I ATTENDED the 11th World Halal Conference in Kuala Lumpur last week for the first time. It is organised by the Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC) and hosted by the Economic Affairs Ministry.
The event was attended by dignitaries, ministers, ambassadors, chief executive officers, directors and celebrities from across the world.
The fact that non-Muslims are involved in the multi-trillion-dollar market shows that halal issues are being demystified and means that people realise that halal is not exclusively for Muslims.
I believe more needs to be done to create awareness.
HDC vice-president Hanisofian Alias says we have a responsibility to tell the world not only what the halal logo symbolises, but also about the value it brings.
Perhaps emphasising that halalan toyyiban is about being accountable to the community and relating it to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals will make it more attractive to non-Muslims.
Beyond the halal market, halal is also not only about the logo.
“Halal” means permissible or allowed in Islam, and applies not only to food and food products, but also healthcare, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, financial services, travel and tourism.
It symbolises a holistic way of creating value for the universe: value for life, property, family, religion and the environment.
Enforcing halal compliance in totality is, therefore, a great trust that should be upheld without fear or favour.
It is an assurance of safety, quality, cleanliness, modesty, ethical consideration and care for the environment.
This understanding would not only forestall halal crises, but also ensure consumers’ confidence in the integrity of services and products that are certified halal, Muslim-friendly or syariah-compliant.
The world is witnessing a fast-expanding global Islamic economy and a fast-growing young Muslim demographic.
Halal has evolved from being a product-based approach to a halal supply and value chain.
The halal industry is experiencing expansions.
More halal industries are backed by their governments, and Malaysia will continue to play a leading role in the halal industry development agenda.
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department and HDC will continue to facilitate and coordinate the industry’s progress through collaboration, stewardship, certification and training.
DR IDRIS ADEWALE AHMED
Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur