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| kasehdia.com | www.halaljournal.com | NOV+DEC 2007

HALAL BRAZIL?

WORLD’S LARGEST MEAT EXPORTER EYES MUSLIM MARKET

THE HAIRY TRUTH ABOUT L-CYSTEINE What’s in your bread? SINGAPORE AS AN ISLAMIC FINANCE HUB? THE POWER OF GOOD INTENTIONS Save wildlife, build your business WHY MUSLIMS LAG IN AGRICULTURE?

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LIVING: WHY MUST WE WASTE IN RAMADHAN? A MONGOLIAN JOURNEY TINSELTOWN IN LONDON BOOK REVIEW: LOSING MY VIRGINITY ON-LINE MUSLIM SHOP

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World Halal Forum 2008 T HE P REM I ER GLOB A L HA L A L I N DUS TRY E VENT

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N O V + D E C 20 0 7

contents 16} BUSINESS IN BANGKOK

Developing the Halal sector in Southern Thailand

28}

BRAZIL’S FUTURE CASH COW

Brazilian beef is capturing the most demanding markets, including Halal

32} MUSLIMS IN BRAZIL

Islamic influence on the rise

34} THE POWER OF GOOD INTENTIONS

How saving the wildlife can help your business

36} WHY MUSLIMS LAG IN AGRICULTURE

A case study on Indonesia and Malaysia

40} L-CYSTEINE: A REALLY HAIRY ISSUE The truth about your loaf of bread

44} VISIBILITY OF HALAL SUPPLY CHAIN

A critical success factor to ensure integrity

48} FASTRACK AUSTRALASIA

Meeting spiritual needs at Australian universities

50} FASTRACK ASIA

Halal certification in Thailand and Japan

54} FASTRACK ASIA ART BY J.WARHOL

Muslims at leisure

58} FASTRACK EUROPE

A new weapon in fight against Listeria

66} FINANCE

Singapore wants to be Islamic finance hub – Part 2

©2007 KasehDia Sdn. Bhd. All Rights Reserved

DISCLAIMER : While all care is taken, the publisher accepts no responsibility for the information contained herein which is believed to be reliable. The publisher/editor takes no responsibility for opinions expressed or implied as they are the writers’ own and do not necessarily reflect that of the publisher or editor who make no warranties governing material, including advertising or features contained within this publication. This publication may not in whole or part, be copied, reproduced or translated without prior written permission of the publisher.

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Ed’s Note INTERESTING STORIES TO END THE YEAR

“So, if any damage is being caused, it is because somebody is paying for that damage. It’s a constant struggle. To me, the smartest thing to do is to buy products that are certified as not bringing more damage to nature. “ Roberto F. Coelho

Regulars 08} QUIETLY SPOKEN Journey of a Lifetime 08} GLOBAL NEWS A brief insight into events currently shaping the Halal industry around the globe + Calendar of Events + Online Polls 60} COUNTRY IN FOCUS Australia’s Strength in Diversity

Hope it’s not too late for us to wish Eid Mubarak to all our readers. In this issue, we turn our focus on the world’s largest beef exporter – Brazil. Not just on how they managed to pick up the pieces and rebuild the entire industry post FMD in 1998, but also how tenacious and enterprising their farmers are in profiting from agriculture. Speaking of profits, the Brazilians have also realised that the next most lucrative market is the Muslim market. Although a dominantly-Catholic country, their high level of openness and religious tolerance have enabled Brazilian exporters to adapt faster to changing Halal demands. Helping them better understand Halal are the various Islamic organisations in Brazil, with their influence more widespread than one would imagine. From Middle East to Malaysia, the article on Muslims in Brazil will change your perception about Islam in Latin America. There is another issue that was quite intriguing – that despite the adverse environmental reports on the Amazon rainforest, the Brazilians generally appear to really appreciate and care for their nature. A good example is the Q&A with a local farmer who fights to save jaguars in his farm. We also have another shocking surprise for all you bread lovers. They might just contain something you wouldn’t have imagined in breads. Our resident logistic expert also as usual shares some insights into the aspects of the Halal supply chain. International updates in the Fastrack section, Singapore’s bid to become the region’s Halal finance hub in Islamic finance section and an interesting compilation of articles in the Living section completes this end-of-year issue. For those of you going on Hajj in December, may Allah swt accepts your ibadah and for the rest of us, hope He brings more barakah in our lives for 2008.

the Halal Journal team

Living 69} FEATURE COVER A real crime: Ramadan wastage 72} JOURNEY The true Mongolian beauty 74} BROWSING Tinseltown in London, Outlandish in Music and Islam in New Zealand

:: T H E H E A R T O F TH E H A L A L J O U R N A L :: Halal refers to that which the Creator has made lawful. Its opposite, Haram, refers to what is forbidden. These parameters has been designed for health, safety and benefit of all mankind regardless of age, faith or culture.

78} SNAPSHOTS Images of recent happenings in the industry

The realm of the Halal extends beyond the obvious references to food and touches all matters that relate to human life. In the commercial arena, all goods and services, markets, transactions, currencies and other activities come under the judgments of Halal and Haram. These parameters include protecting the environment, humane treatment for animals, ethical investment, the intrinsic value of currencies and fairness in all commercial transactions.

80} PARTING WORDS Pratini de Moraes

We believe that the emerging global Halal market will be one of the great market forces in the coming decades.

76} ON DISPLAY Halal and good stuff found on the shelf

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“We should support representatives of all religious and ethnic groups. It means non-believers too will be able to buy wonderful fresh and tasty products. The more people learn about the traditions of others, the less they will be fearful.”

Journey of a Lifetime As over two million Muslims prepare for the rigorous journey of Hajj this December, it is worthwhile that we reflect on our past deeds and our promise to Allah SWT before we were born – to be khalifahs or guardians of this earth. That promise not only covers protecting Islam and the general Muslim ummah, but also everything that is contained in this whole entire universe, starting with your own backyard. How many of us can actually say we have successfully done that in this lifetime? Sadly, it is the non Muslims who seemed to be taking the initiative to care and protect their environment. Examples are too plentiful to be ignored, too painful to be rationalised. Questions on where the Muslims are in preserving nature are often met with shrugged shoulders. The painful truth is; we have slowly detached ourselves from the whole cycle of life. We do as we please and act as if it’s Allah SWT who owes us a home to live in. When will the Muslims finally realise that it’s their innate obligation to care for this short and temporary world? In the spirit of hajj and hijra, let us all be led by the examples of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Let us strive to abandon all mazmumah traits and nurture more mahmudah attributes. Nobody said it’s going to be easy, so let’s always remind each other of our sole purpose in life and man’s ultimate end. At least we’ve finally started living the real journeys of our lifetime.

COMPILED BY RAJA AHMAD SHAZWAN ISKANDAR

Igor Yeleferenko, head of Moscow city council’s religious and ethnic affairs committee

Mark Piet

Quietly Spoken

GlobalNEWS

RUSSIA

MOSCOW OFFICIALS WANT HALAL SHOPS IN ALL DISTRICTS

Moscow city council members plan to support the opening of a chain of Halal stores selling food products prepared in accordance with Muslim tradition, a councillor said yesterday. The head of the council’s religious and ethnic affairs committee, Igor Yeleferenko, said the committee had been approached for help by the Russian Council of Muftis. He said the appearance of Halal shops would also help foster tolerance. “We should support representatives of all religious and ethnic groups. It means non-believers too will be able to buy wonderful fresh and tasty products,” Yeleferenko said. While details are still being worked out, the idea is that every district of Russia’s capital should eventually have at least one Halal shop, he said. Planning assistance might be needed from the city council because such shops are unlikely to have the bargaining power of larger supermarket chains, he said. Yeleferenko said the shops would provide greater opportunities for non-Muslims to learn about Muslim culture, as they would be located outside the confines of mosque complexes. “The more people learn about the traditions of others the less they will be fearful,” he said. Members of Muslim minorities in Moscow have been subject to racist attacks, the victims often being from southern Russia or neighbouring central Asian and Caucasus states. Almost 10 per cent of Russia’s population are thought to be Muslims, although Yeleferenko was unable to provide a statistic for Moscow itself. | SOURCE: WWW.THEPENINSULAQATAR.COM 13/09/07

AUSTRALIA

ABU DHABI’S AUSTRALIAN RED MEAT IMPORTS SET NEW RECORD

hj

This year, Australian lamb exports to Abu Dhabi demonstrated a massive 91 per cent increase compared with 2006. The total volumes of Australian lamb imports to the UAE for the same period nearly doubled from 7,351 tons to 13,335 tons, according to official figures released by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). Year on year, Australian frozen lamb meat imports to Abu Dhabi increased by 52 per cent to 2,050 tons while chilled imports increased by a whopping 255 per cent to 1,138 tons in the same period. Australian mutton imports into Abu Dhabi also saw a significant 71 per cent growth with the UAE capital importing 1,150 tons this year as compared to 671 tons in 2006. The Middle East is the world’s largest importer of Australian mutton with 52,175 tons shipped across the region in the 2006-2007 fiscal year, three times the volume shipped to the US market. The UAE imports 20 per cent of the Middle East’s total Australian mutton imports. | SOURCE: WWW.AMEINFO.COM 28/08/07

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AUSTRALIA

PLAN TO PUSH FOR HALAL STANDARD REJECTED

The Australian federal government has rejected a parliamentary committee’s call for the creation of an international Halal meat standard. Since 1983, the federal government has been running the Australian Government Muslim Slaughter (AGMS) Program, a Halal livestock slaughter scheme. Muslims require all meat to be slaughtered according to Halal, or permissible, rules which vary from country to country. The foreign affairs sub-committee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade recommended the AGMS be used as a benchmark for the promotion of an international Halal standard suiting all countries. “The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (should) promote in international for the adoption of a transparent and efficient Halal standard,” the sub-committee wrote. But the government did not address the recommendation, instead using its response to defend the AGMS. “The AGMS is an international Halal standard accepted by the majority of Australia’s Halal export markets,” the government wrote. It also rejected the second recommendation that the department create a single Halal certifying body for Australia. “The government and red meat industry does not support this recommendation. It is important that industry has a choice of approved Islamic organisations to facilitate the Halal certification. The development of a single Halal certifying body....risks creating a potentially unfair and uncompetitive monopoly situation.” | SOURCE: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/10/2007

UK

ASDA GOES HALAL FOR RAMADAN

Ummah Foods, which was established in 2004, will be supplying up to 30 of the supermarket group’s stores in the city with its caramel and orange chocolate bars during the month of fasting. Noor Ali, ethnic buyer for Asda, said: “We recognise the importance of catering to the tastes of all communities and stocking Halal lines will show our Muslim customers that we have a serious Halal offering, and what better time to do that than the holy month of Ramadan.” The UK Halal food market is valued at around £2bn and is one of the key growth areas for supermarkets in the UK. | SOURCE: WWW.TALKINGRETAIL.COM 18/09/07

USA

MARKETING TO MUSLIMS: FOOD, FASHION AND FAITH

A new study by an American advertising agency, JWT, pointed out several interesting facts about the 6 million or so Muslims living in America. The study found that they are, on average, richer and better educated than the general population and two-thirds of Muslim households make more than US$50,000 a year and a quarter earn over US$100,000; the national average is US$42,000. It also revealed that two-thirds of American Muslims have a college degree compared with less than half of the general population. Muslim families also tend to have more children. According to JWT, food, finance and packaged goods are the three consumer markets most affected by Islamic law. In America, an estimated 16% of sales in the US$100 billion kosher industry come from Muslims who lack adequate Halal options. So the perception that marketing specifically to Muslims is not worthwhile would appear to be wrong. | SOURCE: ECONOMIST.COM 03/08/07

“The purpose of this pilot trial is to see if it is feasible to have Halal products in McDonald’s restaurants. The product cannot have come into contact with non-Halal products so there are logistical issues. There is a real need for separation right along the supply chain. We hope to see if it is possible to do.” McDonald’s spokeswoman UK

BIG MAC TO GO HALAL?

A McDonald’s in Greater Manchester could start offering Halal burgers and chicken if trials are a success. Its restaurants in areas where there is a significant Muslim population could go Halal if a month long experiment at its branch in Southall, West London, proves the switch worthwhile. The pilot has been welcomed by those among the Islamic faith but has received a mixed response from other sections of society. Bosses at the fast food chain are now reviewing the results of the month long trial to see whether it is economically viable to roll out the scheme to other restaurants. “The purpose of this pilot trial is to see if it is feasible to have Halal products in McDonald’s restaurants,” said a spokeswoman. “The product cannot have come into contact with non-Halal products so there are logistical issues. There is a real need for separation right along the supply chain. We hope to see if it is possible to do,” she added. All chicken products at the Southall branch on offer to customers during the trial were Halal. These included chicken nuggets, chicken selects, chicken McPremiere, McChicken sandwich and chicken snack wrap. Muslims have been calling for McDonald’s in the UK to offer Halal food for years. It is the most frequently question posted on the McDonalds website. “We are always looking to see how as a business we can meet the demands of our customers. Some of our customers are very pleased with it while others have concerns and don’t want to eat Halal.” McDonald’s offers Halal food in many of its restaurants around the world including at two restaurants in Melbourne, Australia. Sales were significantly boosted but late last year the move sparked outrage among some non-Muslim customers who complained they were not told their food was Halal and that their hamburger meat was slaughtered and blessed in accordance with Islamic rules laid down in the Qur’an. | SOURCE: WWW.THEASIANNEWS.CO.UK, 04/09/07

WHAT IS MUSHBOOH? : Halal is clear and Haram is clear; in between these two are certain things that are suspected or ‘Mushbooh’’ . Mushbooh (suspected) item could come from a Haram source, which must be avoided by Muslims. | The Halal Journal InfoEdu THE HALAL JOURNAL

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GlobalNEWS UAE

MASSIVE GROWTH IN HALAL EXPECTED FOR THE UAE

The growing Halal industry, worth an estimated US$ 2.1 trillion, brings renewed focus on the UAE as a financial and trade hub, says IIR Middle East, organisers of the forthcoming Halal World Expo. There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims demanding Halal-ensured products; it is understandable therefore that annual growth for the Halal food market stands at US$500 billion. The UAE imports 80 per cent of the Halal food it consumes from countries such as Brazil and Australia, the latter exporting 43,071 tones of mutton, 17,685 tones of lamb and 3,312 tones of beef to the Middle East in 2006. “Importing, production and exporting of Halal products are a growing industry, especially for companies working in or with the UAE,” said Christine Weaver, exhibitions manager for Halal World Expo. The production and subsequent exporting of Halal products is a major boom to the UAE. Tawfik Mathlouthi, the inventor of Mecca Cola has brought his popular product to the Middle East after shifting more than 2.2 million bottles in Europe in just two months. Having signed a deal with Mojarrad General Trading (MGT), an Emirati company, Matholuthi built a production plant in Dubai and secured distribution rights across the Middle East. Mecca Middle East Co. with capital of US$ 4 million, will be exhibiting at the Halal World Expo along with other major global companies, such as Nestle ME and Tahira Foods. Halal World Expo, which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 9-11 December 2007, illustrates how the Gulf is increasingly being considered the local hub of Halal food development and logistics. According to figures from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the UAE is the second largest Arab economy after Saudi Arabia. | SOURCE: AL-BAWABA, 9/10/2007

“Jakim and a few government departments have been monitoring the use of chicken feed, especially those imported from Europe. So far, we found that breeders had conformed to the regulations set by the authorities. The chicken feed is free from pig enzyme and there is nothing for Muslims to worry.” Veterinary Services Department, Islamic Development Department (Jakim)

TURKEY

TURKEY MISSES OUT ON TRILLION DOLLAR HALAL MARKET

Turkish exporters are lamenting that concerns over ideological implications of introducing Halal food standards result in Turkey’s missing out on the market, the potential customers of which number 1.6 billion worldwide. Introducing a Halal standard in 2004, Malaysia has managed to secure a hefty market share. Seeing the potential, even nonMuslim countries such as Vietnam and Philippines have started to take important steps to produce foodstuffs in conformity with the standard. The Turkish Standards Institute (TSE) began work on introducing Halal standards two years ago, but with political factors hampering efforts, work has not been concluded as of yet. Thus Turkey currently lacks both a standard and certificate-issuing agencies. Companies exporting foodstuffs have been hit hardest by the delay. The lack of such certificates has caused a perception of Turkish products as inferior and even not Halal for consumption in the eyes of Muslim consumers. Losing their competitiveness because of their failure to sell products having Halal certificates, some companies have applied to accreditation agencies in foreign countries to obtain these certificates. | SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN, 26/9/2007

MALAYSIA

COMMITTEE TO ENSURE CHICKEN FEED IS HALAL

A committee has been formed to ensure that the chicken feed used by commercial farms in the country is free from pig enzyme. The committee comprises senior officers from the Veterinary Services Department, Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and Universiti Putra Malaysia. A source said the committee was formed following complaints from several Muslim associations that most of the chicken feed imported from countries such as the United States, Brazil and China contained pig enzyme. “The Veterinary Services Department has agreed to assist Jakim by collecting samples of the chicken feed. We will use the facilities at UPM to determine the status of the products.” The source said samples would be collected from the farms as soon as possible. Meanwhile, a Jakim official said there was no truth in the claims that chicken feed used by breeders contained pig enzyme. He said samples collected from farms so far showed that the enzyme was Halal. “Jakim and a few government departments have been monitoring the use of chicken feed, especially those imported from Europe. So far, we found that breeders had conformed to the regulations set by the authorities. The chicken feed is free from pig enzyme and there is nothing for Muslims to worry.” The official, however, said the committee was formed so that an official statement on the status of the chicken feed could be issued by Jakim to ease the worries of Muslim consumers. He said the samples would also be sent to the Chemistry Department and the Halal Research Institute for analysis. The results were expected to be known in the next few months. | SOURCE: NEW STRAITS TIMES, 10/10/2007 10 THE HALAL JOURNAL

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OnlinePOLL

DOES YOUR ORGANISATION USE ISLAMIC BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES?

DO YOU AGREE THAT THERE SHOULD BE ONE INTERNATIONAL HALAL STANDARD LOGO?

Yes 15 votes. (23.44 %)

Disagree 118 votes. (48.76 %)

Agree 113 votes. (46.69 %)

SOURCE: WWW.HALALJOURNAL.COM

THE HALAL JOURNAL

No 49 votes. (76.56 %) Neutral 11 votes. (4.55 %)

“You can just about squeeze clothing into the broad concept of the Halal market, in that clothing is an offering to the same consumer base as Halal consumers - the same people who eat Halal food and use Islamic financial services.” Abdalhamid Evans, senior analyst at Imarat Consultants

MALAYSIA

WORLD’S FIRST HALAL VACCINE FOR MENINGITIS TO BE PRODUCED

In an ever-influential global pop culture that idolises the shortest of skirts and catwalks where flesh can overshadow fabric, Muslims from Sydney to Saudi Arabia who love fashion are taking matters into their own hands. Specialty fashion houses and companies starting distinct ranges intended for fashionconscious women who observe hijab, which means either covering one’s head or, more broadly, dressing modestly, is part of a much wider trend. Filling a market gap for products that either comply with Shariah law or that are simply more attractive to Muslim values is a niche that is attracting increasing numbers of manufacturers and retailers. Toys like the Fulla doll, a modest Barbie of sorts, and comic books with Islamic superheroes like “The 99” are as much a part of this sector as the traditional domains of Islamic finance and Halal, or permissible, food. “The hunt for the Islamic dollar at the retail end of the value chain is now starting to heat up. But it has a very long way to go until it is anywhere close to being fully realised,” says Abdalhamid Evans, senior analyst at Imarat Consultants, a Malaysian marketing company that specialises in the global Halal sector. “You can just about squeeze clothing into the broad concept of the Halal market, in that clothing is an offering to the same consumer base as Halal consumers - the same people who eat Halal food and use Islamic financial services.” Kamarul Aznam, the Malaysian-based managing editor of the bimonthly Halal Journal, tracks everything from Halal fashion to pharmaceuticals around the world and knows well the inherent difficulties in trying to quantify this market. “There is no such thing as an official statistic or trade data for the global Muslim fashion industry but there are guesstimates, which we use regularly,” he says. Assuming that 50 per cent of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims dress modestly and that, conservatively, they spend US$120 a year on such clothing, Aznam estimates that the global market is worth at least US$96 billion a year.

Malaysia is to produce world’s first Halal vaccine for meningitis, or inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. The vaccine, which will particularly benefit thousands of Haj pilgrims, will be produced by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) within two years. Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said USM would work with the Finlay Institute in Cuba to produce the vaccine. He said Malaysia and Cuba would share the cost for the RM3.6 million project, with the ministry providing RM2 million and Cuba footing the balance RM1.6 million. A memorandum of understanding between USM and Finlay Institute would be signed in Cuba in December. Mustapa said 12 medical specialists from USM and 30 experts from the institute would work together to produce the vaccine from Halal extracts of animals slaughtered according to Islamic tenets. Currently, the vaccine for meningitis was imported from western countries which produced it from pig extracts. Mustapa said that currently Muslims worldwide relied on non-Halal vaccine from western countries to meet the mandatory requirement set by the Saudi government for pilgrims performing the Haj and umrah in Mecca.

|SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, 18/9/2007

| SOURCE: BERNAMA, 10/10/2007

FRANCE

MUSLIM FASHION DESIGNERS MOVING BEYOND THE TRADITIONAL

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GlobalNEWS “The idea of bringing the Halal food is that we’ve got to open our eyes and see what’s going on and question what we’re eating and why we’re eating it... When you eat right, you grow spiritually.”

NEW ZEALAND

DEMAND AT WORK IN NZ

A shortage of prime cattle in New Zealand has forced local trade prices up to NZ$3.70/ kg (£1.32) dw in the North Island and NZ$3.50/kg (£1.25) in the South Island. The weekly North Island steer and heifer kill has fallen well below the average level of the past five years. However, it is mid-winter and prime cattle are always in short supply at this time. In recent weeks, North Island export plants have killed fewer than 10,000 head of cattle (bulls, cows, steers and heifers) a week, versus the past pattern of around 15,000/week at this time of year. Wilson Hellaby’s managing director Fred Hellaby said the local market buying price around Auckland was NZ$3.25/kg through until early July. “That rise of 30-40c since has happened quickly and will flow on to retail beef prices,” he said. Exporters appeared to be struggling to compete with local market operators. North Asian markets are mixed, with generally low demand. The re-entry of US beef has provided alternatives to Australian and NZ supplies. However, NZ beef is poised to re-enter Malaysia, after a ban imposed in 2005 over concerns about the methods of Halal killing. | SOURCE: WWW.FARMERSGUARDIAN.COM

Rasim Kut, president of the Islamic Center of Naples, Florida USA

HALAL, ORGANIC FOODS AVAILABLE AT NEW MARKET

A new business in Naples, Florida hopes to address the dietary needs of Muslims and organic food devotees under one roof, and just in time for the end of Ramadan. SunLife Organics is set to open this weekend at 4206 Enterprise Ave. in the Naples area. Although the shop will stock foods imported from the Middle East and the Asian subcontinent that are Halal, or permissible for Muslims to eat, the focus according to those close to the project is to get people to pay more attention to what they are putting in their bodies. “The idea of bringing the Halal food is that we’ve got to open our eyes and see what’s going on and question what we’re eating and why we’re eating it,” explained the store’s general manager, Rasim Kut, who also is president of the Islamic Center of Naples. Packs of the fragrant spice mix of zaatar from Jordan and cold-pressed olive oil, as well as gelatin-free gummy bears and Jello, were among the first items to arrive at the store, which also will stock beef, lamb, goat and chicken all slaughtered according to Islamic regulations. Kut don’t see his shop in direct competition with smaller but more established organic food shops in Naples because they insist their products, because of the Halal certification, “is like one step beyond organic,” the owner explained. And the connection between food and faith is simple, according to Kut: “When you eat right, you grow spiritually.” | SOURCE: NAPLES DAILY NEWS, 12/10/2007

LETTER 1 : LEARNING FROM ONE ANOTHER

LETTER

Dear Managing Editor, Assalamualaikum W.B and Ramadan Mubarak

GOT SOMETHING TO SHARE? Send your comments or suggestions to info@halaljournal.com. The best letter will win a 1-year FREE subscription to The Halal Journal magazine.

I acknowledged with thanks the receipt of your Halal Journal which I have read with keen interest. Congratulations for your timely journal that indeed serve wider community whether they are Muslims and non-Muslims. Surely, the issue of Halal being safer, cleaner and healthier are the main challenges that will face the industry in the coming years and one nation needs to learn from others (such as New Zealand and Australia) what they have accomplished in the field of Halal meat. To enable us as professional to contribute to your Journal, you need to allocate space in your Journal for “Letters to the Editor”. Surely, it will assist you and your colleagues to know what the customer needs and how you can fulfil their needs. Once more, thank you and kind regards. Dr. Saad Al-Harran Senior Lecturer Centre for Islamic Banking, Finance & Management Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Via email LETTER 2 : STUNNING ISSUES Dear Editors of the Halal Journal, Assalamu Alaikum Wr. Wb. I read very interesting articles in your esteemed Journal. I find it a valuable magazine and must read for every one involved in the Halal issues. I would like to comment on some articles, in particular: The

Mechanical Slaughter and Stunning. I agree with the writer in stating that “It seems that evaluation of religious slaughter is an area where many people have lost scientific objectivity”. Adoption of a slaughtering procedure as sound Halal one should be based on science and comply with the authentic Sharia, not necessarily based on tradition or culture. Ill-informed Alim or Sheikh can mislead the community and hurt the industry. Also, many people do not really understand the issue of stunning and mix up the mechanical slaughter of chickens with that of large animals. They don’t realize that not all stunning or mechanical slaughterings are the same. I have conducted a scientific research on the influence of electrical stunning on the rate of bleeding in Halal slaughtered chickens. Scientists have provided proofs for long time that when chickens pass through a weak electric current (stunned!) they loose more blood and suffer less pain that unstunned chickens. I repeated some of those experiments using a Halal set up, and found out that its true: Chickens which are stunned with weak electric current and slaughtered mechanically do loose more blood during slaughtering than those slaughtered without stunning. The average chicken looses about 20 ML of blood more than the unstunned one. When the three conditions of Islamic slaughter are met, namely: Tasmiah by a Muslim, using a sharp knife, and thorough bleed out of the bird or animal are met, the mechanical slaughter provides a sound procedure with added benefits. I will send you a copy of my article summarizing the findings of my research in this area. Please feel free to publish this article in the Halal Journal as is, edited, or scripts of it. If you need additional information or assistance in this subject please let me know. Thank you, Wassalamu Alaikum. Dr. Ahmad Al-Absy Halal Transactions of Omaha P. O. Box 4546 Omaha, NE 68104, USA Via email

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BELGIUM

BRUSSELS STUDENTS WANT HALAL FOOD

Students of ethnic background at Leuven University are not pleased that Halal food is still not available in the student cafeterias, but the Alma chain that operates the facilities is not willing to adapt their menus. “It is not that we are not open to Halal meals,” says Kris Van Gool of Alma, “but the market is simply too small. There are so few students of ethnic background at the moment that it is very possible that we would have to throw out eight in ten of the meals that we would prepare.” Halal meals are not yet available at other universities in the country either, according to a survey. | SOURCE: EXPATICA NEWS, 23/10/ 2007

UAE

AL ISLAMI FOODS SALES UP BY 50% DURING RAMADAN

CANADA

ONTARIO SUPERMARKETS SCRAMBLING TO KEEP UP

Milk, eggs, bok choy - the grocery list is changing in London. The Ontario city is going global. As immigrants continue to transform the face of London, supermarkets are scrambling to catch up by adding Halal and kosher sections to meat departments and offering produce considered exotic to the typical Canadian grocery list. “A good percentage of my customers are (Muslim) immigrants,” Froese said. “We just brought in a new supplier that caters mostly to Middle Eastern tastes because our clientele is looking for that.” White Oaks is home to many of the city’s estimated 30,000 Muslims, many first- and secondgeneration immigrants. “We sell a lot of Halal meats,” Froese said. “We sell a lot of beans and dried beans, lentils and chick peas.” Though mainstream Canadian stores are trying to keep up with changing tastes, most are only playing catch-up with smaller ethnic grocery stores. | SOURCE: SUN MEDIA, 24/10/2007

“The UAE also certified the quality of Thai cooked chicken products to be exported to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and the Sultanate of Oman.” Thira Sutabutr Sutabutr, Agriculture and Co-operatives Minister Thailand UAE

UAE APPROVES HALAL COOKED CHICKEN IMPORTS FROM THAILAND

Al Islami Foods launched its Halal food campaign during Ramadan last month. The company today announced increase in sales by 50% in response to the new campaign. The month-long Halal awareness activity, which stays valid until the end of October, has been launched in collaboration with jewellery retailer Damas jewellery. As part of social responsibility, Al Islami’s primary focus has been the housewives who are more responsible to nourish their families with healthy food, said the CEO of Al Islami Foods, Saleh Lootah. Al Islami is expecting that the new campaign will yield more than 100% increase in sales by the end of October.

The United Arab Emirates has approved imports of Halal cooked chicken products from Thailand, which now hopes to export 3.5 billion baht (104 million dollars) worth of chicken to the Middle East next year, media reports said. The UAE’s approval of 24 chicken slaughter houses and 36 chicken processing factories in Thailand followed a recent visit by UAE municipal council officials to inspect food production processes that are in accordance with Islamic law run by the Islamic Committee Office of Thailand, Agriculture and Co-operatives Minister Thira Sutabutr told the Thai News Agency (TNA). “The UAE also certified the quality of Thai cooked chicken products to be exported to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and the Sultanate of Oman,” TNA said. Arab countries permit the importing of products from any country approved by any other GCC country member. Following the UAE approval, Thailand’s cooked chicken exports to GCC countries is expected to reach 10,000 tons worth 700 million baht (21 million dollars) in value this year, which will increase to 3.5 billion baht (104 million) in 2008, Thura predicted.

| SOURCE: BI-ME, 23/10/2007

| SOURCE: NEWS.MONSTERSANDCRITICS.COM 06/08/07

MALAYSIA

Please take care of the sacredness of Harmain Shareefain during Hajj and keep your mobile phones to Silent mode. - A public service message by The Halal Journal

STAND-ALONE ISLAMIC UNITS ALLOWED IN MALAYSIA

Malaysia plans to allow overseas lenders to set up stand-alone Islamic units in its latest bid to attract investment, Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said. The central bank would issue new licences “very soon” to those that have applied, Zeti said in an interview on Sunday. HSBC Holdings Plc, the largest overseas bank offering Islamic financial services in Malaysia, said in May it planned to open a stand-alone unit. Malaysia is vying to become a hub for Islamic finance and lure investors from the Middle East. But Malaysia didn’t plan to give new Islamic banking licences to foreign lenders who were not already based in Malaysia, Zeti said. | SOURCE: BLOOMBERG, 23/10/2007

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GlobalNEWS MALAYSIA

HDC TO GROOM MALAYSIAN BRANDS AND COMPANIES

Halal Industry Development Corporation Sdn Bhd (HDC) will launch the ‘Halal Champions’ 2007 programme in an effort to groom and nurture select Malaysian brands and companies for global business opportunities. Managing director/chief executive officer, Datuk Jamil Bidin, said the programme would be the driver of the Malaysian Halal industry, demonstrating a commitment towards promoting Halal products and services. According to Jamil, the idea of setting up the programme, which would identify champions to become ambassadors for the country, was not new as it has been proven to be a successful working model by countries which have implemented similar programmes. Speaking at the media briefing here Friday, Jamil said for this year the programme would be on a pre-selected basis with HDC identifying and selecting companies which have met the criteria. He said the programme, opened to all Malaysian-incorporated companies, would start next year. Among the products and services which are eligible for consideration are trading, household items, cosmetics, toiletries and body care, frozen food, herbal and healthcare products, pharmaceutical, poultry, meat and dairy products, processed and ready-to-eat products, raw food materials, seafood and perishables, snack foods and confectionary. Jamil said HDC would be working with the state governments to organise the national roadshow to provide a better insight into the Halal industry. He said the roadshow would start next month in Alor Setar. Meanwhile, HDC’s director of capacity development, Darhim Hashim, said to initiate the programme, HDC would be presenting the ‘Halal Champion’ award to its first recipient next week. | SOURCE: BERNAMA, 26/10/2007

“If you’re a food manufacturer and you’re in exports or you’re thinking of exports, you really need to have a long hard think about getting involved in Halal. It’s one third of the total world food market, now that’s a very big part of the total world food market if you want to turn your back on it.” Brian Norwood, chairman, Elders chairman Australia AUSTRALIA

HALAL PUSH FOR AUSTRALIAN FOOD PROCESSORS

Australian food processors are being urged to consider specialising in Halal products, to feed into one of the world’s fastest growing markets. An international conference in Melbourne has heard the trade in Halal food is worth an estimated A$700 billion dollars a year. Elders recently set up a partnership with the largely Muslim country of Brunei, to try to increase Halal products on offer from Australia. Elders chairman, Brian Norwood, says while it may cost some money to get accredited in Halal production, it is worth it. “If you’re a food manufacturer and you’re in exports or you’re thinking of exports, you really need to have a long hard think about getting involved in Halal,” he says. “It’s one third of the total world food market, now that’s a very big part of the total world food market if you want to turn your back on it”. | SOURCE: ABC RURAL, 24/10/2007

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MALAYSIA

SOURCE HALAL FROM MALAYSIA, FRENCH BUSINESSMEN TOLD

Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz has urged the French business community to source Halal products from Malaysia to serve the Muslim market there. She said French businessmen could also enter into joint ventures with Malaysian counterparts to cater to its Muslim community of seven million and those in the European Union and the Francophone countries. “Halal products and services are not only for Muslim consumers but also non-Muslims because they meet global standards of quality, product and service integrity, and conform to the market requirements, such as those pertaining to responsible care for the environment and safety standards,” she told a seminar on business opportunities in Malaysia here Thursday. Rafidah is leading a 35-member delegation on a ten-day mission to Paris, Frankfurt and Zurich. She said the Malaysian Halal standard and the Halal logo reflected both the requirements of the Shariah laws and regulations pertaining to products and services, as well as market place requirements. Rafidah told the French-based entities to take advantage of Malaysia’s well-developed Islamic banking facilities. “They can use Malaysian banks as a channel to access Islamic banking and financial markets in Asia and other parts of the world especially in West Asia. “The facilities will also provide them the linkages through Islamic financing to support the increasing trade and investment flows between the Gulf states and the rest of the world,” she said. She said French companies could also to take advantage of the facilities in the Labuan International Offshore Financial Centre (IOFC) to promote financial offshore products and services. A total of 22 French companies are in Labuan IOFC, comprising four banks, three insurance, one leasing and 14 offshore trading companies. They include BNP Paribas, Calyon, C.C.R. and SCOR Reinsurance Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd. | SOURCE: BERNAMA, 25/10/2007

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Calendar of events

FRANCE

MARKETING TO MUSLIMS HALAL SKI VACATIONS

Hotel “Les Rosiers” in the French Alps is one of the first winter sports destinations to offer entirely Halal Ski Vacations, catering to the wants and needs of Muslim tourists. The term Halal tends to refer to Muslim diet and specific food restrictions, particularly when it comes to meat. Another new business idea catering for the booming Islamic market! | SOURCE: TRENDHUNTER MAGAZINE, 23/10/2007

NORWAY

MEAT CLASH SPARKS CONVERSIONS

A dietary conflict at the Ringerike Prison in Oslo, Norway has provoked inmates to convert to Islam. Several prisoners have demonstrated their sympathies with their Muslim inmates by religious conversion after authorities refused to supply Halal meat during Ramadan, reports the Norwegian broadcasting company NRK. An anonymous inmate told NRK that the support of fellow prisoners was appreciated, but others had expressed a desire that the conversions could have occurred due to the message of Islam rather than as a protest. The protest began when prison officials refused to supply meat slaughtered according to Islamic law during Ramadan, the Muslim month of daily fasting. Last year the Muslim prisoners received Halal meat, but this year it was deemed too large an expense. | SOURCE: AFTENPOSTEN, 24/10/2007

“As the Halal food product is growing rapidly in a globalised environment, Nestle needs to tap its tremendous potential. The RM1.2mil factory, managed by the farmers, processes chilli into small packages to be sold commercially. The factory is one of our main suppliers of chilli. Currently, we are purchasing from them about 400 metric tonnes annually.” Othman Mohd Yussof, Nestle Halal Centre chairman MALAYSIA

NESTLE PLANS TO DOUBLE EXPORT OF HALAL PRODUCTS

Top processed food producer Nestle (Manufacturing) Sdn Bhd has managed to market its latest Halal products in 40 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan as well as in the European Union and the Middle East. This is an encouraging trend and next year, Nestle plans to double its export of Halal products especially its tomato sauce, the company’s Halal Centre chairman Othman Mohd Yussof says. “As the Halal food product is growing rapidly in a globalised environment, Nestle needs to tap its tremendous potential,” Othman said during a working visit to the Bukit Awang Farmers Organisation Area (LPP) here on Wednesday. The Nestle delegation led by Othman was here to study the possibility of a new strategic alliance with farmers here. The RM1.2mil factory, managed by the farmers, processes chilli into small packages to be sold commercially. “The factory is one of our main suppliers of chilli. Currently, we are purchasing from them about 400 metric tonnes annually,” Othman said on the sidelines of his visit here. Once its production line is upgraded, Nestle can increase its purchase of chilli from the factory to 1,000 metric tonnes yearly, Othman said, adding that the company was willing to provide technical training to boost production at the factory. He said securing proper suppliers of food ingredients was essential in positioning Nestle as a top producer of Halal food in Malaysia. | SOURCE: THE STAR, 28/9/2007

1ST NOVEMBER 2007 WORLD HALAL FORUM INDUSTRY DIALOGUE - TURKEY Crown Plaza Hotel, Istanbul KasehDia Sdn Bhd Tel: +603 6203 1025 Fax: +603 6203 4072 E-mail: info@worldhalalforum.org www.worldhalalforum.org 7 NOVEMBER 2007 WORLD HALAL FORUM INDUSTRY DIALOGUE - BOSNIA Holiday Inn, Sarajevo KasehDia Sdn Bhd Tel: +603 6203 1025 Fax: +603 6203 4072 E-mail: info@worldhalalforum.org www.worldhalalforum.org 19-22 NOVEMBER 2007 THE 4TH KUALA LUMPUR ISLAMIC FINANCE FORUM (KLIFF 2007) Nikko Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Centre for Research and Training (CERT) Tel: + 603 4108 1439 Fax: + 603 41061549 Email: info@cert.com.my www.kliff2007.com 21-22 NOVEMBER 2007 WORLD FOOD MARKET ExCeL, London United Kingdom Tel: +01959 564449 F: +01959 564006 E: wfmlondon@thehubonline.co.uk www.worldfoodmarket.co.uk 4 – 5 DECEMBER 2007 INTERNATIONAL R&D CONFERENCE One World Hotel, Bandar Utama Malaysia Halal Industry Development Corporation Tel: +603 2087 0200 Fax: +603 2087 0277 E-mail: info@hdcglobal.com hdcglobal.com 9-11 DECEMBER 2007 WORLD HALAL EXPO Food production, Food Manufacture, Garments and Lifestyle products Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Abu Dhabi, UAE IIR Middle East Tel: +009714 336 5161 ext 234 Fax: +009714 336 5886 Email: halal@iirme.com www.halalworldexpo.com 13 DECEMBER 2007 WORLD HALAL FORUM INDUSTRY DIALOGUE - SINGAPORE KasehDia Sdn Bhd Tel: +603 6203 1025 Fax: +603 6203 4072 E-mail: info@worldhalalforum.org www.worldhalalforum.org 24 – 27 JANUARY 2008 SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL HALAL SHOWCASE (SIHAS) Halal Asia Markets – The Untapped Opportunities Singapore Expo Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce Tel: +65 6242 0872 Fax: +65 6242 6153 Email: enquiry_sg@adexcomm.com www.sihas.com 24 – 27 FEBRUARY 2008 THE 13TH GULF FOOD, HOTEL & EQUIPMENT EXHIBITION AND SALON CULINAIRE (GULFOOD 2008) Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre Dubai, UAE Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) Tel: +9714 308 6062 Fax: +9714 318 8607 Email: info@dwtc.com www.gulfood.com

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event highlights

INCREASED MALAYSIA-THAI COLLABORATION IN HALAL TO BE EXPECTED

World Halal Forum Chairman Khairy Jamaluddin having a one-to-one session with Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, H.E. Mr. Sawanit Kongiri.

A specialised marketing and promotional trip to Bangkok, Thailand was recently organised last September involving a Malaysian delegation which consisted of officials from both the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) and the World Halal Forum. The visit was also held in conjunction with the ongoing World of Muslim event and The Halal Journal Workshop which were held within the same period of time at the Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre in Bangkok. The main objective was to follow up on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was agreed upon between three parties, namely HDC, Chulalongkorn University and the World Halal Forum Secretariat during the most recent World Halal Forum held early May 2007 in Kuala Lumpur. In essence, the strategic MOU was an acknowledgement of collaborations between Malaysia and Thailand with regards to developing the Halal industries in both countries. It comprised a number of agreements to ensure progress and development concerning capacity development, research and other significantly related areas. Signing the MOU on behalf of HDC were its chief executive officer Dato’ Jamil Bidin; on behalf of Chulalongkorn University its director of Halal Science Centre, associate professor Dr. Winai Dahlan; and on behalf of WHF Secretariat chairman Khairy Jamaluddin and executive director Nordin Abdullah. A number of high profile meetings were subsequently held between the three parties and other related agencies and ministries of the Thai government. This included

meetings with the Honourable Dr. Suvit Yodmani, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports; the Honourable Piyabutr Cholvijarn, Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Industry; the Honourable Dr. Suvarn Valaisathien, Deputy Minister of Commerce; Professor Khunying Suchada Kiranandana, President of Chulalongkorn University; and the Honourable Sawanit Kongsiri, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. Among the issues discussed include the need for increased collaboration in various areas such as education and sharing of research information, the promotion of Halal into the ever thriving Thai tourism industry, ways to increase more Muslims participation in the Thai economy and the significance of the Halal industry’s role in alleviating problems in southern Thailand. The Honourable Sawanit Kongsiri, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand noted that Malaysia plays a vital role in helping Muslims in Thailand due to the existing religious, cultural and economic ties. He noted that the Southern

Province of Yala is a key area to be developed as a Halal hub which in turn would create a ripple effect throughout the southern region. The visit also acts as a follow up from the Malaysian Prime Minister’s earlier visit to Thailand where he urged Malaysian companies to invest more in Thailand’s Halal sector especially with the aim of helping to alleviate the situation in southern Thailand. Ways on how Thailand can benefit from the development of Malaysia’s Northern Corridor Economic Growth Region was also discussed. It was established that there is a need for the Malaysian government, companies and organisations to conduct a more detailed briefing for their Thai counterpart in better understanding how the development of the Northern Corridor can be advantageous in increasing investments and trade opportunities between the two countries. A business matching session was also held between the Malaysian delegates and members of the logistics, trade and food industries in Thailand. The purpose of this session was to look at ways the private sector can implement the programmes that were discussed earlier. Dr. Winai Dahlan also gave a briefing at the Chulalongkorn University for the Malaysian delegation on the development of Halal industry in Thailand and the role they are playing in this regard. The significance of the university’s Business Incubator for Halal Products (BIHAP) in the development of SMEs in the Halal sector was also highlighted, especially with its success in incubating five SMEs in the fields of tourism, cosmetics and Halal abattoirs. Several consensuses were reached and it was agreed that more collaboration is needed within all areas discussed. It was also established that Thai delegates are to visit Malaysia to discuss on initiatives of the Indonesia-MalaysiaThailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) and Growth Corridors. There is a substantial need to understand complementary relationships in supply chain for the both countries to take advantage of the developments in the Halal industry. hj

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event highlights

THAILAND AIMING BILLION-DOLLAR HALAL FOOD MARKET

Thailand staged its first-ever Halal exhibition in Bangkok last 7 – 9 September 2007 in hopes of getting a bigger bite out of the world’s billion-dollar Halal market. The World of Muslim 2007 trade show at Bangkok’s Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre accommodated over 200 booths displaying Thai-made Halal products and services. Established not only to promote business and investment opportunities among Muslim businessmen, World of Muslim also aims to promote dialogues and interchanges among Muslim and non-Muslim entrepreneurs. Organised by the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau and Expolink Global Network Ltd, the organisers are also hoping to foster networking and interchanges with leading international business executives and political leaders as well as to strengthen Muslim brotherhood in promoting viable jointventures and smart business partnerships. “The event aims to give full assurance to international visitors of the high manufacturing standard of Thailand’s Muslim-oriented industry, as well as create a commercial network and forge strong relationship across the Muslim world,” said associate professor Dr. Winai Dahlan, director of the Halal Science Centre, Chulalongkorn University Aside from the obvious Halal food sector, other related sectors such as finance, insurance and banking,

education, airline and tourism as well as international zones for overseas participants and government-related services were also highlighted. According to Winai, Thailand exports of Halal certified food items amounted to 330 million dollars last year, still less than 0.05 per cent of the global Halal demand which is estimated at a whopping 590 billion dollars per annum. Thailand, which ranks as the world’s 12th-largest food exporter, has huge potential to increase its share in the Halal market if Thai exporters become more knowledgeable about Halal labelling requirements and processing, said Dr Winai. The Institute for Halal Food Standard of Thailand and The Halal Science Centre, Chulalongkorn University was also present to offer counselling on Halal food standards. Other exhibitors include the Department of Export Promotion, Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion, the Office of the Vocational Education Commission, National Food Institute, the Foundation of Islamic Centre of Thailand (FICT), and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). The event also hosted various seminars on Halal food standard, Thailand’s future in the global Halal market, business opportunities in Muslim countries, and marketing strategies for national and international-level competitions. hj

Travel

with a Personal Touch

Official Travel Agent WORLD HALAL FORUM 2007 For details contact:

I N D A L U C I A T O U R S & T RAVEL SDN BHD ( K K K P N o . 2 4 7 7 ) ( C o . N o . 10 6 0 1 3 - M )

Ground Floor, Wisma Ismaz u r i No. 38, Jalan 4/76C, Desa Pa n d a n 55100 Kuala Lumpur, MALAY S I A t : +6 03 9287 9688 f: +6 03 9282 3188 e: inda2477@streamyx.com THE HALAL JOURNAL

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event highlights

WHAT: HALAL WORLD EXPO WHEN: 9 – 11 DECEMBER 2007 WHERE: ABU DHABI NATIONAL EXHIBITION CENTRE, ABU DHABI, UAE

GLOBALISING QUALITY MIDDLE EAST HALAL PRODUCTS Halal World Expo, a major new event to be held in the UAE in December, will spotlight the booming Halal market at a time when global estimates find the industry worth an estimated US $2.1 trillion a year and growing at US$500 billion annually due to an ever-increasing Muslim population. Touted as the most comprehensive Middle East event, the Halal World Expo will take place from 9-11 December 2007 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The event is aiming to bring together worldwide industry giants in the first event of its kind in the region that covers all sectors and focus areas of the Halal market. Exhibitors from the areas of food production, canned products, agricultural products, dairy and meat products are set to showcase their products at the exhibition. Exhibiting here will provide producers and distributors with the opportunity to meet industry peers and international Halal authorities, to network and create further business opportunities. Christine Weaver, Exhibition Director of Halal World Expo said: “By focusing on globalising

quality Middle East Halal products we will offer both regional and international exhibitors a gateway to penetrate the Middle East and international markets. This direct route provides a cost-effective platform for exhibitors to market their products and services to an ever increasing demand in a world-wide industry.” It is often taken for granted that processed food and products available in supermarkets of an Islamic country like the UAE are fully Halal compliant unless stated as being for non Muslim’s consumption. While there are currently systems in place to protect the consumer in the UAE, the fast growth pattern that is currently being experienced

in the Halal consumer market means there is a growing demand for a globalised standard across all Halal products. Aside from food, the exhibition will also be looking at Halal lifestyle products including Islamic fashion, cosmetics, a market worth AED 2.06 billion in the UAE alone and other health care products, as there has been a growing demand in the UAE towards items that are Halal compliant. Islamic Finance, which is currently worth between US$200 and $500 billion annually and a consistently growing interest for financial market across the world, will also be a focus of the exhibition. For more information please log on to www.halalworldexpo.com. hj

WHAT: THE 3RD INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON TAKAFUL AND RE-TAKAFUL WHEN: 29-30 AUGUST 2007 WHERE: KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

EXCELLENT INSIGHTS ON OPPORTUNITIES IN TAKAFUL The recently concluded Third International Convention in Takaful and Retakaful (ICTR) provided insights on the latest developments and opportunities for driving takaful into the mainstream Islamic finance. Having recorded an impressive growth of 15% annually as compared to the 4.5% growth of conventional insurance over the past five years, the takaful industry has seen enhanced and robust competition. As such, it was noted that takaful players needed to constantly reevaluate its operational strategies and be innovative in order to stay ahead of the competition, by bringing improvement in terms of business efficiency, product development and service quality that would lead to greater consumer benefits. Hence, the importance of capacity-building by industry players. Consumers too are becoming increasingly demanding and financially sophisticated whilst corporate customers have become more performance-oriented, increasingly discerning and

more involved in their financial decisions, demanding a broader range of products and services. Therefore, greater emphasis needed to be given to the variety and quality of products and services at competitive prices through the most effective channels. Takaful operators must also be more efficient in responding to the constantlychanging market profiles. Utilising state-of-the-art technologies is a must and should be made as the main business driver to keep costs low and reach out to a larger audience. Meanwhile operators in a yet-to-mature market should conduct mass education campaign explaining features that make their products

Shariah compliant. In a nutshell the collective efforts thus far need to be further enhanced to drive takaful into the mainstream of Islamic finance. Within the objectives laid out in the 3rd ICTR, participants acknowledged that the convention had provided them with the knowledge of understanding and addressing Shariah and regulatory issues, learning the process of developing takaful products and services, networking with key decision makers in the industry and examining new opportunities available for regional & international investors. hj

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event highlights

WHAT: THE SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL SHOWCASE (SIHAS) WHEN: 24-27 JANUARY, 2008 WHERE: SINGAPORE EXPO, SINGAPORE

SERVICING THE EVER GROWING AND EMERGING ASIAN HALAL MARKET The first ever exhibition to focus on the emerging Asian Halal markets is to be held next year from January 24-27 at the Singapore Expo. Organised to cater for the ever growing Halal markets in ASEAN, China, India and the Middle Eastern regions, the Singapore International Showcase (SIHAS) offers the best platform to tap these lucrative markets. Boasting a population of some one billion Muslims or 59% of the 1.8 billion Muslim population of the world, the Asian region is still considered relatively untouched. Hence the theme “Halal Asia Markets – The Untapped Opportunities”. Hosted by the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SMCCI) and organised by Adex Communications Pte Ltd, it will feature 8,000 Halal products from Singapore and 1,800 premises that have undergone stringent Halal assessment by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis), the sole custodian of Halal certification in Singapore.

SIHAS is set to be the onestop event for Asia’s Halal entrepreneurs, professionals and service providers to seek for the latest information, keep abreast of the international Halal trends and developments that impact the planning, design, investing and managing of Halal markets in Asia. SIHAS is also set to provide an excellent environment for Halal buyers to access a large number of Halal suppliers in one location, compare products and services, research new Halal marketing solution options, and focus on finding the right investors, dealers and distributors. SIHAS will also be bringing

leading international companies from Asia to showcase their latest and most innovative Halal products and services. At the event, exhibitors and visitors will also be able to attend new product education sessions and see demonstrations, participate in the hands-on product and business matching sessions. Held in conjunction with this Trade and Consumer Exhibition is a two-day Halal seminar with the theme “The 21st Century International Halal Markets: Asia’s Untapped Opportunities”. For more information, please log on to www.sihas.com. hj

WHAT: KUALA LUMPUR ISLAMIC FINANCE FORUM 2007 (KLIFF 2007) WHEN: 19 – 22 NOVEMBER, 2007 WHERE: HOTEL NIKKO KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

TOWARDS INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABLE GROWTH Following the success of previous KLIFF events in 2004, 2005 and most notably 2006, the Centre for Research & Training (CERT) in collaboration with Dow Jones Islamic Indexes, New York (DJIM), the International Institute of Islamic Finance Inc. (IIIF) and Messrs. Hisham, Sobri & Kadir (HSK) is proud to present the 4th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum 2007 (KLIFF 2007) from 19 – 22 November 2007 at Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This international event will involve local, regional as well as international speakers, exhibitors, and delegates who have special interests in Islamic banking and finance. KLIFF 2007 consists of the following programmes: 4th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum (KLIFF 2007) KLIFF Muzakarah for Shariah Advisor of Islamic Finance KLIFF Islamic Finance Award KLIFF Essay Competition in Islamic Finance

Pre and PostForum Workshops The theme “Towards Innovation and Sustainable Growth” was chosen to reflect the maturing years of Islamic banking and finance with approximately 40 years of experimentations, starting from the 1960s through 2007. At this juncture, it may be appropriate to review the various milestones that have been achieved over the years whilst projecting innovation for futures growth and expansion into the globalised market. KLIFF 2007 aims to serve as an avenue for parties to jointly participate in exploring and

unlocking the potential of the industry as well as discussing the mechanisms and ways to confront the challenges waiting ahead. It is hoped that this conference will generate new enthusiasm, which will sustain the momentum in the development of the global Islamic banking and finance. For more information, please contact: Zarina / Ana / Hafiz (Secretariat) at +6034108 1439 or fax +603-4106 1549 or email to zarina@cert. com.my / ana@cert.com.my / hafiz@cert.com.my or kindly log on to www.kliff2007.com.

hj

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event highlights

WHF TO CAP SUCCESSFUL YEAR WITH THREE INDUSTRY DIALOGUES The months of November and December 2007 will again be a busy period for the World Halal Forum Secretariat as three Industry Dialogues have been planned to cap a successful and important year - in Istanbul, Turkey; in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Singapore. Designed to create an understanding of different areas within the Halal industry and get to the heart of issues faced by industry stakeholders, the World Halal Forum-Industry Dialogue (WHF-ID) has been touring the globe promoting the concept of Halal and develop understanding of and trade from the sector. WHF-ID Turkey is scheduled to be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Istanbul on 1 November 2007 in conjunction with the 15th International Food, Beverage, Food Ingredients

growth of other Muslim markets like Southeast Asia. Two related industry case studies by local companies will also be conducted. After Istanbul, the WHFID bandwagon then moves on to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where a series of meetings and issues are expected to be discussed. It is slated to be held on the 7th November 2007 at the Holiday Inn Sarajevo. Speakers from HDC and KasehDia will also be presenting their papers, as well as local certification

Industry Dialogues have been designed to create understanding in different areas and discover the issues faced by industry players, governments and stakeholders alike, with the aim to address specific issues before the next World Halal Forum in May 2008.

and Food Processing Exhibition or GIDA 2008. Turkey is in a strategic position as a gateway to the European continent and although it has a 94 per cent Muslim majority country, the government is secular. But demand from the Turkish exporters has pushed the Turkish government to set up a national Halal certification system. The half-day interactive and moderated dialogue session will focus on issues relating to the creation of a global Halal hub, Halal standards and training in Turkey and the

and government agencies. A series of panel discussions will also be held, including several case studies and question-and-answer sessions. Next on the calendar is Singapore on the 13th December 2007. Like previous ones, WHF ID-Singapore will also be a halfday of moderated dialogues, including presentations, deliberations and networking.

Attendees will include members of the industry players and experts, trade agencies, Halal certification and regulatory bodies. The presentations will focus on sharing experiences, the current Halal market, both worldwide and regionally, specific challenges, branding and worldwide initiatives. Moderated dialogues will follow the morning and afternoon sessions and will be supported by a panel of industry experts. Industry Dialogues have been designed to create understanding in different areas and discover the issues faced by industry players, governments and stakeholders alike, with the aim to address specific issues before the next World Halal Forum in May 2008. The opportunity exists for new and established industry players to get the latest information, understand some of the challenges faced and network with the main drivers of the global Halal market. For sponsorship or enquires, please contact info@worldhalalforum.org or log on to www.worldhalalforum.org. hj

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MATRADE news

MATRADE: LIVING, BREATHING PROMOTIONS

As the agency entrusted to promote Malaysian trade and export overseas, the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation or Matrade is also responsible in promoting Malaysian Halal exports. Helming this task is the Product Section within the Product and Services Development Division headed by a new director, Wan Norma Wan Daud. restructured and was divided into country focus, not activity based. Once restructured, I was transferred to Europe desk, and was posted to London for over four years. When I came back, I was in the Organisational Development Division and then I moved on as the acting director for Strategic and Planning Division. Now I am in the Product and Services Development Division. HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES BE CHANNELLED TO PROMOTE THE MALAYSIAN HALAL INDUSTRY GLOBALLY? Promotion activity is like the lifeblood of Matrade; we live and breathe promotions - it is what we do, be it locally or abroad. Locally, we are promoting Malaysian exporters to go overseas. Internationally, we are promoting the Malaysian products and services to the foreign buyers. So we need to focus on what to promote where. For example, you cannot promote our services sector in London. We have to look at the market requirements. When it comes to Halal, the modus operandi would still be maintained - we still need to know what products to promote in which target markets.

A

rmed with 27 years of experience in various capacities within the trade promotion sector, Wan Norma will be banking on her understanding of the different global markets and her experience as a trade commissioner to spur the Malaysian Halal sector onwards. The Halal Journal managed to catch up in between her busy schedule and this was what transpired within the hour-long interview. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR CAREER BACKGROUND PRIOR TO JOINING THIS DIVISION. I started with the Economic Planning Unit in 1980. After 12 years there, I moved to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, taking care of bilateral desk for few countries. I came to Matrade in 1995 and was the manager for the Trade Promotions Bureau, which was doing promotion work for all sectors all over the world. Then Matrade was

WHEN YOU PROMOTE MALAYSIAN HALAL PRODUCTS OVERSEAS, WHAT ARE THE POINTS YOU USUALLY EMPHASIS ON? Nowadays, everybody is promoting Halal. But we are saying Malaysian Halal products have got something others don’t - a reliable and credible Halal certification. In UK for example, they don’t have a single body that handles Halal certification, they have several; even the mosques are doing certification. So when they look at the Malaysian Halal certification, they know its being done by the only government-

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MATRADE news

backed Islamic development department in the world, and under the Prime Minister’s Department. Most importantly, Malaysian Halal certification is not commercially oriented, because in my view, when Halal certification is commercialised, it gives a different connotation - it’s like you can do it fast so that you can have lots of money. But we still want Jakim to speed up their processes, but still remain as non-commercially oriented. In addition, Malaysia is also well known as a credible and reliable supplier. And this is very important especially for an importer. Not just in the timeliness of the delivery, but also for the quality and competitive pricing of products and services we offer. This is the basis for all industries, and we are applying the same to Halal. Of course for Halal, we can add the certification advantage. But we cannot rely solely on Halal certification to sell products; it has to be a complete package. WHAT DO YOU THINK AS THE MOST IMMEDIATE CONCERNS WE NEED TO ADDRESS TO BETTER CAPTURE THE GLOBAL HALAL INDUSTRY? The immediate concern to me is still the supply side. We must have more Malaysian companies that have the capacity to produce and are export ready. We don’t want to promote the same companies all the time, nor just the same product range. Like at one trade fair I remember; we have four Malaysian companies all selling pau. Yes, we want to promote everybody but the product content is not diversifying as quickly as we want. Maybe we are not spending enough on R&D to come out with new products but we need to see the product range of our local companies improve beyond the existing level, even with different designs and packaging that stands out from the rest. HAVING BEEN ALL OVER THE WORLD, DOES MATRADE CHANNEL BACK TO LOCAL PRODUCERS WHAT WAS LEARNED FROM OVERSEAS, LIKE

Most importantly, Malaysian Halal certification is not commercially oriented, because in my view, when Halal certification is commercialised, it gives a different connotation - it’s like you can do it fast so that you can have lots of money. NEW IDEAS AND EXPERTISE? Oh yes, we do. This is done through our many capacity building programs, workshops and seminars. This is where we invite experts from overseas to come and share their knowledge with groups of Malaysian exporters. We conduct about 45 training workshops a year covering the entire spectrum of the companies’ business aspects. This includes compliance to global standards, packaging, labelling, product innovations, everything! We even ask the companies what do they need and we try to cater for that. BESIDES THE OBVIOUS FOOD AND BEVERAGE INDUSTRY, WHAT OTHER INDUSTRIES YOU THINK SHOULD THE MALAYSIAN HALAL PRODUCERS VENTURE INTO? One is of course is the pharmaceuticals sector, including supplements, vitamins and the likes. Usually when we talk about pharmaceuticals, they don’t really emphasis if its Halal certified or not. But with our pharmaceutical products, we are telling the global consumers that they now have a choice. We can sell a lot especially to the Middle East, simply because ours is Halal. Another potential industry is cosmetics. But we really need to do aggressive promotion for this. We not only need to create awareness amongst the Muslims that they should be concerned about the cosmetic’s composition,

For more information contact MATRADE HEADQUATERS Menara MATRADE, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Off Jalan Duta, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA T +603-6207 7077 F +603-6203 7037 TOLL FREE 1 800 88 7280 W www.matrade.gov.my E info@matrade.gov.my

but also tell them that Halal cosmetics are available. But most do not know where to get them, so again, we really need to do extensive promotion and get into the niche markets. Herbal-based applications also have good potential, because Malaysia is rich in natural herbs. The concept of Halal and natural would really appeal to the niche markets overseas, especially in many developed countries. These niche markets can be quite sizeable against their large population base. We can’t forever rely on the Malaysian population base which is very small. Also the purchasing power is higher, and they don’t mind paying for something that is of quality, natural and Halal. ASIDE FROM FOOD EXHIBITIONS ALL OVER THE WORLD, HOW ELSE DO YOU PLAN TO PROMOTE HALAL? Actually, we still think that food exhibition is the most effective promotion tool to promote all products, particularly Halal, because of high exposure to the select target market. In addition, we are also doing specialised marketing missions (SMM) to countries that do not have a large exhibition. Through SMM, we bring a small number of companies and do business matching and have a series of meetings. We also promote the Malaysian Halal as a whole, where we explain what we are doing in Halal and bring Jakim to explain the certification process. We also bring in buyers, or incoming buying missions (IBM), not only during MIHAS but also throughout the year. Currently, we are also doing a lot of awareness seminars, especially in non Muslim countries that have a large concentration of Muslim population, like in France which has 7 million Muslims; in the US as well as in the UK. We create awareness about Halal and what Malaysia can offer amongst the local Muslim buyers, retailers and distributors. We also use these seminars to learn of their market requirements. Like in the US, we learnt that they prefer more confectionaries and biscuits. So Matrade can be that link, where we match the hj distributors to the suppliers.

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HALAL BRAZIL?

Brazilian beef is capturing the most demanding international markets, including Halal. Kamarul Aznam Kamaruzaman was there recently to investigate.

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B

y international definitions, Brazil today is a middle-income earner rather than a poor country. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) again surpassed a trillion US Dollars, its economy makes up one-third of the region’s and eighth largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity. Inflation is at its lowest in decades and new forms of credit have led to a sustainable growth in domestic consumption. Such stable economic conditions have enabled Brazil to register rapid economic expansion in recent years. Gone were the days of stratospheric inflation rates, reaching 2,500% in 1993. The Brazilian currency Real had also faced enormous pressure in 1998 and was subsequently devalued by 40% to make exports more competitive. The plan worked. Real’s devaluation provided a major boost for the agriculture sector, or agribusiness industry as the locals term it. In fact, agribusiness has been identified as the key driving force behind the trade surpluses of more than US$40 billion a year, a factor which has allowed the country to pay off all external debts, including IMF’s US$30 billion loan taken in August 2002, on top of another US$15 billion taken a year earlier.

push the Brazilian meat sector to grow well over 340% within the past six years. In 1996 for example, Brazil exported just over US$440 million worth of beef. This figure jumped to US$1.5 billion by 2003, and then doubled in only two years to US$3.0 billion in 2005. For 2006, they raked in a total of US$4 billion in foreign sales of meat. Several factors can be attributed to this scenario, but all seem to converge into one – that the product itself is exceptional. Unparalleled in taste, Brazilian beef is not only loved by its own people but is also conquering a growing legion of admirers beyond its national borders. Factor in competitive pricing from a highly cost effective production and you will find a winner. “Brazilian ranchers spend about US$1,300 to produce a ton

opening of new markets. “It is also extremely versatile, having successfully satisfied the requirements of 70 distinct sets of food hygiene legislations and sanitary laws and quickly responding to the strict demands of different markets with their diverse and rigorous sanitary and religious norms and specifications,” added de Moraes, who is also a former Brazilian agriculture minister.

Foremost on the list of existing importers are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Iran, also with a combined 19% share of total Brazilian beef exports in 2006. Today Brazil rakes in a whopping US$300 billion a year from exports of agriculture. Already the world’s largest beef exporter, both in terms of volume and value, Brazil also leads international markets for poultry, sugar, alcohol, orange juice, as well as coffee. It is also a major player in the production and export of grains, most notably rice and soy beans. The agribusiness industry alone contributes 33% to the national GDP, accounts for 42% of Brazil’s total exports and provides work for 37% of its 187 million people. Within this lucrative industry, pulling in the most weight is the meat sector. Aside from healthy local demand (Brazil’s per capita meat consumption is 35 kgs/yr) - their ability to capitalise on key strengths and adapt quickly to the demands of new markets have enabled Brazil to transform itself into the global agribusiness powerhouse it is today. The increase in spending power of many fast-growing economies around the world further accelerated the growth of this industry. Several key export markets including Europe, Russia, Middle East and China have helped

of beef. American producers invest US$3,400 while it is US$4,000 in Europe,” said Paulo Mustefaga, technical adviser to the Brazilian Agriculture and Livestock Confederation, or CNA Brazil. Further accentuating the product’s quality is the willingness of the cattleraisers to invest in research - modernising and constantly improving their animal husbandry techniques. “The Brazilian beef industry is among the most modern in the world,” noted the President of the Brazilian Beef Export Industries Association’s (ABIEC) Marcus Pratini de Moraes. Established in 1979, ABIEC is the main representative for the meat sector in national and international forums on regulating and

A

LTHOUGH MODERNISATION OF the industry started some time back, the discovery of foot-and-mouth disease in August 2000 had speeded up the process. The European Union, along with 56 other countries including U.S. and Japan, not only imposed partial trade embargoes but also enforced some of the most advance sets of requirements onto the Brazilian meat industry. These included reforms in quality and animal’s health, sanitary and food safety, environmental, even social welfare standards. The most significant however, is the introduction of traceability system on all national herds. The move precipitated in the re-introduction of the

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Brazilian Bovine Traceability Service (SISBOV) in 2002, a tagging mechanism to trace any FMD-contaminated meat back to where it came from and to avoid repetition. SISBOV includes monitoring everything from genetics, handling and environment in which the herd was raised, to conditions in meat processing plants and points of sale. At ports, computerised systems track the chain of movements in the cold storage facilities for export shipments. Systems for controlling inventory movements complement the process. “The adoption of an auditable tracking system will contribute decisively to the opening of new markets for Brazilian beef,” said Marcio Portocarrero, secretary of Agriculture and Livestock Development and

Unparalleled in taste, Brazilian beef is not only loved by its own people but is also conquering a growing legion of admirers beyond its national borders. THE MALAYSIAN HALAL FACTOR Halal Brazilian Beef also finds its way into other Muslim countries in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, which imports over 2,700 tons of Halal beef worth US$5.5 million. Independencia Alimentos, Brazil’s third largest meat exporter has one plant approved for Halal production and export to Malaysia, out of a total of seven within the group. To be approved as a Halal facility for Malaysia, they had to invest in a special restraining box to improve the animal’s standing position, while being stunned prior to slaughter. “This we didn’t mind, because although the special box wasn’t cheap, we liked it so much that we applied it in several of our other factories,” said Skirmunt. He explains that besides being animal-friendly, the special restraining box also protects the workers while performing the slaughter. Another difference is stunning prior to slaughter. Unlike the Arab countries, which do not allow the use of stunning in any form, the Malaysian Halal standard does, but only for captive bolt stunning. Despite this however, the slaughter men had to wait an extra two to three minutes to ensure that the animal is completely dead before continuing with further processing. “This obviously slows our production speed, as much as 10% in fact, and this would in turn increase our production cost,” explains Skirmunt. “Despite this, we are able to handle this situation and adapt to suit the market requirements. It’s not something difficult or annoying, often things like this is part of our business, and we get used to it,” he added. Due to the distance and competition from Australia, Skirmunt does not think that Malaysia would significantly increase their orders any time soon. But he does seem to be optimistic when speaking of other Middle East potentials. “So far, our Middle East clients never gave us wrong information as far as requirements are concerned. We can have a higher speed of production when we do Halal for them. It’s not so strict in terms of waiting for the animal to assure the condition of the animal, so this has enabled us to do a more regular production,” he said.

Cooperation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA). The proof was quite evident, not just for new markets but also existing ones. In 2006, Brazil exported over US$3.9 billion worth of beef, a sharp 26% increase from 2005’s value of US$3.15 billion. Over US$1.45 billion come from the European Union, with the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Bulgaria remaining as their biggest markets – a significant 77% of the entire export to EU. Russia however remains as their single largest beef buyer, importing over US$760 million (320,000 tons) worth of beef in 2006 – a hefty 19% of total Brazilian export. Other significant markets include the United States, Hong Kong, Israel and Romania.

P

ERHAPS THE BIGGEST new market is that of the Middle East, or the Halal market. Foremost on the list of existing importers are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Iran, also with a combined 19% share of total Brazilian beef exports in 2006. For the first six months of 2007, these four countries bought in a total of US$440 million worth of beef from Brazil. Despite the healthy figures, the market is still considered as relatively untapped. “I believe that the main growth of our sales will be in the Middle East, because there are still some countries that do not buy Brazilian beef because of lack of sanitary agreements, and this is easily rectifiable,” said Andre Skirmunt, marketing director of Independencia Alimentos. He also thinks Brazil will have an even stronger presence in the existing countries they are trading with because of their quality and price factor. “The consumption of beef is directly correlated with improvements in purchasing power,” explain de Moraes. “The more purchasing power a population has, the more they want to improve their

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eating habits, and this means eating more animal protein, i.e. from beef, lamb, poultry or fish. And this is what’s happening in more emerging markets like the Middle East.” Aside from the four major importing countries, Brazilian beef are also being exported into other Arab nations including Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait, UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, even Iraq. To satisfy these markets, the meat must meet strict Halal requirements, the most basic being the meats must be stun free. The slaughtering and certification of Halal meats in Brazil are being done by either the Federation of Muslims Association of Brazil (FAMBRAS), through its Halal subsidiary CIBAL; or the Islamic Dissemination Centre to Latin America (CDIAL), through its subsidiary the Halal Slaughtering Group (GAH). Although officially registered as a body in December 1979, the establishment of FAMBRAS goes back to mid 1977 when the Brazilian Muslim communities came together. “This is also a period when Brazilian beef and poultry producers first made contact with Muslim countries to export their products,” said its secretary general Fahad H. Alesa. Aside from issuing Halal certificates, FAMBRAS through CIBAL also manage all professional, social and welfare needs of all Muslim slaughtermen in Brazil. This not only includes work permits and training but also housing needs and work place for new arrivals in Brazil.

Halal certified

Similarly, CDIAL’s Halal Slaughtering Group is also made up of a group of supervisors and slaughtermen who oversee and undertake the Halal slaughter activities within various meat processing plants across Brazil. Its vice president Ali Ahmad Saifi is also the head of Inspection and Halal Certification Department of GAH.

T

O FURTHER ASSERT their dominance over the global meat market, entrepreneurial Brazilians are utilising all possible avenues at their disposal, including global trade partnerships as well as specialised branding exercise, aimed at identifying the brand as a global best seller. For this purpose, ABIEC launched the “Brazilian Beef” campaign in 2001 by creating a seal and extensive marketing strategy to increase product recognition of end consumers within more than 170 countries around the world. “We intend to identify and create value for our product,” said de Moraes. Participations in major

international food fairs were also undertaken. In partnership with APEX-Brazil - the federal government’s Export Promotion Agency, the uniquelystyled Brazilian barbeque “churrasco”” was served at various food fairs including SIAL in Paris, Anuga in Cologne and Gulfood in Dubai. Brazilian barbeque restaurants have also become an export product, as well as an effective marketing and promotional tool. The assorted skewer, with several different meats on one split, or skewer, is now common in Atlanta, New Orleans and Chicago; as well as in Rome and Milan; Lisbon, Tokyo, Peking, Kuala Lumpur and Auckland. Manama in Bahrain recently became the first Middle East city to have a genuine Brazilian churrasco outlet with the opening of “Fire of Brazil” franchise, originally located in Atlanta, USA. From the amount of press coverage it generated, it shouldn’t be too long until these restaurants find footing in many other Middle East cities and around the world. hj

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BRAZIL

A Hub for Muslims in

LAT A IN AMERICA AT The influence of Muslims in Brazil is getting more widespread, a scenario that has become increasingly evident over the past 30 years or so. Hazel Hassan Hisham analyses the factors that contribute to this changing religious landscape of Brazil.

Brazil, the melting pot of

culture and language with about 220 aborigines who speak over 180 distinct languages help make it one of the most attractive tourism destinations today. It proudly hosts more than four million tourists per year from the year 2000 on. One of the major and special attractions is the Brazilian people. Brazil is also the birthplace of many cults from a variety of religious movements with very rich elements influencing the Brazilian culture making it a colorful cornucopia of lifestyles it is today. This country of sun, sand and samba is the only Latin American nation that derives its language and culture from Portugal. Brazil was colonised for three centuries from 1500 under the rule of Portugal. Its major early influence is derived from Portuguese culture because of the strong colonial ties with the Portuguese empire. It became an independent nation in 1822 and subsequently a republic in 1889.

THE DAWN OF ISLAM

Beginning of 1550, the Portuguese began to trade African slaves to work the sugar plantations, once the native Tupi people deteriorated. The arrival of Islam in Brazil was first practiced by these African slaves. Scholars claim that Brazil received more enslaved Muslims than anywhere else in the Americas. Apart from religion, the significant Africans existence in Brazil also influenced Brazil’s music, dance, cuisine and language. As late as 1910 it is estimated that there were still some 100,000 African Muslims living in Brazil and the population grew to the other neighboring countries like Venezuela, Colombia and some Caribbean islands. Interestingly, the next period of Islam in the country was primarily the result of Muslim migration from

the Middle East and South East Asia. Of Brazil’s 186 million people, an estimated 11 million Syrian and Lebanese immigrants or those originating from the Middle-East live throughout Brazil, making it the largest Arab community outside the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. Some of these MiddleEastern from Lebanon and Syria are composed mainly of Orthodox Christian Arabs. The second Arabic wave of migration took place about 40 years ago and that brought a large concentration of Muslims to Brazil. Although some writings cited that 1.5 million of these Middle-Eastern origins are Muslims, accurate statistics are unavailable. The biggest concentration of Muslims is currently found in the greater São Paulo region, which is located in the South Eastern part of Brazil. The booming economy in the 20th century witnessed the arrival of huge waves of immigrants.

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THERE ARE QUITE A NUMBER OF MOSQUES IN THE GREATER SAO PAULO AREA. THE OLDEST AND MOST POPULAR OF THESE IS FOUND ON AV. DO ESTADO, ESTABLISHED ABOUT 70 YEARS AGO.

In addition to the Europeans, there were also large numbers of Japanese and Arab immigrants arriving in the first half of the 20th century. It is presumed that Sao Paulo is home to approximately 500,000 Muslims today. There are quite a number of mosques in the greater Sao Paulo area. The oldest and most popular of these is found on Av. Do Estado, established about 70 years ago. Today, the mosque has added a Quranic school, a small library, a large kitchen and meeting hall for various functions. As has been the case in many of the larger metropolitan mosques in South America, foreign assistance and individual effort have played major roles in the sustainability of the mosques in the greater Sao Paolo area. THE HUB OF LATIN MUSLIMS

The Muslim influence in Brazil is widespread. Indeed, Brazil has become a hub for Islam in Latin America, a scenario that has become more and more evident. During the past 30 years, Islam has become increasingly noticeable in the Brazilian society and has created a place within the populace by the building of mosques, libraries, arts centres and schools. Currently there are approximately 55 mosques and Muslim religious centers. Interestingly, the first mosque was built during the middle of the last century. The first Arabic language newspaper appeared in Sao Paulo in the same year as an Arab charitable organisation known as the Socieda Maronita de Beneficiencia was established. Founded in 1952, Brazil’s most important Arab institutions, the ArabBrazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB) today boasts of 3,000 members representing companies in agribusiness, banking, manufacturing, petroleum, retail sales, textiles, tourism and telecommunications. Headquartered on the 17th and 18th floors of a skyscraper in the heart of Sao Paulo’s financial district, CCAB also runs a bilingual news agency, Agencia de Noticias Brasil-Arabe, which was created to minimise the communications gap between Brazil and the 22 Arab countries represented by the Chamber. These bonds are further strengthened after visits from head of states translating into a substantial increase towards trading revenues for both the Arab Leagues and Brazil, a major milestone not to be undermined. Today, Brazil has emerged to be one of the largest exporters of Halal meat products in the world with close to 18% of total meat imports into the Middle East being supplied by Brazilian companies. Major

Brazilian meat companies have dedicated Halal production facilities to cater for the Middle Eastern markets, thus positioning Brazil amongst the most competitive producers and exporters of Halal meat products in the world. HALAL STANDARD IS BORN

Brazilian production of cattle and poultry companies made their first contacts with the Muslim countries asking for their requirements and manners of Halal slaughtering in order to open the markets for their exports. A delegation of Ulamma from Al-AWKAF Ministry (Egypt) and the World Muslim League (Saudi Arabia) visited Brazil and met with interested firms and chose a Muslim co-coordinator Hajj Hussein El Zoghbi to oversee the operations. After examining some slaughtering houses, standards on facilities, hygiene and sanitation for export which were found to be excellent, Hajj El Zoghbi was asked to proceed with the setting up jointly with the concerned companies ensuring methods and definitions of Halal food to be consistent with Islamic instructions. Via its vehicles, the Federation of Muslim Associations of Brazil (FAMBRAS) together with the Brazilian Beef Industry and Exporters Association Brazil ensure and implement all Halal methods in all slaughtering houses that export to Islamic countries. The relationship created and set an example of a milestone within the Halal meat industries around the world. FAMBRAS has successfully created independently a company that is responsible for all of the workers in the Halal process from Slaughtermen, supervisors, up to other employees for the execution

of Halal service thus creating a competitive edge over the other producers of meat in the world. Via Cibal Halal control system, FAMBRAS ensures all aspects from the slaughtering room through all the stages such as processing, packing storage, checking of all polybags and cartons details, and loading containers to the supervisors. Today they have over 320 workers in their team including slaughter-men and supervisors in the area of victuals with wide experience in the Halal process. FAMBRAS plays a significant role in Brazil in prompting and enriching the lives of Muslims not only by supervising the Halal process for their own domestic consumption but also looking after the issuance of its certificates. FAMBRAS also gives both financial and moral support for Islamic schools, centers, associations and mosques. By participating in activities such as those, it helps to ensure and enrich the growth of the Muslim community and also promotes the Islamic faith through all possible media channels. GROWING STRONGER

With a population of over 186 million (0.9% Muslims) and a real economic growth rate of 2.8%, and the fact that Brazil is one of the countries dominating the meat production and exports, Halal will play a major role in Brazil in years to come. This is supported, also by the fact that, the United States of America (US), Argentina, China, Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Nigeria, and Japan are Brazil’s major trading partners. This, coupled with a strengthening agriculture sector that boosts coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus, and beef, with a labor force of 96.34 million – agriculture 20 per cent, industry 14 per cent, and services 66 per cent – will certainly urge a healthy growth of the Halal industry in Brazil and ensuring its domestic Muslim consumers to continuously have Halal resources. What is significant about the Islamic presence in South America and in Brazil specifically is that it has survived for so long. Looking at its history, Islam is not alien to the Brazilian community and will still be distinguishingly significant in Brazil.

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The Power of

Good Intentions Words By KAMARUL AZNAM KAMARUZAMAN

Its midnight in the central-western state of Matto Grosso do Sul in Brazil and the glimmer of Cruzeiro do Sul, a kite-shaped four-star constellation visible only in southern hemisphere, clearly illuminates the late August night sky.

O

ur safari tour guide continues to shine his high-powered spotlight all around the slowly moving truck. He is on the lookout for the elusive jaguars, now highly endangered with the surrounding wetlands being one of its last known natural habitats. We have spotted several local faunas along the way, including capybaras, alligators, owls, even the ocelots. Yet, the majestic jaguar remains obscure. We were told that several Animal Planet researchers got lucky a few weeks earlier, when they spotted not one, but two jaguars copulating within the vicinity. Not only was it the first time such an act ever caught on tape, it was also a feat never imagined possible within this vast and developed agriculture area.

Located within the Brazilian Pantanal region - the world’s largest wetland and endorsed by UNESCO as an ecological sanctuary - Fazenda San Francisco is a 14,800hectare farm that produces irrigated rice and raises cattle. It is also an unmistakable testament of harmonious co-existence between humans and the native wildlife. The man behind this intricate balancing act is Roberto F. Coelho, owner of the fazenda, or farm in Portugese. The Halal Journal

managed to persuade him to come clean and explain how he managed to juggle between his farm’s agriculture activities and at the same time, consciously protecting the surrounding flora and fauna. PEASE TELL US ABOUT THIS JAGUAR RESEARCH YOU ARE UNDERTAKING, THE GADONCA PROJECT. Yes, this is our most important project. We have two full time resident biologists who record everything that the jaguars do – what they kill to eat and

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We have to know the impact of what we are doing, and these researches give us that information. In other words, if I know what I’m causing from my farming actions, I can try to find better ways to do what I have to do.

which is currently on hold, which is with the ocelots, a small cat that looks like a jaguar but feeds on mice. When the time comes to harvest the rice, the mice population gets bigger and so will the ocelot’s population. It’s an interesting study, but the biologist for this is currently working on another research, so we have to stop for the moment. But we have the data and it can be continued later. WHY? WHY ARE YOU UNDERTAKING ALL THIS? Well, I think that it is possible to rear cattle and produce rice with techniques that cares for the environment, so that we can do a farm management that is less aggressive to nature. But first, we have to understand what is currently happening in the farm. We have to know the impact of what we are doing, and these researches give us that information. In other words, if I know what I’m causing from my farming actions, I can try to find better ways to do what I have to do. BUT THE DAMAGE HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE BY THE EARLIER GENERATIONS OF FARMERS. IT WILL TAKE AGES TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE, PROBABLY NOT AT ALL. True, you can say that the older generations are less concerned about the environment, and this has misled people to think that the current generation of farmers are also not concerned. But that reality is now changing. Through eco-tourism activities like this, it’s not only generating money for us, it’s also contributing to preserving the environment.

where. We take pictures with our camera traps and identify each individual jaguar using a radio collar we had tagged earlier. Our objectives are to understand their hunting pattern and to identify the factors that would expose my livestock to the attacks of these predators. Our records show that there are at least five jaguars residing within my property and this is a project we spend the most time on, five years now. YOU MEAN THERE ARE OTHER RESEARCHES ONGOING? Oh yes. We track all kinds of animals surviving on the rice plots. We undertake four main researches on this farm. There is also another project,

WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE? WHAT DO YOU AIM TO ACHIEVE NEXT 10 TO 20 YEARS? I would like to keep on being an efficient and quality food producer, with a production that does not damage the environment I operate in. For that to happen, I need to use technologies that will afford me to produce more within that same unit of area, but also without bringing in new dangers to the environment. This is my long term goal, but of course, it’s a constant struggle towards the search for sustainable development. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY CONSTANT STRUGGLE? See, it is very important that people continue to fight for good and healthy nature to live in. But the human population still have to eat, to run their cars, to put clothes on and to have steady supply of energy. These needs, a big part of them come out of the land, like sugarcane being used to make ethanol as an alternative fuel and soy beans used to make bio-diesel and move the tractors and trucks. So, if any damage is being caused, it is because somebody is paying for that damage. It’s a constant struggle. To

me, the smartest thing to do is to buy products that are certified as not bringing more damage to nature. THAT’S EASIER SAID THAN DONE ISN’T IT? Well, you certainly can’t be poetic about all this. But as long as people understand that we cannot get anything without a cost, that’s enough for me. A good example is irrigation. They say digging canals for irrigation destroys the landscape. But we must understand that high-yielding crops need water. A hectare of rice field with no irrigation will produce only one tonne of rice. But with irrigation, you can produce nine tonnes. So its better that I do irrigation here instead of another farmer ploughing down nine hectares of forest in the Amazonia to produce the same quantity. Another good example is transgenic, or genetically modified crops, which people say have ethical problems. Many are against it, but transgenic crop uses less insecticides and pesticides, because the plant is more resistant to diseases and bugs. Surely it’s better to have a plant like that than having crops that have been sprayed three to four different types of herbicides and other chemicals six or seven times before. We have to be rational and have trust in our researchers, and continue to look for ways to produce more using the same acreage of land we have opened. OKAY, COMING BACK TO YOUR STRUGGLE. THESE STUDIES OBVIOUSLY NEED MONETARY COMMITMENT. HOW DO YOU MAKE IT WORK? I am in it for the long term. Instead of spending the money to market my ecotourism business, I spend on the research, and we publish our findings and progress on the Internet and that has since spread by word-of-mouth. We also receive eco-volunteers from all over the world, staying at the farm for a month or two, usually students who just finished their study and wanted to gain on-site experience. They are also another way of spreading what we’re doing here. Some will come back with more friends and it goes on. In the end, not only can the project be self-financed, the environment and wildlife are also protected. I believe in the power of good intentions… Suddenly the truck grinds to a halt and the driver quickly shuts the engine off. The beam from the guide’s spotlight bounces off a pair of shiny eyes within the edge of the forest. It’s one of the jaguars, whispered Roberto. Everybody remain silent as we watched in awe at this magnificent beast, savouring the moment. It was meant to be, I whispered back at him. Deep inside I prayed that my children will one day still be able to watch these beautiful creations of Allah and thanked Him hj for putting Roberto in charge. THE HALAL JOURNAL

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How long can the Muslims sit back and let the non-Muslim countries produce food for us? Countries like Australia, New Zealand and Brazil have long been profiting from supplying Halal. What is happening out there with the Muslims? Khatijah Rahmat puts two Muslim countries, Indonesia and Malaysia, under the microscope.

Muslims in Agriculture

LESSONS FROM INDONESIA AND MALAYSIA

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razilian agriculture sector is a good example of a non Muslim country currently laughing all the way to the bank by supplying to the Halal market. The immediately recognised factors for Brazil’s booming agriculture industry are its vast natural resources and the growing demand for emerging markets in China and the Middle East. The market-liberalisation of 1999 allowed for greater competitiveness in the agrofood sector globally, and Brazil’s government has since been active in engaging its people in incentives such as preferential credit, tax exemption and much more. However, much of the Islamic world shares these potentially conducive factors for agricultural progress. Demand

being global and the Islamic world being gifted with its own resources, they also commonly have paternal governments. Even in terms of demographics, although Brazil supports the massive population of up to 190 million and is able to fill in the employment gaps, populous Muslim countries do not enjoy the same advantages as that of Brazil. We may discount comparisons with countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh that have long suffered from environmental disasters and political turbulence, but comparisons closer to home such as Indonesia and Malaysia raise interesting considerations. As we have seen, improved technology and strategic diplomatic ties can ensure a country’s leading position in agriculture. Despite

Brazil’s prodigal performance, the European Union remains among the most prominent leaders in terms of agricultural output. The European Union defeats Brazil in terms of the sector’s contribution to their overall GDP. Short of concerns of biodiversity, however, analysts are confident that Brazil will eventually threaten the EU’s present standing. With Brazil gaining more profit, more domestic money is entering the agricultural sector that will ensure great consideration in international market dealings as well as advances in science that will no doubt increase production and quality. With the high increase in palm oil in both Malaysia and Indonesia, such an eventual progression in agriculture should also be expected.

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However, the two countries have very different issues.Indonesia, being the world’s fourth most populated country in the world has a crippling employment problem. Despite the increase in oil prices, regardless of this being fuel or bio-fuel, the government either has no financial capacity to fund for further oil exploration or they have an issue of distributing profits. Leading Indonesian palm oil companies are also run by very few conglomerates and job opportunities, nor land, are pooled to the people. Heavily in debt, Indonesia is desperate to find financial support in these areas to which they feel they can make the most immediate profit. Until advances are made in this sector, it will be difficult to see other levels in agriculture progress. Under the leadership of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of current, the government is actively encouraging foreign partnerships to secure

there are also active government commitments into forwarding agriculture in Malaysia. As to why Malaysia remains an unthreatening presence in the world of agriculture has to do, specifically, with the exact nature of demographics in Malaysia. Brazil is a largely rural state, with a spread-out population. The employment gaps are easily satisfied in all levels of the agriculture industry because there is a ready supply of workforce from all backgrounds. Farming at its most basic level does not require qualifications but experience.

potentials in agriculture, which can indeed be very lucrative. It is harder to explain the motivations behind Malaysians in rural areas, who have demonstrated an equal lack of enthusiasm in agriculture. As part of the ECER effort, a few thousand of the poorest in Malaysia’s poorest state were offered hectares of land for palm oil plantation. This was met with an impressively low response, however, with many providing the excuse that it was simply “too troublesome”. The government expressed their disappointment

WHAT IS NEVERTHELESS SIGNIFICANT TO NOTE IS THAT THERE IS NO DRIVE FROM THE MALAYSIAN POPULATION ITSELF TO DEAL IN AGRICULTURE FROM THE GROUND UP. the oil sectors, but issues such as political stability and to certain degree terrorism, remain a hindrance. What of Malaysia, then? Compared to Brazil, Indonesia and much of the Islamic world, Malaysia is among the most politically stable and economically healthy states, and is also empowered with all the advantages mentioned. At a modest 25 million people, Malaysia launched massive projects in agriculture and is channelling billions of dollars into universities and laboratories for agriculture. The NCER (The Northern Corridor Economic Region) and the ECER (The Eastern Corridor Economic Region) collectively will involve eight states in the Malaysian peninsular at the collective sum of approximately USD $85 billion dollars, a large stake of it specifically in the pursuit of optimising agriculture’s potential. Not only is money being channelled into the system,

Higher-tier facets of agriculture will require scientists and efficient factories. Brazil’s population can accommodate for a lack of these features with sheer human capital. The challenge facing Malaysia, however, is somewhat the opposite. Malaysia’s population is greatly middle-class and the government’s vigorous efforts in shaping a nation of professionals may have possibly secured this in the foreseeable future. This has also contributed to the psyche in the Malaysian polity which is urban-centric. Many youths, upon graduation see their futures fixed determinately in Kuala Lumpur or its greater area and rarely explore

and have since been promoting the ECER to other states the benefits of enthusiastic involvement. Socio-political circumstances have greater place to explain such reception. What is nevertheless significant to note is that there is no drive from the Malaysian population itself to deal in agriculture from the ground up. Brazil and Indonesia, however, have massive populations that, if not afflicted with severe destitution, constantly suffer from the threat of it. At the most atomic level, when it comes down to personalities, the best explanation as to why Brazil progresses and Malaysia does not, is in the simple rationale of motivation.

hj

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In this industrialised era, high value added products such as food or pharmaceutical ingredients are in demand by manufacturers to improve their goods. Consumers on the other hand must start questioning to learn more about the ingredients put into the products we buy. The question here: what is L-Cysteine and what is its Halal status? Ruzanna Muhammad analyses.

L-Cysteine ANOTHER PANDORA’S BOX?

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t first mention of Halal, most people would think of Halal food products, which of course, as most agree, does not only relate to food, but also other applications such as pharmaceuticals and personal care. Ingredients being an important part that makes up a product, are now being scrutinised more than before, particularly because consumers are now more aware of the ingredients, be it in food or any other products. Issues concerning gelatine and MSG as ingredients have brought upon a certain level of awareness, especially amongst the Muslims consumers, who have started questioning the origins of these ingredients, and ultimately, probing into the Halal status of products containing these ingredients. One such ingredient is L-Cysteine. First broached by the Muslims Consumer Group (MCG) from Illinois, the issue with L-Cysteine was obvious – its source. It has been said that L-Cysteine is produced from human hair. Before coming to a conclusion whether this is permissible or not under Shariah, let us analyse the different facets of the issue at hand. WHAT IS L-CYSTEINE? Cysteine is a sulphur-containing amino acid found amongst the twenty natural amino acids. It contains a thiol (sulphydryl) group. Thiol groups can undergo oxidation or reduction (redox) reactions. When oxidised, cysteine can form cystine, which is two cysteine residues joined by a disulphide bond. This reaction is reversible, whereby the redox reaction of the disulphide bonds regenerates two cysteine molecules. The disulphide bonds of cysteine are crucial in defining the structure of many proteins. Cysteine in its most naturally occurring form is L-Cysteine. The nomenclature “L” refers to levorotatory, which describes the rotation direction of the plane of polarisation by the structure and arrangement of the molecule. The cysteine molecule is optically active, which means it has the ability to rotate the plane of polarisation of polarised light (polarised light vibrates only in a single plane, unlike ordinary light, which vibrates in all directions). When the molecule rotates the plane of polarisation to the left, it is levorotatory; and dextrorotatory, if it rotates to the right. The discovery of the conversion of cysteine by the redox reaction goes as far back as 1810, although it was then not recognised as a component of proteins. This only happened in 1899, when cysteine was isolated from animal horn, where it is particularly abundant in skeletal and connective tissues, hair and digesting enzymes.

SPACE-FILLING MODEL OF CYSTEINE

Cysteine is an important precursor in the production of proteins, such as the antioxidant glutathione, taurine, coenzyme A and inorganic sulphate in our body, and other organisms. Cysteine is classified as a non-essential amino acid because sufficient amounts of cysteine can be produced by the cells in our body, under normal physiological conditions, from the dietary essential amino acid, L-Methionine, and the non-essential amino acid, L-Serine, via a transsulphuration reaction. The steps following the formation of cystine to cysteine is from methionine to cystathionine, and then to cystine, to cysteine – by way of transsulphuration and redox or oxidation reactions.

Cysteine is an important precursor in the production of proteins, such as the antioxidant glutathione, taurine, coenzyme A and inorganic sulphate in our body, and other organisms. The systemic availability of oral glutathione (GSH) is, however, negligible because the vast majority of it must be manufactured intracellularly. Cysteine is the ratelimiting substrate for the synthesis of glutathione within the cell, as it is not readily available in our diet.

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L-Cysteine L- CYSTEINE SKELETAL STRUCTURE

With its antioxidant properties, cysteine is also useful to detoxify the body from harmful toxins and help protect the brain, liver and lungs from damage from alcohol, drugs, cigarette or cigar smoking, and so on. The thiol group of cysteine serves as a proton-donor, responsible for the biological activities of glutathione. L-CYSTEINE’S CURRENT USAGE Cysteine is currently being used for applications within the food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries. In food industries, one of the largest applications is the production of flavours, such as the meat flavour in vegetarian foods. L-Cysteine is also used as a dough conditioner – as a flour treatment agent and a processing aid especially in bakeries. Small quantities (in the tens of ppm – parts per minute – range) help to soften the dough and thus reduce processing time, developing a more pliable and extensible dough. However, L-Cysteine rarely appears as an ingredient on food packaging labels because – as reasoned by food manufacturers – the substance breaks down in the cooking process, and is used in very small quantities. When labelled on food packaging, L-Cysteine carries the E number E910, E920 or E921. E numbers are codes for food additives and are usually found on food labels throughout the European Union (EU). The numbering scheme follows that of the International Numbering System (INS) as determined by the Codex Alimentarius Committee. The EU approves only a subset of the INS additives, giving rise to the ‘E’ prefix. In the field of personal care, cysteine is used in permanent wave (or more commonly known as perm) applications in salons, predominantly in Asian countries. Other applications include skincare product range, because cysteine has antioxidant properties, which protects the skin from the effects of ultra violet rays from the sun. Therefore, cysteine has an anti-aging effect on the skin and maintains the elasticity of the skin, as it is also important for the production of collagen. Supplemental L-Cysteine is also taken to promote healthy skin, hair and nail texture, and elasticity. Within the pharmaceutical industry, supplemental L-Cysteine

L- CYSTEINE 3D MODEL

may be essential for pre-term infants, the elderly, and individuals with certain metabolic disease or people suffering from malabsorption syndromes. It also works as an antidote to acetaminophen overdose, and accidental consumption of other poison or drugs, such as insecticide poisoning from Cartap Hydrochloride 4% G. Another important function of cysteine is as a mucolytic agent, whereby it breaks up the disulphide bonds in the mucus and thus liquefying it, making it easier to cough up. Cysteine-based mucolytic agent is used as adjuvant therapy for patients with abnormal, viscid, or inspissated mucous secretions in conditions such as chronic and acute bronchopulmonary diseases, pulmonary complications of cystic fibrosis, and tracheostomy care. With its antioxidant properties, cysteine is also useful to detoxify the body from harmful toxins and help protect the brain, liver and lungs from damage from alcohol, drugs, cigarette or cigar smoking, and so on. In a 1994 report released by five major cigarette companies to the US Department of Health and Human Services, cysteine is listed as one of the 599 additives in a cigarette. Like most cigarette additives, its use or purpose is specifically unknown. However, its inclusion

could offer two benefits: acting as an expectorant, since smoking increases mucus production in the lungs; and increasing the beneficial antioxidant glutathione, which is diminished in smokers. Cysteine also aids in the remedy of certain symptoms of veisalgia – most commonly termed as hangover – which describes the sum of unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. Cysteine attracts acetaldehyde, which is a particularly toxic by-product of alcohol in the human body – and breaks it down into the non-toxic acetate, a substance similar to vinegar. A Finnish company, Biohit Oyj, owns the patents for the methods of developing cysteinecontaining and acetaldehydeeliminating preparations that could eventually be used for the prevention of upper digestive tract cancers that are caused by smoking and alcohol drinking. Professor Miko Salaspuro and Professor Martti Marvola from the University of Helsinki were the developers of these methods. A propos these methods, Biohit Oyj produced cysteine-containing chewing gum, which was launched in May 2006 at the 11th International Congress on Oral Cancer (ICOOC), in Grado, Italy. These aforementioned

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benefits and applications of cysteine are, however, only to name a few in the various industries mentioned. ORIGIN OF L-CYSTEINE Now that we have an understanding of the fundamentals of L-Cysteine, let us move on to the next important point – its origin or source of material. It has been clearly mentioned that our body can synthesise cysteine under normal physiological conditions. Now, consider mass production for various applications in different industries. What is the source of synthesis? Let us look into this, closely, starting with the dietary sources of L-Cysteine available. L-Cysteine can be found in many high protein foods such as poultry, wheat, broccoli, eggs, asparagus, as well as garlic, onions and red peppers. Therefore, daily consumption of these high protein foods would provide sufficient amounts of cysteine for our body. However, in this highly industrialised era, high value added ingredients or products are necessary as an aid or supplement, to a processing line in manufacturing

via hydrolysis of the human hair. Japan and Germany – two other major manufacturing countries for cysteine – on the other hand, use only raw materials from nonhuman and non-animal origins. An important point to note is that there are alternative sources for the production of cysteine. A German company, Wacker Chemie AG, for example produce cysteine via a microbial fermentation using only raw materials from plant origin or inorganic traces – as mentioned by Dr. Markus Busold, Marketing and Sales, Cysteine and Fine Chemicals from this company. He also said that their product, in this case Cysteine, is Halal-certified by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council

Claiming that cysteine from chicken feathers may be deemed as Halal, only if the feathers are from chickens slaughtered in accordance to the Shariah. plants, increasing the production and quality of the products. Otherwise, these high value added products as dietary supplements have been regarded as essential by many who are health conscious, especially with all the instant food and ready-to-eat meals available. On top of that, most people in cities live a fast paced life, and more often than not, most only have time to grab a quick bite to eat, resorting to fast foods or less nutritious food. Hence, the need for extra supplements to replace the nutrition lost. Therefore, mass production of certain ingredients or supplementary substitutes is necessary. MASS PRODUCING L-CYSTEINE Cysteine was first isolated from animal horn in 1899, which then lead to the discovery of other available sources that are rich in keratin (a protein constituent) in its structure, such as chicken or duck feathers, pig bristles, animal hooves or claws, and human hair. Human hair is rich in alpha keratin, and cysteine makes up 14 per cent of its structure. The reason human hair was – and in some manufacturing companies, is still – used as a raw material for the mass production of cysteine is because human hair is easily available and is the cheapest source relative to other obtainable sources. China is the largest manufacturer of cysteine

of America (IFANCA). In Japan, one of their Cysteinemanufacturing companies, Ajinomoto Company, uses a combination of the synthesis and biological technique to manufacture L-Cysteine from synthetic materials. In reference to a research conducted by Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed from MCG in Illinois, Ajinomoto’s L-Cysteine has obtained the necessary Halal certification from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). L-CYSTEINE’S HALAL STATUS The overwhelming bit about cysteine is undoubtedly its Halal status. The issue is, as previously mentioned, mainly because of its source – the raw material from which cysteine is produced. Islamic organisations and Halal certifiers are unified in classifying cysteine from human hair as non-Halal or unlawful according to Shariah. Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed

stated, in his publication ‘A Comprehensive List of Halal Food Products in US Supermarkets’ Supermarkets’, “Islam does not allow any part of the human body to be used as food. Therefore, MCG considers products containing cysteine (from human hair) as non-Halal.” Vis-à-vis other sources of cysteine, there are differing opinions on confirming the Halal status of cysteine from chicken or duck feathers. MCG, for example, does not give the Halal status for food products with cysteine from chicken feathers and human hair. Therefore, MCG does not consider cysteine synthesised from feathers as Halal. On the other hand, Mariam Abdul Latiff – former Principal Assistant Director of the Halal Hub Division from the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (JAKIM) – provided a Halal guideline concerning Cysteine; “If the source of L-Cysteine is Halal and Tayyib (lawful and wholesome), hence the substance may be said to be Halal.” Therefore, claiming that cysteine from chicken feathers may be deemed as Halal, only if the feathers are from chickens slaughtered in accordance to the Shariah. The Halal status of bovine gelatine, for example, applies to this rule of thumb; whereby if the source is from a Halal slaughtered cow, therefore the gelatine produced is also Halal – bearing in mind that the whole manufacturing process applies to the Halal standards, from farm to fork. Having mentioned all there is to be said about cysteine, it is now up to the consumers to decide whether to use or consume cysteine-containing products. For a start, consumers should be more aware of Halal issues related to ingredients in products, which will ultimately create demand for transparency in packaging labels from the manufacturers, in addition to increasing the demand and preference for Halal products. The next step is for the manufacturers to realise this demand, and act upon it, constantly keeping consumers updated and creating awareness on all hj new ingredients in the market. THE HALAL JOURNAL

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OF THE HALAL SUPPLY CHAINS Visibility of your Halal supply chain (from farm to fork) is a critical success factor in ensuring the Halal integrity of your products for the end-consumer. Visibility is therefore a very important topic to be addressed by the Halal industry. Ir. Marco Tieman will provide a better understanding of what visibility is all about, discussing leading visibility technologies as well as share the important implications of Halal within your visibility requirements.

DIAGRAM 1 VISIBILITY DEFINED

Although supply chain visibility is a terminology commonly used across all industries, no standard definition has been agreed upon however. Supply chain visibility is about successful communication across the different nodes within the supply chain to enable a company better understand what is going on in its supply chain.

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upply chain visibility addresses important aspects of a Halal supply chain such as the order status updates, quality information of product, harvest estimates (in case of agriculture products), shipment status updates, tracking and tracing, inventory positions and asset tracking. Leaders in supply chain management are using various technologies to realise visibility and embedding logistics excellence into their supply chain. Halal Logistics is synonymous with Logistics Excellence.

The advantages of a solid visibility are a better control of the integrity of a supply chain, transportation cost reduction, inventory level reduction, materials handling cost reduction, direct material cost reduction, order cycle time improvement, order rill rate improvement, order lead time improvement, reduction of stock outs, reduction of customer turnover and improvement of promotion effectiveness. VISIBILITY TECHNOLOGIES Common systems in the supply chain are enterprise

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resource planning systems (like SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft), Supply Chain Planning (I2, SAP APO, Manugistics, Demantra) and Supply Chain Execution (Manhattan, G-log, EXE, Log-Net, GT Nexus, Yantra, etc). However, these systems have complex transactional system integration issues, hidden connections between systems and poor linkage of date between systems. This makes communication between different supply chain parties a major challenge.

Supply Chain Plannning

Supply Chain Execution

Enterprise Resource Plannning

In the case of product recalls, batches can be isolated to minimise damages of product recall but even more important image of your product. Halal supply chains are shorter supply chains than the conventional supply chains. This means that there can be a more intensive relationship in a supply chain, which simplifies the complexity of the supply chain as well as the visibility challenges. The dominance of a player in a supply is important either as initiator of the visibility initiative or supporter. The starting point of a visibility initiative is with the individual existing ICT infrastructure. As SME software solutions are widely available and often connected to the

partners and product order information (virtual) and alignment of logistics standard operating procedures with the supply chain partners (physical). By providing a visibility platform, the Halal industry can better anticipate on the latest trends and customer demands that benefit the growth and evolution required for the Halal industry. CONCLUSION Evidence supports that embedding visibility into the Halal supply chain has a positive impact on various aspects, including: Higher quality customer service (ability to track & trace) Increased understanding of your (and your customers’)

Halal standards play an important role in the visibility of a Halal supply chain as the Halal certification of a product should ‘travel’ with the product and be accessible throughout the supply chain.

T

his requires the need for supply chain visibility solutions that provide multi-system visibility, leverage current infrastructure, manage cross application process & data and manage cross enterprise process and data. In this segment Viewlocity is one of the most established solutions. Implication of Halal on visibility requirements In order to ensure the Halal integrity of a supply chain, collaboration with partners in the supply chain is a must to ensure that the Halal products are transported, handled and stored in the right way at a competitive cost. An important instrument of collaboration is an information backbone that facilitates information sharing between partners. Halal standards play an important role in the visibility of a Halal supply chain as the Halal certification of a product should ‘travel’ with the product and be accessible throughout the supply chain. This applies not only for end products but also for raw materials, ingredients and additives that are part, in one way or the other, of the final Halal product. In case of enquiries on the integrity of the product, the corresponding certification details can be easily communicated.

internet, the connectivity should not be a major issue as it was five to 10 years ago. By collaborating within the Halal industry and leveraging upon the common interest in the Halal integrity along the supply chain, the costs can be minimised for the supply chain partners. An important platform for the Halal industry will be the Halal Superhighway, a logistics and trading solution for the Halal industry that can provide visibility of the supply chain. The Halal SuperHighway is neutral and will facilitate the integrity from farm to fork regardless of the Halal certificate, seaport, transporters and warehouses used. It presents a way for the Halal industry to take control of their supply chains through visibility. The visibility is made possible by registration and verification of supply chain

Halal operations Increased availability of information across the entire supply chain Improved process command and control – ExceptionBased Management Improved agility – reductions in information cycle times Increased velocity – reductions in process lead times, postponements Sharper Halal integrity responsiveness – adaptability, and Increased opportunity for joint supply chain improvement between partners The Halal industry should start today with setting the first steps in improving the visibility of their Halal supply chain by embracing ICT in their organisation and championing collaboration (by sharing demand information) with your partners within the supply chain.

hj

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fast track | AUSTRALASIA

Catering for Spiritual Needs in Australian Universities

BY SHAHIRAH ELAIZA WAN HASSAN

AUSTRALIA IS ONE of the world’s leading destinations for tertiary education and it is a popular choice for Muslim students regardless of age, nationality and ethnicity. This can be credited to the country’s strategic location and most of all its universities’ reputation for providing good education and catering to the needs of Muslim students. Over the past two years, the number of students from Saudi Arabia alone has increased by an astonishing 231 per cent and studies report that Australia can expect this kind of influx to continue for years to come. The land down under is not only a popular destination for Muslim Middle Eastern students as South East Asians, South Asians, European and African students make up a large percentage of the Muslims students pursuing tertiary education there. However, a number of issues in relation to Muslim students have occurred in several universities as of late. In Melbourne for example, a student at La Trobe University questioned the academic institution for providing a Muslimonly washroom and claimed this to be an act of biasness and discrimination. Australian Family Council spokesman, Bill Muehlenberg felt the student’s concerns over the exclusive facilities were valid and found the separate facilities to

be divisive. “If Muslims are saying ‘we are good Australians and want to integrate’, why are they insisting on separate washrooms?” he said. Another incident which happened earlier this year was the sales of “Halal” bacon and egg rolls at the Bankstown campus food cafeteria, a University of Western Sydney (UWS) campus. These incidents showed that there is a profound lack of understanding of the Islamic belief and practices in the country and solutions must be established to improve the current situation at Australian universities. The rapidly increasing number of local and international Muslim students in Australian campuses has motivated these universities to look into their needs and cater to them. The groundbreaking ‘Muslim Students – Access, Inclusion and Success’

conference that was held from 3 - 4 September 2007 at the University of Western Sydney covered issues relating to gender, discrimination and how to meet the religious needs of Muslim students. The conference was initiated by Dr. Sev Ozdowski, the Director of Equity and Diversity of UWS, which accommodates approximately 2,000 Muslim students, the highest in any Australian university. “Although Australian universities are based on a secular foundation, it is the responsibility of any university to not only deliver solid educational services but to also cater for the spiritual needs of its students,” expressed the former human rights commissioner. At the University of Western Sydney, he hopes to develop a set of national standards that can be exemplified by other academic institutions across

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fast track | AUSTRALASIA Australia. The conference was an important milestone towards this endeavour and it turned out to be a huge success which attracted more than 170 participants and received wide media coverage. In general, Australian universities have been very accommodating and attentive when it comes to catering to the requests and requirements of Muslim students. Today, there are more than 20 Muslim student associations that stand under an umbrella organisation, the Muslim Students Association of Australia (MSAA), which represents the Muslim student community of Australian colleges and universities, both separately and collectively. Their role as a student association is actually more than what meets the eye. They are an avenue for Muslim students to interact and bond with other students of the same faith and at the same time, they can exchange ideas and voice out concerns related to their experience as being Muslim student in Australia. Universities also benefit from these student organisations as it is through them the universities are able to learn and understand the needs of Muslim students and how to help make their study experience a more positive and enjoyable one. This proves that Muslim student associations hold an important responsibility to educate nonMuslims who form the majority of Australian society about the religion of Islam and its practices. Australian colleges and universities have made several efforts to attract and accommodate both local and international Muslim students. For example, La Trobe University and Monash University in Melbourne have compiled welcoming kits that consist of a Muslim student handbook containing useful and essential information. The

handbooks include a list of Halal restaurants, Halal grocery outlets, Muslim doctors, Islamic organisations, locations of mosques and all information that is related to Muslims and the Islamic way of life. When asked, Muslim student associations clarified that most Muslim students only have two main concerns – adequate prayer facilities and availability of certified Halal food on campus. In regards to prayer facilities, most tertiary academic institutions provide segregated prayer rooms or musalahs on campus for convenience and they are usually complemented with separate washrooms or at least washrooms that can be partitioned for the usage of Muslim brothers and sisters to perform ablution. MacQuarie University in Sydney, for instance, has provided a prayer room with alternate entrances and two ablution areas for the separate use of male and female students. The other main concern would be the availability of and access to Halal food on

campus. Many Muslim students find it quite difficult to get Halal food on campus and it is an issue that has been raised by Muslim students associations in most universities in Australia. Most universities such as the Brisbane-located Griffith University have made commendable efforts to reduce this problem. “University staff and private service providers on campus have worked hand in hand with the Griffith Muslim Students Association to ensure that Halal food is present on campus and residence halls,” said Ismail Essof who is a representative of the Griffith Muslim Students Association. Another noteworthy effort to offer more Halal food in the university’s premises that is currently ongoing is one by the University of Western Sydney. Halal food accreditation is the next step for the university as a means of preventing the “Halal” bacon and egg incident from re-occurring. “Over 10,000 Muslim students require Halal food throughout Australian

When asked, Muslim student associations clarified that most Muslim students only have two main concerns – adequate prayer facilities and availability of certified Halal food on campus.

universities everyday. Muslim student associations are hopeful that Australian universities will implement proper Halal certification across all campuses, InshaAllah,” expressed Mohamed Omar, a representative of the University of Western Sydney Muslim Student Association. When asked about this, Dr. Ozdowski explained: “Currently, we are in the process of negotiating with an accredited certifier of Halal food who will inspect our kitchen facilities [that are] in relation to accreditation for the provision of Halal food sold at UWSConnect food outlets.” On the whole, Muslims studying in Australia are happy and they feel satisfied with the universities’ strong interest in making sure their voices are heard and needs fulfilled. However, when questioned how Australian universities can improve, a number of students said that education is the key to understanding and familiarising one’s self with the religion of Islam. “Obstacles to providing adequate facilities for Muslims often exist because the hierarchy of the university is not aware of the dire need and importance of prayer to Muslim students,” added Ismail. There are also students such as Attiq Ur-Rehman, President of the Islamic Society of the University of South Australia in Adelaide, who feels that prayer rooms should be enhanced and enlarged to make room for the increasing number of Muslim students, as well as to accommodate the huge number of Muslim students attending Jummah prayer. In conclusion, it is crucial for Australian colleges and universities to agree on a national set of standards in their efforts to accommodate to their rapidly growing numbers of Muslim students and this endeavour is certainly one to be exemplified by other non-Islamic nations around the world.

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HALAL CERTIFICATIONS IN MUSLIMMINORITY COUNTRIES IN ASIA Thai’s Muslim population, estimated to be around 10% of the total 65 million people throughout the Kingdom of Thailand. Most Muslims, who are of Malay-Thai lineage, reside in Pattani and other southern provinces near the Malaysian border. Following the policy of decentralisation, CICOT also oversees all of 3,450 registered mosques in the country and shares its authority with the Provincial Islamic Committee that existed in 36 provinces of the total 76 provinces in Thailand.

VARIOUS HALALRELATED INSTITUTIONS IN THAILAND

Kobe Mosque

IN COUNTRIES where Muslims are the majority, Halal certification is conducted by government agencies. This is the case in Malaysia and Indonesia. However, for non-Muslim majority countries, this role is often undertaken by private Islamic associations. Irfan Sungkar was in Thailand and Japan recently and had a first-hand view of how the Halal certification is managed in those countries.

THAILAND The Central Islamic Committee of Thailand (CICOT) is the sole statutory religious organisation established for the legislation and administration of Islamic religious affairs in the Kingdom of Thailand. The statute for the administration of organisations of the Islamic Act (or the AOI

Act) was proclaimed by the Parliament and received a Royal Edict on October 17, 1997. The present Chairman of CICOT is Prof. Let. Gen. Dr. Somchai Virunhaphol, who also assumes the role of spiritual leader for the Muslims in Thailand (or Sheikhul Islam). He is also known as the

Chularajmontri. His Excellency, by virtue of his position, shares the administrative power and delegates his authority to the rest of the chairmanships at the local Provincial Islamic Committee. As the country’s sole religious authority, CICOT is representing the entire

With the aim to promote Halal industry in Thailand, the government of Thailand has established various organisations such as the Islamic Bank of Thailand, Halal Standard Institute of Thailand, The Halal Science Center of Chulalongkorn University as well as the Halal Industrial Estate in the Pattani province to empower Thailand’s competitiveness as one of the leading Halal Hub in the region. In 2003, a special body called the Halal Standard Institute of Thailand (HIT) was established under the supervision of the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand. This institution works through the Executive Committee which consists of Islamic scholars, highly experienced professionals and experts in various fields. The HIT is a national agency engaged in standard development, screening, monitoring and verification of all Halal products to be in accordance with Shariah law as well as with internationally accepted standards (Codex, HACCP, ISO, GMP, etc).

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The HIT and CICOT has also established strategic alliances with several specialised institutions in Thailand to harness the performance of Thailand’s Halal industry. For example, CICOT signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand on May 9, 2007 agreeing to cooperate for producing graduate students for the standardisation of production for Halal food.

to foreign Muslims living in Japan. Non-Muslims may also participate in JMA activities as associate members. JMA is democratically administered with the board of directors elected by the members and the president elected from among the board. Under the leadership of its current President, Mr. Amin Kimiaki Tokumasu, JMA has emerged as a respected religious association in Japan.

is also a permanent organ of the institute. Its members are Shariah specialists whose qualifications are acknowledged in many Islamic nations. As the SRI’s operative section, the Committee carries out Shariah-related projects, including Halal certification upon requests from corporations in Japan. The chair of Shariah Committee is Prof. Hideomi Moto (Tayyeb El-Mokhtar).

Islamic Center of Japan (ICJ), which started its activities since 1974 and provides Halal certification since the early 1980’s. Incidentally, this is when the former President of Pakistan, Zia Ul Haq and his presidential delegation visited Japan and requested for Halal food. The current chairman is Prof. Dr. Salih Samarrai while the active person-incharge is Hajj Salimur Khan. Although ICJ has six

Tokyo Mosque

As with the rest of the world, the Muslim association in Japan also felt the backlash of Sept 11. If ICJ had sixteen full time employees pre-2001 attacks, now they can only afford to hire one full-time worker since financial support had been non-existence since.

JAPAN There are two major Islamic associations that provide Halal certifications in Japan; the Japan Muslim Associations and the Islamic Center of Japan.

JAPAN MUSLIM ASSOCIATION Japan Muslim Association (JMA) is by and large a religious organization. Founded in 1952 and was officially recognised and registered in June 1968, JMA is the oldest Muslim organisation in Japan and is currently based in Yoyogi, Shibuya, near Tokyo. Operates as an association with members, JMA is never involved in politics nor formed by an individual leader. Full members are Muslims and registered according to JMA regulations. This also applies

Members of JMA are mostly Japanese Muslim convert, and approximately 60 to 70% of the members are women. Japan Muslim Association also acts as a Halal certification agency and the certification process is currently done through an affiliate professional body – the Shariah Research Institute of Takushoku University Tokyo led by Prof. Nuruddin Mori. The objective of the Shariah Research Institute (SRI) is to conduct comprehensive research on the politics, economy, culture and society of the Islamic world. At present, SRI has 14 employees comprising of six professors with six researchers including scientists in chemical analysis and food technologists. Central to SRI is its Shariah Committee, which

The certification process in SRI is known to be very strict. SRI will check the entire supply chain, raw materials, ingredients, additives as well as production process in the company before they deduce recommendations to JMA whether to award the company with Halal certification. At present, JMA has issued Halal certifications to approximately 60 companies, where 60 per cent are companies that produce food ingredients; 35 per cent are flavor producers and the rests are involved in other types of food related industries such as bakery and confectionery.

ISLAMIC CENTER OF JAPAN The second major Islamic organisation in Japan is the

branches in total, some branches have grown matured and become independent Islamic bodies such as the Islamic Center of Osaka and Islamic Center of Nagoya. ICJ issues Halal certification selectively. Every year, about 50 companies apply for Halal certification but on average, only 10 get certified. The reason is that companies often request Halal certificate for a period of time (usually 6 months or 1 year), but ICJ only issue Halal certification on a product basis, not on a period basis. As with the rest of the world, the Muslim association in Japan also felt the backlash of Sept 11. ICJ had sixteen full time employees pre-2001 attacks, now they can only afford to hire one full-time worker since financial support has been non-existence since.

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Filipino exporters urged to tap Global Halal Market INCREASING THE EXPOSURE of Philippine food products in the global market is the main feature of Market Information eXchange, or MIX, an annual comprehensive eight-hour workshop organised by the Centre for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the export promotions agency of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). It is in MIX where major Philippine food industry players and key authorities together with experts from various government agencies are gathered to focus on the various issues that assail food exporting. Held in the Philippine Trade Training Centre (PTTC) last month, MIX is also where crucial results of CITEM-organised and coorganised food promotion projects were unveiled and shared to the industry’s various sector representatives. One of the trade participation reports presented in MIX is about Halal food exportation carried out during the first IFEX Philippines Road Show to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries held last year. Although it highlighted only six participants, the road show was able to post US$4 million in sales. To sustain and build on the gains made last year, CITEM is once again preparing for the second edition of the IFEX Road Show to GCC countries. This year, it will be held from 5 – 18 November 2007 and will take place in Jeddah and Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, and finally Dubai. It will be led by an eight-

member SME delegation. Food manufacturing firms joining the food mission include: Fisher Farms (processed milkfish); Florence Foods Corp. (bottled preserves, processed marine products, noodles, frozen fruits and vegetables, coconut products); Fortress Food Manufacturing Corp. (canned goat meat products, canned vegetable products); KSK Food Products (Boy Bawang cornicks); Q-Phil Products International (noodles, bottled sweet preserves); and RFM Corporation (ricebased mixes, hotcake mixes, noodles, flavoured drinks, ice cream, processed meat). One of the participants in the food mission will be Fortress Food Manufacturing Corporation, which will introduce appetising canned chevon, or goat meat, in various sauces such as teriyaki, curry and vinegar under the brand name Golden Farm. “Fortress sees the huge potential of the Middle East market as we have Filipinos there and Muslim brothers who eat goat meat,” says general manager Amelia Coronel. Fortress will also be promoting stewed (kaldereta or kinaldereta) and tamarindsoured soup (sinampalukan) canned goat varieties, as well as the Filipino favourite vinegar-soured (papaitan) stew strewn with goat offal bits that make for the enticing taste, with no added preservatives and a two-year rated shelf life. Halal certified by the Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines (IDCP), Golden Farm’s canned chevon products are currently exported to the US, Canada, Australia, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Participating for the first

The IFEX Philippines Road Show to GCC countries is an effort to nourish the burgeoning market for Filipino food in the region brought about by the fast growing population of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). time is KSK Food Products, which will market a complete range of their famous Boy Bawang cornick (fried corn bits), which now comes in six flavours including garlic, hot garlic, adobo, barbecue, chilli cheese and lechon manok (roasted chicken). “We’re already exporting Boy Bawang cornick to the Middle East since 2004, but participating in this government-initiated trade mission will definitely help us expand our presence in the market by meeting new and existing buyers,” said export manager Millet Celones. They will also be launching their new Cowboy raisin-andpeanut cookies and Little Giant mini-egg cookies, available in original and chocolate variants. The company also takes pride in its industrialised production processes that ensures consistent adherence to strict hygienic standards, including ISO 22000-2005 Food Safety System, ISO 9000-2001 Quality Management System, Hazard Critical Control Point (HACCP)

and Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMP). Market penetration effort in GCC countries through extensive promotion is seen as one of the most effective ways to increase awareness about Filipino Halal-certified food products. The IFEX Philippines Road Show to GCC countries is an effort to nourish the burgeoning market for Filipino food in the region brought about by the fast growing population of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). A total of US$ 47.4 million worth of Filipino food products were imported by UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait last year and that the demand for fresh and dried fruits and Halal certified food products are continuously increasing. For more details, kindly contact CITEM’s IFEX Philippines Secretariat - Agrimarine Division at Tel: +632 831 1282 / 2201 ext. 204 or 238; Fax: +632 832 3965 / 834 0117 or E-mail: agrimarine@citem.com.ph

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Islamic Fashion

UPHOLD ISLAMIC VALUES AT ALL TIMES, URGE SWIMWEAR MAKER A Malaysian-based swimwear maker is urging all Muslims to uphold the Islamic way of life and Muslim traditional values at all times, even during their weekend pool outing. BY KAMARUL AZNAM KAMARUZAMAN

NURAINI ARIFFIN, project director of Aktif Bestari Sdn Bhd said that it is time for Muslims to dictate their own style and fashion preference according to Shariah, and consider doing away with the revealing, Western-styled one-piece swimsuits or two-piece bikinis and opt for a more decent and Shariah-compliant swimwear. She said that Muslim women should never wear something they are not comfortable with, even if their superiors forced them to. She was referring to known but unreported cases of Muslim female government officers being forced to wear traditional swimwear for lack of other options during their obligatory swimming courses. Several government agencies, such as the police and arm forces or even flight attendants require their officers to undergo a compulsory

swimming course as part of their career advancement. “It’s okay if the swimming lessons were conducted by a female instructor within a closed compound and separated from the male colleagues. But what if the swimming pool just happens to be besides a normal classroom or an office block full of prying eyes?” she asked, referring to few cases related by an insider friend. As one of the pioneers of Islamic fashion in Malaysia especially within the very niche swimwear segment, the husband and wife team manufacturers a range of lightweight and elastic swimsuits they call Active Attire. Made from spandex lycra, the same quality material used by many major swimsuit manufacturers, their swimwear sports a cool head cover and has an extra piece of skirt-

like wraparound for the hip area. The designs are not only modest and appropriate; they are also practical and can even reduce maintenance cost! According to her husband and Aktif Bestari co-founder Zaidi Zainuddin, many private and public swimming pool operators told them that their swimwear design could lessen the pool’s maintenance expenditure since there would be less hair getting stuck in the filtration system. Some pool operators even gave them the full backing to enforce their covered swimwear to all visitors if they can get the state or city council to agree. “We have been trying to tell the purchasing department of these agencies that there are more modest and proper alternatives than the traditional swimwear, but they say that in this case, there is no precedence,” he added.

He was informed that the central contract department that controls the spending of many Malaysian government agencies look at an earlier proposition of a similar purchase before making a decision to buy something. In this case, there was none, hence they could not proceed with buying their swimwear. Zaidi thought it was simply ludicrous and this had to be changed as it involves the moral and ethical core of Muslimah. He added that the time now is right as awareness of modest and unrevealing attire, or Islamically-infused fashion is on the rise worldwide and Malaysia and Indonesia is well positioned to take the lead in this global industry estimated to be worth US$96 billion a year, as reported by The International Herald Tribune recently. Robb Young, The Tribune writer quoted successful startup companies like Hasema from Turkey and Ahiida from Australia having surprised market observers with functional Islamic swimwear. Aheda Zanetti, Ahiida’s founder, trademarked her designs as the “Burqini”, fusing the words bikini and burqa to describe her two-piece loose-fitting swimwear. “Our creations have an even bigger market potential, since they are produced with less cost and with better designs,” he said. They so far have two distributing agents in the UK, one in the US and another in Singapore and Zaidi expects the demand will pick up dramatically after they catwalk down the aisle during the coming Islamic Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur this 1718th November 2007 at Suria KLCC. For more information about Active Attire, email them at active.attire@gmail.com

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Al Islami

Strengthening Its Global Presence In a major move to capture the European US$ 16 billion Halal food market, Dubai-based Al Islami Foods has announced a strategic joint venture with a leading UK foodservice distributor called 3663 First for Foodservice. BY KAMARUL AZNAM KAMARUZAMAN

AIMED AT CATERING to Halal’s growing demand within the British, German and the Benelux household markets, the Al Islami-3663 joint venture, on a later stage, will also cater to other Muslim communities within continental Europe in a bid to establish Al Islami's “Real Halal” benchmark in the industry. The joint-venture signing ceremony was held in Manchester, UK, where Al Islami UK has already set up a processing unit capable of producing 600 tonnes of fresh and frozen meat a month. Production is expected to start by November 2007 with the company expecting US$80 million in sales within the first year of the UK partnership and a further US$600 million within the next five years. “In today's sophisticated world, Halal has become a global phenomenon, which is creating unprecedented demand for Halal products,” said Saleh Abdullah Lootah, chief executive officer of Al Islami Foods. “Adhering to the social responsibility standards, Al Islami is committed to providing real Halal food to the people of all religions across the world.” The venture is likely to present a major expansion vehicle for Al Islami Foods within the European market, as 3663 First for Foodservice is regarded as one of UK’s biggest foodservice company with sales exceeding US$2 billion a year. “3663 First for Foodservice focuses on meeting the needs of its customers,” said Des Bell, marketing director of 3663 First for Foodservice. “The joint venture agreement allows us

to meet the rising demand for Halal meat products in both the private and public sector.” 3663, which spells “food” on the phone keypad, delivers ingredients, finished products and equipment to the food industry from its 1.84 million square feet of storage space within 40 depots across the UK. It also has a 6800-strong workforce, a fleet of 1,100 vehicles delivering to 50,000 customers in the UK. The Wycombe-based company said it has chosen Al Islami because of its solid commendation within the Halal industry. “Al Islami has strong business credentials,” added 3663’s chief executive Fred Barnes. “It has been producing Halal meat ranges since the early 1970s and the company conforms to the exacting standards we demand from our business partners.” The UK partnership is also seen as a part of Al Islami’s slew of initiatives aimed at further increasing their global presence. Recently, it announced a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with HalalIndustry Development Corporation (HDC), a private corporation whollyowned by the Malaysian government to help realise the vision of making Malaysia a global Halal hub. The objective was to provide Al Islami a stepping stone into the vast potential Halal food market in Southeast Asia, beginning with the introduction of Al Islami Cart franchise concept to the diverse business entrepreneurs in Malaysia. Under the terms

Clockwise from top left: Fred Barnes., 3663’s chief executive; their trucks and a sample of Al Islami’s Cart franchise that is getting tremendous response in Egypt and UAE.

agreement, HDC will harmonise, in collaboration with Al Islami, on setting up an Al Islami franchise system in Malaysia by liaising with relevant local government agencies and departments and helping to establish Master Franchisor that will operate and monitor the network of franchisees in Malaysian market. In addition, HDC will help identify opportunities for Al Islami to invest in capacity as a means of expansion into other Southeast Asian countries. “Al Islami-HDC partnership is a catalyst to create awareness about our Halal values,” said Saleh Lootah. “The partnership demonstrates our longterm commitment to the society for setting global Halal standards and best

practices, for the Muslim and non-Muslim markets alike.” Al Islami has recently introduced The Cart franchise model in Egypt. At the Gulfood 2007 show in Dubai, the company debuted this system for young entrepreneurs in the UAE, in collaboration with state-owned Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment For Young Business Leaders. The potentially-rich business concept received overwhelming response and is being implemented successfully by many young UAE entrepreneurs. The Cart includes microwave oven, chiller for sandwiches, chair, hotdog grill, counter-display chiller and cash-machines, where sandwiches and hotdogs can be prepared and sold instantly.

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New culture keeps listeria at bay BY SHAHIRAH ELAIZA WAN HASSAN

LISTERIA is an infection that has been a major concern for manufacturers in the food industry for many decades. The bacterial infection which is carried by a pathogen called Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in both wild and domesticated animals, and in soil and water. Listeria does not put healthy adults at risk but is most prevalent in the elderly, pregnant mothers and AIDS patients.

Clockwise from top left: A phase contrast microcope image of Listeria monocytogenes; colonies of lactic acid bacteria showing inhibition of listeria - i.e. clearing zones around the colonies of lactic acid bacteria, where the listeria bacteria that is incorporated into the agar growth medium, is not able to grow and an electron microscope image of Listeria monocytogenes.

Other Products in the Chr. Hansen’s SafePro™ Range:

B-2 Inhibits natural spoilage flora and the pathogen Listeria Monocytogenes in fresh sausages and RTE meat products packed in modified atmosphere or vacuum. B-FM Contains the same properties as B-2, but adds extra flavour and colour to fresh sausages.

B-LC-20 Reduces Listeria monocytogenes in fermented sausages without changing the sausage recipe or processing procedure.

F-LC Reduces Listeria monocytogenes in all types of fermented sausages, while also providing a consistent acidification and a desirable, stable colour. Depending on fermentation temperature acidicifation is traditional, fast or extra fast. B-LC-35 Contains the same anti-listeral properties as F-LC, but provides the fermented sausage with a milder acidification.

It is known to cause highly fatal illnesses such as meningitis, septicemia, encephalitis and endocarditis. The pathogen is transferred via direct human contact with animals, however, most Listeria infection cases that were found in humans were found to be food-borne and are often carried in the bowel. Global ingredients supplier based in Denmark, Chr. Hansen, has recently developed a new natural ingredient solution culture called B-LC-48 which has the ability to fight Listeria and it is said to not have any non-Halal substances in it. “It is undeniable that listeria is an increasingly critical issue and a problem to which many food producers have been seeking new solutions. Therefore we are happy to present B-LC-48 at the Frontiers in Education Conference 2007,” declared Eva Stenby, marketing manager at Chr. Hansen. The new discovery is included in the Chr. Hansen SafePro range of bio-protective cultures for meat. Other productions in the SafePro range have also achieved good results in food products such as dried fermented sausages, hot dog sausages and teewurst. B-LC-48 is described as a concentrated powder containing the dried form of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB), a type of bacteria which is known to be a natural part of the healthy flora of humans. LAB fights listeria with specifically chosen strains that have the ability to prevent and kill the fatal infection and the powder is to be diluted and applied to food products. The culture has been designed to specifically meet the demands of the Ready-

to-Eat (RTE) food industry. By doing so, Chr. Hansen is ensuring that the culture is easy to use, and more importantly, it does not alter the taste or smell of the food. Numerous tests have been done with B-LC-48 on a number of food products such as emulsion sausages and fresh cheese. The tests results show that the culture has been positively perceived in sensory evaluations and this automatically makes B-LC-48 a very appeasing alternative to other available options of chemical and synthetic preservatives such as lactate and acetate that may contain non-Halal substances that is not considered tayyib by Muslim consumers. “The culture was originally isolated from a fermented food product and we are producing it in large volumes in a fermentation plant (large steel fermentors) in a growth medium that does not contain any ingredients of neither animal nor human origin,” assured Dr. Tina Hornbæk, application scientist at the Product Development Meat & Food Safety, Chr. Hansen. She said that although the production of B-LC-48 does not involve any nonHalal ingredients, they have not prioritised as yet for the product to be Halal certified. “We would therefore appreciate opinions on the relevance of this new protective culture for the Muslim market, based on the information given above,” she added. For more information or to send your expert opinion, please log on to www.chr-hansen.com

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country in focus

Diversity A Real Strength to Australia’s Halal Aspirations Words By TONG YEE SIONG

Aussie businesses are creating competitive advantage out of the country’s diversity in workforce and marketplace.

C

omprising the mainland of the world’s smallest continent, Australia seems out of place in this part of the world. Even with massive immigration in recent decades, most of the estimated 21 million Australians are in fact descended from 19th and 20th century European settlers, the majority from Great Britain and Ireland. Influenced by the Anglo-Saxon roots, Australia’s culture and outlook at times look like a misfit in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet, this has not deterred the country from thriving. Its economy has been top of most rankings of developed countries in recent years. Despite the deflation of its housing bubble and a severe drought, the kangaroo economy keeps bouncing along. It is now in its 16th year of unbroken expansion, during which time it has grown at an average annual rate of 3.6%, well above the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) average of 2.5%. Much of this is attributed to all the right things Australia has done. The government has kept its budget in surplus, the central bank has largely kept inflation in check, and structural reforms have helped the economy handle shocks. MINING BOOM But Australia also owes a lot to good luck. While the Australian economy is dominated by its services sector (68% of gross domestic product), it is the agricultural and mining sectors (8% of GDP combined) that account for 65% of the country’s exports. Rich in natural resources, Australia is a major exporter

of minerals, including various metals, coal and natural gas. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal (35% of international trade), iron ore, lead, diamonds, rutile, zinc and zirconium, second largest of gold and uranium, and third largest of aluminium. A number of large multinational mining companies including BHP Billiton, Newcrest, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Chalco, Alcan and Xstrata operate in Australia. There are also a lot of small mining and mineral exploration companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). Overall, the resources sector represents almost 20% of the Australian Stock Exchange by market capitalisation, and almost one third of the companies listed. Of the developed countries, perhaps only in Canada and Norway does mining play as significant a part in the economy. For comparison, in Canada, mining represents about 3.6% of the economy and 32% of exports. And in Norway, mining, dominated by petroleum, represents about 19% of GDP and 46% of exports. As a large commodity producer,

Australia has been blessed by a surge in the prices of its exports in recent years, thanks to booming global demand, notably from China. The country’s terms of trade – the price of its exports divided by its imports – have leapt by 30% over the past three years to their highest level for over 50 years. One out of two of Australia’s export dollars are now earned in East Asia, and three out of four in the AsiaPacific region as a whole, which is also the destination for more than half of Australia’s foreign direct investment. AGRICULTURAL STRENGTH Agriculture in Australia is a major industry. Over 400,000 people are employed in agriculture and agriculture-related services. The rise of Asia’s consuming middle class has created new and growing markets for its agri- and foods businesses beyond the traditional market of Japan. Australia’s total sheep population peaked in 1970, dropping by about one-third at the beginning of the 21st century. Nonetheless, Australia remains the world’s leading producer of wool, regularly supplying nearly one-third of the global total – this despite a collapse in world prices

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4th Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum (KLIFF2007) “ Towards Innovation and Sustainable Growth ”

• 19 - 22 November 2007 • Hotel Nikko Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Main Highlights KLIFF 2007

Interactive Pre & Post Forum Workshops

WORKSHOP A: Islamic Finance - Principles & Applications

■ ■ ■

Date: 19 November 2007 (Monday) Time: 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

WORKSHOP B: Sukuk : Structuring & Issuing

Date: 22 November 2007 (Thursday) Time: 9.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

WORKSHOP KSH KSHOP KSHO SHO SHOP HOP HOP OP C: C: Islamic Islami Islam Isla slamic lamic lam amic mic icc Structu St Structur SStru Struc truct tructured uct uctured ctur ture tured ured red ed d Products Pr Prod Prod Produc odu oducts du ucts u ctts & Derivative cts Derivativ De D Deri errivvaative erivative atiive Structured Date: Da Date Date: te:: 22 22 November Nove Nov N No Novem Novemb ovem ve em e ember mbe m mb ber be err 2 200 20 2007 0 007 07 7 (Thu (Th (Thursday) (Thursday Thu urrsd ursday) daay)) Tim T Time: ime: e: 2.30 2 2.3 30 3 0 p.m. p.m p m. – 6.30 6. 6 30 0p p.m. m. m

g Organised byy

In Collaboration With

Supported by

Supporting Partner

Media Partners

Malaysia - The International Islamic Financial Centre

BUSINESS

Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum (KLIFF 2007) KLIFF Muzakarah for Shariah Advisors of Islamic Finance KLIFF Islamic Finance Award KLIFF Essay Competition in Islamic Finance Pre & Post-Forum Workshops

www.Islamica-me.com

For more information please contact: Cert Events Sdn. Bhd. (665109-H) Zarina/Hafiz/Ana (Secretariat) Tel : (+603) 41081439 Fax : (+603) 41061549 Email : zarina@cert.com.my or ana@cert.com.my Website: www.cert.com.my

www.kliff2007.com


country in focus

Photos by Simon Morris, Jana Stiller & Craig Jewell

AUSTRALIA VIEWS SUCH DIVERSITY, BOTH CULTURAL AND LANGUAGE, AS ONE OF ITS GREATEST ASSETS AND RESOURCES. INCREASINGLY, AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES ARE OBTAINING A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE FROM MAKING GREATER USE OF THIS DIVERSITY IN THEIR WORKFORCE AND MARKETPLACE.

that caused production to fall steeply during the 1990s. In contrast, Australia’s grain and combined grain and livestock production held stable at about twofifths of agricultural turnover. During the early 1950s, agricultural production accounted for between one-sixth and one-fifth of GDP, but by the beginning of the 21st century, that proportion had declined to less than 5%. Much of the decline was attributed to re-organised economic priorities. Some of it, however, was the result of increasing competition from European and North American producers who took advantage of subsidies and enhancement programmes. Australia’s local governments are intimately involved in most aspects of rural production. Their purview extends from initiating pioneer settlement to conducting intensive scientific research and providing advisory and educational services. It also takes in organising national and international marketing, price control, complex schemes for drought and flood relief, controlling and eradicating pests and diseases, and tailoring subsidies to facilitate economic, environmental and social programmes. CASHING IN ON DIVERSITY According to the 2001 census, 43% of Australians were either born overseas or had at least one parent born overseas. This represents over eight million Australians. The country’s language and cultural diversity – over 200 languages are spoken in Australia – is also strongly reflected in the Australian workforce. At October 2002, one-quarter of Australia’s workers were born overseas, with 14% coming from non-English speaking countries. Almost one-third of small businesses in Australia were owned or operated by people who were born overseas. Australia views such diversity, both cultural and language, as one of its greatest assets and resources. Increasingly, Australian businesses are obtaining a competitive advantage from making greater use of this diversity in their workforce and marketplace. This explains why despite only a small Muslim population of about 280,000, Australian food manufacturers have been able to tap into their knowledge and understanding in developing new export markets. Formed in 1993, the Halal Certification Authority

(HCA) based in Sydney specialises in Halal certification of processed foods, beverages, confectionery and other types of Halal products. It has expanded operations significantly since its formation. Today, it not only provides certification services to over 300 companies such as McDonalds, Qantas, Red Rooster and Bega Cheese. As well as providing Halal certification services, the authority provides advice on all aspects of Halal processing and assists companies in establishing contacts, promoting products in new and emerging markets such as China, Egypt and Iran. Since 2002, the Australian Halal food industry has also received been given a boost via funding and grants provided by the government. The Australian government has also committed A$500,000 (SU$440,000) over two years to develop comprehensive briefing packages for exporters on the opportunities arising from the new free trade agreements between Australia and Singapore, Thailand and the United States. As competition for the Halal dollars intensifies, Halal integrity is taken more seriously in Australia. The efforts include the registration of Muslim slaughtermen, an accreditation programme for certification agencies under the federal government’s Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) and a customer requirement approach to Halal Standards. If implemented successfully, these could be used as a role model for other countries to adopt amid the search for acceptable international Halal standards.

HALAL OPPORTUNITIES As efforts by the government and the private sector converge, data by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) show Australia’s food exports to six predominantly Muslim countries have increased by over 51% to A$3.7 billion (US$3.3 billion) in the five years from 1997 to 2002. Food exports to Indonesia alone, the biggest importer of Australian food among Muslim countries was over A$1.15 billion (US$1 billion). Of all Halal meat exported from Australia in 2002, beef, veal and sheep meat had a combined export value of more than A$330 million (US$290.6 million). To put in context, Australia’s food exports in total were valued at A$26 billion (US$22.9 billion) in 2002. In 2004, the Australian Halal food export industry was worth approximately A$4 billion (US$3.5 billion) a year. Major export destinations included Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh. All told, as Europe’s Muslim population grew by more than 140% over the past decade to reach 25 million, Australia’s Halal trade expanded by a significant 250% in the same period, according to one industry estimate. While Australia is a strong exporter of Halal products, the country itself is a lucrative market that is not to be missed by Halal food and beverage players. Apart from the local Muslim population, Australia has some 28,000 Muslim students and 31,000 Muslim hj travellers there at any one time.

62 THE HALAL JOURNAL

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islamic finance In the previous issue of The Halal Journal, we have examined what is brewing in the sphere of Islamic finance and capital markets in the island of Singapore. We also learnt about their eagerness for GCC Islamic funds. This second and final instalment will probe into the challenges and prospects of Islamic banking for Singapore and to what extent the city state’s seriousness would affect other issuers of Islamic finance within the region, particularly Malaysia, which has some 30 years’ experience.

Islamic Finance Hub for Singapore: PART 2

VISION OR REALITY?

Due to its central position in the heart of Asia, the Singapore government believes that the city state can act as the gateway between two of the most dynamic regions in the world today – the Middle East and Asia. They realised that the ingredients to this secret recipe are two: ample liquidity and investment prospects, with both having huge potential for professional management in conventional and Islamic funds. There is general agreement between its regulatory authorities, investors, academics and the general public that all that this desire will materialise.

G

overnor of the Malaysian Central Bank or Bank Negara, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, recently affirms that Islamic finance has the potential to become the “New Silk Road” that will enhance economic and financial linkages not only between Asia and the Middle East but also the rest of the world. She added that finance can contribute towards the efficient mobilisation and allocation of funds across regions whereby regions with surplus savings may channel funds to regions with deficit savings to bring about global financial integration. The unprecedented bull-run in the Middle East equity markets in 2004 and 2005 and the record oil prices the following year resulted in a wave of fresh liquidity in the Arab nations. Global financial institutions and money managers, including the alternative investment industry, are all positioning themselves to attract what are commonly referred to as “petro-dollars.” The new petro-dollars are looking to invest in other markets apart from their traditional investment destinations in Europe and the US. The intense scrutiny of fund movements, declining returns on investments in traditional equity and fixed income products, geopolitical factors and also the desire to participate in the Asian growth story are some of the commonly cited reasons for this new interest. Singapore boasts many factors that make it stand out from other Asian countries and endeavours become a conduit for petro-dollars. These factors include a strong and able political environment; financial status of international repute; highly skilled human capital; excellent business and communication infrastructure; major global financial institutions that are already present; an internationally accepted

and respected legal framework; familiarity with Islam as a religion and its practices; respected member of the Asian group of countries; and an investor-friendly regulatory and tax environment. All may seem to be well on the surface. Underneath however, there are many challenges Singapore are currently facing which, if not resolved, will impede its ambition in Islamic finance. Singapore’s conventional banking fraternity is not fully aware of the vast opportunities that Islamic finance presents. The lack of a uniform and universally accepted code for Islamic banking and financial law or Shariah principles has led to some Islamic products not being accepted in every jurisdiction. This may prove to be a problem for a new conventional banking institution that may not be aware of such differences. More importantly however, there is an absence of a centralised entity to approach in order to clarify any doubts and queries. Related to this are the absence of structured courses and training centres providing basic Islamic finance foundation programs, which should also be palatable for non-Muslim conventional financial professionals and the absence of

Words By ANNA EL-RASHID

training facilities or expertise to help service providers to effectively “sell” Islamic financial products. Islamic finance has also been commercialised by conference organisers, so much so that attendees sometimes end up sitting through the same presentation experienced in previous events. Such conferences do present excellent networking opportunities. However they fail to give the attendees what they are looking for – how to profit from Islamic Banking and Finance (IBF). A case in point is the necessity to change the annual Islamic Finance Singapore conference theme to Islamic Finance Asia can be interpreted as the dilemma to “market” Singapore as an Islamic financial hub. Singapore also, with Muslim population of under 20%, has socio-political condition which is very different from majority Muslim nation like Malaysia and has been quite critical of the religion. Also a major issue is human capital – people who can effectively sell Islamic finance products. Having qualified human resources who can elaborate on the value proposition of the Shariah product is crucial to the success of IBF in Singapore. As the sole Islamic bank in Singapore, the Islamic Bank of Asia is heard to be facing difficulty to even fill up essential posts within the bank. How then can Islamic banking accelerate to the heady pace seen by already established Islamic financial centres like Malaysia? The Islamic Capital Market (ICM) in Malaysia is evidently already far ahead - the comprehensive infrastructure and the quality, competitiveness and innovativeness of product solutions - hence offering a strong and attractive value proposition to global investors. “The Islamic Capital Market (ICM) in Malaysia is firmly established, and SC is setting its

64 THE HALAL JOURNAL

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islamic finance

sights on the next phase. This would propel Malaysia to the global arena by forging stronger alliances and linkages with other Islamic centres capacity and capabilities for product origination and distribution,” said Dato’ Dr Nik Ramlah Mahmood, Director, Market Policy & Development Division of the Securities Commission (SC) of Malaysia. Despite declaration that Singapore excels in finance and wealth management industries and now publicising its intention to be an Islamic finance hub, Malaysia can rightfully claim to have one of the most innovative and comprehensive ICMs in the world. Many “world-firsts” Islamic products have been

valued at RM10 billion (US$3 billion). Furthermore, according to the latest report as at endJune 2007, the global Sukuk is valued at US$57 billion with Malaysia originating over US$32 billion or 56% of the world’s Sukuk issues. A recent report by Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad’s research arm states that the latest incentives / measures introduced under Budget 2008 would further propel the Malaysian Islamic finance industry and clearly mark Malaysia’s ambition to firmly establish itself as an Islamic hub on the global Islamic landscape. Incentives for attracting Middle East capital is well timed, the report adds, given the vast amounts

Malaysia, is far behind when looking at the key components fuelling the growth in Islamic finance. Three factors listed below, as having contributed to Malaysia’s success story not present in Singapore are: The government’s clear articulation of plans — for example, the Financial Sector Master Plan; Creation and connection between the environments of Islamic finance — banking, Takaful and the money market; and Mutually re-enforcing elements of strong legal, tax and regulatory environment. Certainly, Malaysia has more to offer for issuers and investors of Islamic finance given its wide variety of investments. Asian

Singapore knows too well that by itself, the city state does not have the sufficient captive market to support an Islamic finance market. What is widely publicised is that Singapore can excel as a centre for the management of Islamic wealth or funds. issued out of Malaysia, such as the world’s first sovereign global Sukuk, world’s first listed REITs and world’s first rated Islamic residential mortgage backed securities. Moreover, 86% of all securities listed on Bursa Malaysia are classified as Shariah compliant. On the demand side, a remarkable growth in the Islamic unit trust industry is evident with Islamic unit trust funds having a total net asset value (NAV) amounting to RM9.6 billion (US$2.8 billion), making up 7.2% of the total NAV of the whole unit trust industry in Malaysia and more importantly, representing 38% of NAV of the global Islamic unit trust industry. �Similarly, the Malaysian Sukuk market has experienced unprecedented growth. In the first half of 2007, the SC approved a total of 19 Sukuk

of liquidity available in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries wanting to tap into good Shariah compliant investments. Also, liberalisation of foreign ownership will boost the Islamic fund management industry, further spur the development of new products and enhance Islamic banking talent and expertise. “Our commitment is that wherever the KFH Group is present, we would like to contribute towards the development of Islamic banking in the region,” declares K. Salman Younis, managing director of Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad. “As an Islamic financial institution, it is our social responsibility to promote Islamic finance not only in the Middle East but also globally, and Malaysia will be our launch pad in this region.” Further analysis shows that Singapore, in comparison to

Finance Bank (AFB), which jointly owned by the Qatar Islamic Bank, Saudi Arabia’s RUSD Investment Bank Inc. and Kuwait’s Global Investment House has just launched a RM 1 billion Ringgit Islamic Marine Fund targeted at investments in vessels, particularly in the oil and gas industry. Faisal Al Showaikh, managing director of the Asian Finance Bank (AFB) said at the launching of the fund recently, “This fund is indeed the first of its kind in Malaysia and the region and it is reflective of AFB’s objective to introduce new Shariah compliant products. In terms of innovation, it will certainly give Malaysia the edge in its goal to become an Islamic financial hub in the world.” Interestingly, AFB only opened its doors since January 2007 as the third foreign Islamic bank in Malaysia.

Singapore believes that the city state is in an excellent position to benefit from the increased focus in IBF. The country wants to pull its weight on the various plus factors, especially in its status of being an established financial centre in Southeast Asia. Singapore is trying to leverage on its critical mass of expertise in fund management, trade finance and capital markets structuring to offer Islamic finance solutions by working in partnership with institutions having Islamic expertise. Nonetheless, a recent article quoted the executive director of financial centre development at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Ng Nam Sin, states that MAS does not have a measure of the funds that Singapore wants to capture. Singapore knows too well that by itself, the city state does not have the sufficient captive market to support an Islamic finance market. What is widely publicised is that Singapore can excel as a centre for the management of Islamic wealth or funds. While the world focuses on mature industries and markets, Singapore thinks it can play a partner role in introducing Middle Eastern money to the emerging economies in Asia like Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Thailand. Japan and Hong Kong are also pressing on into Islamic banking and finance. Singapore - from the regulators, the issuers, investors, academics and the general public - is eager to show that it is devoting efforts towards Islamic banking and finance. This is its strategy to capture the current wealth overflowing from the GCC and the Middle East. As long as the oil prices continue to climb or remain high, hence the boom in the GCC and Middle East, we can expect more and more non-Muslim countries keen to adopt or seem to support Halal finance. THE HALAL JOURNAL

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Islamic finance update

D

IBFIM Bringing Takaful To Europe

eputy Finance Minister Datuk Awang Adek Hussin and Bank Negara Malaysia’s deputy governor Datuk Zamani Abdul Ghani will deliver the keynote addresses besides other addresses by dignitaries from the United Kingdom and the Middle East, IBFIM said in a statement today. “The global takaful industry has recorded an impressive growth estimated at 20 percent for the past few years with contributions expected to reach US$7 billion by 2015,” said IBFIM chief executive officer Datuk Dr Adnan Alias. “This would definitely create interest for large insurance and takaful companies in getting a piece of the pie,” he said. IBFIM said the summit is part of its agenda to deliver knowledge and create awareness on Islamic finance internationally together with the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre. It added that the event, with presentations on the latest developments at the strategic, operational and regulatory levels, will also serve as a forum for the advancement of knowledge on takaful and retakaful. Adnan said the summit’s theme - “Global Partnership, Raising Standards and Creating Values” -- reflected the dynamic pace of takaful growth. “Hence the need for global partnership is obvious. Partnership between conventional and Islamic insurance is vital, so are the partnerships among players of different sectors (banking, capital market and insurance/takaful), regulatory authorities and professional support services,” he said. IBFIM is a non-profit entity with the country’s Islamic banks as its shareholders. | SOURCE : BERNAMA, 09/10/07

First Islamic bank in Italy to open in 2008

T

he first Islamic bank in Italy to operate according to the laws of the Qur°Øan is due to open in 2008, the presidents of the Association of Italian Banks and the Union of Arab Banks announced jointly Wednesday, according to Italian press agency Adnkronos. “The next step should be the creation of a real Italian-Arab banking federation, which in perspective could represent a model to follow for other countries in the European Union,” said Corrado Faissola, president of the Association of Italian Banks. Islamic law forbids the payment and collection of interest and the investment in businesses that are considered unlawful such as activities involving the sale of alcohol and pork products. The Union of Arab Banks, based in Beirut, comprises more than 300 Arab financial and banking institutions, representing the largest Arab banks in the region, the report said. “The consolidation of dialogue and cooperation opens important opportunities for growth and development not only for the banking sector and for Italy, but for all of Europe, and looking further ahead for the stabilization of the entire Mediterranean area and the Middle East,” Faissola added. | Source : www.earthtimes.org 02/10/07

COMPILED BY RAJA AHMAD SHAZWAN ISKANDAR

T

IFC to support Islamic Banking Institutions

he International Finance Corporation - IFC the lending arm of the World Bank is set to begin financing institutions interested in Islamic banking. A senior manager for the bank in Eastern Africa, Jean Philipe Prosper said the bank is ready to offer equity and debt financing to investors. Speaking at the World Bank, country office in Nairobi, Philippe said IFC is exploring ways of supporting Islamic banking. He said the Islamic banking is gaining popularity in Kenya and other parts of the world. Two licensed Islamic banks are already operating in the country, the First Community Bank and the Gulf African Bank. Barclays Bank of Kenya also offers Islamic Banking services together with Kenya Commercial Bank and NIC Bank. Prosper was speaking during the launch of the World Bank’s six weeks program to explain the role of the World Bank under the theme “Connecting With You.” The Bank will hold countrywide activities highlighting its development support for Kenya under the context of Kenya Joint Assistance Strategy. The World Bank is also in the process of assisting the government and the private sector in utilizing funds from the bond market to finance infrastructure development. The Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility regional program leader, Joel Kolker said already South Africa and Namibia are in similar financing water, electricity sector, education, roads and telecommunication projects. | Source : www.kbc.co.ke 10/10/07

G

Software firm is Expanding Operations

lobal software company Misys is boosting its operations in the Middle East and Africa. As part of the plan, it has appointed a dedicated treasury and capital markets team and is launching new solutions for the portfolio. The team will be Dubai-based and led by Wissam Khoury, a former Reuters executive. Misys is already a supplier of core banking and comprehensive Islamic banking solutions in the Middle East. The addition of the treasury and capital markets portfolio will capitalise on the growth in the region’s financial markets and complete Misys’ offer to financial institutions in the region. Khoury will be charged with developing the new operation and will be responsible for designing bespoke solutions for financial institutions servicing a range of financial instruments and treasury products. The localised offerings will be based on Misys treasury and capital markets’ software solutions - Misys Summit FT, Misys Opics Plus and Misys Loan IQ. “Over the coming months, we are committed to developing an Islamic treasury solution that will revolutionise the way banks are currently handling their Islamic banking requirements to provide greater flexibility to their business,” Khoury said. “We will also offer financial institutions a greater capacity to create advanced and complex financial products along with delivering complete and exceptional management of risk.” | Source : www.gulf-daily-news.com 26/09/07

A

Amsterdam wants Halal mortgage

msterdam is going to urge Finance Minister Wouter Bos to make it possible for banks to offer Islamic mortgages, Mayor Job Cohen announced in response to questions asked by council member Hetti Willemse. Amsterdam wants to promote house ownership and Willemse argues that the lack of mortgages that conform to Islamic rules is keeping Muslim Amsterdammers from buying a house. According Cohen, some 2.4% of Amsterdammers may be interested in Islamic mortgages, but he emphasises that this is a very rough estimate. Islam prohibits interest, although some hold that the prohibition only applies to usury. A controversial issue is whether Islamic mortgages should have fiscal advantages comparable to the tax deduction of interest that applies to normal mortgages. In July, minister Bos said that the development of Islamic banking is an opportunity for the Dutch financial sector. As an example, he pointed to Dubai and London developing into international centres of Islamic banking. |SOURCE: NEWS FROM AMSTERDAM, 21/9/2007

66 THE HALAL JOURNAL

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10/29/07 6:09:46 PM


THE

HALAL

JOURNAL

|

LIVING

|

SEPT+OCT

2007

MONGOLIAN BEAUTY CHILLING OUT AT TINSELTOWN OUTLANDISH LOSING MY VIRGINITY MUSLIM SHOP ON-LINE JAPAN’S HALAL BREAD ON DISPLAY

living.indd 69

RAMADHAN’S CRIME SITE

Lonely piles of food waiting to be eaten sit on plates and trays. Waitstaff at the buffet tables, scraping off the leftovers into trays. Where do these foods go?

10/29/07 7:31:14 PM


cover story

Words By DINA ZAMAN

I WOULD SUPPOSE THAT PART AND PARCEL OF LIVING IN A WEALTHY COUNTRY WOULD MEAN THAT MUSLIMS, IN SPITE OF THEIR BEST INTENTIONS, WOULD ERR. WE ARE NOT PERFECT, AND I CERTAINLY AM NOT.

WASTE NOT

B

y the time you read this,

night itself. They didn’t want

should celebrate both events

Ramadhan, the holy month where

instances of food poisoning

in poverty and depravation.

all Muslims fast and abstain will

out of the hotel site, and

But somehow the message

be over. I believe the lessons

be known as a supplier of

of understanding the

we learn during the holy month

tainted food. Yet I wonder

lives of the poor, and

whether there is a better

appreciating the abundance

way of ‘destroying’ the

we have in our lives is lost

buffet spreads in hotels and restaurants.

food, by perhaps having

as shopping malls, television

The price per person ranges from moderate

a soup kitchen for the

advertisements, corporations

to increasingly expensive, and corporations

homeless outside the hotel.

and individuals harangue

and individuals, in their bid to show off

Am I being too idealistic?

us with the message that

is applicable to the rest of the year too. In Malaysia, we hold very generous

their status, hold buffet dinners at hotels. What matters more to me is after the iftar

Ramadhan these days is no longer about abstinence.

extravagance is good. Abundance is ours.

session. Lonely piles of food waiting to be

Eid too is now an exhibition

eaten sit on plates and trays. Waitstaff at

of extravagance. What has

contradictory but I am a

the buffet tables, scraping off the leftovers

happened to the Prophet

believer in abundance. The

into trays. Where do these foods go?

(SAW)’s teachings of

more you have, the more

modesty and austerity?

you are able to share. Yet I

I was told by a friend in the service industry that hotel food is destroyed the

No one is saying that we

This may sound rather

think we Malaysians have

70 THE HALAL JOURNAL LIVING

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the concept a little bit twisted. We share,

or shopping and building

at the end of the month of

and do we share, but we share only among

skyscrapers. And we’re not

Ramadan, is enough to feed

friends and peers, not with the truly needy.

providing ourselves with

and clothe the needy. True.

Oh yes, there’s the obligatory break-fast

good press either, by not

However, we can still do

events with orphans but that’s one off, no?

changing the perception

more which is immediate,

that we are more than

such as volunteering our

just these myths.

time, or helping an NGO to

T

alking about waste. A month back, I attended the rather enlightening and

Leading a spiritual life

illuminating conference organised by

help the destitute. Simple

does not mean it’ll be devoid

things such as not even

the Muslim Professional Forum, “Muslim

of beautiful things. You can

wasting our food at the table

Women in the Midst of Change”. An Egyptian

still be wealthy and yet be at

at home is another act of

political scientist captivated all of us with

peace with one’s self in his

kindness and mindfulness.

her very astute thoughts on abundance.

journey towards becoming

If we can’t begin with

a good Muslim. The trick is

charity at home, then how

She remarked that these days in the Middle east, women wore rather expensively made hijabs, and the men ostentatious suits. While they were suitably covered, she could not help but wonder at the cost of it all. Were they veiled to show their wealth or for Allah? I had once written about what it meant to be Muslim and wealthy. Did I suffer brickbats from that chapter of the book! And truth be told, I have no issues with

Leading a spiritual life does not mean it’ll be devoid of beautiful things. You can still be wealthy and yet be at peace with one’s self in his journey towards becoming a good Muslim.

WANT NOT wealth. I love money and making money.

to be aware and grateful at

Yet I do have a certain fear of financial

the same time. We are all

abundance: that if you don’t treat it well,

guilty of living in our own

generous would be wrong.

it’ll bite you back. Karma you know?

cocoons, and believing that

We have provided relief for

everyone else lives the same.

war and natural disaster

Once a non-Muslim friend remarked to me that as far as she was concerned, Muslim countries were rich in natural resources, in spite of the wars and battles conducted on earth. “What a pity to see all that wealth

W

can we be kind to others? To say that we are not

victims, and there are many e have to open our

stellar Muslims who have

eyes to the truths

gone out of their way to

in front of us,

help people. But these are

that abundance does not

big ‘issues’; we need to look

being spent on trivialities like shopping

visit everyone and that we

at the small things too.

malls, instead of on education, poverty,

should create that for others.

empowerment, which the Muslim world

We should not waste the

thankful for, and there is

is in dire need of,” she observed.

wealth of food and riches.

a lot to be mindful of. It is

Rather caustic observation but very

Some would argue that the

There is a lot to be

how we balance the two, and

true too. Are we Muslims to be known for

giving of zakat, the religious

our spiritual strength that

excess only? Excess in so-called fanaticism

tax/alms (Zakat) paid on

help manage our tasks at

and materialism… we are known for either

the day when Muslims

hand. It is a challenge, but

our extreme views on religion and jihad

break the fasting period

an honourable one which

hj

THE HALAL JOURNAL LIVING

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journey Up for an adventure? Then look not further than Mongolia for a fun-filled unforgettable holiday.

Words By BART AUGUST

A Vast Beauty of

Nothingness

H

ere’s the funny thing about Mongolia; practically everyone you know or meet has heard about the country and none of them really has any plans to vacation there. Seriously. Well we can’t really blame anyone of course, after all, what has Mongolia truly have to offer? Rugged terrain, wild animals, deserts, and erm… well, that’s about it really. But then to merely cast Mongolia off your life’s ‘to do’ list is something you just might live to regret. After all Mongolia maybe one big vast desert but there’s certainly plenty to do, see and savour. The Halal Journal took a chance recently and set off on a trip to this beautiful land, and even though we’re still getting the sand out of our bags and boots, we can happily say that our trek there was well worth the trouble. The capital Ulanbaatar According to Wikipedia, Mongolia measures a massive 1,564,116

square kilometers, making it the largest and least densely populated country on earth. It was the centre stronghold of the Mongol Empire once led by the infamous Chinggis Khan in the 13th Century and at one time was a close ally of Russia in the 1920s and 30s when it adopted a communist stance with the former Soviet Union. But what Wikipedia doesn’t tell you that the moment you touch down at Chinggis Khan Airport in Ulaanbaatar, you’re immediately transported 30 years into the past. Due to its Russian influence, most of the architecture in and around Ulaanbaatar is reminiscent that of the former communist block. Attractions in the city include the museum of natural history, cultural centres as well as Buddhist temples. There are also several campsites on the outskirts of the city that offer traditional Mongolian cultural experiences but to truly appreciate and

be in awe of the country, one has to journey out of the city into the harsh terrain that is the Gobi Desert. THE GOBI Mongolia’s Gobi Desert measures 1500km from south west to north east and 800km from north to south. It is Asia’s largest desert and home to vast wildlife, many of which are only specifically found in the Gobi. But wild animals and flatlands aside, the Gobi is also home to a number of historical tourist attractions and out of this world geographical landscapes. And although there are a few airlines operating flights across the Gobi, trust us when we say that the best way to experience this beautiful vast expanse is traversing it by a four wheel drive. EXPLORING THE GOBI There are a number of operators offering 4wd treks across the Gobi and many of them utilising

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Travel Note GETTING THERE Mongolia Airlines operate flights in and out from Beijing. A return flight to Ulaanbaatar costs USD450 return. The flight takes approximately 2.5 hours. Alternatively there is a rail service from China to Mongolia but that takes several days at a time to reach and is not recommended for travelers. FOOD Due to the landscape and weather, Mongolian’s diet naturally consists of meat. Lamb and beef are some of the more popular dishes being served in camps as well as in restaurants around the country. Halal meat is pretty hard to come by in Mongolia so if you’re planning a trip, do ensure that you pack away enough tins of chicken curry, packets of beef rendang, and of course Maggi mee. After all, nothing beats having a hot tasty Malaysian meal while sitting under the stars in the middle of the Gobi Desert.

Due to the rugged landscape, staying overnight Due in camps is a must and there are many camps along the way with amenities like communal showers, toilets and restaurants.

ACCOMMODATION Most campsites in the desert offer traditional Gers as places of accommodation. Gers are basically round tents that are made off wool and sheep skin, with an opening at the top. Cold wind and heat rarely gets in, and they’re amazingly comfortable and a marvel to look at. These Gers have been around for centuries and remains one of the hallmarks of Mongolian culture.

old Russian vans as a means of transportation. A trek across the Gobi typically lasts several days and covers two thirds of the land. Due to the terrain, the ride across the desert can sometimes be trying and since there are no specific rest areas, making ‘pit stops’ in the middle of nowhere is something you’d have to be prepared for. A typical journey across the Gobi will take you to the Gobi Steppes and into the Baga Gazariin Chuluu Mountains. Due to the rugged landscape, staying overnight in camps is a must and there are many camps along the way with amenities like communal showers, toilets and restaurants. Sitting outside by the camp fire is certainly a must-do at these camps as the sight of a

million stars combined with the chilly weather and warm fire is definitely something that can be easily forgotten. The Gobi is also home to the Tsagaan Suvarga province some 250kms into the desert. The site of an ancient sea, the Stupas in the surrounding area bear markings of where a massive mass of water once stood. The area is not only famous for this but also the fact that it is a paleontologist haven as many dinosaur discoveries have been made there. Another key stopover when traversing the Gobi is the Moltsog Els where you will get to witness first hand the magnificent view of sand dunes as well as savour the many wonders like the Glaciers hj of the Gobi Natural Reserve. THE HALAL JOURNAL LIVING

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browsing

COMPILED BY VIVY YUSOF

Restaurant Review

TINSELTOWN 44-46, St. John St., London, EC1M 4DF Tel: +44 (0)20 7689 2424 www.tinseltown.co.uk Open 24 hours Tube Station: Farringdon When Sheeraz Hasan first opened Tinseltown in 1996, all he wanted was to sell milkshakes. To his surprise, he has managed to open three successful Tinseltown chains in London, becoming the first 24-hour American style diners. The interior sports a Hollywood theme, with walls beautified with photos of celebrities and several big screen TV sets showing live football games to keep the men happy. The atmosphere is fun, informal and lively, with occasional cheers when a goal is scored on TV. Their green chairs and yellow tables enhance its energetic mood. Living up to its standard of being first and foremost a milkshake bar, Tinseltown offers over 60 flavours of thick ice-cold dairy ice-cream milkshakes, with the refreshing and simply divine Oreo Milkshake remaining a crowd favourite. The menu is packed with yummy selection of various types of food, from American to Chinese, Italian, even Mexican foods are on offer. Aside from the generous portions, the best thing about Tinseltown is that they cater to your every need, giving you the freedom to create your own meal with their ingredients. The recommended Steak-wich is large and delicious, with beef so succulent and tender. Crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside, Tinseltown waffles would be the perfect end to your meal. Drinks cost just under £2, while milkshakes vary between £3 to £5. A normal dish will cost between £4 to £5 per person. With good value for money, it’s no surprise that many of Tinseltown’s customers are students. It is also a favourite spot for birthdays as they offer birthday messages from celebrities played out on their big screen TVs. The lucky birthday guest will also receive a birthday cake and an Oscar statue as a memento. If you’re lucky, you might get your picture taken and posted on their website. A place where families reunite and friends gather, Tinseltown offers a wonderful dining experience. Tinseltown is certified Halal by the Halal Food Authority, 109 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8JA. Contact them for any enquiries at Tel: 0208 563 1994 or email info@halalfoodauthority.co.uk

Website Review

OnlineIslamicStore.Com Here’s an interesting site to indulge in. Online Islamic Store.com is as the name suggests an e-store that carries a myriad of Islamic related products for sale. From books to electronics, audio, CDs and videos, all the way to fine arts, software and soft Turkish prayer rugs. Its express shopping concept enables not only online transaction but also order tracking under a safe and encrypted environment. It is a top rated Yahoo! store for overall customer service, ease of use of website, security and privacy issues, value of products and more. There is no need to register for membership to make a purchase, and the products are available everyday and anytime, day or night. This US-based website is in fact a fine example of how Muslims can start sharing and utilising each other’s talent, resources, services and tools. www.onlineislamicstore.com. 74 THE HALAL JOURNAL LIVING

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Book Review

Music Review

OUTLANDISH

ISLAM IN NEW ZEALAND: THE FIRST MOSQUE A SHORT HISTORY OF THE NEW ZEALAND MUSLIM ASSOCIATION AND THE PONSONBY MOSQUE

BY ABDULLAH DRURY PUBLISHER: SELF PUBLISHED ISBN: 978-0-473-12249-2

Muslims have been living in New Zealand for over a century and have proven that it is perfectly possible to remain devout and faithful to Islam, and at the same time, function effectively within a modern AnglosSaxon Western society. The first mosque in New Zealand - which also happens to be the definitive heart of Islam - was built in 1979 in Ponsonby, central Auckland. It represented the culmination of 30 years of hard work on behalf of immigrants and refugees who were the main driving force behind its construction. The building marks the collective turning point from being a group of expatriate immigrants to becoming the foundation of the New Zealand’s Muslim community, and stands as a milestone in the history of the wider Muslim community across the land. This is the first ever historical account of the burgeoning local Muslim population and an extended study of the development of the oldest and one of the main Islamic organisations in New Zealand - The New Zealand Muslim Association. It is based on a wide array of primary sources and interviews, and provides an essential reading for an examination of Islam in New Zealand. The book is available for NZ$20 per copy, plus NZ$10 postage/ handling. Copies are available either directly through the author by emailing him at abdullah@xtra.co.nz or selected book stores around New Zealand.

LOSING MY VIRGINITY - RICHARD BRANSON: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY

This multi award-winning group based in Denmark is a unique one. Consisting of three members, two of which are Muslim and the other Catholic, they belt out songs which are deeply religious in nature, with a twist of hip-hop incorporated into it. As though speaking of experience, their songs often include themes of issues concerning young Muslims in the west. Having four albums under their belt, this group is increasing popular. Their fame began with the hit singles “Pacific to Pacific” and “Saturday Night” which were the prelude to their first album Outland’s Official (2000). Their second album, Bread and Barrels of Water (2003), was an even bigger hit, which includes the famous

PUBLISHER: VIRGIN BOOKS ISBN-10: 0753513005 ISBN-13: 978-0753513002

Although the title might seem a little bit off for some, it has been an international bestseller because people bought this book solely to learn about making money. In actual fact, it is about so much more. As founder of the Virgin Group, multibillionaire Sir Richard Branson opens up about his principles in life; taking risks, being passionate about a certain business, having fun, and keeping in close connection with family. The book contains his childhood memories, the funniest being how he managed to escape getting suspended from school. Branson’s headmaster once told him, “I predict that you will either go to prison, or become a millionaire.” Many chapters were also devoted to Branson’s personal hobby; hot air ballooning across the world, with many near-death experiences. We also get to see the serious side of Branson when he finds ways to service a multi-million dollar debt, and manages to stave off attacks from British Airways trying to put his Virgin Atlantic Airways out of business. Towards the end of the book, Branson tells us about his social contribution to the world, namely Africa, and we see the vulnerable side of Branson, a man full of emotions and compassion. This book encompasses almost every aspect of Branson’s life, from family and friends to relationships, likes and dislikes, and off course, the business aspect, complete with photos. Be prepared to lose yourself in it, as this daredevil billionaire opens the doors to his fast-paced, highly-charged life.

“Aicha” track, which was well-received worldwide, making it to number one in Germany and winning a best music video award. An old Hindi chorus in their track “Peelo” raised Outlandish’s profile amongst the Pakistanis and Indians in the West. Their much anticipated album is their most recent one, Closer Than Veins (2005), which features the track “Look into My Eyes”. The lyrics are based on a poem by Gihad Ali, a Palestinian, who wrote the song when she was a teenager, expressing the pain and sufferings due to America’s foreign policy with regards to Israel and Palestine. There are many good tracks in this particular album, including “Just Me”, “Una Palabra”, and the daring “Nothing Left To Do”, which tells us about a young Muslim man contracting HIV. Being in the music industry for 10 years now, and having many awards in their name, Outlandish is a group worth watching and listening to. THE HALAL JOURNAL LIVING

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on display

Halal products are those that are good, pure and safe for human consumption. It ranges from food to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals to toiletries. Here are some of the products with the Halal guarantee. Hudson’s Eumenthol Jujubes

Remember that ‘lumpy’ feeling in your throat and you know a fever is coming? Don’t let it drag on. Soothe it with Hudson’s Eumenthol jujubes with demulcent providing double effect of soothing the throat and refreshing the mouth and breath through gradual dissolving action that provides sustained soothing and refreshing effect. Halal certified by Jakim, it can be had in most leading pharmacies and retailers.

Mintec Herbal Pastilles

Here’s a local alternative to soothe and cool your throat – herbal pastilles. With gelatine from bovine source, licorice and menthol, the pastilles also contains eucalyptol, thymol, terpinol, herb and cooling flavour as well as magnolia bark to do the trick. This product is Jakim Halal certified. www.cocoaland.com

Bilal Bread

We spotted this intriguing Halal toast bread on the supermarket shelf in Japan recently. It turns out that it is not only very healthy, it is also entire Halal. Certified by the Japan Muslim Association, Bilal bread, as with any other bread, is made primarily from wheat flour, palm oilbased shortening, salt and yeast. But it also contains healthy ingredients such as non-fat dry milk and a dose of vitamin C. Made by the Al Ummah Ninomiya Halal Food, Bilal bread can be found in selected retail outlets in Japan.

Cadbury’s Chocettes Time Out

Crave for something sweet and chocolaty? Then indulge in Cadbury’s Chocettes, a chocolate cream fillet wafer pieces smothered in Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate. It’s a potent weapon to silence the kids, at least for a while. Jakim Halal certified. www.cadbury.com

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Polen Misai Kucing Herbal Tea

For centuries, communities in Southeast Asia have benefited form the goodness of misai kucing (orthosiphon stamineus) as herbal concoction. Numerous studies conducted in America, Asia and Europe since early last century have identified pharmacologically useful compounds present in misai kucing. With delightful, refreshing aroma and unique flavour, Polen Misai Kucing Herbal Tea is a healthy herbal alternative for your body and is Halal certified by Jakim. Log on to www.polens.com.my for more info.

Halo Light Moisturising Cream

With the barakah of Ramadan, a new Halal brand was born. Introducing Halo, a new Halal-certified skincare product that is not only affordable but also Shariah compliant. Launched by an Oxford-grad in science Soni Zuberi Shah, Halo was formulated to exacting EU regulations and the highest Halal requirements set by the UK’s Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC). This cream is light enough for frequent daily use (for example, after each wudu), and pure enough for application during Hajj and Umrah. It is also enriched with Vitamin E to help nourish, hydrate and moisturise the skin, and contains natural active ingredients like aloe vera, sweet almond oil and shea butter. What is more interesting is that the makers have left out perfume, colour, parabens, or mineral derivatives. Watch out for it in selected retail outlets in the UK, or buy online at www.haloskincare.co.uk.

Syahirah Beauty Pack Brand’s InnerShine Prune Essence

Radiant beauty comes from good wellness within. Rich in dietary fibre from prunes, Brand’s InnerShine is high in Vitamin C with no added preservatives and contains Oligofructose and Inulin to help promote overall wellbeing by increasing your natural fibre intake. Halal certified by the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand, the product can be consumed straight from the bottle. Call toll free at 1800 88 6226 for more information.

Here’s an innovative way to sell cosmetics - package them all in one neat box. It contains four daily essentials for the Muslimah, including scented talcum powder, facial wash, body and hand lotion and beauty cream. Specially formulated with plant extracts, vitamins C and E, biotin, ginseng, Aloe Vera and UV protection, the beauty pack ensures that the skin stays moist and supple all day long. This Jakim Halal certified product is available at all leading outlets in Malaysia. For more info, email enquiries@ginvera.com

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snapshots IT’S A DEAL Director of the Business Incubator for Halal Products and Services (BIHAPS), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Winai Dahlan (right) shakes hands with Mr. Agil Natt, President/Chief Executive Officer of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) to signify their MOU collaboration to cultivate R&D in Islamic finance, collaborate in training and education in Islamic finance and development of human capita and human talent.

MOMENTO World Halal Forum Chairman Khairy Jamaluddin handing a souvenir to Prof. Khunying Suchada Kiranandana, President of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand while Assoc. Prof. Dr. Winai Dahlan looks on.

MODEST CEO of Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) Dato’ Jamil Bidin (left) handing a souvenir to HDC’s Chairman Tan Sri Syed Jalaluddin Syed Salim during a hosted buka puasa (or iftar) with the orphans in Kuala Lumpur recently.

REFERENCE From left, Mr Murat Yalçıntas¸, Chairman of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce checking out The Halal Journal while being explained its content and purpose by Selim Kinali of Helal Pazar during a MARIFED trade event in Istanbul recently.

GRAND From left, Salman Younis, managing director of Kuwait Finance House Malaysia Berhad (KFHMB); diplomatic attache Ahmad Al-Filly; ambassador designate of the state of Kuwait to Malaysia H.E. Monther Bader Al-Eissa and board members Ismail Mohammed Shariff and Dr. Radzuan Abdul Rahman strike a pose during the soft opening ceremony of KFHMB’s third branch in the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur along the thriving Bukit Bintang shopping zone.

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THE 3RD

World Halal Forum 2008 World Halal Forum THE PREMIER GLOBAL HALAL INDUSTRY EVENT WHF 2008 The World Halal Forum is acknowledged as the foremost gathering of Halal industry leaders from all over the world, all converging in Kuala Lumpur every year to discuss issues within the global Halal industry. This makes it an excellent platform to share ideas, raise concerns and suggest opportunities so as to chart the future growth and development of the Halal industry. We therefore invite all individualS and corporationS to contribute to the development of the global Halal market by submitting proposed papers to be presented during the WHF 2008.

CALL FOR PAPERS Date: 12-13 May 2008 Venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  Submission deadline: 15th March 2008 For more info, log on to www.worldhalalforum.org or call the WHF Secretariat at +6 03 6203 1025


parting words WHAT MAKES FOR A GOOD STEAK? IS IT THE TASTE, THE TEXTURE OR A LITTLE BIT OF BOTH? TO THE BRAZILIANS, IT’S EVERYTHING!

Helping to feed the world

T

he pastures, the grass, the medicine, the breeds, the climate, the technology, even the environment in which the cattle were raised. In short, nowhere else are cows being treated as special as in Brazil. As a result, the country is now a little wealthier and the citizens are beginning to feel the effect. The Halal Journal met with the President of the Brazilian Beef Export Industries Association, or ABIEC, Marcus Vinicius Pratini de Moraes. Created in 1979 due to the need for the beef exporters to have a more focused and aggressive actuation on the defense of their specific interests, ABIEC is the main representing entity of the sector in domestic and international forums, dealing with the regulation and opening of markets. The creation of the Brazilian Beef Export Industries Industries Association (ABIEC) represented a milestone for the sector and for Brazilian economy as well, because the institution conveyed the concerns of its associates and made their communication with domestic governmental entities, other sector entities and international agencies much easier. WHY DO YOU THINK BRAZIL CAN BE SO COMPETITIVE IN THE GLOBAL MEAT SECTOR? We have all the factors suitable for agriculture - a lot of land, water, sunlight, technology, which we are the world’s biggest generator of tropical agriculture technology, we work very close with all parties around the world, and most importantly, our farmers are very entrepreneurial to get these moving. We also have different breeds of cattle from all over the world to suit any market’s taste. BUT WASN’T IT ONLY JUST RECENTLY THAT BRAZIL IS WORLD’S NO. 1 IN MEAT EXPORT? HOW DID YOU MANAGED TO TURN IT AROUND SO QUICKLY? We became the world’s largest beef exporter in 2005 when we sold 2.3 million tons worth over US$ 3 billion. But 10 years ago, we even had to import beef to supply our local demand. But we managed to change our production and built up integrated production chain unrivalled anywhere for productivity and competitiveness. SO WHERE DO YOU SEE THE GROWTH MARKET FOR BEEF? Currently the growth for beef sector is more in the emerging markets. We expect today the demand from emerging markets to be twice as big as the developed countries. Our target is where the market

is growing and the growth is in the emerging markets, like the Middle East. HOW DO YOU GAUGE THIS? You see, the consumption of beef is directly correlated with the improvements in purchasing power. The bigger the purchasing power a population has, the more they want to improve their eating habits, and this means to eat more animal protein, like beef, poultry and lamb. This is what’s happening in more emerging markets.

WHAT ABOUT THE REQUIREMENTS FROM THE HALAL MARKET? In this country we have all religions, all types of races. Brazil is a very continental country. We are accustomed to respect to whatever specific needs or requirements from different religions. So we tend to not get involved in any arguments or polemics about the slaughtering standards. We do according to the country’s requirements. The same with Kosher, we sell a lot of beef to Israel.

The bigger the purchasing power a population has, the more they want to improve their eating habits, and this means to eat more animal protein, like beef, poultry and lamb. This is what’s happening in more emerging markets. YOU MENTIONED EARLIER ABOUT THE FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE (FMD) BEING AN ECONOMIC DISEASE. WHY? Yes, FMD is essentially an economic disease. It is currently being used as a means of limiting of exports to certain countries threatened by our strong presence. But we only export aged deboned beef. Also, there has never been a case of FMD in Europe that was transmitted by the Brazilian beef. For us, the FMD is simply the new name for protection. Protection should be dealt with very high tariffs. Now it is done through hj sanitary restrictions.

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The Halal Journal - Nov/Dec 2007  

WORLD’S LARGEST MEAT EXPORTER EYES MUSLIM MARKET THE HAIRY TRUTH ABOUT L-CYSTEINE What’s in your bread? SINGAPORE AS AN ISLAMIC FINANCE HUB?...

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