doubt about the BPJPH’s ability to perform do the task as efficiently as the MUI, which had “30 years of experience” in halal certification. (eyc/tru)

Delegation from Saudi Arabia to participate at Sarajevo Halal Fair

The Islamic Development Bank, one of the largest multilateral financial institutions in the world, has established the THIQAH Business Forum with the aim of establishing a unique and innovative platform that will enable businessmen to connect and create new business opportunities. The THIQAH Business Forum is the main window of the IsDB Group that makes easier the contact and coordination between IsDB parts and private companies and related institutions in the IsDB Group member countries. The main focus is to maximize cross-border investment among IsDB Group Member States, which will be supported by IsDB financial products and services.

THIQAH and Bosna Bank International have previously signed a co-operation agreement that includes co-organizing the Sarajevo Business Forum and Sarajevo Halal Fair events. Saudi businessmen are interested in cooperation in the field of halal-tourism and halal-food, and through the BBI VIP Business Club which operates within Bosna Bank International (BBI), business B2B meetings will be organized during the fair aiming to connect businessmen from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the region and Saudi Arabia.


The members of the IsDB THIQAH Business Forum are respected businessmen from the list of the richest people in the Arab world, and are some of the most eminent business subjects in the world, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, European Bank, World Trade Organization and many other. Participation in the SHF in 2019 has been confirmed and announced by participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, France, Lithuania and many others.


SHF 2019 will be held at the hall of Skenderija center in Sarajevo from September 26-28, 2019, and the organizers of the Fair are Bosna Bank International, Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) and IsDB Group Business Forum THIQAH, with the support of the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Agency for Halal Quality Certification in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Association of Halal Industry which operates within the Chamber of Commerce of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This year’s event is held under the sponsorship of Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Member, Sefik Dzaferovic.

Islamophobia on the rise in Europe, discussion at EU Parliament concludes

The EU Parliament held an event on Tuesday to discuss Islamophobia.


Tomasso Chiamparino, the EU Commission Coordinator On Combating Anti-Muslim Hatred, said hatred and discrimination had become commonplace in the discourse of some politicians and that this could not be ignored.


Chiamparino said that despite discrimination against people with headscarves or beards, combating Islamophobia was not a priority in many countries.


Underlining that the voice of victims of Islamophobia was not being heard, he added that if countries failed on this issue, the EU project would be unsuccessful.


EU Parliament lawmaker Magid Magid, said the far-right started to gather supporters across Europe, and that these people not only threatened human rights but also security.


“Let’s not give one more inch to Islamophobia. Let’s push back against hijab bans and halal bans,” Magid said.


Speaking to Anadolu Agency after the event, former lawmaker of the Brussels Capital Region Parliament Mahinur Özdemir said Islamophobia seriously affects Muslim women.


Özdemir said women became subjects of Islamophobia at a rate of 76% in Belgium and 84% in France.


“Hate speech has started to turn into attacks,” she stressed.


In order to prevent this, parliaments have to take measures as they did against Anti-Semitism and racism, Özdemir added, saying: “If you cannot name something, you cannot take measures against it.”

Malaysia, Turkey to boost bilateral trade to US$5b over next five years

Malaysia and Turkey are working on widening the trade relationship in areas such as defence, technology, food and services, as well as electronics, with the aim of boosting bilateral trade to US$5 billion (RM20.8 billion)  in the next five years from the current US$2.38 billion.


Turkish Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Merve Kavakci said his country was looking forward to the next meeting between Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month.


“We are also hoping for a return visit by president Erdogan to Malaysia to seal some deals and the defence sector is not the only area of collaboration we are looking at.


“Turkey and Malaysia can look forward to working together in the area of technological development to provide employment opportunities for the people of both countries, as well as food and services and electronics,” she told reporters during the “Trade Talk session with Republic of Turkey”, organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute here today.


Kavakci said both countries can join hands to see each other as a hub for their different regions, with Turkey being a gateway for the continents of Asia and Europe, as well as Africa.


Malaysia, she noted, would be Turkey’s gateway to the east, Far East and the other Asean countries, which are home to 650 million people.


“We want to enter the Asean market for example, via collaborations in the automotive, electronics, food and finance sectors. We find that Malaysia is the hub for halal food production and Islamic finance and look forward to learning from it,” she said.


Asked if the collaboration would involve Malaysia purchasing new Turkish-made jets, she said: “We are looking at incentives or a win-win situation from technological products to the transfer of technology and jobs creation.”


Turkey also plans to look into barter trade with Malaysia to help reduce its palm oil inventory and also through the purchase of other commodities.


Meanwhile, themed, “Strengthening Trade Partnership and Investment Opportunities”, the half-day trade talk was a dialogue series intended to engage and promote bilateral trade and the investment relationship between Malaysia and other trading nations.


It was attended by entrepreneurs, strategic thinkers, corporate chief executive officers , ambassadors and emerging young leaders.

Halal certification centers in Ukraine

Орган сертификации Халяль – ответственное лицо, которое производит проверку производства, желающих пройти сертификацию Халяль. По завершении проверки, Орган сертификации формирует заключение о соответствии/не соответствии производства или же продукции необходимым требованиям. В случае положительности заключения, выдается сертификат о соответствии производства/продукции нормам Халяль.

Уже несколько лет в Украине успешно существуют и работают несколько Органов сертификации Халяль, что положительно отражается на экономике страны. После событий в 2014 году, у производителей появилась потребность открывать новые границы торговли, заманчивыми и экономически выгодными выглядели Восток и страны Персидского залива. Географически удобное расположение и спрос на товар не могли не привлекать внимание производителей. Но не все так просто. Поскольку данные страны являются исповедующими Ислам, у них есть свои, определенные правила, которые необходимо соблюдать, чтобы попасть на внутренний рынок. Первое и самое важное – наличие сертификата Халяль, выданного аккредитованным Органом сертификации Халяль.

Миссия Ассоциации состоит в том, чтобы предостеречь производителей от недобросовестных и нелегитимных Органов сертификации Халяль в Украине.

К сожалению в настоящее время, встречаются случаи фальсификации сертификатов, что чревато финансовыми убытками, а также нанесением ущерба репутации компании.

На данный момент в Украине существует 3 крупных Органа сертификации Халяль:

  • Центр Исследований и Сертификации Халяль «Альраид»;
  • Центр Сертификации «Halal Global Ukraine»;
  • Центр сертификации «Халяль»

При возникновении вопросов и необходимости сертификации, настоятельно рекомендуем обращаться именно к вышеперечисленным организациям.

Implementing a Traffic Light System to the Halal Logo to ensure a Healthy Diet

Under a traffic light system, the halal logo would have different colours: red, orange, or green. The colour would indicate if a product is a key building block of a healthy diet (green); a product with low levels of salt, sugar and/or fat (orange); or a product with high levels of salt, sugar, and/or fat (red).


According to extensive research, the key building blocks of a healthy diet, or those things worthy of a ‘green’ certification, would include such products as plain oats, vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, fish, white meats, healthy oils, water, tea, coffee, plant-based milk and yoghurts, sugar replacers, and very dark chocolates (beyond 70% cocoa).


Foods with high levels of salt, sugar and fat, on the other hand, would earn ‘red’ certification, as these ingredients have been related to many of today’s most serious diseases. Integrating nutrient profiling into the halal logo has a number of advantages.


First of all, it makes it easier for the consumer to choose healthy food while shopping. Hence, the logo system could become an effective instrument in fighting the epidemic in obesity, diabetes and associated diseases.


Secondly, government interventions, such as the introduction of sugar drink taxes or the banning of junk food advertising, can be more effectively implemented in Muslim countries which have a clear identification of nutritionally deficient products.


Third, integrating nutrient profiling into the halal logo would motivate the food industry to innovate and offer healthier products.


Next to the clear advantages, however, there are also some disadvantages to integrating nutrient profiling into the halal logo.


First, next to the possible costs of changing packaging, the fast food industry (which has a strong lobby) does not like their products being publicly branded as unhealthy, especially in the fast-growing Muslim market. Much opposition from the fast food industry can thus be expected.


A second disadvantage is that when a country introduces this new measure, it could be regarded as a non-tariff trade barrier by exporting countries, possibly affecting trade negotiations.


Despite such disadvantages, however, the principles from the holy Quran and the Hadith, as well current medical dietary knowledge, suggest that incorporating nutrient profiling into the halal logo will eventually bring about health benefits and reduce healthcare costs. It will result in a more sustainable food system founded upon the actual sense of halal and tayyib.

McDonald’s faces boycott threats in India for serving halal meat

New Delhi, India – McDonald’s has faced boycott calls in India from right-wing Hindus after the global fast-food chain said its outlets served halal meat.


The controversy erupted after McDonald’s India said on Twitter that all its restaurants are halal certified.


“All our restaurants have HALAL certificates. You can ask the respective restaurant Managers to show you the certificate for your satisfaction and confirmation,” the fast-food company said in a reply to a user’s inquiry.


However, the reply angered many people on Twitter, who called for a boycott of the US chain, with the hashtag #BoycottMcDonalds trending in India.


Many questioned why McDonald’s was serving halal meat in India where 80 percent of the 1.3 billion people are Hindus. The McDonald’s menu in India has no beef or pork products, serving instead a range of vegetarian options as well as chicken and fish.


The Arabic word “halal” means permissible and, in relation to food, refers to meat and meat-containing products that are prepared on the basis of Islamic law. Halal certification indicates that animals were slaughtered according to the Muslim tradition.


A user wrote: “This is a blatant and intentional assault on Hindu beliefs. India is 80% Hindu, and there 4% Jain, Sikhs & Buddhists in addition to it. But, McDonald’s had betrayed all these 84% people just to appease the 14% Muslims.


“It’s time people of all Indian Religions #BoycottMcDonalds,” he added.


Many Twitter users branded McDonald’s insensitive for not using the “jhatka” method, another form of slaughter in which the animal’s head is severed in a single blow.


Others alluded to the hypocrisy of some people who earlier this month had called on Muslims not to slaughter sacrificial animals on Eid al-Adha and to celebrate an “eco-friendly” Eid.


Some activists said this was yet another instance of right-wing Hindu groups finding an opportunity to attack Muslims.


“It is an absolutely Islamophobic atmosphere which is existing in India now and each and every occasion is used by right-wing Hindus to attack Muslims,” Shabnam Hashmi, an activist based in New Delhi, told Al Jazeera.


“It’s the extreme right asserting themselves to convert India into a Hindu nation.”


Vishnu Gupta, national president of Hindu Sena – a right-wing group – said that McDonald’s was ignoring the sensitivities of Hindus.


“McDonald’s can’t force halal meat upon a vast section of Hindus who eat jhatka,” he said.


“Their sensitivities can’t be ignored. If McDonald’s can keep in consideration the sensitivities of a particular group, why is it ignoring the others?” he told Al Jazeera.

Gupta warned: “If Mcdonald’s doesn’t change its policy, and start serving both halal and jhatka in its outlets across India, soon our men will protest against the food chain on streets.”


But not everyone was bothered by the halal menu.


“As a non-Muslim, I do not care where my chicken is coming from. I am more concerned about the processing it goes through, the packaging, the amount of nutrition and carcinogens it contains,” said Sushmita, a researcher based in New Delhi, who only gave one name.


“This everyday pitting of one community against another, in matters that were private earlier, or didn’t concern a larger public, is a slow and steady way to try to instil hatred in the very fabric of the society and keep a community always on the edge, so that they feel less and less safe,” she told Al Jazeera.


Nishita Sood from Delhi told Al Jazeera that this campaign is nothing but a form of prejudice and bigotry against Muslims.


“The entire nation is suffering from it. They are just making an issue out of a non-issue because of their hatred,” she said.

Online boycott campaigns

McDonald’s is not the first company that has faced the ire of right-wing Hindu groups in India for serving halal meat.


Last month, IndiGo, a low-cost airline, faced an online campaign calling for its boycott for serving halal meat on its flights.


A 40-year-old man’s refusal to receive food delivered by a Muslim driver from Zomato earlier this month stirred public debate on rising Islamophobia in India – home to nearly 170 million Muslims.


The food delivery company responded by saying that “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion.”

Islamic Finance UAE’s Emaar Properties hires banks for possible 10-year dollar sukuk

UAE’s Emaar Properties has hired banks to arrange investor meetings for a possible 10-year U.S. dollar sukuk, it said in an exchange filing on Tuesday.


Standard Chartered Bank will coordinate the deal.


Dubai Islamic Bank will serve as Shariah advisor, and Deutsche Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Mashreq Bank and Sharjah Islamic Bank will be joint lead managers and bookrunners.

The investor meetings will be held in Singapore, Hong Kong and London starting September 6.


Emaar is 29.22 per cent owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai.