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33 :: March+April 2010

GLOBAL CONSUMER AWARENESS Statistics, market and socio-cultural trends on Halal products across the globe

CLEARING THE MESS The need for proper Halal Act








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contents | March+April 2010

22} cover story



Statistics, market and socio-cultural trends on Halal products across the globe

30} CLEARING THE MESS The need for proper Halal Act

36} PORTS, FREE ZONES & INVESTMENT DECISIONS What is the significance?

42} FASTRACK ASIA McDonald’s pig toy fiasco in Singapore

43} FASTRACK ASIA Sri Kulai launches All-Time Favourite Recipes Search

44} FASTRACK ASIA The 6th WIEF seeks to capture the spirit of the Muslim world

50} ISLAMIC FINANCE Speculation and Derivatives


Ed’s Note

“Going Halal is not a zero sum game but it expands the market segment by attracting consumers who would otherwise not be part of this segment.” Fazal Bahardeen, Chief Executive Officer of Crescentrating Pte Ltd, Singapore

Regulars 08} Global News  A brief insight into events currently shaping the Halal industry around the globe + Calendar of Events 18} IHI ALLIANCE NEWS Updates on activities of the International Halal Integrity (IHI) Alliance 48} Country in Focus South Africa then and now

Living 61} FEATURE COVER Celebrating holy matrimonies: Colourful traditions & what to avoid 66} journey The Marrakech Express 72} Browsing Topkapi Turkish Restaurant, New Zealand in Restaurant Review; Hasanat by Ahmed Bukhatir in Music; What is called thinking? and Saying Goodbye in Books; Cities of Light in Films; and Photojournalism 80} parting words Fazal Bahardeen, Chief Executive Officer, Crescentrating Pte. Ltd., Singapore

In the last decade, many Halal events and activities had transpired and people the world over are now beginning to understand the concept behind the religious surface. With 1.8 billion Muslims globally, the growth potential of the market is enormous and Halal is now interwoven into the fabric of a country’s economy ranging from manufacturing and agriculture, to finance, to fashion and tourism. This issue’s cover story outlines the awareness level of Halal over the years, covering not only Halal food products, but also the foodservice sector and Islamic finance. Apart from polarisation issues, this article (p22) also touches on negative labelling – a hype in Indonesia with its Haram labelling regulation. The transit point for trade of goods in and out of a country is the port, and there are not many ports in this world that provide Halal-specific facilities. Read why businesses need to understand the significance of ports chosen for investment, and why logistics service providers need to see the importance of providing value added services required by potential clients on p36. The football craze is coming our way with FIFA World Cup 2010 to be held in South Africa, and we took this opportunity to write about this colourful country (p48). Even the South African Muslims are preparing to accommodate the wave of Muslim football fans that will flood into the country in June with prayer facilities, Halal-friendly hotels, restaurants, and others! Our Islamic Finance section defines and discusses the terms maisir, qimar, jahala and gharar – injunctions in Shariah that are frequently cited when the topic of derivatives are discussed. Understand what these injunctions are and how they relate to speculation and derivative trading in the article (p52) by Dr. Sherin Kunhibava of the International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance. For a lighter read, our Living section features recommended restaurants, entertainment, and people in the art scene, apart from our main article on Muslim weddings. Read about Malay, Egyptian, and Tunisian matrimonies and things to avoid when planning an Islamic wedding on p61. In closing, we reiterate our love in interacting with you, our readers, so do drop us your comments on this edition’s contents or the magazine itself to Enjoy your read!

The Halal Journal Team

the Heart of T he Halal Jour nal

Halal refers to that which the Creator has made lawful. Its opposite Haram, refers to what is forbidden. The realm of Halal extends beyond the obvious references to food and touches on all matters relating to human life. In the commercial arena, all goods and services, market transactions, currencies and other activities come under the judgments of Halal and Haram. These parameters include protecting the environment, humane treatment for animals, ethical investments, the intrinsic value of currencies, and fairness in all commercial transactions. The global Halal market is now a new economic sector, and we believe it will be one of the great market forces in the coming decades.


EDITORIAL EDITOR Hajjah Jumaatun Azmi EDITORIAL ADVISOR Irfan Sungkar senior WRITER Ruzanna Muhammad

“...the w first se orld’s Halal froies of restaur od gui ant The Asdes.” i

WRITER Zaahira Muhammad RESEARCHERs Mohd Amri Sofi Dayana Nordin Suraiya Ilyas Mohd Izreen Kamil Suhaimi Contributing Writers Dr. Hani Mansour Mosa Al-Mazeedi Dr. Mahvash Hussain-Gambles Dr. Sherin Kunhibava

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Over 180 reviews of restaurants, cafes, food courts, bakeries and confectioners Descriptive photographs Index and icons to find the exact place you want Maps for reference

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MISC LAUNCHES NEW SERVICE LOOP MISC Bhd is launching a new service, called the Malaysia East Asia Service (MES). It offers the fastest transit carriage and cargo service from Japan, China and Taiwan to Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta. A total of 5 x 1,200-1,700 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) vessels are being allocated for the new service, which will also offer a direct call from Ho Chi Minh City, back to Yokohama, Nagoya, Shanghai and Kaohsiung. MISC, in a statement Thursday said, the MES serves to connect Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh City to its other services plying the Middle East, the Indian Sub-continent, Australia and New Zealand at Singapore and Tanjung Pelepas. The new service commences on 26 January, with an inaugural voyage starting from Yokohama. It will also compliment its current Halal Express Service (HE1 and HE2).

FORMER HALFORDS IN BRADFORD TO BECOME HALAL SUPERMARKET A former motor store which has become an eyesore since it closed more than a decade ago is set to be turned into a £3 million Asian superstore. The former Halfords shop in Leeds Road, Thornbury, Bradford, will be transformed into a 24,000 sq ft supermarket, creating 20 to 25 jobs. The building, which has lain empty for years, has been a target for vandals and arsonists. But bosses at Pakeezah Asian supermarket, which has its base on another site in Leeds Road, said the new store would create a “great experience” for shoppers. Director Tariq Haq said: “We have been struggling for space where we are at the moment. We needed bigger premises because the business is getting bigger and bigger. We have been looking for a site for quite a long time, but when we first looked at this site it was sold to someone else. So we were delighted when we managed to buy it from a property company six months ago. We are going to be serving mainly ethnic foods, with Halal meat and poultry and exotic fruit and vegetables. We are looking to create a great experience for shoppers.” The new store will include 10,000 square feet of shopping space and an 80-seat cafe serving Asian food to eat-in or take away. Planning permission was granted by Bradford Council last month and construction work will start next month. The store is set to open in November 2010.



HALAL ON THE MENU FOR OLYMPICS High-quality Halal meat will be on the menu for Olympic athletes after Games officials approved The European Halal Development Agency’s Standard for all Halal products. The Olympic Committee has published its food vision guide for procurement of food and drink at the London Games, which lists the food accreditation standard, along with the Assured Meat Scheme (Red Tractor). Kosher meat will be prepared in conjunction with Beth Lin. “This comes as fantastic news for many Muslims as Halal is certainly on the menu at the London Olympics 2012 Games,” said Mohammad Nazir, chairman of the European Halal Development Agency and chair of the West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum. “We are working hard to provide Muslim consumers with full Halal integrity from farm to plate, which has not existed before. The approval at the London Olympics 2012 Games is the icing on the cake for all the hard work the board has done along with our partners.” The push for Halal meat to be included for the Olympics was backed by MP David Taylor who passed away over the Christmas holidays. Janan Meat MD Naved Syed in tribute said: “He did play a major role and he has always been a keen supporter of Halal.” |SOURCE: MEATINFO.CO.UK, 4 JANUARY 2010

The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |




MALAYSIAN HALAL FOOD TO BE SOLD AT 180 TESCO STORES IN BRITAIN Malaysian Halal food products will soon be available on the shelves of 180 Tesco stores in Britain when four small-and-medium enterprise (SME) suppliers ship RM600,000 worth of items, beginning 11 January 2010. Tesco Malaysia Chief Executive Officer, Chris Bush, said the export of Halal food products

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. “Local suppliers and SMEs are important because their range and offer is unique and different from the big multinational suppliers. Locally produced products are also of high quality and need to be promoted to gain wider awareness and acceptance by the public,” by these suppliers to Tesco UK was part of Tesco Malaysia’s programme to promote Malaysian exports to the British market. “Local suppliers and SMEs are important because their range and offer is unique and different from the big multinational suppliers. Locally produced products are also of high quality and need to be promoted to gain wider awareness and acceptance by the public,” he said. The four suppliers making their foray into the British market are Dewina Food Industries, Sal’s Food Industries Sdn Bhd, Vit Makanan (KL) Sdn Bhd and Kampong Koh Sauce (M) Sdn Bhd whose products have passed the strict British Retailers Consortium standards. Bush said there was a huge market for Halal products in the United Kingdom which has 2.4 million Muslim consumers. |SOURCE: BERNAMA, 6 JANUARY 2010


BRUNEI DRAFTS WORLD’S 1ST HALAL DRUGS RULES The Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) has announced the recent endorsement of the Sultanate’s Halal pharmaceutical guidelines put together by a group of government agencies. Slated to be the first of its kind, the set of guidelines is seen to help Brunei

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Calendar of Events Darussalam attract investors keen on grabbing a share of the market for Halal-certified pharmaceuticals. BEDB Chief Executive Officer Vincent Cheong said the guidelines would help with convincing foreign investors to look at Brunei as a location for the manufacturing of Halal pharmaceuticals. In a press statement, the BEDB said the guidelines were put together by government agencies including the Brunei Islamic Religious Council, the Islamic Religious Council Office, the Department of Syariah Affairs and the Islamic Legal Unit of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the State Mufti’s Office from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Department of Agriculture and Agrifood from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, the Department of Pharmaceutical Services from the Ministry of Health and the Brunei Economic Development Board. BEDB will act as the investor promotion body that will promote Brunei as a destination for Halal pharmaceutical manufacturing. What led to BEDS taking the initiative in helping put together the guidelines was the interest expressed by foreign investors in setting up Halal pharmaceutical plants in Brunei, said Cheong. |SOURCE: BRUDIRECT.COM, 12 JANUARY 2010


MEAT AND LIVESTOCK AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS GULFOOD 2010 The Australian meat and livestock industry will be actively involved in the Gulfood 2010 edition to be held during 21-24 February, in a step that reflects its commitment to the highlyimportant ME markets, according to Mr. Lachlan Bowtell, the Regional Manager of Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), the international marketing arm of Australian meat and livestock producers. “MLA has consistently participated in Gulfood and supported the event’s various activities. In addition to our stand in the Australian Pavilion, we have sponsored several activities and taken part in the conferences held alongside the Show, through highly

authoritative papers presented by our experts in the field of food safety,” elaborated Mr. Bowtell. This year MLA will again take on sponsorship of the Salon Culinaire held by Emirates Culinary Guild during Gulfood as well as the Food Safety Conference. Also, to maintain a long tradition of sharing updated food safety knowledge and expertise with various stakeholders in the region, MLA will take part in the conference through the participation of its prominent food safety and technical expert, Mr Ian Jensen, as a keynote speaker. Added to that, some 23 Australian exporters will attend the event this year to strengthen relations of the Australian industry with stakeholders in the region. |SOURCE: AME INFO, 18 JANUARY 2010


LAYING DOWN THE LAW ON HALAL ACCREDITATION Indonesia’s highest authority on Islamic affairs, the Council of Ulema (MUI), has signalled a hard line on imports from New Zealand and other Western nations. It plans to insist that all imported food labelled as Halal be sold only if it has the council’s own Halal certification. MUI’s Food, Drugs and Cosmetic Assessment Institute is the sole issuer of Halal certificates for such goods. Ma’ruf Amin, one of the chairmen of the council, said many products imported from New Zealand – and other Western countries such as the United States and Australia – carried Halal labels but the MUI did not always trust their certification standards. Mr. Ma’ruf said the move was intended “to make sure that all products labelled Halal are truly Halal”. The announcement is in line with signals Indonesia gave last year that it would no longer recognise the two existing certification authorities in New Zealand, Islamic Meat Management and the Federation of Islamic Associations. Trade Minister, Tim Groser, said at the time that Indonesia planned to ban NZ$100 million of New Zealand beef imports – and potentially NZ$450 million worth of dairy exports – from 2010, required a long-term solution. Since then, John Key’s Government has announced that the Food Safety Authority will provide oversight for organisations which certify Halal meat to “standardise” Halal certification. The oversight may yet be extended to dairy products. |SOURCE: MEAT TRADE NEWS DAILY, 21 JANUARY 2010


CARREFOUR TO OPEN THREE NEW HYPERMARKETS IN JANUARY Carrefour Malaysia will open three additional hypermarkets in the Klang Valley by end-January. This will bring the total number of Carrefour hypermarkets operating in West Malaysia to 22 by the end of this month, said Low Ngai Yuen, Marketing and Communications Director for Malaysia and Singapore.

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The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


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Carrefour has no presence in East Malaysia and was now negotiating with several parties in Sabah and Sarawak to set up its hypermarkets there. “Not stopping in East Malaysia, we are also looking at opportunities to open hypermarkets in Kelantan and Terengganu where we have no presence yet,” Low said. Carrefour Malaysia’s Chief Executive Officer Guillaume de Colonges was recently reported as saying that the company aimed to double the number of hypermarkets in Malaysia to 40 by 2012. He said Carrefour was positioning itself to emerge as the top foreign hypermarket operator in Malaysia. Meanwhile, when asked about the market penetration of Malaysia’s Halal products to other regional markets, Low said Malaysia was respected, globally, as a leading Halal products manufacturer. “We have been bringing small-and-medium entrepreneurs, especially those involved in the Halal market, to participate in international food fairs to help promote Malaysian Halal products abroad. In 2008, we brought them to the International Paris Food Fair and Dubai and Singapore to learn new things while securing more markets for Halal products in these countries,” she added. Low said the French Halal market was huge and Carrefour provided exclusive Halal corners in all their stores in France. She added Carrefour Singapore also provided Halal corners in two of their stores due to demand for these products in the republic. |SOURCE: BERNAMA, 7 JANUARY 2010


SINGAPORE SNORTS OVER MCDONALD’S TOY PIG BLUNDER McDonald’s apologized to Singapore and brought a pig back to its toy menu, after a decision to leave the animal out of its Chinese zodiac collection upset many in the predominantly ethnic Chinese nation. McDonald’s this month started selling cartoon character miniatures depicting the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac calendar, but the pig was replaced by love god Cupid as McDonald’s said it did not want to offend Muslims. But the move, just ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday and Valentine’s Day in February, backfired as many Chinese customers complained in chat rooms and blogs that they would not have a chance to buy the animal sign of their birth year. “We’re sorry, and we’re grateful,” the fast food chain said in a halfpage advertisement in the Straits Times The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


newspaper, saying it never intended to offend anyone. Multi-racial Singapore has successfully avoided racial tension since deadly riots in the 1960s, though the government sees race as the biggest potential fault line in society. “I understand that we need to respect our Muslim citizens as Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural society,” Pauline Koh, whose daughter was born in the Year of Pig, wrote to the Straits Times. “However, in this case, the Pig is one of the Chinese zodiac signs -- part of Chinese culture and customs -- and it is just a soft toy, not food,” she wrote. Around 75 per cent of the nearly 5 million population in Singapore are ethnically Chinese and 15 per cent is Malay or Indian Muslims. McDonald’s and many other fast-food chains sell food that is Halal, or acceptable to Muslims. |SOURCE: REUTERS, 22 JANUARY 2010


BRUNEI FIRM INVENTS ONLINE HALAL FOOD VERIFICATION SYSTEM A Brunei company has developed what it claims to be the world’s first online Halal food verification system, which is expected to hit the global market before June this year, news reports said Friday. Branded as the GoHalal system, the MIMIT E-Technology Company has created a database that allows government bodies and companies to speed up the process to rule whether a product is permissible, or Halal, under Islamic law, the Brunei Times reported. The system houses a database of 32,000 different ingredients, which may be used to determine whether a particular product is Halal or haram (unacceptable) in just a few minutes. The verification process enables a product to be easily verified in just one day, whereas previously the process could take up to three months. The server and database of the system are to be continually updated in accordance with the guidelines from various nations’ Islamic religious councils, particularly from Brunei and Singapore. Brunei, a country whose main wealth is

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derived from the production of oil and gas, recently stepped up its involvement in the Halal market. |SOURCE: MONSTERSANDCRITICS.COM, 22 JANUARY 2010


FRONTIER EYES RM10 MILLION HALAL SUPPLEMENT SALES IN 2010 Frontier International (M) Sdn Bhd, a global Halal health supplement producer, expects to generate about RM10 million in sales this year through its latest product “Angkasa”. Frontier International founder, Dr S.J. Jong said, “Since its establishment in 2004, the company has been growing at an average of 20 per cent annually. With lots of promotions and road shows for our newest product series, the Angkasa, we are confident of achieving the target by the end of this year.” In Malaysia, Jong said, “The Company is planning to open 30 stores by the end of this year. We have invested approximately RM2 million in this flagship store and allocated RM6 million for all the other stores planned. The investment in a store depends on the location. For instance, we are set to launch our second store in early March in Sarawak, with a small investment of between RM20, 000 and RM50, 000. The company aims to capture at least 20-30 per cent of the Malaysian Halal health supplement segment this year.”“Currently, we own less than five per cent, but we are looking at positive growth in terms of market share this year,” she stated. Frontier is also set to manufacture its products locally beginning this March. The new Angkasa series will also be showcased at the upcoming Dubai World Halal Food Expo next month. |SOURCE: BERNAMA, 22 JANUARY 2010


MEAT COMPANY TAKEN OVER Canada’s Premium Brands Holdings Corp said it acquired South Seas Meats Ltd, a Vancouver-based meat distributor, for about C$2.1 million (USD2 million) and expects the deal to add to its 2010 earnings. South Seas, which distributes Halal and other ethnic foods in the Greater Vancouver area, has annual sales of about C$10.0 million and the deal is expected to generate about C$0.5 million in incremental earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in 2010, Premium Brands said. “This transaction is consistent with our strategy of using bolt-on acquisitions to strengthen our differentiated distribution networks and expand our portfolio of specialty food products,” Chief Executive, George Paleologou said. Premium Brands completed a C$35 million unsecured convertible debenture issue, which generated net proceeds of C$33.1 million. The company said proceeds of the offering would be used to fund acquisitions and capital projects. Premium Brands

shares closed at C$13.85 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. |SOURCE: MEAT TRADE NEWS DAILY, 25 JANUARY 2010


MALAYSIA HAS POTENTIAL TO BE A MAJOR PRODUCER OF HALAL VACCINES Malaysia has the potential to be a major producer of Halal vaccines in the world, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said. He said the development of the vaccines can help improve public health in Muslim countries. “Currently, the majority of Halal vaccines are produced and consumed in non-Muslim countries. Yet, the reception is tremendous. So, if the vaccines can be produced domestically, I am certain, we can meet demand for the product in Asia,” Mukhriz added. He also stated that through the ministry, entrepreneurs undertaking this type of business were being encouraged with a lot of incentives, loans and grants. |SOURCE: BERNAMA, 22 JANUARY 2010

The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


global news | events highlights

– Penang, Malaysia

Penang’s first International Halal Expo and Conference kicked off to a good start

The auspicious Penang International Halal Expo and Conference (PIHEC) 2010, at the Penang International Sports Arena (PISA), geared the momentum for the Halal trade, business promotion and investment activities in the State. This inaugural expo was held from 29 to 31 January 2010, and attracted local industry players and the public. With the growing value of the global Halal market, the State of Penang is tapping its share in the Halal economy in a bid to establish as an international Halal hub. The Penang State Government, through its Halal facilitation agency of PIHH Development Sdn Bhd (also known as Halal Penang) has with great effort been paving the way to benefit the Halal business community. PIHEC 2010 was organised to be the “kick-start programme” for the year. A total of 87 exhibitors from different sectors across the Halal industry showcased their products The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


and services, from food and beverage, health products and cosmetics, to financial institutions and logistics, as well as other services from the telecommunications and hospitality sectors. “The figures for trader participation at the Expo are encouraging given that this is an inaugural event and the current business environment is not conducive due to the sluggish economy,” said Haji Abdul Malik bin Kassim, the Penang State Executive Councillor charged with the task of establishing Penang as an international Halal hub. In conjunction with the exhibition is the Conference on Islamic finance and Halal logistics, also organised by Halal Penang, which was held on 30 January 2010 at the Equatorial Hotel Penang. According to the Right Honourable Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, the conference was organised with the aim of exploring a new spectrum of opportunities

in the Halal economy – to generate innovative financial instruments and incentives for the Halal business communities, in hopes of creating value for clients and businesses, specifically in the Islamic finance and logistics sectors. The Halal Conference was conducted in two parallel streams: Shariah Compliant Financial Services and Halal Supply Chain Management, where internationally renowned speakers from the academic, financial institutions and Halal supply chain management companies will extend their wisdoms in both fields. The Finance tract saw experts delve into the development and market trends of Islamic financial services and capital market industries as well as financial support sectors. The Logistics tract, on the other hand, covered the global outlook and updates on standards and best practices

in the provision of Halal integrated supply chain management. This session also discussed objectives for Halal traceability and integrity in the Halal supply chain management. The conference received more than 100 participants from financial and accounting institutions, academia, as well as agencies/ companies from the hospitality, food and beverage, and logistics sectors, such as representatives from Kotena Nasional Berhad, Malaysian Institute of Accountants, Perak Halal Corporation Sdn Bhd, AMI Logistics (Penang) Sdn Bhd, Integrated Cold Chain Logistics Sdn Bhd, Universiti Sains Malaysia, and UiTM Shah Alam, to name a few. The staging of Penang International Halal Conference 2010 marks the earnestness of the Penang State Government to establish the State as an International Halal Hub.


World of Halal 2010 rescheduled

In view of the recent closure of some major airports in Europe due to volcanic eruptions in Iceland, potentially affecting travel for exhibitors and visitors from Europe and around the world along with the current situation in Bangkok, Thailand, a joint decision has been made by the organisers to reschedule Thaifex – World of Food Asia 2010 to 30 June – 4 July 2010. Organised in conjunction with Thaifex – World of Food Asia 2010, more than 20,000 trade visitors from around the world were expected to attend the number one food and beverage trade show in Southeast Asia from 12 to 16 May 2010. “The difficult decision to reschedule the event was made after much discussion and feedback from the industry. Our purpose, as always, is to ensure that participants’ experience at Thaifex – World of Food Asia is smooth and safe,” said Mr Michael Dreyer, Vice President Asia Pacific of organiser Koelnmesse. The organisers will continue to monitor and report the progress of the situation for the safety of its exhibitors and visitors. IMPACT Exhibition Centre is currently unaffected due to its location away from Central Bangkok. A stronger and more enhanced communications campaign will be undertaken in the coming months to further increase visitor attendance to the trade fair. In addition participants will continue to receive updates, be informed of the new trade fair dates and the developments in

Bangkok and Europe. Exhibitors can expect to receive more information on new sea and air freight deadlines within the week as necessary steps are being taken with the appointed freight forwarder to ensure a smooth transition. Exhibitors’ whose exhibits are currently enroute to Bangkok are encouraged to contact the organisers who will co-ordinate complimentary storage arrangements accordingly. The organisers assure all exhibitors and visitors that the same high standard and quality of the trade fair will be maintained. Exhibitors are further assured that the same response can be expected from all Thaifex – World of Food Asia trade fairs. About World of Halal 2010 World of Halal is a new professional trade fair to serve the needs of the Halal industry – providing a business platform for trade, networking and education. It is held in conjunction with the number one general food and beverage trade fair in Asia, Thaifex – World of Food Asia. The exhibit profile of World of Halal covers various aspects of the industry, from food and beverage to cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, from tourism and hospitality to logistics to food technology and catering. A regional Halal conference will serve as a separate avenue for networking and discussions. The three-day conference will be based on the exhibit profile of World of Halal. Industry experts will share

their knowledge on the issues concerning Halal certification in different countries as well as business relations within the industry. In addition, a chef competition will showcase the internationality of Halal cuisine. About Thaifex – World of Food Asia Thaifex – World of Food Asia is organised annually by Thailand’s Department of Export Promotion, Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, and The Thai Chamber of Commerce since 2004. It is a one-stop shop for

all in the industry covering all areas of food production from food and beverage products to food catering and hospitality services to food technology to retail and franchise. The first three days of the event are reserved for trade visitors only. Online registration is now open at For further enquiries, email sg or call +65 6500 6700. For further information log on to The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


global news | events highlights

EVENT: International Halal Market Conference (IHMC) 2010 DATE: 5 – 6 june 2010 VENUE: international CONVENTION CENTRE, bandar seri begawan, brunei darussalam

Halal – The Next Decade

The International Halal Market Conference (IHMC) 2010 in Brunei Darussalam on 5-6 June 2010 is one of Asia’s leading Halal sector conferences, fully supported by the government of His Majesty The Sultan. The development of the Halal sector has been selected as one of the engines to drive the economic diversification of the oil-rich Sultanate, and 2010 will mark Brunei’s entry onto the international stage with the roll-out of some 250 products under the ‘Brunei Halal’ brand. This product range, sourced internationally for high-end global markets, is an unprecedented move by a Muslim country (or any other) to create a national brand in the Halal sector. Brunei’s evolving ecosystem of Halal-related projects forms the backdrop for this year’s IHMC, and in line with Brunei’s ‘thought-leadership’ role, this year’s conference aims to take a look at ‘Halal – The Next Decade’ by reviewing the past, analysing the current state of the market, and making some predictions as to what we can expect over the coming years. The confirmed speaker list includes: • Alex Andarakis, Founder, Managing Director, Andarakis, UAE • Peter Vogt, Managing Director, Nestlé Malaysia • Wahid Kandil, CEO of Ghanim Foods International, Brunei • Rushdi Siddiqui, Head, Islamic Finance, Thomson Reuters, USA • David Smith, CEO, Global The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

Imarat Consultants (IHMC Moderator) UK The main conference sessions will cover: • Global industry developments from the retail and manufacturing perspectives. • Converging market forces, and the interaction between the Halal sector and tourism, Islamic finance and online media initiatives. • National Halal development programmes from leading South East Asian countries • National Halal development initiatives from Muslim minority countries • Open Session to discuss ‘Halal – The Next Decade’ • Plus a two-hour informal post-conference discussion, ‘Ask an Expert’ with selected speakers.

Futures and Foresight, UK • Shahed Amanullah, Founder, HalalFire Media, USA • Datuk Norah Ya’kub, MP for Sarawak, Malaysia • Amir Sakic, Director, Agency for Halal Supervision, Bosnia 14

• Jon Hayes, Australian Government Halal Consultative Committee • Pitak Supanatakarn, Director, CICOT, Thailand • Muhammad Nazir, Chairman, European Halal Development Agency, UK • Abdalhamid Evans,

The IHMC is held in conjunction with the International Halal Product Expo IHPE from 3-6 June 2010. This year’s expo will highlight the new ‘Brunei Halal’ initiatives and is an excellent opportunity for prospective manufacturers and producers to see about possible tie-ups with Brunei Halal The two events make for a productive and thoughtprovoking trip to Brunei and provide a good excuse to visit the ‘Abode of Peace’

For further details, full programme times and registration forms, please visit


Gearing for Economic Resurgence

From left: Tan Sri Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak (Secretary General, WIEF Foundation), Tun Musa Hitam (Chairman, WIEF Foundation) & Tuan Syed Abu Bakar Almohdzar (Managing Director, WIEF Foundation)

WIEF Foundation Chairman, Tun Musa Hitam, at the Press Conference for the Official Launch of the 6th WIEF

The 6th World Islamic Economic Forum is back in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and is scheduled to be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on 18-20 May 2010. Purportedly one of the most important business forums scheduled for the year 2010, the

6th WIEF is expected to attract an estimated 2,000 participants. The 6th WIEF is a progression of the previous Forums – KL 2005, Islamabad 2006, KL 2007, Kuwait 2008, Jakarta 2009 – from a mere 600 participants when it first started, to 1,728 participants in 2009.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE 6TH WIEF: The Forum will bring together Heads of State/ Government of selected countries, captains of industry, Heads of regional and international institutions, academic scholars, regional experts, established and emerging entrepreneurs, professionals and corporate managers to discuss opportunities for business partnerships in the global business world. Participants of the 6th WIEF will be at the forefront of contemporary global business issues and trade, with the opportunity to network directly with industry leaders and business people at large from across the globe. It also allows you to capitalise on business opportunities with fellow participants and engage in dialogue with industry leaders and experts in your field of interest. Pre-Forum Programmes: • Businesswomen Forum – themed “Capitalising on Women Potentials” • Young Leaders Forum – themed “Defining the Muslim Youth in the 21st Century” • Marketplace of Creative Arts – a creative arts exhibition that will convene in conjunction with the Young Leaders Forum, showcasing artistic innovations in the Muslim world Main Forum: with the theme “Gearing for Economic Resurgence”, the main forum will include five Plenary sessions and eight Parallel sessions. Topics that will be discussed

at the Forum include: Islamic branding, women and youth in nation building, the business case for water, climate change, technology for education, ethics in business, Islamic banking and finance, investing in creative arts, and many more. 6th WIEF Exhibition: The Forum welcomes the local and international business community to take the opportunity to become exhibitors, with 104 booths available at the 6th WIEF Exhibition. Business Matchmaking Lounge: The 6th WIEF is organised in such a way so as to maximise networking amongst participants with the existence of the online appointment scheduling portal and onsite Business Matchmaking Lounge that will be available on Level 1 inside the Exhibition Hall. Don’t miss this opportunity to rub shoulders with the business people of the Muslim World’s emerging economies. Please remember these words: 6th WIEF, 18-20 May 2010 @ Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, KL, Malaysia. Register yourselves online for this important event at or speak to a member of the Permanent Secretariat at +603 2145 5500 for more details. World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation 2nd Floor, Kompleks Antarabangsa, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. T: +603 2145 5500 F: +603 2145 5504 The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


global news | events highlights


State of the Industry: Market Access & International Trade

The World Halal Forum (WHF) 2010 will once again be held at the prestigious Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, which is adjacent to one of Malaysia’s major attractions, the Petronas Twin Towers, located in the heart of downtown Kuala Lumpur. Timely themed “State of the Industry: Market Access & International Trade”, the 5th edition of this world-class event will present results related to the lasting regulatory architecture of the fragmented Halal market in Europe and the rest of the world, and how to gain trade and market access. From WHF 2009 and WHF Europe, the Halal industry is tipped to surpass USD654 billion in 2010, but international trade of Halal goods still remains a fraction of this. Therefore, the organisers, KasehDia Sdn Bhd, believe that this is an opportune time to be a part of this maturing Halal industry by being a part of this gathering of high-level participants, industry experts, academicians, and scholars, as deliberations and resolutions The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


at WHF 2010 will mould the future of the Halal industry. Among the major topics that will be discussed at the forum are: State of the Industry (Panel Discussion) Current Realities of the Halal Industry • Perspective from Fiqh on Global Halal Regulation • Debunking the Myths: Understanding the Facts and Figures of the Global Halal Market • Current Issues and Realities from the Global Trade of Halal Meat • Industry Issues and Challenges: Perspective from Halal Certifying Agency International Trade and Competitiveness of Global Halal Industry • Ensuring Competitiveness of Halal Food Industries • Regulatory Framework for Halal Industry • The Needs of Standardisation to Ensure Competitiveness in the Industry

Halal Assurance to Cater Mass Market • Halal Foods Assurance System for Worldwide Humanitarian/ Relief Efforts • Benchmarking: Food Safety Assurance for Mass Market • Integrating Multimodal Transports and Production Chain for Halal Industry Determine Factors in Halal Standards, Animal Welfare, Ethics and Transparent Rules • Malaysian Halal Standard and Animal Welfare Issues • Regulating Halal in New Zealand • Ethics and Responsibility in Halal Industry: Case of CCM Halal Pharmaceuticals One of the resolutions at the 4th WHF was for the continued support for the International Halal Integrity Alliance (IHI Alliance) to develop the remaining modules of the International Halal Standard – a single standard to unify the fragmented industry and

ensure global Halal integrity. WHF 2010 will, once again, be the platform for releasing the remaining six modules of the standard for a period of six months for public review. The 5th WHF marks the growing maturity of the Halal industry, and on that note, the WHF Secretariat (KasehDia) opens sponsorship opportunities to companies and captains of the industry, as well as interested parties to register as delegates today. Get first-hand information from the experts on the topics to be discussed, and be the first to know and understand the impact and importance of the International Halal Standard. Be a part of this maturing industry with WHF 2010 today. For more information, log on to or contact the WHF Secretariat at +603 6203 1025 or

IHI Alliance news + updates


IHI ALLIANCE MEMBERS’ MEETING IN EUROPE After the conclusion of the World Halal Forum Europe in Netherlands, International Halal Integrity (IHI) Alliance hosted a luncheon and closeddoor meeting for all participating members on 18 November 2009. Making the list of attendance were members’ representatives from Australia, Belgium, Bosnia, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand. The meeting gathered IHI Alliance’s members for the first time in Europe which entailed a roundtable discussion on issues and concerns in the Halal industry. The topics of global Halal standards, universally accepted certification and accreditation were among the topics throughout the meeting. CEO of IHI Alliance, Mr. Darhim Hashim, in his welcome speech called for the meeting to also be an avenue for members to share knowledge and explore new opportunities for collaboration. “Let this meeting be a working platform for all of us to establish common ground towards tackling the challenges and opportunities that the Halal industry has to offer,” said Darhim. Earlier at the World Halal Forum Europe, The Halal Standard Institute of Thailand became the first certification body to form a strategic collaboration with IHI Alliance in implementing the Global Halal Management System (GHMS) in Thailand. Signing on behalf of IHI Alliance was Darhim and representing the institute was director Anirut Smuthkochorn. Also present to witness the ceremony was the Secretary General of The Central Islamic Committee of Thailand (CICOT), H.E. Khun Pichate Satirachaval. GHMS is IHI Alliance’s latest foray to bring about a global harmonisation to the Halal industry. Apart from Halal assurance, the program also covers four other principles – quality management services (QMS), food safety, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and environmental management – aiming to position Halal as the highest standard of choice for all.




IHI ALLIANCE VISITS WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY, NETHERLANDS On 19 November 2009, IHI Alliance travelled to central Netherlands for a day trip to visit Wageningen University, one of Europe’s finest academic and research institutions in the field of agriculture and life sciences. Established in 1918, the university has today evolved into one of the world’s leading education and research centres in plant, animal, environmental, agrotechnological, food and social sciences. With students coming from more than 100 countries, Wageningen University was also the first Dutch academic institution to receive the prestigious The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


The International Halal Integrity Alliance ( IHI ALLIANCE ) is an international, non-profit initiative created to present the international Halal industry players with one definitive voice. The IHI ALLIANCE’s mission is to strengthen the Halal market and uphold the integrity of Halal for the benefit of all.


01. IHI Alliance members’ meeting held for the first time in Europe entailed a roundtable discussion on issues and concerns in the Halal industry 02. IHI Alliance visits Wageningen University – one of Europe’s finest academic and research institutions in the field of agriculture and life sciences 03. The Halal Standard Institute of Thailand became the first certification body to form a strategic collaboration with IHI Alliance in implementing the Global Halal Management System (GHMS) in Thailand 04. CEO of IHI Alliance, Darhim Hashim, presenting IHI Alliance global Halal initiatives to representatives of Wageningen University of Netherlands 05. Dr. Bert Lambooij presenting updates on a European Commission funded project entitled ‘Religious Slaughter: Improving Knowledge and Expertise through Dialogue and Debate on Issues of Welfare, Legislation and Socio-economic Aspects (DIALREL)’


06. Darhim delivering welcome remarks at IHI Alliance’s first Halal Lead Auditor’s Training in Bangkok, Thailand 07. Dino Khalid explains to Regional Halal Technical Working Group of Mindanao on IHI Alliance global initiatives with the presence of Deputy Executive Secretary, Office of the Regional Governor, Datu Ishak V. Mastura (third form left) 08. HLAT participants on the last day of the training. Sitting in the middle is Secretary General of The Central Islamic Committee of Thailand (CICOT), H.E. Khun Pichate Satirachaval 09. Halal auditors full concentration during HLAT’s written examination under close supervision of IHI Alliance Senior Manager for Standards & Systems Development, Ahmad Azudin Khalid



European Credit Transfer System label (ECTS) awarded by the European Commission that guarantees the quality of its programmes. Representing IHI Alliance was CEO, Darhim Hashim, and Senior Manager for Halal Standards and Systems, Ahmad Azudin Khalid; along with Professor Joe Regenstein, Head of Cornell Kosher and Halal Food Initiative, Department of Food Science of Cornell University, New York, United States of America. Hosted by the university’s research centre, the delegates received a warm welcome from Prof. Dr. Bernd van der Meulen, Chairman of the Law and Governance Group of Wageningen University, and the Director of the European Institute for Food Law together with Dr. Ernst Woltering from the university’s Plant Sciences and Horticultural Supply Chains department and Dr. Bert Lambooij from the Animal Science Group and Livestock Research department. On behalf of the delegation, Darhim expressed his appreciation to the great hospitality of the host. “We are so delighted to be here and utterly impressed with Wageningen University’s world class facilities. IHI Alliance looks forward to learning new ideas in pursuit of sound scientific knowledge for the betterment of the Halal industry,” said Darhim. Dr. Ernst Woltering delivered an engaging presentation on the topic of food authenticity screening with regards to Halal requirements. Using advanced techniques of food authentication methods, the research team at Wageningen University has been employing state-of-the-art technologies that are able to perform complex tests on luminal, porcine The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


IHI Alliance news + updates

and DNA with remarkable accuracy. One particular innovation that caught the attention of the delegates was the pork test kit based on the use of antibodies that target porcine proteins. Lunch was an interesting treat when the delegates were brought to “Restaurant of the Future”, the university’s laboratoryrestaurant that studies environmental influences on eating behavior. Guiding the tour around the restaurant was manager, Johan Verbon, who explained that despite the casual outlook, the restaurant is fully equipped with an arsenal of hidden cameras and sensors monitored by a team of psychologists and physicists. Presentations from the university’s experts continued after lunch with Dr. Bert Lambooij sharing with the delegates the latest development on a European Commission funded project entitled ‘Religious Slaughter: Improving Knowledge and Expertise Through Dialogue and Debate on Issues of Welfare, Legislation and Socioeconomic Aspects (DIALREL)’. Initiated in 2006, the consortium of DIALREL is a project that comprises 17 partners from 11 countries aimed to facilitate the adoption of good practices in religious slaughter that can meet the animal welfare standards of the European Union (EU) as well as the expectations of the market and consumers. On the topic of regulatory requirement on food in Europe, Prof. Dr. Bernd van der Meulen gave an overview on European Food Law and spoke about an innovative solution for a possible legal framework for Halal in the EU. IHI Alliance also learned that by converging existing laws that tailored to specific requirements of Halal, the framework is far more viable as opposed to starting from scratch. Halal regulation was one of the primary issues discussed at the World Halal Forum Europe in the Hague. Despite the accelerating growth of the Halal market in recent years, many experts were of the opinion that it takes a properly structured framework of regulation to overcome the problems of fragmentation within the industry.

IHI ALLIANCE’S FIRST HALAL LEAD AUDITOR’S TRAINING IN BANGKOK In its continuous effort to harmonise The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


the global Halal industry, IHI Alliance recently rolled out a new training programme for Halal auditors aimed at streamlining certification practice as the core element of Halal integrity. The inaugural Halal Lead Auditor’s Training (HLAT) was hosted by The Central Islamic Committee of Thailand (CICOT) in Bangkok for three days from 7 – 10 December 2009. Fifteen participants hailing from Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand attended the rigorous three-day programme that consisted of theory, case study, site audit observation and written examination. “We are honoured to have this training inaugurated here in Bangkok and certainly grateful with the commitment shown by CICOT as a host,” said IHI Alliance CEO, Darhim Hashim. “HLAT will provide auditors with sound audit knowledge and essential tools that will enhance certification practice towards global best practices.” Throughout the programme, the participants were trained on structured methodologies of Halal conformity assessment that include documents preliminary review, detailed planning, audit conduct, systematic reporting, corrective measures and periodical surveillance exercises in accordance with the guidelines set forth in IHI Alliance’s Halal Industry Guidelines. In addition to Shariah, HLAT also encapsulates other technical and ethical requirements namely food safety, Quality Management System (QMS), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and environmental management and sustainability, striking a balance between theoretical and practical skills essential for auditors with different levels of experience. Thailand, with only a five per cent Muslim population, has been aggressive in promoting its Halal agenda in recent years. HLAT is the latest development of the collaboration formalised between IHI Alliance and CICOT, Thailand’s leading Halal authority body. IHI Alliance and CICOT signed a MOU at the World Halal Forum Europe in November 2009 to form a strategic collaboration in implementing the Global Halal Management System (GHMS) in Thailand.


2 – 5 March 2010 THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL HALAL FAIR & FORUM, TEHRAN, IRAN Event profile: Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM), in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and Islamic Chamber Research and Information Center (ICRIC) are set to simultaneously hold the “International Halal Conference” and the “International Halal Exhibition” at Tehran International Exhibitions Center. With big organisations behind this event, expect massive participation of Halal players and scholars from around the world for the first time in Iran. 7 -11 March 2010 THE HALAL INDUSTRY TRAINING, KUWAIT Event profile: Jointly organized by Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research, IHI Alliance and Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation, The Halal Industry Training aims to introduce and transfer the knowledge on Halal not only from religious standpoint but also the wide array of technicality aspects of food safety, hygiene and quality. Participants will also be presented with an overview on the dynamics of Halal industry, emergent trends and profitable business advantages that exist for Halal players. 30 - 31 March 2010 PRIVATE LABEL MDD EXPO, PARIS, FRANCE Event profile: MDD Expo, a unique annual event in France, is affirming its position as one of the leading events for major retailers in France and in Europe. For the 2010 edition, MDD Expo is expected to draw more than 7,000 visitors from food and beverage, retail and Horeca professionals. This is one great event to discover breakthrough products and new flavours by meeting manufacturers and producers from France, Europe and around the globe. 26 – 28 April 2010 MIDDLE EAST FOOD 2010, ABU DHABI Event profile: Middle East Food 2010 is the region’s excellent platform for launching of new products, meeting with new suppliers, learning new technology innovations and promoting food & beverage related services to a targeted, dedicated and captive audience. Staged at the world-class Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in the United Arab Emirates, Middle East Food 2010 is a geographically strategic location for world’s food & beverage traders looking to capture new business opportunities.

cover story

Consumer Awareness Thoughts and Trends across the Globe

Words by Irfan Sungkar

The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


While awareness is increasing, the conception of ‘Halal’ or ‘what is Halal’ becomes polarised at the same time.

The rapidly changing global environments have added to the complexities of consumer markets and the way to understand it. At the same token, consumers are also exposed to numerous factors that need to be taken into account before making a purchase decision. Generally, it is known that factors such as rising income levels, hvigher level of education and access to information, increasing demand for convenient products that require less time to prepare and consume, as well as rising concerns on health and nutritional values, do have an impact on consumers’ purchase decision and behaviour. It is imperative to note that religion and beliefs are other important factors that influence consumers’ purchase decision and behaviour. Awareness Level and Religiosity Religiosity is generally defined as: “The extent to which an individual is committed to the religion he or she professes and the teachings, such as the individual’s attitudes and behaviour reflect this commitment.” The present Islamic resurgence and increasing complexities of the consumer market have led to increasing awareness on the contents, processes, sources and other determinants of consumer products they [plan to] purchase. Research conducted by the World Halal Forum indicated that the awareness level has expanded beyond meat and meat-based products to other food products, even to cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. While awareness is increasing, the conception of ‘Halal’ or ‘what is Halal’ becomes polarised at the same time. Halal has become symbolic and culture-sensitive while still being theologically defined. Geographical locations where Muslims live also influence the variation of the Halal concept. Paradoxically, Muslims all over the world agree that Shariah law and principles govern the lives of every Muslim, and also influence the trends and beliefs of every Muslim towards certain issues. Halal covers all aspects of life, not only confined to eating and drinking, but also to dress code, and dealing with others when doing business and/ or in daily life. These laws and rules are binding and must be observed at all times, The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010


cover story

As can be measured, awareness of Halal mainly deals with the credence characteristics of Halal itself, and the role and power of knowledge and information in addition to religion and religiosity.

at all places by all Muslims. In order to merit the existence of the polarisation issue, an article published in 2006 on the Washington Post website titled “America: A Growing, Confusing Market for Halal Food” revealed that different interpretations of what Muslims consider Halal has led to confusion, misunderstanding and worst is to deception and fraud by certain individuals and bogus associations issuing the Halal certificate. This has prompted leading Islamic associations, companies and the government to issue a Halal labelling act in numerous states across the United States (US). Halal Awareness and Its Credence Characteristics In line with Shariah law and regulations in many Islamic countries such as Gulf countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, Halal refers to the nature, origin and the processing method of food products that entail similarities to organic foods, compliance with animal welfare principles, ethics, and sustainability issues. Many verses from the Quran (namely Al Maidah 5:3; 5:87-88; 5:90; and Al Anam 6:118) mentioned that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us everything as Halal except those categorically stated otherwise. However, field studies in many parts of the world revealed that the perceived meaning on the terms ‘Halal’ and ‘Haram’ are not static and homogenous. The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


The meaning is found to be dynamic and heterogeneous, or socially constructed during a period of time. As can be measured, awareness of Halal mainly deals with the credence characteristics of Halal itself, and the role and power of knowledge and information in addition to religion and religiosity. While awareness level was measured over certain products or sources of products, it has currently shifted to institutions issuing Halal certificate and label or logo. This however, is with the exception of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore where the Halal certificate issuer is the government or quasigovernment institutions, and in the Middle East or other Islamic countries where all food products are presumed to be Halal. In non-Muslim majority countries (for example western countries), Halal certification is issued by private certifying bodies and the secular state will not intervene. Thus, consumers place their confidence and higher trust and awareness level on institutions that have positive characteristics such as in-depth knowledge, accuracy, concern with public welfare, honesty, trustworthiness, ability to convey information in an open and transparent manner as well as competency to perform necessary certification-related tasks such as inspection, auditing, monitoring and supervision.

Awareness Level on Halal Food Products By Amri Sofi

While the awareness level is increasing, most European consumers still regard meat and meat-based products as the core priorities of Halal, thus placing great emphasis on Halal assurance systems and Halal certifications. Based on the field research conducted between 2007 and 2008, the average awareness level for meat and meat-based products was above 95 per cent, as depicted in Figure 1. Figure 1: Average Halal Awareness Level


94-98% 40-64%

80 60





processed food


COSMETICS & personal care

Source: The Halal Journal, May/ June 2008

As noted in Figure 1, Muslims generally have the highest awareness level of Halal meat and meatbased products without any significant variation. However, when the products in question are processed foods, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, significant levels of variation occurs. In addition, between 94 and 98 per cent of Muslim respondents believed and made a genuine effort to find and purchase Halal meat products, but only between 40 and 64 per cent revealed that they think processed food should be Halal. The awareness levels for pharmaceuticals are even lower. On average, between 24 and 30 per cent of all Muslim respondents said that pharmaceuticals were important and should be included under the Halal concept. For cosmetics products, the awareness level was the lowest at between 18 and 22 per cent. It should be noted that the difference in awareness levels was not merely due to a lack of general knowledge on the matter (such as knowledge about Haram ingredients) but also due to differences in how things are conducted and understood in various parts of the world as well as cultural differences. **Source: European Halal Food Market Report [Chapter 3, Subchapter 3.4, pages 23 & 24]

Awareness on Halal Foodservice By Dayana Nordin

Halal food products are quickly gaining worldwide recognition as a new benchmark for quality and safety assurance. Food products that are Halal-certified are readily acceptable by Muslim consumers due to the concept of Halal that is wholesome, as required by Shariah, and covers safety aspects of hygiene, safety and sanitation. These attributes appeal to non-Muslims as well. Let’s look at Malaysia; a multiracial country made up of approximately 60 per cent Muslims. The increase in global Halal trade has pushed Malaysia to take several initiatives to capitalise on the growth potential. The country is positioning itself as the knowledge centre for trade and investment promotion of Halal products and services by designating Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) and the World Halal Forum (WHF) as the international avenue for Halal trade. In addition, the Government has established JAKIM, to carry out Halal certification and auditing activities, while the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) coordinates the overall development of the industry. The government is working to leverage on Malaysia’s strength in Halal certification and its promotional efforts to capture the Halal market abroad. These efforts above are reflected in Halal products that are processed and packaged; with foodservice products, however, the situation is quite different. Although Halal food and services are readily available and easy to obtain, there is a need for the authority to monitor and enforce standards to ensure Halal, particularly when the products or services are made, sold, prepared or provided by non-Muslims. The foodservice sector in Malaysia is generally divided into four major categories: café/ coffee shop, restaurant/ catering, fast food/ quick-serve restaurant, and street stall/ hawker centre. It is common to find Halal certification for the three former categories, but due to the nature of how street stalls/ hawker centres operate, Halal certification is not considered important/ necessary and therefore not sought after. Instead, consumers turn to cues/ proxies for Halal assurance, which seem to work for some operators and consumers alike. In 2009, KasehDia conducted a survey to divulge Malaysians’ perceptions and awareness levels in relation to Halal and Halal foodservice industry. The study was conducted on more than 550 Muslim and non-Muslim Malaysians spread out across Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Bear in mind that in Malaysia, all Malay ethnics are Muslims as defined by the country’s constitution.

From the study, it was found that about 40 per cent of Malay customers perceive that a restaurant is considered a Halal outlet when they observe Malays/ Muslims employed in the establishment. Some of the findings from this study are reflected in the following paragraphs. From the study, it was found that about 40 per cent of Malay customers perceive that a restaurant is considered a Halal outlet when they observe Malays/ Muslims employed in the establishment. On the other hand, only 10.7 per cent of the Chinese customers have the same perception. The results reflect that symbols of Islam/ proxies, such as Muslim/ Malay employees or employees wearing hijab or headscarf, are deemed sufficient by most of the respondents to ascertain that an outlet/ restaurant is Halal. It also highlights the fact that there are more Muslims/ Malays who believe in this approximation compared to the non-Malays or the nonMuslims (Chinese/ Indians). In addition, about 51.2 per cent of the total Malay respondents believe that the ‘No Pork is Served’ sign or notice placed in front of a restaurant is sufficient enough to prove that the food served is safe for Muslim consumption. Conversely, the non-Muslim respondents show a much higher percentage with about 67.5 per cent for the Chinese respondents, and around 86.4 per cent for the Indian respondents. This finding and further analysis tells us

that the Malay respondents view such signs and notices as lacking in providing Halal assurance and that displaying such signs could even backfire as Malay or Muslim customers may pose more questions pertaining to pork and Halal. As a result, this may only complicate the existing issue. Aside from that, the findings from the survey also revealed that customers, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, generally do not have the same perception or knowledge about what is considered a Halal restaurant. Furthermore, the majority of customers, including the Malays/ Muslims, do not have a comprehensive knowledge on the Halal certification process adopted by JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia). They are however, quite aware of the issues surrounding it such as misuse and abuse; thus, are doubtful of the reliability and integrity of the certification. As a result, though many share the importance of Halal certification, it is more critical to have an efficient, reliable and transparent Halal certification system whereby consumers will not doubt its integrity. **Sources: Foodservice Sector Report 2007, and A Study on the Consumers’ Background, Perception and Awareness Level on Sushi King’s Halal Status in the Klang Valley. The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010


cover story

Studies have found that Muslim consumers have become more religious in their purchasing decision and are more Halal conscious.

Polarisation in Meaning and Understanding It is widely known that the way in which people respond to different situations is socioculturally and individually constructed, and there are different impressions of the Halal and Haram concept over time. What is acceptable for one ethnic or cultural group or a country may not be acceptable by another ethnic, group or country. Even within an individual country or society, different ethnics or groups may understand, perceive and respond to this concept differently, depending on regional situations, ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic conditions, and so on. Based on surveys conducted by the KasehDia Research and Consulting division (as summarised in the article “Awareness Level on Halal Food Products” on page 24), the awareness level on meat and meat-based products still remain the highest as this is the range of products with maximum exposures to Shariah principles (such as slaughtering of animals, production, processing, animal welfare, and so on). On the other hand, for other types of food products (including specialty processed food products), Halal awareness level is still low but is increasing. Hence, it is important to note that Muslim consumers are also global consumers. They have all the characteristics of being global consumers, and they also expect and demand for the The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


Halal products they purchase to not only be safe for consumption and of high quality, but also to be produced and processed in a manner that is safe for the environment. In the world’s most discerning markets such as in Europe, Muslim consumers also expect issues such as animal welfare, biodiversity, being ecology friendly and having ethical producers who deal in fair trade and are socially responsible, to be taken into account and embodied within the whole production chain. When the polarisation issue and the existence of many Halal standards in the world are given priority, the current situation shows the need for similar or globally accepted standards, guidelines or manual for Halal production, processing, logistics and others. Studies have found that Muslim consumers have become more religious in their purchasing decision and are more Halal conscious. The second and third generations of Muslims in western countries have shown higher Halal awareness level than their elder generation. For them, the appearance of trusted Halal logo/ labels will satisfy their needs and provide them with an assurance of integrity and thus, peace of mind. Negative Labelling: Haram Label Halal labelling and certification is a form of positive labelling system to indicate and certify that certain products are compliant to Shariah

Awareness on Islamic Finance products/ services By Dayana Nordin

Islamic banking has attracted more attention in recent years and is one of the world’s fastest growing financial sectors. Unlike conventional banking, Islamic banking operates in accordance with Shariah. Major principles of Shariah are a ban on interest, a ban on contractual uncertainty, adherence to risk-sharing and profit-sharing, promotion of ethical investments that enhance society, and asset-backing. While these principles were used in earlier times of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) more than 1,400 years ago, it is only in the late 20th century that a number of Islamic banks were formed to apply them to commercial institutions within the Muslim community. Islamic banking has materialised to be a key segment in global finance and has attracted growing interests from many non-Islamic countries for its growth potential. It has also attracted more attention in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as investors are increasingly looking for alternative, ethical ways of investing. In addition to the large and untapped global Muslim population, Islamic banking is beginning to attract non-Muslim customers who are interested in this alternative way of banking and are troubled by the turmoil in the western banking system. International awareness on Islamic banking and finance is continuously increasing through the development and distribution of Islamic financial products as well as through cooperation and investment in exhibitions and conferences. Since the inception of Islamic banking more than three decades ago, the number and reach of Islamic financial institutions worldwide have risen from one institution in one country in 1975 to over 300 institutions operating in more than 75 countries. Although Islamic banks are concentrated in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, it is fast gaining acceptance in Europe and the United States as niche players. In Europe, UK has taken the lead since 2004 with the first Shariahcompliant retail bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain. In 2009, the French government announced its wish to change the regulation to allow Islamic banking, and Germany will open its first Islamic bank this year in Mannheim, a city with a large ethnic Turkish population. Currently, the total assets of Islamic banks worldwide are estimated at about USD500






49.00 34.92


Islamic Insurance


Conventional Insurance









7 93






Others Don’t Know


Figure 2: Percentage of respondents who are convinced that all takaful products are in compliance with Shariah and Halal Source: KasehDia 2009


44.00 21.31










In Malaysia, takaful operations are regulated and supervised by its national bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), since 1988, with the appointment of the BNM Governor as the Director-General of Takaful. The takaful business in Malaysia is generally divided into two categories: family takaful business or Islamic life insurance (a combination of long-term investment and mutual financial assistance scheme), and general takaful business or Islamic general insurance (for mutual financial help on a short-term basis to compensate its participants for any material loss, damage or destruction that any of them might suffer arising from a misfortune that might inflict upon his properties or belongings). Among the registered takaful

Figure 1: Perception of respondents towards takaful Source: KasehDia 2009

4.55 11.71

The basic principles of takaful are: • Takaful Participants cooperate for the common good. • Every Participant contributes/ donates their subscription into a fund to help other Participants in need. • Losses are divided and liabilities spread according to a community pooling system. • Uncertainty (al Gharar) is minimised in respect of donation subscription and fixed benefit. • Advantage is not derived at a cost to others, and surplus, if any, is distributed fairly to the Participants.

of this study are reflected in the paragraphs below. As can be seen from Figure 1, close to 60 per cent of Chinese and Indian respondents distinguish takaful to be Islamic insurance, while about six per cent of Chinese and about eight per cent of Indians see it as conventional insurance. On the other hand, approximately 35 per cent of both Chinese and Indian respondents are not aware of takaful. In addition, it is interesting to note that not all Malays are familiar with takaful (about 12 per cent), while almost five per cent perceive it as conventional insurance.


Takaful Grounded in Islamic banking transactions, Takaful is an Islamic insurance concept that observes the rules and regulations of Islamic law. Takaful originates from the Arabic word, Kafalah, which means joint guarantee against defined loss or mutual protection. This concept is not new as it had been practiced by the Muhajirin of Mecca and the Ansar of Medina following the hijra (migration) of the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) over 1,400 years ago.

operators in Malaysia are CIMB Aviva Takaful, Hong Leong Tokio Marine Takaful, HSBC Amanah Takaful, MAA Takaful, Etiqa Takaful, Syarikat Takaful Malaysia, Takaful Ikhlas, and Prudential BSN Takaful. KasehDia conducted a survey in 2009 on more than 830 people to uncover Malaysians’ level of understanding and awareness of takaful products and services in the country. The respondents were made up of the three main races in the country: Malay (57 per cent), Chinese (29 per cent), Indian (7.7 per cent) and others (6.2 per cent). The findings


billion, and are expected to grow by about 10 to 15 per cent each year. According to The Economist in 2009, there are approximately USD822 billion worldwide Shariah-compliant assets being managed, which makes in an attractive business amidst the global recession. One of the internationally recognised, largest and most significant gathering of Islamic finance and banking leaders in the world is The World Islamic Banking Conference, annually held in Bahrain since 1994. More than 1,200 industry leaders from over 50 countries attend that event each year with more than 60 partners, sponsors and exhibitors representing nearly every market leader in the industry.

10 0 Malay Agree

isag Chinesee



Disagree The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010


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Figure 3: Percentage of respondents who are aware that takaful products can be purchased and accepted by all (Muslims & Non-Muslims)







80 70 60 50 20 40 30 0 20 10 0





Source: KasehDia 2009



A culturally based Islamic company



Products offered are based on Islamic principles

Figure 4: Respondents’ perception on takaful companies and their products

Malay Agree






83.29 83.29

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0


Source: KasehDia 2009

principle in the way it is being sourced, produced, processed and distributed, and it is a guarantee by a third party that it is not against Shariah principles after inspection, auditing and checking. However, since late 2009 (November 2009) when Indonesia’s Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan (BPOM/ NAFD) issued a regulation pertaining to the labelling requirements for food products, the concept of negative labelling or Haram labelling emerged, whereby all food products containing pork or pig-derivatives in the raw materials or ingredients must be labelled with “Containing Pork” or “Not Suitable for Muslim Consumers”. However, it is important to mention here that even if the product does not contain pork or its derivatives, it is not necessarily Halal, because there are other factors according to Shariah that would determine whether a product is Halal or Haram. Thus, the element of Halal assurance becomes unclear, if not lost. This is in addition to the already arduous tasks required in checking and ensuring that the hundreds and thousands of products (which do not carry such Haram label) are really Halal. Concluding Remarks





Agree Disagree Regarding the respondents’ perception towards takaful products, approximately 34 per cent of Chinese respondents and about 40 per cent of Indian respondents agree that takaful products are in compliance with Shariah and are Halal (see Figure 2). However, nearly 34 per cent of Chinese and about 40 per cent Indian respondents disagree. At the same time, only half of the Malay respondents or about 55 per cent agree with the statement, while 15 per cent disagree. Figure 3 shows that about 61 per cent of Malay, 31 per cent of Chinese and 41 per cent of Indian respondents agree that takaful products can be purchased and accepted by both Muslims and nonMuslims. At the same time, about 15 per cent of Malay, The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


41 per cent of Chinese and 30 per cent of Indian respondents disagree with that statement. Figure 4 depicts respondents’ perception on takaful companies and their products. Nearly 64 per cent Malay, Chinese and Indian respondents perceive takaful companies to be culturally based Islamic companies. Furthermore, about 76 per cent of Malay, 66 per cent Chinese and 67 per cent of Indian respondents perceive takaful products to be based on Islamic principles. These findings show that quite a high number of non-Muslims, Chinese and Indian races, are relatively knowledgeable about takaful and its products. **Sources: KasehDia Takaful Survey 2009, and Malaysia International Financial Centre Website

It is a responsibility of every Muslim to ensure that they only purchase Halal consumer products as much as possible (beyond meat and meat-based products) for their daily consumption. In this aspect, awareness is essential as it will be highly correlated with such purchasing decision. While the meaning of Halal is polarised among various ethnics, culture-related groups or countries, it will be converged when globally accepted standards, guidelines and manuals are agreed upon and mutual recognition can be attained. Nevertheless, the new issue of negative labelling, such as the one announced in Indonesia has only added to the complexity and depth of the issue, of which consensus will potentially be more difficult to achieve. In this issue, every concerning parties and stakeholders must realise that if this issue cannot be resolved by the Muslims, multinational companies and hypermarkets dominating retail trades in almost every part of the world will initiate their own Halal label, and the relevance of existing stakeholders (Muslims, Islamic associations and Halal certification bodies) will slowly fade away, perhaps only leaving behind a history of infighting. hj

The Paradox

When being Halal isn’t quite Halal?

The confusion over Halal in the UK In the UK, KFC’s decision to venture into the lucrative Halal food market in May 2009 sparked polarised responses from its customers. On one hand, non-Muslim groups claiming to represent animal welfare interests criticised the “no stunning” policy of ritual slaughter (which includes Zabihah – slaughter under Islamic guidelines), while Muslim groups voiced their doubts over the Halal integrity of the world-renowned fast food chain. Ritual slaughter had been exempted from the pre-slaughter stunning rule, which is a legal requirement at UK abattoirs. However, KFC had assured animal welfare groups that their certifier, HFA (Halal Food Authority) of London, had allowed them to stun the poultry before slaughter. While this was a relief to the non-Muslims, strict Muslims however felt that HFA guidelines were too lenient, and have criticised KFC’s method of slaughter. The HFA, along with the HMC (Halal Monitoring Committee), are the two most prominent Halal regulators in the UK. The HFA argues that mechanical slaughter should be allowed, in line with the legal opinions (or fatwa) of prominent Islamic authorities. The HMC meanwhile, which strongly opposes the method, feels that the slaughter must only be carried out manually by a person, who at the same time invokes the name of Allah. Fast forward to 2010, after having received much criticism from Muslims, managers from all KFC outlets in Lancashire were summoned to a meeting with the Lancashire Council of Mosques The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


Words by Amri Sofi

(LCM). At this meeting it was explained to the KFC representatives that LCM had a strict “no stunning” policy. However, in KFC’s defence, their Halal value chain had been approved by the HFA – an established certification body in Europe that has been in operation in the UK for over a decade. Furthermore all KFC food materials are supplied by vendors that were also HFA-certified. After the discussion, according to a report by Asian Image, “LCM said it would allow people to make up their own minds and would NOT say any non HMC-certified food was therefore Haram.” The HFA is the largest certification body in the UK after having certified over 1,000 shops, butchers and stores in the UK. The HMC, which is seen as taking a more proactive approach in ensuring Halal, have certified just over 300 businesses. Many companies have voiced their concerns over the additional charges they have to incur should they opt for a HMC certificate. In addition to the additional charges and the strict criteria imposed by the HMC, the certification process could prove to be time-consuming. The incident, along with reports of falsely labelled Halal poultry in March 2010, have sparked calls for a single body with a clear set of guidelines on animal slaughter, to regulate the Halal food industry in the UK. This proposition, according to UK food businesses, would help to address the confusion over Halal food matters there.

Photo by Vassiliki Koutsothanasi

Malaysia in “Intensifying” its Halal Industry In Malaysia, the situation is less than serene. With stories ranging from fraudsters cashing in on the thriving Halal products and services sector to complaints of dubious Halal certificates used by operators, the government had announced earlier this year under its 2010 Budget Plan, that it shall formulate the country’s first Halal Act to further develop, regulate and enforce Halal industry activities. The Halal Act, which is to be introduced next year, among others shall only recognise Halal certificates and logos issued by JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia), which is a government agency. JAKIM, along with the Ministry of Domestic Trade Co-operatives and Consumerism and the Office of Senator Dato’ Jamil Khir Baharom (which is in charge of religious affairs), are currently in the process of formulating the bill which is expected to be tabled in parliament in June 2010. The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |



9.9 17.1 14.8 15.4









80.2 74.0 72.7

Figure 1: The Preferred Issuer of Halal Certification (2008)

20 0


State Islamic Religious Department Catering


Privately-owned agencies Fast Food Chain

Source: KasehDia Foodservice Survey 2008

of “fake” Halal logos and misconducts of operators (which are predominantly those certified by the privately-owned agencies) have resulted in many patrons choosing only eateries that bear the JAKIM Halal logo. With customers preferring to eat at JAKIM-certified outlets, not being “authentically” Halal is seen as a hindrance to businesses and operators that have yet to be issued with the JAKIM certification and logo. The “JAKIM only” rule will also have its effects on companies involved within the services sector. For instance, publishers of guide books featuring Halal eateries such as the Halal Food Guide series (published by KasehDia Sdn Bhd), events that showcase Malaysian Halal products such as MIHAS (International Halal Showcase), and tourismrelated businesses, will not be spared from the effects of the soon-to-be-enforced ruling. JAKIM the preferred choice When the award-winning Halal Food Guide was published in 2006, some of the feedback received from local readers revealed that many of them were sceptical of restaurants that had been certified by privately-owned agencies. Additionally, a survey on the preferred Halal certification agency carried out by KasehDia

Research and Consultancy in early 2008 revealed that businesses preferred the JAKIM certification and logo. The survey was conducted to determine the confidence levels of businesses towards certifications issued by privatelyowned agencies, State Islamic Religious Departments, and JAKIM. From the field study conducted, it is evident from the results (as shown in Figure 1), that JAKIM is the preferred choice in all four sectors surveyed, with an average of 75 per cent of the respondents preferring JAKIM certification and logo over the ones provided by other agencies. From this survey, it is interesting to note that some of the businesses that were more confident in JAKIM certificates and logo were either not Halal-certified or had obtained Halal certifications from other agencies. It was also reported that these businesses, when asked (at the time) why they had not applied or obtained the Halal certification from JAKIM, revealed that JAKIM’s certification process was inefficient and took too long. As reported in a paper presented at the IFSAM VIIIth World Congress 2006 in Berlin, Germany entitled ‘Halal Certification: An International Marketing Issues and Challenges’ by The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


The short term impact of the proposed Halal Act With JAKIM being the sole issuer of Halal certification and logo, it is evident the businesses that would be hardest hit by the introduction of the Halal Act are of course the privatelyowned Halal certification agencies (such as the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America or IFANCA International and the Halal Food Council South East Asia or HFC-SEA, amongst others) that operate in Malaysia. According to an article published in The Star, a local newspaper, on 6 March 2010, the Islamic Religious Department of Selangor (JAIS) had announced that they shall no longer recognise Halal logos and certifications issued by privately-owned agencies in Selangor. According to them, only the standard certification issued by JAKIM and JAIS shall be valid. In addition to this, all six privately-owned agencies in the business of Halal certification (Bahtera Lagenda Sdn Bhd, Islamic Food and Research Council or IFRC, SAS-H Consultancy, Perak Religious Officers Association, Halal Food Council S.E.A, and IFANCA International) have been provided with notices in March 2010 to stop issuing Halal logos and certifications. Businesses that are currently operating in Selangor and have been previously certified by the privately-owned agencies shall also feel the brunt of JAIS’s decision. With their restaurants not deemed as Halal, many of their regulars (especially Muslims) will no longer patronise their restaurants in fear that the eatery could well in fact be non-Halal. With the fracas over the legality of logos and certifications issued by privately-owned agencies, an article from the Malay Mail published on 6 April 2010 revealed the discussions held in Malaysia’s parliament deliberating on the issue of Halal certification logos and certifications issued by privately-owned agencies. Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato’ Dr Mashitah Ibrahim said: “Because of the growing demand for Halal products, many companies and individuals are using Halal logos that are unauthorised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM). However, since JAKIM has no enforcement power, the Trade Description Act 1972 under the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry is being amended to haul to court those who abuse the Halal logo…With the amendments, ministry officials will be empowered under the law to act against individuals or companies using imitation Halal logos.” In other states where non-JAKIM certifications are still allowed (until the Halal Act is enforced next year) but frowned upon, numerous reports The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


In other states where non-JAKIM certifications are still allowed, numerous reports of “fake” Halal logos and misconducts of operators (which are predominantly those certified by the privately-owned agencies) have resulted in many patrons choosing only eateries that bear the JAKIM Halal logo. Not being “authentically” Halal is therefore seen as a hindrance to businesses and operators that have yet to be issued with the JAKIM certification and logo.

In the long term, both consumers and businesses alike will come to understand that protecting the integrity and sanctity of our Halal industry takes precedence over monetary concerns

Shahidan Shafie and Prof. Dr. Md Nor Othman (Faculty of Business & Accountancy, University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), one of the key challenges faced by JAKIM was improving the speed of issuing Halal logo and certification. According to this report, JAKIM did not have a full-fledged research and development unit which was able to process applications efficiently and promptly. In addition to this, JAKIM had to outsource their lab testing and analysis to third parties, which may have contributed to their longer-than-required process. In 2006, an exclusive interview (published in the July/August edition of The Halal Journal) with the Deputy Director General (Operations) of JAKIM at the time, Haji Summali Amat, revealed that JAKIM had intentions to house their own laboratory which would cater to five types of biotechnological expertise dealing with meat, fat, oil, alcohol, chemical, and personalcare products. In this interview, Haji Summali also said that the laboratory (to be located The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


in Malaysia at Bandar Enstek in Nilai, Selangor) was due for completion by 2008. While it was not completed on time, the RM21 million laboratory, on a positive note, is due to be completed by 2011. As reported in a local newspaper recently, JAKIM have recognised the inefficiencies within its processes and have announced that they will reduce the duration of their certification process from the lengthy three months to 30 days or less. A move forward towards Halal integrity Many of the privately-owned agencies may have felt that the decision is unjust as they are recognised by JAKIM as certification bodies operating in their country of origin to begin with. Hence some of the agencies may feel that it is unfair to attribute the misdeeds of some to all of the law-abiding businesses. However, in JAKIM’s defence, the Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) held the helm of Halal Certifications and Accreditation while they were in hiatus since 2008, before

certification was handed back to JAKIM last year. The recent “JAKIM only” rule may have frustrated businesses that were certified by the privately-owned Halal certification agencies. Furthermore, in anticipation of the Halal Act due in 2011, business operators would have to incur additional costs in order to be legally certified. In addition to the frustrations felt, some operators may fear that they may not be eligible to be JAKIM-certified, because JAKIM requirements are considered to be stricter and more rigid than the ones set by most of the privately-owned agencies, which is in line with maintaining the integrity of Halal. With lingering questions within the industry such as, “Should HDC or JAKIM be blamed for the recent malaise?” or “Why were the private Halal certification agencies allowed to issue the Halal certificate in the first place?” or even “Could the Halal Act be a little too late?”, the move to fix the integrity of our Halal industry is, for the short term, considered a necessary evil. In the long term, when the dust settles and all is forgiven, both consumers and businesses alike will come to understand that protecting the integrity and sanctity of our Halal industry takes precedence over monetary concerns. Similar to the call for a single regulatory body in the UK over the KFC incident, the move by the Malaysian government to enforce the Halal Act which will place JAKIM as the sole regulator is both welcomed by many Muslim consumers in the country and will greatly help curb the confusions that currently exist within our Halal industry. hj

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Investment decision

Words by Abdool James

Importance of port-related value-added services and Free Zones

o t e r e h w f o n io is The dec a s u h t is t n e m t s e locate the inv rial e g a n a m t n a t r o p im strategically ly t n a ic if n ig s t a h t e challeng erm t g n lo e h t s t c a p im performance of any global firms.

Introduction: Globalisation and Time-to-Market During the last decade, two strategies – globalisation and ‘time-to-market’ competition – have fundamentally altered the way companies do business. Globalisation has created a “borderless organisation” in which production and distribution facilities, and even the supply base, are geographically dispersed while ‘timeto-market’ competition (defined as the speed with which products are manufactured, delivered to market, and serviced) has led to exacting customer demands for a wide variety of products The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


with short lead times. In the current economic situation, where ever changing market situation is a norm, the above has greater weight for any company. Moreover, as witnessed recently, the recent global economic downturn – the worst since the economic malaise in the 1930s – has signalled the importance of streamlining the whole operations of all regional and global companies.

Having efficient global supply chain and logistics services, to increase time-to-market and reduce costs are the major tasks faced by CEOs of nearly all companies, especially those with extensive global networks. In such a complex environment of global scope and short product-life-cycles, the ability to manage a global supply chain efficiently is considered a vital source of

ts up a For example, a firm that se third manufacturing plant in a ntage world country to take adva nd its of lower labour costs may fi ed time-based performance erod re because of poor infrastructu ed or non-availability of skill s as personnel and bad logistic . well as port-related services

Having an efficient global supply chain and logistics services, to increase time-to-market and reduce costs are the major tasks faced by CEOs of nearly all companies, especially those with extensive global networks.

competitive advantage. For practical purpose, a supply chain is defined as a network of production and distribution facilities that link material, information, and money-flow, from raw material supply to customer delivery in order to deliver a product to the final customer. Investment Decision in Choosing the Best Location A critical decision faced by supply chain managers is the optimal location of production facilities. This decision has a profound impact on firm competitiveness. In making this decision, the

external factors described earlier – globalisation and time-tomarket competition – often impose opposing influences on the firm, and these influences are not readily apparent when the initial plant location decision is made. For example, a firm that sets up a manufacturing plant in a third world country to take advantage of lower labour costs may find its time-based performance eroded because

of poor infrastructure or nonavailability of skilled personnel and bad logistics as well as port-related services. Hence, it is important to realise that labour cost is not a decisive factor anymore, although it is still true for labour intensive operations. In another example, a firm that sets up a manufacturing plant in a relatively welldeveloping country may face obstacles from the existing import regime which limits the possibility to import required raw materials from the most competitive sources in the world, simply because that country is implementing a domestic protection policy by prohibiting import of raw materials which the country is able to produce locally, albeit at much higher cost. This will erode the product’s competitiveness. The classic example is price differences between the price of Brazilian frozen chicken meat with the average price of frozen chicken meat produced in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam. In this case, depending on the global supply and demand, it can reach a price difference in the range of 50 to 100 per cent. Thus, the impact of the final products on the consumer market is huge. The decision of where to locate the investment is thus a strategically important managerial challenge that significantly impacts the longterm performance of any global firm. Hence, this has a real effect on the investor as the location may influence the payback period. To put it simply, they expect their investments to “pay-off ”. In this aspect, the evolution of the port from a place simply for shipping and transhipment to portrelated value-added services, as can be seen nowadays, with a better availability of efficient logistics and distribution systems, especially The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


Free Zone or Free Commercial Area is a large-scale, advanced, value-added logistics complex with comprehensive facilities for distribution operations at a single and integrated location.

having a free zone area in port complex greatly increase its service offerings as it benefits companies in distributive sector.

border movement of capital and technologies have increased substantially, on both a global and regional basis. To cope with this trend, nations and sub-national entities, primarily cities, are accelerating their efforts to attract foreign capital and technology. However, global firms base location decisions on a multitude of critical factors. Traditional location criteria have emphasised cost-based variables such as economies of scale, transportation cost, and factor cost advantages. Nowadays, however, regional infrastructure and local skills are given a great deal more weight than in the past. Non-economic variables such as social and institutional characteristics are also considered important in selecting the best location. A recent survey by UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), focusing on the identification of location determinants for high-tech manufacturers, asserts that a global hub for high-tech and logistics activities should satisfy, inter alia, the following factors:

• A predictable and sustainability of government policy; • A favourable fiscal environment; • Existing high-tech manufacturing industry base; • One-stop-shop local marketing organisation that proactively promotes the location, supported by appropriate literature and materials; • Appropriate incentive packages for foreign investors; • Supporting infrastructure at all terminal facilities; • Supporting human resources development programmes; • Pool of high-tech research and development institutes. In addition, factors such as “friendly international business

environment” and “support from central and local authorities” also play a major role in this group’s location decisions. Free Trade Zones to Strengthen PortRelated Services Nowadays, the increasing number of logistics centres and free trade zones (FTZs) in ports around the world explains the important role of ports in terms of their logistics function. New port functions, compassing logistics centres and FTZs have been having a profound effect on the port industry in many parts of the world. In order to lead global logistics within their respective regions, logistics centres such as those in Malaysia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Singapore and Hong Kong have consistently expanded their logistics facilities. Using such facilities as a base, they have actively established free trade zones as part of their efforts to consolidate and centralise logistics management. These countries, each of which is a major regional logistics centre, have become favourite locations for global firms. In Malaysia for example, there are thirteen FTZs where eight are located in ports and one in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The main FTZs in ports are Port Klang Free Zone, Westport Free Zone, Northport Free Zone, Southpoint Free Zone, and Pulau Indah MISC Logistics Hub – all located in areas adjacent to Port Klang, Klang Valley. In addition to that, there are two FTZs in Johor state, the southern-tip state in Peninsular Malaysia, which is Pelepas Free Zone in Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Johor Port Free Zone adjacent to Pasir Gudang. Both areas are facing Singapore, in the strait bordering Malaysia and Singapore. It is worth noting that Port of Tanjung The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


with the emergence of free zone area in a port complex, has an effect in such investment decisions and the type of industrial operations.. Of course, predictable export-import regime and a consistent trade policy are fundamental reasons for any global firm to make investment decisions, and it is far more important rather than incentives offered. No one would be willing to invest in a country where the regime is inconsistent, defies international norms of trade regime and lacks transparency. Evolution towards Port-Related Value-Added Services The late 1980s saw the emergence of major changes. Customers began to ask ports to provide a greater variety of services. Providing valueadded services is a powerful way for ports to build a sustainable competitive advantage. Shippers and port customers are becoming increasingly demanding. Customers now tend to look at value-added logistics services as an integral part of their supply chain. As a result, ports must attempt to satisfy these needs by offering differentiated services. This poses a particular challenge for port management. Studies show that the most successful ports are those that not only have a productivity advantage in cargo-handling services, but also offer value-added services. A number of ports have responded to this trend by focusing on value-added services as a means of gaining competitive edge. In this context, value-added service refers to the process of developing relationships with customers through the provision of an augmented offer, which may encompass many aspects of value-added activities. Ports can experience synergistic benefits from the logistics centres to provide value-added services. It is advantageous for a port to also act as a logistics centre, since the logistics centre can attract cargo that can be shipped through the port. In another example, having a free zone area in a port complex greatly increases its service offerings as it benefits companies in the distributive sector. BMW, a major automotive company from Germany decided to open its Southeast Asia distribution centre in Pelepas Free Zone/ Port of Tanjung Pelepas in South Johor, Malaysia. The decision was based on sophisticated logistics systems and distributional networks offered by Port of Tanjung Pelepas, as well as its strategic geographical location in Southeast Asia. Logistics is a procedure to optimise all activities to ensure the delivery of cargo through a transport chain from one end to the other. The comparative efficiency of a country’s trade logistics chain is of vital importance in enhancing competitiveness of its industry and commerce. In this regard, The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |


New port functions, compassing logistics centres and FTZs have been having a profound effect on the port industry in many parts of the world. international differences in trade logistics efficiency determine to a large extent the efficiency and sustainability of the economies. In developed countries such as the United States (US) and Japan, logistics costs are about 10 per cent of their Gross Domestic Products (GDP). When a country moved from developing to developed status, contribution from logistics sector almost always will be increased. Hence, developing countries have to look and strategise how to have an efficient logistics system in the early stage of their development. When logistics centres are grouped together in a common dedicated area, it is sometimes called a Distribution Park,

although in other cases it is simply called Free Zone or Free Commercial Area. Therefore, this Zone or Park is a large-scale, advanced, value-added logistics complex with comprehensive facilities for distribution operations at a single and integrated location. It is connected to ports’ terminals and multimodal transport facilities for transit shipment, employing the latest information and advancement in telecommunication technologies. Location Criteria for Port-Related Value Added Services As the trends of globalisation and trade liberalisation have progressed, the cross-

es Port-related value-added servic and the availability of free trade zones in port areas have made substantial contributions to the economy as well as the development of modern export-oriented industries

Pelepas in Johor has consistently ranked high in the major port with higher than average growth rate. Many global companies have already set-up operations in FTZs of Port Tanjung Pelepas. Free trade zones are generally defined as secured areas adjacent to ports in which goods can be stored for prolonged periods without Customs duties, excise tax or inventory tax being paid on the goods. FTZs allow the goods owner Customs entry at its discretion, and complete access to the FTZ at all times. Although most FTZs in the world have more or less the same objectives, for examples, attracting foreign investments, promoting industrialisation, creating job opportunities for local labour, and gaining access to foreign knowledge and technology, the economic benefits of free zones to host countries vary with the form of FTZs. It is common to achieve an added value of 50 to 80 per cent of which about 70 per cent is retained by the host country. In other words, a port-related value-added activity with a value of imports of USD100 million usually will contribute between USD35 to 56 million to the domestic economy (UNCTAD 2002). Moreover, the trickle down effects such as export revenues, employment generations, as well as knowledge and technology transfer to the host will give a profound effect to the port operations and domestic economy. The success of one port in offering port-related valueadded services, and the FTZs proving their ability to attract foreign direct investment, will induce other ports within the country to transform and offer the same services. Rather than competing, these would complement, as investors of different The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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Free trade zones are ge nerally defined as secured area s adjacent to ports in wh ich goods can be stored for prolon ged periods without Customs duties, excise tax or inventory tax being paid on the good s.

sectors have better options in their decision process. Summary Port-related value-added services and the availability of free trade zones in port areas have made substantial contributions to the economy as well as the development of modern export-oriented industries in countries like Singapore, Republic of Korea, Taiwan ROC, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong. They are credited with accelerating the industrialisation of newly industrialised countries. In Malaysia particularly, the activities of ports in two main areas, Port Klang, Selangor (Klang Valley) and South of Johor, has significantly transformed and increased the competitiveness of the country in attracting foreign direct investment. Port-related services and FTZs have provided greater offerings in line with the demand resulting from economic integration or globalisation and ‘time-to-market’ as well as reduction in inventory costs; and this can only be achieved

through sophisticated logistic systems and distribution networks offered by the port. As the economy move from developing to developed status, the importance of integrated and modern logistics system is increased and this has become a ‘sine-qua-non’ for foreign or international companies and investors in their decision making process of investment location. Halal industry is not an isolated industry from the above trends. The decisions by Port of Rotterdam and MISC Logistics in Malaysia to open Halaldedicated logistic services are examples where both parties have noticed and understood the importance of this trend. Although utilisation rate may be low at present, with rapid increase in awareness level and rise in the international trade in Halal products and services, both should enjoy a great improvement and hence, operational profit in the not too distant period.


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Asia •• Singaporean Chinese and Muslim community discontent over McDonald’s pig toy blunder By Zaahira Muhammad

In January, McDonald’s started selling Doraemon cartoon character miniatures depicting the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac calendar. However, the pig character, which is one of the Chinese zodiac signs, was left out of the collection and was instead replaced with Cupid. McDonald’s Restaurants Communications Director, Linda Ming, said the chain excluded the pig toy out of sensitivity for its Muslim customers and chose Cupid instead to commemorate Valentine’s Day, which coincides with the first day of the Chinese New Year this year, on 14 February. However, the decision to leave the animal out of its Chinese zodiac collection backfired and upset many in the predominantly ethnic Chinese nation, and received many complaints in blogs and chat rooms that they would not have a chance to buy the animal sign of their birth year. This decision also saw reactions from the Muslims who believed that McDonald’s actions put them in a negative light. As reported in an article entitled “McDonald’s frantic backpedalling: The pig toy fiasco” by Larry Loh (Singapore Editor for CNN GO), “Mainstream Muslim groups, in fact saw McDonald’s approach as supporting extremism, reinforcing stereotypes and failure to understand their religion beyond face value.” The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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A visiting senior research fellow with the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, Dr. Mohamad Maznah, said to the Straits Times that she felt the restaurant was just being cautious, although she doubted the Muslim community in Singapore would have been upset if the pig toy had been included. The Chinese community in Singapore expressed their discontentment on this matter saying that they understand the need to respect fellow Muslim citizens as Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural society. However, in this case, McDonald’s decision to replace the Doraemon Pig character was insensitive to the culture and customs of the Chinese community. Irate responses and demands over the internet by collectors and customers translated McDonald’s actions as an overreaction, whereas experts said it all boiled down to showing a lack of crosscultural understanding. In his article, Larry Loh also mentioned a comment by sociologist Daniel Goh, who said that if McDonald’s did not consult Muslim opinions before making the decision to exclude the pig toy, the company had then assumed Muslim sensibilities, which amounted to a

form of self-censorship. In Islam, consumption of pork or usage of pig by products are not permissible, however, there are no rulings that says Muslims cannot own soft toys in the form of a pig. Muslims are allowed to touch or own toy pigs. According to the Straits Times, the fast food chain responded to the complaints and demands by its customers about its decision to yank the pig character by apologising to Singapore and brought a pig back to its toy menu. McDonald’s apology was published via an ad in the Straits Times with the message:

“We’re sorry and we’re grateful. We could never have anticipated how passionate Singapore is about our Doraemon lucky charms. A happy community is important to us, and it was never our intention to offend anyone. Therefore, we are grateful for your feedback. This we believe is the backbone of McDonald’s relationship with you. You tell us, we listen. We are doing our best to make things right. And as you have requested, we will bring in the Doraemon ‘pig’ lucky charm to complete your collection in mid-April owing to production schedule.”

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Asia •• Sri Kulai launches AllTime Favourite Recipes Search

AYS Sdn Bhd (AYS), manufacturer of Sri Kulai, launched its Sri Kulai AllTime Favorite Recipes Search in conjunction with its first anniversary on 12 January 2010 at 1 Utama Shopping Centre in Selangor, Malaysia. AYS also introduced their Sri Kulai Western Delights during the launch, as an extension of their product range. The western meals will be available in Sri Kulai Lifestyle Concept Outlet, and rolled out to selected retailers in stages. Mr. Liow Ren Jan, Chief Executive Officer of AYS said, “For the past one year, Sri Kulai has been giving Malaysians a wholesome meal within five minutes, from freezer to microwave to table, anytime of the day, without the hassle of cooking and queuing. I was told by my Muslim friends and consumers that Sri Kulai’s Halal ready-toeat meals are particularly helpful during the month of Ramadhan, for sahur (meal consumed before the break of dawn) and iftar (meal taken at dusk to end a day of fasting). This ready-to-eat meal concept is also very wellaccepted by our airline and foodservice partners, where significant time and manpower resources are reduced during the food preparation process. Consistency in the quality of every meal we produce is another important aspect that AYS ensures, especially for our partners with chain of outlets.”

Mr. Liow added, “I realised when we began planning for this project, ‘Sri Kulai AllTime Favourite Recipes Search – Bring out the Entrepreneur in you’, that what we do in AYS, and particularly with our Sri Kulai brand, is executing a business model that is built on a CSR or Corporate Social Responsibility platform. The objectives of this competition, which is intended to be held annually, are: To provide a system to promote entrepreneurship in Malaysia. Assisting and working with budding entrepreneurs is central to AYS’ corporate philosophy. To promote Malaysian Halal products internationally, and support the call from the nation to build Malaysia a global Halal hub. To promote Malaysia to the world with favorite Malaysian cuisines – with 12 months shelf life, Sri Kulai ready to eat meal is an easier and much lower cost way to bring authentic Malaysian cuisines international, and reach out to the masses with higher top of mind recall.” Sri Kulai is the first brand of microwaveable frozen ready-to-eat Malaysian meals, and was accorded The Halal Journal Awards Best Halal Product 2009 and MIFT Product Innovation Gold Award 2009 for its signature dish: Nasi Lemak with Rendang Ayam. Sri Kulai’s food range is available in selected

Jusco outlets, Tesco, and on Air Asia flights. Sri Kulai Lifestyle Concept Outlet in Jaya One is also offering its extended menu of microwaveable frozen ready-to-eat favourite Malaysian meals. The Sri Kulai All-Time Favourite Recipes Search is open to all Malaysians, 18 and above. To enter the contest, consumers only need to buy any two packs of Sri Kulai products (an original official receipt is required to be submitted along with the entry form as evidence for purchase of any two packs of Sri Kulai), and submit their recipes. However, all ingredients in the recipe must be microwaveable and Halal.

This competition will create opportunities for participants to earn for a period of one year with their winning recipes in the form of desserts, dim sum and dishes that are microwaveable, Halal and truly 1Malaysia. Three grand prize winners of this competition will receive five per cent from the sales of their winning recipes, which will be created into Sri Kulai ready-to-eat format, and sold through their selected distribution channels in Malaysia. Additionally, every winner will receive a RM10,000 cash discount when they become a licensee of the Sri Kulai licensing programme – a very simple The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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5/5/10 11:40:49 AM


Asia •• The 6th WIEF seeks to capture the spirit of the Muslim world

and easy way to start their own F&B (food and beverage) business under the Sri Kulai Lifestyle Concept Outlet umbrella. During the launch of Western Delights, Mr. Liow commented, “Our new category of microwaveable Halal frozen ready-to-eat meals – the Sri Kulai Western Delights range – is a part of our continuous effort to give our consumers a wider selection of wholesome meals, all ready to eat within five minutes, anytime of the day, without cooking and queuing.” Sri Kulai food range enjoys the Halal endorsement by JAKIM (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia) and HDC (Halal Industry Development Corporation), and is fully prepared on wholesome platforms. Food is fully cooked under the international HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) standard as to eliminate any food risks; and meals are wholesome and delicious – using only fresh and good quality ingredients, and do not contain MSG and preservatives.

By Fazil Irwan Som, WIEF Foundation

The world woke up from one of the most devastating crises that hit the global financial system. The collapse of colossal financial institutions around the world gave strong signals of the fragility of the present financial framework. In the Muslim world, the picture is quite different. Given the comparative advantage of being less vulnerable to the fallouts of the global capital market, the Muslim world stands to gain from the recent crisis with its head start in Islamic finance, a market of 1.8 billion people, a young population and a burgeoning Halal industry whose forecasted assets are worth more than USD1 trillion. The Muslim world and the global business community at large have something to say. And at the 6th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), 18-20 May 2010, about 2,000 delegates will gather in the city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to discuss the pertinent issues on business and trade affecting the world today including issues

For those interested in the Sri Kulai All-Time Favourite Recipe Search, they could obtain entry forms from Jusco, Tesco, Village Grocer, and the Sri Kulai Lifestyle Concept Outlet in Jaya One, Petaling Jaya. For more information about the contest, contact AYS at +603 6272 1707 or The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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of pressing concern such as climate change, and energy security, amongst many others. With the theme ‘Gearing for Economic Resurgence’, the 6th WIEF seeks to capture the spirit of the Muslim world for economic revival and explore new solutions to the world’s present problems. Purportedly one of the most important business forums in 2010 focusing on opportunities in the Muslim world, the 6th WIEF is a platform where world leaders in government and business converge to discuss global issues and network for business partnerships. The 6th WIEF showcases insightful sessions such as the Leadership Panel, hosting key personalities to discuss leadership challenges in the new era, special sessions on Climate Change and the Global CEO Panel, topical sessions such as the new game plan for business, the role of SMEs in driving economic growth, the business case for water, opportunities in logistics, the importance of business ethics in wading through

crisis, and many more. Some of the confirmed personalities at the Forum include H.E. Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak (Prime Minister of Malaysia), H.E. Karim Masimov (Prime Minister of Kazakhstan), H.E. Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz (Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia), H.E. Dato’ Mustapa Mohamed (Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia), H.E. Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi (Minister of Foreign Trade, UAE), Dato’ Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh (Chairman of Proton), Mr. Sigve Brekke (Executive Vice President, Telenor Group), Sir Martin Sorrell (Group Chief Executive of WPP, UK), Mr. Nasser Munjee (Chairman of Aga Khan Foundation, India), Dato’ Anthony Fernandes (Group CEO of AirAsia), and Mr. Aziz Senni (President of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of France). The list goes on. For more information about the event, log on to

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MAKE THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS Business Leaders Policy Makers

Financial Experts

Heads of States Young Entrepreneurs

Key Business Women

Potential Investors

KUALA LUMPUR 18–20 MAY 2010 KL Convention Centre

Names who make the news have made a date for the 6th World Islamic Economic Forum. For 3 intense days, they will discuss, address and exchange economic issues, share insights and solutions. On the stage, in the gallery, dining halls and open door sessions, opportunities abound for locking eyeballs, horns or timetables. To reserve your place or for more information: Tel 00603 2145 5500 Fax 00603 2145 5504 world islamic economic forum foundation

2nd Floor, Kompleks Antarabangsa,ŘŒJalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

WIEF_HalalJournal_20cmx26.7cm.indd 1

2/25/10 5:56:51 PM

country in focus

Words by Dayana Nordin

South Africa : Then and Now






outh Africa is multi-faceted, from their people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs to their landscapes with abundant natural resources. Modern humans have been living here more than 100,000 years before its written history began with the arrival of European seafarers, making the country a major archaeological treasure chest. Officially known as the Republic of South Africa, the country is located at the southern tip of Africa between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Its legislative capital is Cape Town, Pretoria is the administrative capital, and the largest city is Johannesburg. History In 1652, Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa and established a refreshment station, founding the city of Cape Town. The British later seized the Cape of Good Hope in 1806, which resulted in many of the Dutch settlers, also known as the Boers, moving to the north and founding their own republics. The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1886 spurred wealth and immigration, which consequently intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments and also fought for the control of South African mineral wealth but the British defeated them in the Anglo-Boer War in 1902. However, the British and the Afrikaners, as The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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the Boers became known, ruled together beginning in 1910 under the Union of South Africa. In 1948, the National Party was elected to power and intensified the implementation of racial segregation, later called apartheid. The whites enjoyed the highest standard of living while the black majority remained disadvantaged in almost every standard. 1961 was the year South Africa achieved the status of a republic, and legislated continuation of the apartheid. It took activists decades before they succeeded in their fight to abolish apartheid and extend democracy to the rest of the population in 1994, with the first multi-racial elections. The country then rejoined the Commonwealth of Nations. Jacob Zuma became president after the African National Congress (ANC) won general elections in April 2009. Economy As classified by the UN, South Africa is a middleincome, emerging market with an abundant supply of natural resources; well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors;

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Photos by: Wynand van Niekerk (01), Niels Patty Ghillebert (02 & 08), Sias van Schalkwyk (03), John Smith (04), John Maguire (05), Dominic Morel (06), Laura Glover (05), Nicolas Raymond (07), Rob Owen-Wahl (08)




01 A blanket of clouds over Table Mountain, Cape Town 02 Bo-Kaap, one of Cape Town’s most colourful suburbs. With its brightly coloured houses at the foot of Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap is the spiritual home of the Cape’s Muslim community 03 Night view of Durban bay, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa 04 Addo Elephant Park, South Africa 05 Nelson Mandela Bridge 1 - Johannesburg has the largest cable-stayed bridge in southern Africa. Who else to name it after but Nelson Mandela, the man who led South Africa across the apartheid divide. Opened 21st July 2003 06 African beader working in a women’s empowerment group, South Africa 07 Scenery at Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

its stock exchange is ranked 17th largest in the world, and with modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centres throughout the region. The World Bank states South Africa’s 2008 per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) at USD10,357, and its GDP (PPP) is ranked 24th worldwide with USD492,155 million in the same year. The country’s central bank is the Reserve Bank. South Africa experienced robust growth from 2004 to 2008, as it reaped the benefits of macroeconomic stability and a global commodities boom. However, the growth dropped in 2008 when the global financial crisis negatively impacted on commodity prices and demand. The slowing of economic activity was the result of several negative factors – unprecedented power shortages, hike in global oil and food prices, decline in foreign investment and exports and the slow-down of private consumption.

The recent decline is intensifying South Africa’s development challenges. Many South Africans remain poor; unemployment, lack of skills and poverty remain dire problems. The Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) launched in 2006 aims at halving unemployment and poverty by 2014. Mining is South Africa’s largest industry sector; the country currently dominates as the world’s largest producer of platinum, gold and chromium, and is globally recognized as being a leading supplier of about 55 different minerals and various mineral products that are exported to nearly 90 countries. Agriculture contributes 3.3 per

cent to South Africa’s GDP. This sector consists largely of sheep and cattle farming with only 13 per cent of land used for crop growing. Maize is most widely grown followed by wheat, oats, sugar cane and sunflowers. The government is working to develop small-scale farming in efforts to boost job creation; and the new Land Use Management Bill, designed to simplify the regulatory framework for land use, was finalised in 2007 and should make investment in agriculture more attractive. Infrastructure has suffered from decades of under-investment and lack of competition. However, the construction sector has turned around and is booming due to the many infrastructure projects The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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5/5/10 11:43:57 AM

country in focus

that are under way in transport and electricity, and projects related to the hosting of the 2010 World Cup, which includes new hotels and stadiums. Growth in this sector is expected to remain dynamic in the coming years. Since the demise of apartheid, international tourist arrivals have surged, making tourism one of the fastest growing sectors. The tourism industry is wellestablished with an exciting sector of emerging entrepreneurs. The country is strong on adventure, sports and wildlife travel. Other progressing sectors are manufacturing, oil and gas, and chemicals; and in recent years, clothing and textiles, financial services and banking sectors have also shown significant growth. South Africa’s major trading partners are Germany, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, the Netherlands and China. Overwhelming economic problems still remain from the apartheid era - especially poverty, lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups, and a shortage of public transportation. South African economic policy is fiscally conservative but pragmatic, focusing on controlling inflation, maintaining a budget surplus, and using state-owned enterprises to deliver basic services to low-income areas as a means to increase job growth and household income. Population The South African people are known for their compassion, having come from a past filled with struggle and separation. It is a nation of people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. The World Bank’s 2008 estimate puts the population at 48.69 million, an increase from Statistics South Africa’s estimate of around 47.9 million in mid-2007. It also states the annual population growth rate at 1.7 per cent; immigration greatly accounts for the population growth in the past decade. Black groups constitute the largest portion of the population with about 80 per cent. Whites The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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08 Traditional South African Biltong / drywors / droeworse 09 Cape Town’s Camps Bay beach is long and white, with swaying palm trees lining the avenue (one of the trendiest in Cape Town) giving it an atmosphere much like the south of France 10 Zebras on the road in Hluhluwe


SA Muslim community prepares for 2010 With the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ just months away, the South African Muslim community is hard at work preparing to welcome the many Muslim players and fans that are expected to be in the country in June and July this year. A number of Halal restaurants are being opened throughout Host Cities, and Halal organisations such as the National Independent Halaal Trust (NIHT), have increased inspections at newer franchises to increase the number of Halal establishments. “Volunteers will be placed outside stadiums to hand out lists of Halal restaurants, products and prayer facilities in that city, and they will also answer any questions from Muslim spectators,” said Moulana Abdul Wahab Wookay, head of the NIHT. The Johannesburg-based Council of Muslim Theologians are creating a brochure which comprises of a list of prayer venues, Halal restaurants and helpful guidelines for Muslim guests in the Gauteng province. “These brochures will be made available at all major hotels, guest houses and the provinces airports. It will contain pertinent information to assist the Muslim traveller,” said Moulana Bilal Vaid from the council’s media desk. For Wookay, preparations for Muslim guests take longer, and attention needs to be focused on detail. “Food and beverages is one thing, but other non-natural perishables like chocolates, sweets and pharmaceuticals could contain non-Halal substances such as pork-based substances or extracts from an un-Islamic slaughtered animal. That’s why details are so important,” said Wookay. Another important factor pertaining to Muslim guests is prayer facilities. “It is mandatory for Muslims to pray five times a day,” said Vaid who mentioned that more Mosques/ Masaajids will be opened for the tournament to accommodate both male and female Muslim spectators. There are currently 500 Mosques/Masaajids in South Africa. | SOURCE: LOC, 17 February 2010

and Coloureds account for roughly nine per cent each. Asians, of which Indians are in the majority, constitute approximately 2.5 per cent. The white descendants of the colonial immigrants of Dutch, German, French Huguenot and British, are divided into Afrikaans and English-speaking groups. The label “coloured” is a controversial one but is still used for people of mixed race descended from slaves brought in from East and central Africa. The majority of the population speaks Afrikaans. According to the 2001 census, two thirds of South Africans are Christians, largely Protestant, and belong to a variety of churches including those that combine Christian and traditional African beliefs. Other significant religions are Islam, Hinduism and Judaism. In addition, South Africa has the second-highest number of HIV/ Aids patients in the world. It’s an alarming problem; around one in seven of its citizens are infected with HIV. South Africa plans to spend around USD6 billion on halving the rate of new HIV infections by 2011 and providing treatment, care and support to at least 80 per cent of people living with HIV/ Aids. The government has placed much emphasis on the primary healthcare sector specifically in rural and poorer areas; free anti-retroviral drugs are available under a state-funded scheme and treatment for Tuberculosis is available free of charge at all clinics.

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Science and Technology Many scientific and technological developments have originated in South Africa. Among the breakthroughs and Nobel Prize winning achievements include the world’s first human heart transplant performed by cardiac surgeon Christiaan Barnard in 1967, Yellow Fever vaccine developed by virologist Max Theiler, and x-ray computed tomography pioneered by physicist Allan McLeod Cormack. In 2007/8, South Africa spent more than USD2.4 billion on research and development (R&D); this is according to the national survey of R&D activities by Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). The survey finds that in comparison with other middle and lower-middle income countries, South Africa spends proportionately more on R&D than Argentina (0.51 per cent) and India (0.80 per cent) but less than China (1.49 per cent) and the Russian Federation (1.12 per cent). South Africa is currently building the Karoo Array Telescope as a pathfinder for the USD20 billion Square Kilometer Array project that the country is competing to be the host of. Culture It can be argued that there is no “single” culture in South Africa due to its ethnic diversity. South Africa offers an endless assortment


of arts, crafts, entertainment, wildlife and food of various tribes that will make a trip here rich with experience. The country’s rich history dates back to some of the earliest human settlements in the world and it is reflected in over 300 museums, from centuries old mountain caves, cultural villages to state-of-the-art urban facilities. There are 11 officially recognised languages and most of them are indigenous to South Africa. Even though more than 40 per cent of the population speaks either isiZulu or isiXhosa, you can expect to find people who speak or understand English as you walk down the street. South Africa also offers culinary challenges for the more daring diner, with delicious delicacies such as crocodile sirloins, sheep heads and fried caterpillar. South African food takes advantage of their natural bounty of seafood, meat, game and plants, and celebrates the country’s rich cultural heritage. Not too worry; there are numerous indigenous foods that fit the familiar global menu for the less daring. International cuisines are also available in major cities such as Johannesburg. Wildlife There is no better place in the world for big game like the African bush. South Africa possesses seven major terrestrial habitat types with distinct environmental conditions and related sets of

plant and animal life; the country has the thirdhighest level of biodiversity in the world! There are more than 20,000 different plants – about 10 per cent of all the known species of plants on earth even though only one per cent of South Africa is forest. There are many tours offering overland excursions and guided safaris to areas such as the lowveld of the Limpopo, Mpumalanga KwaZuluNatal provinces where you can view hundreds of species in their natural environments. Other famous places to experience the wilderness include the Golden Gate National Park, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng province. Aside from elephants, lions and buffalos, you will also find the bontebok, black wildebeest, springbok just to name a few. Islam in South Africa The first recorded influences of Islam predates the colonial period, which was brought in by the southern migration of African through the influences of Arab traders. The early Muslims arrived as Dutch slaves from the Indonesian archipelago during their time of power. The British colonial powers later brought more Muslim indentured labourers from South Asia during the 1800s after conquering the Dutch and defeating the Zulu nation; more merchant immigrants from North India arrived in South Africa and settled in the country. Currently, South African Muslims account for less than two percent of the population, about 650,000; they are mostly members of the Indian and coloured communities and most of them are urban dwellers, thus live in cities such as Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Kimberley. Though accurate data is insufficient, census data signify that the Muslim population of South Africa has nearly doubled in the thirteen years since 1991 to 2004, which reflects the rise of conversions, especially by the indigenous black people and particularly among the women and the youth. South African Muslims are practically all Sunni – Hanafi, Shafie and Maliki. The first mosque in Natal, Juma Masjid, was built in Grey Street in Durban in 1884. It is now the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere. hj The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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Sources: BBC website, WorldBank Data, Wikipedia, and South Africa Info website, among others



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islamic finance

Speculation and Derivatives

Words by By Dr. Sherin Kunhibava

Researcher – Islamic Capital Market Unit, ISRA

Maisir, qimar, jahala and gharar are injunctions in Shariah which are frequently cited when the topic of derivatives are discussed. This article explains what these injunctions are and how they link to speculation and derivative trading.

Gharar sales are invalid precisely because of the excessive uncertainty and riskiness involved.

The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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islamic finance

one party to another as in cases of gambling this would amount to speculation which resembles gambling, in other words a zero-sum game. Why is wealth creation important as opposed to wealth transfer? This is because wealth decays and new wealth must be created to replace the old wealth. If only wealth transfer was to take place, the stock of wealth would not be enough and would eventually be held by a few fortunate human beings. Wealth creation is therefore necessary for the equal distribution of wealth and more fundamentally for the survival of mankind. (Diwany, 2003). In defence of speculation in the derivative markets, some argue that unlike gambling, speculation deals in risks that are necessarily present in the process of marketing goods and services in a free capitalistic system. Where as in gambling it is the gambler that creates the risk (Teweles and Jones, 1998), (Kamali, 1999), and thereby lies the difference between the two. In other words speculation merely transfers the risk from hedgers to speculators. In counter arguing this point Al-Suwailem (2006) at pp. 38 & 39 points out that ‘derivative markets allow risk to be transferred to those more willing to take them, but not necessarily more able to manage them’ this coupled with the fact that derivatives ‘unbundle risk from real economic activity’ and make it traded separately, thereby transforming risk into a commodity which in turn multiplies risk and makes it proliferate. This causes the economy to be more risky and less stable. Thereby risk is not only being The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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transferred but also created. The argument is thus flawed. An indicator of how risk is created by speculation is by looking at the losses incurred when the speculative stance taken is lost. After all, risk is defined as - ‘Either the amount that can be lost in an investment, or the chance of losing it’ (Pelanduk, 2000, p.409). An example would be the recent disaster in September 2006 by Amaranth Advisors LLC5, which incurred a USD6 billion loss in trading in futures and options in natural gas by a single trader (Mr. Hunt) in a week’s time, (Krainer, 2006). In further defence of

speculation in derivative markets, it is also argued that the advantage of the speculators’ presence in the market enhances liquidity which enables hedgers to pass their risk on to the speculators, (Kamali, 1999). But how many hedgers are actually using the derivative markets? “According to Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), only five commercial banks account for 96 per cent of total notional amount of derivatives in the commercial banking system in the U.S. Further, only 2.7 per cent of total derivatives are used by end users, i.e. corporations assumed to hedge their risks, while the

An indicator of how risk is created by speculation is by looking at the losses incurred when the speculative stance taken is lost.

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imar or gambling is strictly prohibited in Islam. As stated in verse 219 of chapter 2 of the Quran: “They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.” Qimar is often described as maisir which means something attained through no effort, (Damansari, 2007). This is one of the main reasons that gambling is prohibited in Islam. Other reasons include, gambling results in the taking away of one’s property without lawful or proper exchange or giving it as a gift or for charity; gambling causes anger and frustration caused by loosing; gambling can be addictive and compulsive which may lead to bankruptcy; and further will cause the person to forget his duty as a Muslim, to family and nation, (al-Qardawi, 1994). Jahala or ignorance on the other hand, in a sale, will cause it to be defective. For example, if the object of sale or price was subject to major ignorance such that it would be impossible to deliver or receive the price or object of the sale, the sale would be invalid due to Jahala (Al-Zuhayli, 2003). Gharar, also prohibited in Islam, is more difficult to define, (Vogel and S.L., 1998, p.64), as it is more general and encompasses a number of other elements such as maisir and jahala. Gharar has been defined as ‘danger’ (Al-Zuhayli, 2003, p.82), ‘risk’ (El-Gamal, 2001, p.2) and also a transaction equivalent to ‘a zero-sum game

with uncertain payoffs’ (AlSuwailem, 1999 & 2000, p.1). Professor Al-Zarqa’s definition of a gharar sale, it is opined is a more clear-cut definition: It is the sale of probable items whose existence or characteristics are not certain, due to the risky nature that makes it similar to gambling (Al-Zuhayli, 2003, p.83). Gharar sales are invalid precisely because of the excessive uncertainty and riskiness involved. An example of such a sale can be found from the Hadith Narrated by Abu Huraira3: “The Prophet forbade two kinds of sales i.e. Al-Limais and An-Nibadh (the former is a kind of sale in which the deal is completed if the buyer touches a thing, without seeing or checking it properly and the latter is a kind of a sale in which the deal is completed when the seller throws a thing towards the buyer giving him no opportunity to see, touch or check it) and (the Prophet forbade) also Ishtimal-As-Samma’ and AlIhtiba’ in a single garment.” Maisir or gambling due its high risk and uncertain outcome, and jahalah sales in which ignorance can lead to uncertainty, are gharar and invalid. Therefore maisir and jahala can be described as the subset of gharar, because all jahala transactions would amount to gharar but not all gharar sales are jahala, an example of the latter would be ‘in the case of buying a runaway slave with known characteristics’ (Al-Zuhayli, 2003, p.109).

Likewise with maisir, all maisir transactions are gharar but not all gharar transactions are maisir, this is because the term gharar does not always result in a zero-sum4 outcome, for example the sale of milk in an udder, whereas gambling always results in a zero-sum game (AlSuwailem, 1999 & 2000, p.64). How do the above injunctions relate to derivative trading? Derivative trading has been accused of being gharar and a form of maisir, by scholars in Islamic finance, due to speculation, (Chapra, 1985, Khan, 1988, Khan, 1997, Obaidullah, 1998/99, Obaidullah, 1999, Obaidullah, 2001, Naughton and Naughton, 2000, Wilson, 2007). Speculation itself is not un-Islamic (Khan, 1988). Since speculation exists in all forms of businesses, such as mudarabah and musharakah (Kamali, 1999). It is a necessary element for the development of businesses. Speculation is defined as an ‘investment strategy that calls for the taking of a relatively high degree of risk in order to realise substantial profits.’(Pelanduk, 2000, p.426) Then why is speculation often compared to gambling and gharar? The concern is when speculation turns out to be a zero-sum nature of a game that resembles maisir and gharar (Obaidullah, 2002). It is opined that when speculation is to create wealth as in mudarabah and musharakah it would be acceptable, but when speculation is used for wealth transfer from The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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remaining 97.3 per cent is used by dealers (OCC, 2005). This shows that end users, and thus hedgers, are minorities in the derivatives market. Speculators dominate the market.” (AlSuwailem, 2006, p.43). So, the benefits to the hedgers seem to be very little compared to the advantages gathered by speculators. If one refers back to verse 219 of chapter two of the Quran: ‘They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.” In gambling there is some profit as in speculation which results in zero-sum games,

but the sin and harm is greater. In conclusion maisir, qimar, jahala and gharar are prohibited in Islam. Speculation per se is not prohibited especially where wealth creation takes place. However where speculation leads to a zero-sum result akin to gambling it would, it is opined, fall under the prohibition of maisir, qimar and gharar. Speculators in derivative trading do provide advantages, however, the harm it poses as exemplified in the Amranth Advisors case would make them impermissible in Islamic finance. hj

Footnote: 1. Translation by ALI, A. Y. (1999) The Holy Quran Original Arabic Text with English Translation and Selected Commentaries, Kuala Lumpur, Saba Islamic Media. Another injunction on the prohibition of gambling in the Qur’an can be found in verse 90, chapter 5 of the Qur’an. 2. In Al-Zarqa, Al-Madkhal Al-Fiqhi Al-Am (vol.1, p.97), translated in English –(1964) A Comprehensive Introduction to Islamic Law Oxford: Clarendon Press, 3. BUKHARI Complete Sahih Bukhari. Volume 1, Book 8, Number 364. 4. This is a game in which whatever one party gains is what the other loses.AL-SUWAILEM, S. (1999 & 2000) Towards an Objective Measure of Gharar in Exchange. Islamic Economic Studies, 7(1),(2), pp.61-102. 5. ‘Amaranth Advisors LLC was an American multistrategy hedge fund managing USD9 billion in assets. In September 2006, it collapsed after losing roughly USD6 billion in a single week on natural gas futures. The failure was the largest hedge fund collapse in history’. (2007) Amaranth Advisors. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

References: 1. (2007) Amaranth Advisors. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2. AL-QARDAWI, Y. (1994) The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam, Kuala Lumpur, Islamic Book Trust. 3. AL-SUWAILEM, S. (1999 & 2000) Towards an Objective Measure of Gharar in Exchange. Islamic Economic Studies, 7(1),(2), pp.61-102. 4. AL-SUWAILEM, S. (2006) Hedging in Islamic Finance. Occasional Paper No. 10. Islamic Research and Training Institute. 5. AL-ZUHAYLI, W. (2003) Financial Transactions in Islamic Jurisprudence, Damascus, Dar al-Fikr 6. ALI, A. Y. (1999) The Holy Quran Original Arabic Text with English Translation and Selected Commentaries, Kuala Lumpur, Saba Islamic Media. 7. BUKHARI Complete Sahih Bukhari. Volume 1, Book 8, Number 364. 8. CHAPRA, U. (1985) The Role of the Stock Exchange in an Islamic Economy: Comments. Journal of Research in Islamic Economics, 3, pp. 75-81. 9. DAMANSARI, A. K. (2007) The Sin Of Gambling Explained 10. DIWANY, T. E. (2003) The Problem With Interest, London, Kreatoc Ltd. 11. EL-GAMAL, M. A. (2001) An Economic Explication of the Prohibition of Gharar in Classical Islamic Jurisprudence. 4th International Conference on Islamic Economics. Leicester, UK. 12. KAMALI, M. H. (1999) Prospects for an Islamic Derivative Market in Malaysia. Thunderbird International Business Review, 4(5), pp. 523-540 13. KHAN, M. A. (1988) Commodity Exchange and Stock Exchange in Islamic Economy. The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 5(1), pp.91-114. 14. KHAN, M. F. (1997) Islamic Futures Markets as a Means for Mobilizing Resources for Development. IN AUSAF, A. & KHAN, T. (Eds.) Islamic financial instruments for public sector resource mobilization. Jeddah, IRTI. 15. KRAINER, A. (2006) Amaranth Advisors’ $6 billion lessons 16. NAUGHTON, S. & NAUGHTON, T. (2000) Religion, Ethics and Stock Trading: The Case of an Islamic Equities Market. Journal of Business Ethics, 23 pp.145-159 17. OBAIDULLAH, M. (1998/99) Financial Engineering with Islamic Options. Islamic Economic Studies, 6(1), pp.73-103 18. OBAIDULLAH, M. (1999) Financial Options in Islamic Contracts: Potential Tools of Risk Management, Journal of the King Abdulaziz University (Islamic Economics), 11, pp.3-26 19. OBAIDULLAH, M. (2001) Financial Contracting in Currency Markets: An Islamic Evaluation. International Journal of Islamic Financial services. 20. OBAIDULLAH, M. (2002) Islamic Risk Management: Towards Greater Ethics and Efficiency. International Journal of Islamic Financial Services. 21. PELANDUK (2000) Dictionary of Financial and Business Terms, Subang Jaya, Malaysia, Pelanduk. 22. TEWELES, R. J. & JONES, F. J. (1998) Future Game: Who Wins, Who loses, and Why, New York, Mc Graw-Hill 23. VOGEL, F. E. & S.L., H. (1998) Islamic Law & Finance: Religion, Risk & Return., The Hague, Kluwer Law International. 24. WILSON, R. (2007) Global Islamic Capital Markets.

**This article was previously published with the title ‘Speculation and Derivatives’ on page 14 in Vol. 4, Issue 22, 1st June 2007, of the Islamic Finance News – a publication by the REDmoney Group, and is reprinted with permission from the author. For more Islamic Finance news and updates visit The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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5/5/10 11:45:08 AM

islamic finance update Compiled by Zaahira Muhammad

BANK NEGARA ALLOWS EONCAP TO COMMENCE MERGER TALKS WITH HONG LEONG BANK EON Capital Bhd, the holding company of EON Bank Group, has received Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) approval to start merger talks with Hong Leong Bank Bhd (HLBB). BNM has, vide its letter dated 19 January 2010, no objection for EON Capital to commence negotiations with HLBB for the potential divestment of the assets and liabilities of EON Capital and EON Bank including EON Capital’s equity interest in EON Bank for the purpose of merging the licensed entities under EON Capital Group with Hong Leong Bank Group. The approval to commence negotiations with HLBB is valid until 30 June 2010. EON Capital said that it had, for itself and on behalf of its subsidiaries, submitted an application to BNM for approval for EON Capital and/ or any of its subsidiaries to commence negotiations with potential third parties and their related corporations in Malaysia licensed under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (BAFIA) and/ or the Islamic Banking Act 1983. According to the earlier statement, the approval sought relates to two options. First, EON Capital directly and/ or through any one of its subsidiaries undertaking a sale of EON Capital’s assets and liabilities, including the equity interests in, and/ or the assets and liabilities of, EON Bank, EONCap Islamic Bank Bhd and/ or MIMB Investment Bank Bhd. Second, EON Capital directly and/ or through any of its subsidiaries acquiring at least five per cent of the interest in shares in, or merging with, or undertaking an acquisition, of the assets and liabilities of an existing entity in Malaysia licensed under BAFIA and/ or the Islamic Banking Act. |SOURCE: BERNAMA, 20 JANUARY 2010

HSBC AMANAH PREMIER NOW AVAILABLE IN MALAYSIA The world’s first globally linkedup Islamic banking and wealth management service, HSBC Amanah Premier, is now available The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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in Malaysia. HSBC Amanah Global Chief Executive Officer and HSBC Amanah Malaysia Chairman, Mukhtar Hussain, who launched the service here today, said: “I’m sure this will take our Islamic banking service to another level.” This cross-border service is also available in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain. HSBC’s conventional Premier proposition has already attracted over 3.1 million customers around the world since its inception in 2007.

Anis Ahmed, in his remarks said, the seminar will help to explain the fact that Islamic principles of business and finance provide checks for all the factors that have corrupted the national and global economies and finance. He said, these principles need to be adopted for the relief of mankind. “Islamic banking has become the hallmark of today’s financial world,” he added. |SOURCE: DAILY TIMES PAKISTAN, 23 JANUARY 2010


ISLAMIC BANKING SYSTEM NEEDS IMPROVEMENT The present Islamic banking requires improvements to bring it in full conformity with Shariah and everyone has to play his role in this regard, said Muhammad Ayub, a globally recognised scholar in Islamic Economics. “The State Bank has a Shariah Board to look after the affairs of Islamic Banking in the country but it has to be made more proactive to achieve the objective of promoting Islamic banking system,” he said. Speaking at a seminar on “What is Islamic Banking and where does it stand”, organised by Riphah Centre of Islamic Business, a constituent institute of Riphah International University, Islamabad, he highlighted the importance of Islamic business and finance, particularly in the wake of present crisis in the world’s economy, where the banks dealing in Islamic banking successfully resisted the pressures on their business and finance. Muhammad Ayub, who is also Director of Research & Training of RCIB, said Riphah Centre of Islamic Business (RCIB) is playing an active role in imparting education in Islamic Business and Finance as per teachings of the Holy Quran. Presently, a number of students of the RCIB are qualified Alam-e-Deen and after completing MBA programme at the centre will be an asset for business concerns, industry and banking to run them on Islamic principles. The Vice Chancellor of Riphah International University, Prof. Dr.

AL HILAL ISLAMIC PAYS 5.9 PER CENT ON DEPOSITS OF OVER ONE YEAR Ahlibank-Al Hilal Islamic Banking has announced the profits of its investment deposits and savings accounts for the last quarter of 2009. Al Hilal Islamic Banking said it has paid “attractive returns” on its deposits. The bank has announced a profit rate of 5.9 per cent on investment deposits of more than one year. The annual profit rates for one year, six-month and three-month investment deposits are 5.77 per cent, 5.66 per cent and 5.45 per cent respectively. These rates reflect the strong returns given by Al Hilal Islamic Banking. Investment term deposit is based on the concept of Mudharabah, where the customer’s investment is placed in a common Mudharabah pool and is invested in strict compliance with the laws of Shariah in order to generate the highest possible returns. Profit on the investment amount becomes payable at the end of each calendar quarter and is credited to the customer’s account or is paid as per the instructions of the customer, at the time of profit distribution. Al Hilal Islamic Banking offers a complete range of Islamic products and services that represent effective and innovative Shariah-compliant financial solutions. Financing options

include ‘Ijara’ and ‘Murabaha’. For deposit products, customers can choose from current, savings and term investment deposit options. With four existing branches (Al Sadd, Al Rayyan, C Ring Road and Merqab), Ahlibank-Al Hilal said Islamic banking remains a core growth strategy for the bank. |SOURCE: GULF TIMES, 26 JANUARY 2010

BANKS URGED TO USE BURSA SUQ AL-SILA’ TO ENABLE FLOW OF FUNDS Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has urged banks in Malaysia and Bahrain to work together and use Bursa Suq Al-Sila’ to enable the flow of funds that would enhance the liquidity management framework between both countries. BNM deputy governor, Datuk Mohd Razif Abd Kadir, said Bursa Suq Al-Sila’ could provide a viable alternative to a well functioned liquidity management in Islamic financial system. Bursa Suq Al Sila’ is a purposefullydesigned exchange-traded platform to facilitate commodity Murabahah transactions. It is the first Internet-based platform in the world with crude palm oil as its underlying base commodity. The platform will provide another dimension to the liquidity management infrastructure of the Islamic banking industry, thus providing market players with greater tools to manage their assets and liabilities. Mohd Razif said the platform would create more transparent and streamlined commodity transaction practices based on the concept of Murabahah or tawarruq. He said it would also be able to eliminate uncertainty in the transactions and could mitigate risks such as legal risk, market risk and counter-party risk. As Bursa Suq Al-Sila’ is designed to be a multi-currency platform, it can enhance the liquidity and risk management capacity of the international Islamic banking community. Mohd Razif said, the platform could be harnessed into a cost-effective global platform to develop universally acceptable Islamic financial products for the financial and capital market. |SOURCE: BERNAMA, 25 JANUARY 2009

54 5/5/10 11:45:36 AM

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islamic finance update

JORDAN TO HOST KEY ISLAMIC FINANCE FORUM Jordan will host a major Islamic finance conference in March. It will attract influential players in the field of Islamic financing and others interested in the industry. The First Islamic Finance & Investment Forum for the Middle East (IFIF) 2010 will be held on 2 and 3 March at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre (KHBTCC) at the Dead Sea. The forum is being organised by KHBTCC, Lawrence & Husseini Consult, B-design and Marketing and Strategy Business Development in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Jordan. This forum is supported by the International Cooperation, International Islamic Financial Market, Islamic International Foundation for Economics and Finance, Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institution, Bahrain Association of Banks (BAB) and the Central Bank of Jordan. In parallel with the conference, an exhibition of Islamic finance products and services will take place. The event comes amid growing interest in Jordan in Islamic financing instruments, including the issuance of Sukuk to finance public debt. The two-day forum will examine current trends and critical issues facing the Islamic finance and investment sector in the Middle East. National and local industry leaders will present their ideas and respond to questions from the audience. According to the forum’s agenda, topics of deliberation include the role, functions and responsibilities of central banks in Islamic banking; Islamic funds and alternative investments; and the situation of Islamic finance in the Middle East. |SOURCE: TRADE ARABIA, 25 JANUARY 2010

SHARJAH ISLAMIC BANK INKS DEAL WITH NOOR TAKAFUL Sharjah Islamic Bank or SIB has signed an agreement with Noor Takaful where the Bank will offer Noor Takaful Motor Takaful Insurance to all SIB customers through its network of 23 branches. This strategic The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

IF update.indd 56

partnership will enable SIB customers to access Noor Takaful’s motor insurance plans for their currently owned or newly purchased sedans and 4x4s. The agreement was signed at SIB’s new headquarters in Sharjah by SIB Chief Operating Officer, Ahmad Saad, and Noor Takaful Chief Executive Officer, Parvaiz Siddiq. Also in attendance at the signing were SIB representatives, Ossama Salah – Head of Retail Banking Group, Motaz Saeed – Head of Marketing and Business Development, Hassan Abdullah – Head of PR and Media and Mustamir Ehtesham – Product Manager, as well as Noor Takaful representatives, Aman Pal Singh – Assistant General Manager Sales and Distribution, and Ashish Singh – Relationship Manager. |SOURCE: KHALEEJ TIMES, 20 JANUARY 2010

ETIQA TAKAFUL APPOINTS SHAHRIL CEO Etiqa Takaful Bhd has appointed Shahril Azuar Jimin Chief Executive Officer. Shahril, who is concurrently Etiqa Chief Sales Officer, would head Malaysia’s biggest takaful operator with immediate effect, the company said in a statement. Shahril has more than 15 years of commercial and strategic planning experience. He has held various management positions prior to his current post, including as Executive Vice-President and Head of Corporate Planning and Strategy. Prior to that, he was Assistant Vice-President for Corporate Development in Takaful Nasional Bhd. |SOURCE: THE STAR ONLINE, 30 JANUARY 2010

KUWAIT FINANCE HOUSE SINGAPORE CUTS WORKFORCE The Singapore operations of Islamic bank Kuwait Finance House have cut its workforce as part of a plan to streamline its regional fund management business, a director said. The decision to reduce Kuwait Finance’s Singapore headcount to two from about eight comes shortly after the departure of Islamic Bank of Asia’s top Singapore executive which raised industry concerns that the

city-state’s Islamic finance market is growing too slowly and so is prompting some companies to restructure. “We are in the process of streamlining our operations to essentially minimise duplication of fund management and similar functions in the region. What we will have is an integrated platform whereby Malaysia, Singapore are one investment platform, one distribution platform, one fund management vision and business plan,” KFH Singapore Pte Ltd’s Non-executive Director, Ian Tham, told Reuters by telephone. Kuwait Finance House Singapore was set up to manage regional funds promoted by the KFH Group. Tham said KFH Singapore had not managed any funds since its inception and was working on fund management plans for 2010. “We do not, out of the Singapore office, manage any funds, but the initiative in the shipping fund and the initiative in various other funds, that continues,” he said. Singapore saw $123.6 million of Sukuk issuance last year, compared with $8 billion for Malaysia and $1.2 billion for Indonesia, its nearest Islamic banking competitors.

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NET PROFITS OF SHARJAH ISLAMIC BANK UP BY 12.3 PER CENT The SIB Board of Directors approved the financials for 2009 proposing a cash dividend distribution of Dh231 million, equivalent to 10 per cent of paid-in capital. The bank achieved a net profit of Dh260.1 million in 2009, which includes general and specific provisions to meet any possible risks for SIB and its subsidiary companies with an increase of 12.3 per cent compared to 231.6 million profit achieved in the same period last year, and an increase of net profit before distribution to depositors by 22.7 per cent to reach Dh564.0 compared to Dh459.7 million for last year. Profits allocated and distributed to depositors amounted to Dh303.8 million in 2009 increased by 33 per cent compared to Dh228.1 million for the same period last year. Total assets grew by 439.0 million, a 3 per cent rise since December 2008 reaching Dh16.0 billion. 26 JANUARY 2010

EGIB LAUNCHES BANCATAKAFUL PRODUCT Emirates Global Islamic Bank has launched a BancaTakaful product ‘Sarparast Family Takaful Plan’ in collaboration with Pak-Qatar Family Takaful and FWU AG a global facilitator of BancaTakaful. Sarparast is the latest addition to EGIBL’s product portfolio, and has primarily been designed keeping in mind customer security and customer satisfaction. Pak-Qatar Family Takaful, the pioneer of Family Takaful in Pakistan, is the fastest growing Takaful Company in the region. PQFT is sponsored by the leading financial institutions in the state of Qatar. Having a customer centric strategy, PQFT is serving Pakistani customers with risk mitigation and savings products that are both

DOHA INSURANCE NET GAINS JUMP 10 PER CENT TO QR52MIL IN FY 2009 Doha Insurance Company (DIC) has reported a 10 per cent jump in 2009 net profit to QR52.08 mil on faster growth in net underwriting earnings. Although net premium grew only 7 per cent to QR89.53 mil, its total underwriting revenues surged 13 per cent to QR107.40 mil on substantial growth in earned insurance premiums and commissions received, according to its financial statement filed with the Qatar Exchange. Despite claims outgo growing by 6 per cent to QR59.19 mil; net underwriting results showed 22 per cent jump to QR62 mil. Interest income rose 36 per cent to QR8.90 mil; dividend income by 34 per cent to QR8.42 mil and rental income more than doubled to QR5.97 mil, whereas net gain on sale of financial

56 5/5/10 11:45:43 AM

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islamic finance update

as part of its long-term growth plans. Managing Director, Datuk Seri Zukri Samat, said the lender was in talks with a few Southeast Asian Islamic banks from time to time, but “nothing concrete” had emerged yet. For now, Bank Islam prefers to buy a controlling stake in another Islamic bank and will consider a smaller strategic stake only if it can play a key role in operations. Although Zukri declined to identify the party it was talking to, he said the lender was keen on Indonesia, among others. “It is a very interesting market. With 250 million people, if you want to grow Islamic banking, this is one country you can’t ignore,” he said. The bank’s overseas expansion plan is part of its new three-year blueprint, dubbed Sustainable Growth Plan. The plan was set in motion in July last year. Bank Islam is also beefing up its domestic operations. Its goals include 10 per cent loan growth in its second half (financial year ending 30 June 2010) and expanding its branches to 115 by the middle of next year.

investments plunged 73 per cent to QR4.77 mil; thus, leading to a 13 per cent dip in investment and other income to QR32.79 mil. Salaries and other staff costs were up 23 per cent to QR21.41 mil; general and administrative expenses by 3 per cent to QR8.47 mil and impairment on financial investments by 39 per cent to QR6.30 mil. Net surplus attributable to Takaful policyholders grew more than three-fold to QR2.03 mil in 2009. Total shareholders’ equity stood at QR371.35 mil on a capital base of QR180 mil and earningsper-share was QR2.89 as on 31 December 2009. Total assets were valued at QR673.58 mil, including financial investments of QR199.54 mil; reinsurance contract assets worth QR156.85 mil; cash and bank balances of QR151.63 mil; insurance and other receivables of QR86.63 mil; property and equipment worth QR49.46 mil and property investments of QR29.48 mil. |SOURCE: GULF TIMES, 26 JANUARY 2010

BANK ISLAM IN TALKS TO TAKE OVER SOUTHEAST ASIAN RIVALS Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd, the country’s oldest Islamic bank, is in talks to take over rivals abroad



Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) is set to be the lead bank in implementing Shariah-compliant Islamic banking system in the country after 36 years in operations. The community bank wants to complement the government’s plan to make Malaysia a pioneer nation in Islamic banking system. It is determined to support and execute various action plans drawn up to develop the Islamic banking industry. The latest initiative taken by the bank is to set up two branches as pioneers of Islamic banking system at Taman Bendahara in Pengkalan Chepa and at Jalan Kelantan in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu. BSN General Manager and Chief Executive, Datuk Adinan Maning, said, opening a branch in Kelantan was yet another effort by BSN towards developing Islamic banking system besides providing access to Shariahcompliant financial products and services to the public. BSN had taken the step forward to set up branches that provide Islamic banking transactions, an initiative by the bank to be a contributor to a more integrated and competitive Islamic banking industry, he

said. Besides Pengkalan Chepa, BSN started Islamic banking transactions in its Kuala Nerus branch on 1 December last year. In tandem with the Islamic finance industry’s rapid growth, BSN’s financial products and services developed progressively. Other products are, housing loan and Bai’ Bithamal Ajil, an asset sale and purchase contract that provides for instalment payment under an agreed repayment period. The Mudharabah Scheme has been expanded with the introduction of BSN Ahsan, a Shariah-complaint fixed-deposit savings scheme. In line with BSN’s plan to promote and enhance its diverse Islamic banking products and services, Adinan said the bank intends to open another 20 branches that fully operates on Islamic banking principles. |SOURCE: BERNAMA, 1 FEBRUARY 2010

ISLAMIC FINANCE TO GROW IN 2010 AS GEOGRAPHICAL REACH WIDENS Islamic finance is likely to advance in 2010 on firm growth and a widening geographic reach, according to a new report by Standard & Poor’s. S&P analysts said, “In our view, Islamic finance is poised to make further

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hosted by Gulf Insurance Review Magazine, an authoritative and highly-regarded business title, are set to become an annual fixture in the region’s insurance event calendar. The inaugural awards ceremony was held recently at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai. The award, according to organisers, recognises Solidarity’s demonstrated commitment to its customers, quality in its product offering, its strong financial performance in its core insurance business and its success in building a solid platform for further growth. “The award is a reflection of the high level of recognition that Solidarity has attained, amongst both its peers and its clients, as a leading Takaful operator in the region,” said Solidarity Deputy Chief Executive, Ashraf Bseisu.

24/7, 3 FEBRUARY 2010


SOLIDARITY NAMED TAKAFUL OPERATOR OF THE YEAR Bahrain-based Solidarity Group, a member of the Ithmaar banking group and one of the largest takaful companies in the world, was named Takaful Operator of the Year at the Gulf Insurance Awards Ceremony in Dubai. The Gulf Insurance Awards, which are

AL YUSR ISLAMIC BANKING SERVICE EXPANDS NETWORK Under the patronage of HE Sheikh Abdullah Saud Al-Thani, Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB) and in line with its ongoing commitment to expand its network, Al Yusr Islamic banking service of IBQ,

inroads in developed Western markets while Southeast Asian countries will likely fuel the Islamic finance advance in Asia during the coming year.” Even in 2009, a year when many of the world’s financial systems found themselves deleveraging amid the capital market dislocation and its spread to economies around the world, growth of Islamic finance stayed more or less intact. According to the S&P report, assets of the top 500 Islamic banks expanded 28.6 per cent to total USD822 billion (Dh3,019 billion) in 2009, compared with USD639 billion in 2008. Total assets at Islamic financial institutions in the GCC grew continuously between 2003 and 2008, representing USD288.2 billion at end-2008.

brg proses1_09.pdf 1 13/12/2009 16:02:56









announced the opening of a new dedicated retail branch in the Al Rayyan area of Doha. The new branch officially opened on 4 February. Al Yusr Islamic Banking Service already offers eight products in the retail segment with more products planned for launch in 2010, including credit card solutions and online banking services. “Following the remarkable success of the launch of our Islamic banking service last year, we are delighted to further strengthen the Al Yusr network,” said Mr. Nasra, Managing Director of IBQ. “The branch network expansion is part of our ongoing commitment to enhance the range and quality of our Islamic offering and to facilitate accessibility for our clients.” Highlighting the growing significance of Islamic banking, Nasra said: “Recent reports suggest Islamic banking assets, worldwide, rose by over 25 per cent in 2009. This is significant growth for a period that saw continued strains on the banking sector, as a result of the global financial crisis. Indeed, Qatar and the wider GCC region continue to be the

epicentre for Islamic finance, driving much of the demand for Islamic banking services. We are confident that our product strategy strongly positions us to not only meet these demands, but also lead innovation and further sophistication of Islamic banking in the Middle East.” “The retail division of Al Yusr Islamic Banking Service has been witnessing strong growth ever since it commenced operations in May 2009,” said Hassan Al Mullah, Head of Islamic banking. “The past year has been especially significant for us, having launched four new products in the final quarter, a period which also saw customer base double. The new branch at Al Rayyan is ideally located to serve this fast growing business and residential hub of Doha, while providing easier access and a range of specialised services for its existing customers. The new Al Yusr branch in Al Rayyan offers customers a host of facilities, including an ATM for cash withdrawal and deposit 24 hours a day. Opening hours are 7:30 am to 1pm, Sunday through Thursday, and 5:30pm to 7:30 pm, Sunday and Wednesday. |SOURCE: AL BAWABA, 7 FEBRUARY 2010

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March+April 2010

Marriage is a contract, and the akad nikah effectively forges the union. The akad nikah ceremony is in effect a verbal contract between the bride’s father and his representative (in this

Andrew Shoshev

case the kadhi) and the groom.

Weddings In Islam

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Words by Zaahira Muhammad

5/5/10 11:57:02 AM

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“Marry those among you who are single, or the virtuous ones among yourselves, male or female : if they are in poverty, Allah will give them means out of His grace...” [ Quran : Surah An-Nur, verse 32 ]

Islam encourages its ummah to wed. In Islam, it is considered both a religious duty and a social necessity to get married. A Muslim marriage, and subsequently a Muslim wedding, is considered a big occasion in all cultures of the world. A Muslim wedding is a simple and noble occasion which joins a man and a woman entitling them husband and wife – a new couple, who are about to start a journey of a lifetime together. The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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Aleksandr Greckas

s most of us know, different cultures have different traditions and ceremonies, and every culture has its own treasure of wedding ceremonies, rituals and customs. Weddings in various Muslim countries follow their respective cultural traditions; some are more Islamic while others more culturally defined. Various cultures have introduced more ceremonies in the Muslim marriage and matrimonial process. Despite the differences in traditions, brides are often seen decorated and beautified in various ways for weddings. In some areas of the world such as India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Morocco, brides are decorated with henna on their fingers, and some, also on their palms and feet. Weddings are mostly celebrated lavishly by those who have the means to do so; however, some avoid celebrating in such lavish manner believing that it is an unnecessary expense and also believing that money are better off spent on the bride and groom starting their new life. Malay Weddings in Malaysia Weddings for the Malays are regal affairs where the bride and groom are treated as king and queen for one day. The engagement is usually held before the actual wedding (a year, less than a year or for some, even more than a year before) where the bride’s and groom’s parents will determine the dowry that is to be given to the bride as well as the date of the solemnisation. The berinai (henna application) ceremony is held before the wedding where the bride’s palms and feet are ‘decorated’ with the dye from the henna leaves. This is sometimes followed by the tukar pakaian ceremony (costume change) where the bride, and sometimes groom, will change into different clothes for photography. The pelamin (raised dais) will be beautifully decorated for the purpose. The marriage contract that secures the marital union is the solemnisation, a verbal agreement between the bride’s father or his representative and the groom, and witnessed by three persons. The solemnisation is normally led by a kadhi, a religious official of a mosque. A small sum of money called the mas kahwin (the mas kahwin varies in different states) seals the contract. A short lecture on marriage and the responsibilities it entails is also delivered by the kadhi. Prayer mats signifying their devotion to the religion and gifts and are presented during the solemnisation ceremony. Walima, the wedding reception, is one of

the two traditional parts of an Islamic wedding. The word walima, which is derived from awlam, carries the meaning of ‘to gather’ or ‘assemble’. The walima is commonly performed after the solemnisation. According to Bukhari & Muslim: “Abdur Rahman bin Auf said: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, said to me, “Give a wedding banquet, even with one sheep.””” The wedding reception is usually held in the bride’s and groom’s families’ house, community halls or hotels for those who can afford it. Guests are commonly presented with bunga telur which literally mean flower and egg (the egg symbolises a fertile union). Today’s trend, however, is to present guests with chocolates, sweets or cakes instead of the traditional flower and egg. The walima is often a lively affair where guests eat, socialise and congratulate the bride and groom. The groom usually arrives with relatives, friends and bunga manggar (palm blossoms) carriers, followed by the hadrah group beating the kompang (hand drums) and singing Quranic verses and well wishes to the bride and groom. Relatives will then be allowed to sprinkle symbols of fertility consisting of flower petals and rice grains on the bride and groom seated on the pelamin. Muslim Weddings in Egypt The culture of Egypt is highly influenced by traditional Muslim practices due to its concentrated population of 94 per cent Muslims. Traditional Muslim customs are also practiced although Egypt is considered less traditional in terms of marriage compared to other traditional Muslim countries. In Egypt, traditional The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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Joanne hall

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) had once said, “Marry and produce many children so that I may be proud of my many followers on Judgement Day”.

Lynette Lan

Islamic practices forbid dating or interaction between a couple prior to marriage. Therefore, Egyptian marriages are mostly arranged marriages where the bride’s and groom’s families make enquiries about each other and if they seem suitable for each other, the man and woman will be allowed to meet and socialise with each other. Meetings between families will be arranged if the couple likes each other and an engagement party will be held where the groom will present a wedding ring to the bride. The solemnisation ceremony, which can take place in a mosque, a hotel or the bride’s or groom’s families’ homes, soon follows where the marriage contract will be signed by the groom as well as the bride’s family, and members of both families will be present as witnesses. In another room, the bride sits and waits for the contract to be brought to her for her approval. The solemnisation follows traditional Muslim practices which include the formal betrothal and the recitation of passages from the Holy Quran. The walima is a celebration with music and dancing which is celebrated by families and friends of the bride and groom where the couple will hold hands while walking down a walkway formed by guests on both sides. The wedding rings that were presented during the engagement will be switched to different fingers and a bouquet will be thrown to unwed ladies at the wedding believing that the lady who catches the bouquet will marry next. In some parts of Egypt, weddings are more conservative and formal where the bride has her face covered with a veil during the ceremony so as to not expose herself to men.

Danil Natanagara

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Men and women’s seating are often segregated so as not to allow intermingling between men and women.

of the Quran will be read. At the end of the ceremony, the groom will present monetary gift to the bride.

Muslim Weddings in Tunisia In Tunisia, arranged marriages where the groom’s family determines the best brides for their sons, are quite common. The bride is often consulted for her wishes in the matter although traditionally, the bride’s opinion was not important. Due to its urbanised culture, there are a lot of opportunities for men and women to meet in different social settings such as schools and colleges. If a man likes a woman, he will ask one of his family members to interview the woman to see if she’s interested, if so, the female members of the man’s family will invite the woman’s family over for some food. This is when the behaviour of the young woman is closely observed by his family. If she seems suitable, the man’s mother will discuss with the woman’s mother and inquire about each other’s reputations and social standings. Once it’s been agreed by both families, an engagement party will be hosted to announce the engagement. During this party, wedding rings are exchanged and a lot of food is served to all the guests. The signing of the marriage contract secures the marital union between bride and groom. With his family and friends, the groom proceeds to the bride’s house where the bride is beautifully dressed in her best dress and her hands decorated beautifully with henna. The couple and both their friends and families will then head to the civil registry where the marriage contract will be signed and recitations

Planning a Wedding – Common mistakes and things to avoid While Islam prescribes simple and dignified wedding ceremonies, traditions from various cultures turn weddings into fancy and regal affairs. As Muslims, it is important to be moderate in everything we do, and that includes the celebration of our weddings. Here is a list of common mistakes and things to avoid when planning a wedding: Requesting for too much Mahr In Islam, the Mahr is a mandatory gift from the groom to his wife as a token of appreciation in which is usually presented upon marriage. The Mahr belongs to the bride alone, she is permitted to spend or use the Mahr however she pleases. The Mahr is usually given in the form of money in which the amount varies. Although it is said that the Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) advised that the bride requests for the smallest amount, most brides nowadays demand for high amounts for mahr. The lesser the amount of mahr, the less burden it would be for the groom. Splurging on the wedding It is unnecessary to splurge on a one-day affair to serve society’s expectations when you can save the money for future use, be it to buy a house or to go on a holiday with your spouse. However, a sum of money should be spent on the walima (wedding feast) to treat family and friends – be sure that a generous but humble meal is served during the walima.

Losing focus on the nikah (solemnisation) Avoid imposing different types of rituals or activities that takes the focus off the actual solemnisation ceremony which on its own, is already a beautiful, sacred moment. Not listening to the sermon The sermon, normally conveyed by the religious leader during the solemnisation, is a reminder of rights and responsibilities of both man and wife towards each other. The sermon acts as advice for the newlyweds. For those who listen to the sermon, the blessings are equal to the blessing of listening to the sermon said during Friday prayers. Under dressing or overdressing the newlyweds It is important for one to look presentable; for Muslims, to be well-dressed and modest. Both bride and groom should observe the Muslim dress code and dress themselves without forgetting that couples are to beautify themselves for one another and not for everyone else. Serving non-Halal refreshments A Muslim wedding should not serve non-Halal food or drinks, be it alcohol, pork or other non-Halal foodstuff. Forgetting to invite the poor or orphans to the walima (wedding feast) Invite the poor to the feast as charity for the poor or orphans need it more than the wealthy. Letting it be a sombre occasion Islamic principles do not necessarily make things dull for Muslims. Wedding celebrations in Islam should simply be more dignified and simpler than any other weddings. Dancing and singing are permissible provided that indecent intermingling between men and women are avoided. Today, most of these customs are dispensed with. Indeed the more conservative adherents of the Muslim faith will shun any practice deemed un-Islamic. This includes the wanton display of the bride to members of the opposite sex who are not her family members, playing of loud music and intermingling of the different sexes during the meal.


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tourism 01



The Marrakech Express Words & Photos By Ruzaimi Sany Zainuddin



nchantingly sited at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains is Marrakech – one of the most exotic spots on the planet, and is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat. The name Marrakech originates from Berber words which mean “Land Of God”, and here lies a reality not that far removed from a fantasy, with its two contrasting cities: the Medina (the historical city set within clay walls) and the Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle (the new European modern district). Walking through the intertwining narrow passageways of the Medina takes you on a journey filled with curiosity tinged with an air of authenticity in the midst of the cacophony of daily activities full of character. On the other hand, the Gueliz brings you back to the perks of modernity with fast food chains like McDonald’s and popular fashion outlets such as Zara and LaSenza. A caravanserai, Marrakech in the 60s and 70s became a mystical city that attracted nomadic hippies and spiritual seekers; and big names from the world of music The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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and fashion, the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley, Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, and Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier puts the city on the style map. Getting In... There are many direct scheduled flights to the Menara International Airport in Marrakech from London and Paris and many charter flights from all over Europe. But, if you’re flying in from other parts of the world outside Europe (such as Asia, the US, or Canada), you will have to change flights in Casablanca – a short 45-minute flight to Marrakech. Another option is to take the two-hour Al Bidaoui train ride from Casablanca to Marrakech. From the Menara International Airport, you can access the city (located only six kilometres from the airport) on foot or by bus (if you’re travelling light), or by taxi. If you decide to go on foot, there is a footpath along the road and you can head towards the iconic minaret of Koutoubia Mosque. If you want to take the bus, you can opt for the Airport Express bus (that will only cost you MAD20 for a single trip – a good option if you’re headed towards one of the major hotels), or a local bus that runs irregularly and will only cost you MAD3 for the ride. If you have a lot of luggage, a taxi ride into the city will only take 10-15 minutes, and you can choose to take a petit taxi or a grand taxi. Grand taxis will charge a fixed price for your journey and will cost you more than a ride in a petit taxi. But if you decide to take a petit taxi, ensure that the driver use the metre or be prepared to haggle over the fare. The ride from

the airport to the city centre should not cost you more than MAD50. Getting around in the city... Once in the city, you can travel on foot everywhere if you’re prepared to do a lot of walking. Otherwise, buses and petit taxis are at your convenience. Bus fares ranges from MAD2-5 depending on the distance, and a 10-minute ride in a petit taxi should not cost you more than MAD20. While in the city, you might want to take a ride in a caleche, a small horse-drawn carriage, which can be hired at the Square de Foucald (the small park in Jemaa El Fna). Just be sure to agree on a price before setting off (a one-hour ride should cost you around MAD80). What to do... Hang out at the Jemaa El Fna The city’s star attraction is the central square of Jemaa El Fna, an extraordinary gathering place where snake charmers, fortune tellers, musicians and henna artists put on a nightly show. It is one of the most happening squares in the world even though its name means “Place

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of the Dead”. During the day it is more relaxing with fewer activities but by nightfall the square fills up with aromas, bodies and energy as food stalls are set up and people start pouring in. It is a common misconception that these stalls are here for the tourists; in fact, this is actually where the locals go for a good and reasonably priced meal. These stalls have been in business long before the square is listed in Patricia Schultz’s 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. So, join the locals and choose from over 100 food stalls that cook up a storm of barbecued kebabs and tagines (don’t worry, food from all stalls can be regarded as perfectly safe to eat as they are strictly licensed and controlled by the local authority, especially now, as it is a popular hotspot for tourists from all over the world). Once you have found

Travel Note

1. All visitors to Morocco require a valid passport and visitors from certain countries will need a visa to enter the country. Do check with their local embassy or regional consulates for more details regarding travel formalities. 2. The national currency is Moroccan Dirham (MAD). Money changers are available at the airport terminals upon arrival. Moroccan Dirhams cannot be converted outside the country, so don’t forget to change them back to your currency upon leaving. 3. French and Arabic are used interchangeably. Communicating in French, however, is more useful than English.

something to your liking, squeeze into a space at one of the tables and enjoy a ringside view of the hustle and bustle of life in Marrakech. Visit and marvel at the intricate architecture of the Koutoubia Mosque Towering over all the excitement and cacophony of sounds and aromas from the Jemaa El Fna is the Koutoubia Mosque, a historical masterpiece with its landmark minaret, which stands as a reminder of the importance of Islam in the lives of the city’s residents. Construction on the mosque began shortly after the Almohad conquest of Marrakech, around 1150. Built on the site of an eleventh-century Almoravid mosque, it was completed during the reign of Almohad Caliph Yacoub el Mansour (1184-99). Its name comes from the Arabic for “librarian” (al-Koutoubiyyin), and in literatures it is often referred to as the “bookseller’s mosque”, named after the souk of koutoubiyyin in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries where manuscript sellers laid out books and scripts in stalls in front of the original mosque.

leisure 06

01 A neighbourhood in Gueliz 02 A stall in Jemma El Fna 03 The crowd in Jemaa El Fna 04 Moroccan shoes for sale! 05 Beautiful artwork at the Hassan II Mosque 06 In the Koutoubia Mosque 07 A delicious bowl of harira 08 Local spices and herbs 09 A Berber man in Jellaba

Although entry is forbidden to non-Muslims, the architecture can be appreciated from its external ground, which is open to everyone and is a popular spot for an evening stroll. The architecture and design of the Koutoubia Mosque was used as a model for the Hassan Tower of Rabat and the beautiful La Giralda in Seville, Spain. See remnants of the Saadi Dynasty’s power and elegance Located beside the Kasbah Mosque, the Saadian Tombs are one of the only remnants that recount the power and sophistication of the Saadi Dynasty that reigned over the golden age of Marrakech (1524-1659). The tombs were constructed in the sixteenth century by Sultan Ahmed el Mansour as a burial ground for himself and his descendents, which led to approximately 200 members of the Saadi Dynasty being buried here. Sultan Ahmed el Mansour was laid to rest here in 1603. By 1672, Morocco was taken over by Sultan Moulay Ismail and during his reign, he decided to banish all traces of the magnificence of the Saadi dynasty, except for this The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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Enjoy the Chez Ali Fantasia Dinner and Evening Show Spectacle A must-visit if you want to get a feel of Moroccan heritage and culture is a visit to Chez Ali where you will experience a magically and magnificently dramatic festival of Berber folklore. Upon arrival you will be greeted by traditional rifle-wielding soldiers on horseback and the singing of the various Berber tribes. A five-course fancy dinner under Moroccan Caidal tents include generous portions of harira, succulent roast lamb called mechoul, giant mountains of couscous, and fresh fruits for dessert. After dinner, you will be entertained with the Fantasia show. Originated from the Rif, a mountainous region of north Morocco, the Fantasia is an ancient war ceremony which consists of

opposing groups of horsemen – each represents the best riders of its tribe. The climax of the display was a full charge of horses with riders standing high in the saddle, rifles held aloft and a simultaneous, thunderous weapon discharge – a truly authentic Moroccan experience. Chez Ali is located in a fort-like village at Al Kasbah in Marrakech’s Palmerie area. Getting Out... Having caught a glimpse of the culture and lifestyle of this city that carries the tale of time, leaving it was not easy if not for the reason of exploring other places outside Marrakech, which is easily accessible by car, bus or train. A popular day trip destination is Ourika Valley, which is located approximately thirty kilometres away from Marrakech spreading

between the foothills of Atlas Mountains. Despite being so near to Marrakech, this beautiful lush green valley is definitely one of the best preserved valleys in Morocco. From the road, the valley looks stunning with its multitude of small restaurants situated along the river. Here, you cannot help but to appreciate the scenic diversity of this amazing country. Another not-to-be-missed visit is to Casablanca – Morocco’s largest city situated about 250 kilometres from Marrakech. They are connected via the Casablanca-Marrakech Expressway which takes four hours of travelling by car. Casablanca means “White Castle” in Spanish and is considered the economic capital of Morocco by virtue of being the largest port in the North African region. The cosmopolitan city is closely associated with Humphrey Bogart’s romantic movie of the same name, and its third largest mosque in the world – the Hassan II Mosque. The mosque displays strong Moorish influence and the architecture of the building is similar to the Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain. Built on reclaimed land overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the mosque accommodates 105,000 worshippers.

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01 Shopping at the souks 02 Berber houses in Ourika Valley 03 Where do we go from here? 04 The minaret of Koutoubia Mosque 05 Chez Ali tent 06 Inside Chez Ali 07 A plate of coucous to fill you up 08 Berber singers at Chez Ali


necropolis which was sealed instead out of respect for the dead. With all entrances to the tombs sealed, the beauty and detailed woodwork of this amazing tomb was soon completely forgotten until it was rediscovered in 1917 and restored to its original glory. The tombs now are lavish and breathtaking with the cemetery garden alive with rich fragrances of rosemary and roses, and large palm trees providing shade. Inside the mausoleums the beauty continues with stunning domed ceilings, detailed wood and marble carvings, mosaics and intricate plasterwork. With exquisiteness, detail and luxury incorporated in every room from floor to ceiling, it is no surprise that these tombs have become one of the most visited attractions in Morocco. The tombs are open for visitors every day from 9am to 12noon and from 2.30pm to 6pm. Entrance fee: MAD10. Experience formal glories enjoyed by royal courts The El Bahia Palace is one of the many beautiful palaces in Morocco, but with a character of its own. It is an excellent example of Eastern Architecture from the nineteenth century and while some may label it as being vulgar or distasteful, the majority of visitors appreciate that it represents tastes and standards of the rich who lived at that time. Even though the detail may not be as rich as that found in earlier palaces, a visit here is never a waste of time. Set within an extensive eight-hectare garden, the palace is constructed with 160 different rooms that are sprawled out in an open, rambling fashion. The reception halls and private quarters are lavishly decorated and there are several tiled courts – often complete with water features – that serve as open air areas. Decorations take the form of subtle stucco panels, zellij decorations, tiled floors, smooth arches, carved-cedar ceilings, shiny marble (tadlak) finishes and zouak painted ceilings. Although the entire palace is sometimes closed when the royal family comes to town, it is usually open for touring. Because of its size, hiring a guard (expect to tip between MAD30 and MAD50 for his services) is advisable as he will not only ensure that you don’t get lost, but give you fascinating snippets of information to make your tour more interesting. The palace is open daily between 8.45am and 11.45am, and between 2.45pm and 5.45pm. Entrance fee: MAD10. Shop at the souks The souks (markets) in Marrakech are a bargain hunter’s paradise filled with everything and anything Moroccan; from jewelleries, clothes, shoes, textiles and carpets, to herbs and spices, to teapots and tagines – you name it, you will get it. Just whip out your bargaining skills as most prices offered are not fixed. Walking into the souks is an adventure on its own, as you will have to walk through winding alleys leading off the northern edge of Jemaa El Fna. Entering the souks is like entering Aladdin’s cave, and you will not have to wander far before being offered a deal on anything from leatherwear to carpets and lamps, including traditional Moroccan clothing such as a Jellaba – a loose fitting The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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robe worn by both men and women. Also not to be missed is their local pharmacy, where wafting scents of saffron and spices invade your nostrils when you enter. These shops offer local residents cures for everything from hair loss to skin diseases to depression. Powders and potions, concocted of local herbs, not to mention dried lizards seen hanging on the walls, provide a cure for whatever ails you. A heavily used ingredient in most concoctions is argan oil, extracted from the kernels of argan trees prevalent to Morocco and the Sahara desert exceptionally renowned for its cosmetic, medicinal and nutritional values. Get a taste of Moroccan cuisine Just like the country, Moroccan cuisine is just as rich in flavours, aromas, and colours – an experience

that requires full use of all senses. The scents of saffron, coriander, and cumin always linger in the atmosphere of an eatery. You must not miss tasting the classic Moroccan fares such as the variety of couscous dishes, pastilla (the jewel of Moroccan cuisine: a delicate pie which wonderfully combines finely chopped pigeon, parsley, hardboiled eggs, almonds, and honey), harira (tomato and lentil soup), tagine (meat, chicken, or fish stew with vegetables and fruits traditionally slow-cooked in a covered terracotta dish), and finally Moroccan patisseries (such as pancakes with honey and sesame seeds, cakes made with almonds and raisins, and many others). To complete your experience of a customary Moroccan meal, don’t forget to have the traditional mint tea.

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185 Manchester Street, Christchurch, New Zealand Open: Mondays – Fridays (11.30am till late) & Saturdays (3pm till late)

Photos taken from

Topkapi Turkish Restaurant


A rather ostentatious restaurant overwhelmingly filled with rugs and ornaments coming straight from a Turkish bazaar, this delightful restaurant in Christchurch, New Zealand provide the experience of a bona fide Turkish café the very second you step in. Garlic cloves which are hung on some corners of the walls are meant to give the already over-the-top restaurant an extra touch of authenticity rather than to ward off evil spirits, as explained by the gracious owner, Mr. Coskun. Enjoy the wonderful array of dips and starters like the Haydari and Hayuc dip, together with a decent range of mains such as the traditional kebabs and iskandars (the meat is served with rice instead of pita bread) and a selection of good vegetarian options in the rich décor of low wooden tables and comfortable cushions at this charming eatery. An excellent option here is to go for the Sultan Kebab – a mixture of chickpeas, nuts, and dried fruits served in a pita bread with yoghurt and chilli sauce. Leave a small space for dessert and finish off the satisfying meal with some baklava or halva and a cup of sweet Arabic coffee. Topkapi is also a great location for birthday parties, family reunion, cooperate meetings or quiet a fun night out with our live belly dancing show. The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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art & literature

photography + photojournalism


Cities of Light Film Title: Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain Film Director: Robert H. Gardner Genre: Documentary Film Producer: Unity Productions Foundation

Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain is a two-hour movie which tells a story of the rise and fall of one of the world’s greatest civilisations. The film takes viewers on an epic journey back into one of the most important periods of world history. This historical documentary makes the most of feature film style re-enactments to bring the 700-year long history of the European Islamic civilisation of Muslim Spain to life. This film tells the story of the victories and shortcomings, and achievements and ultimate failures of a centuries-long period when Muslims, Christians, and Jews occupied the same area in Western Europe and built a society that lit the Dark Ages. The possibility of Muslims, Christians, and Jews to co-exist and flourish together is shown in Cities of Light. The wonders of Islamic Spain are beautifully made, but the film does not flinch when intensely portraying the violence and horror that eventually engulfed it. The story is inspiring, therefore, a must watch film.


If planning a holiday outside the country and feeling bogged down with choice of travel destinations, hotels, and places to eat, is a good website to go to as it features every facet of only Halal-friendly tourism and travel. It provides great travel information for Muslim travellers, covering one’s travel needs from food to accommodation to destinations. Not only that, one can also get Islamic guidelines for musafirs or travellers (i.e. prayer times, Qibla locater, travel duas), and it acts as a sort of travel agent because tour bookings and hotel reservations (at selected Crescentrated hotels) can be made from this website! Crescentrated hotels are hotels that have gone through Crescentrating’s proprietary rating system to rate the hotels’ facilities and services for their Halal friendliness. Crescentrating allows the consumers to make an educated choice when looking for Halal-friendly services and facilities. Hotels are rated from Crescentrating 1 to Crescentrating 7 based on the facilities and the services provided by the hotel in areas such as Salaat facilities, Halal food services, Guest bathroom facilities, Ramadhan facilities, Recreation facilities and services, and Non-Halal activities. The aim is so that one can stay at the listed Crescentrated hotels, explore and travel the world with a peace of mind. However, the website administrators are currently in the process of gathering information and expanding contents and services on the website, so there may be certain destinations not yet covered here. To encourage interactivity, Crescentrating also encourages viewers to share their own Halal/ Islamic travel experience here by contributing articles to contribute@crescentrating. com. So check out this website (, choose your travel destination or make tour or hotel bookings, share your travel experience, and spread the word about this gateway to your Halal-friendly travel today! It is, thus far, a good effort by the operators to provide information for Muslim travellers. The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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2/24/10 10:45:07 PM


art & literature

photography + photojournalism


Book Title: Saying Goodbye Author: Linda D. Delgado Publisher: Muslim Writers Publishing ISBN-10: 0976786184 ISBN-13: 978-0976786184

Saying Goodbye is the fourth of the Islamic Rose Series. In this book, Rose, a young Christian girl who befriends a Muslim girl, faces the challenges in her life with the support of her friends, grandmother, and Fahd and Abdul – two Muslim police officers who live with her grandmother. The author, Linda D. Delgado, demonstrates Islamic practices and culture in her writings, weaving information along with Rose’s adventures. This book is a refreshing read, suitable for children as well as adults who believe in Islamic values.

Hasanat by Ahmed Bukhatir: A fine blend of words & melody Book Title: What Is Called Thinking? Author: Martin Heidegger Translator: J. Glenn Gray Publisher: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. (1968) ISBN-10: 0-06-090528-X ISBN-13: 9780060905286 Reviewed by Mark Harris Zuknik

‘What is Called Thinking?’ is a book of lectures which were delivered by Martin Heidegger at the University of Freiburg from 1951 to 1952. The work is characteristic of Heidegger’s later works after ‘Being and Time’. Whereas ‘Being and Time’ was more structured and academic, ‘What is called Thinking?’ follows a more free-form and unconventional mode of thought. Heidegger begins the book with an assertion: Most thought-provoking in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking. In the course of the book, he quotes poems from Hoelderlin, makes a foray into Nietzsche’s treatment of revenge and will, and also gives a reinterpretation of a passage written by Parmenides. Throughout the book, the meanings of words are often traced back to their ancient meanings to give a deeper treatment of the subject matter – a typical Heideggerian modus operandi. Heidegger traces back the meaning of the word ‘thinking’, as well as intimately related concepts such as ‘memory’ and ‘logic’, to their Old English and Latin origins. From there he goes further, plunging into the Greek archetypes of the words to obtain a powerful, original and primordial meaning of what the word ‘thinking’ truly signifies. Again, in typical Heideggerian fashion, the whole endeavour set out in the book, namely that of seeking the original meaning of ‘thinking’, culminates in tying the relation of ‘thinking’ to Being. The book is part of the ‘Religious Perspectives’ series, and the afterword by Dr. Ruth Nanda Ashen (a member of the board editors for the series) is also particularly noteworthy, where the book is placed within an attempt to reinforce the importance of the religious, which has been almost totally usurped by the secular, and to ultimately reconcile both. The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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Hasanat is Ahmed Bukhatir’s sixth album which contains nasheed in both Arabic and English languages. Released in 2007, Hasanat sold 250,000 copies during the first year of its release in the UAE (United Arab Emirates), other Arab countries, and Europe. Tracks in this album include Ya Bunaya (Oh My Son), Sunna’ Al Hayat (Establishers of Life), Don’t Let Me Go, Ayuhal Hadi (Oh the Guider), Hijab, Khair Al Khalq (Best of Creation), Allah Almighty, Hasanat (Good Deeds), Atfalana (Our Children), and I Still Ask. Ahmed Bukhatir was born in Sharjah, UAE, where he still lives. A graduate in Management Information Systems from Al-Ain University, he started singing in 1989 with the aim of spreading Islamic values to the world. Producing a fine blend of words and melody, Ahmed Bukhatir has released six albums to date; all of which became hugely popular in the Gulf and Arab world.

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art & literature

photography + photojournalism


Eva Khurshid New York:

Photos taken from

A new brand of chic yet modest clothing for Muslim women

Eva Khurshid New York is the first fashion line formed to address the wants and needs of the contemporary woman. The brand promotes an avant-garde approach to fashion with the purpose of empowering women. This concept lies at the heart of the brand, for it fills the fashion void that co-founders Nyla Hashmi and Fatima Monkush discovered – the lack of clothing that exudes charm and conviction while leaving some things to the imagination. Nyla Hashmi and Fatima Monkush are two best friends who grew up together in Connecticut. They are both Muslim and as young girls, they found it hard to find clothes that allow them to be modest and look cool at the same time. Now, this dynamic duo are committed to designing chic clothing that offers Muslim women a way to dress both modestly and fashionably. F atima went to the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University where she majored in Art. She moved to New York City after graduation and shared an apartment that first summer with Nyla, who was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Nyla got a job with noted Israeli designer Elie Tahari where she designs women sweaters, and Fatima works in fashion as well, first with Coogi hip hop urban menswear and then with Married to the Mob, a street wear label for women where she is still working today. With passion for fashion, Nyla and Fatima work in the evenings and on weekends to put together their fledgling collection. The challenge is that they both live in two different areas – Nyla in Queens and Fatima in Brooklyn. Despite that, both women are committed to their dream, and together, they created ‘Eva Khurshid New York’ a brand that provides modest, fashionforward clothing for women. This clothing line is not only created for Muslims, but also non-Muslims who The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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want to dress modestly. The name Eva was named after Fatima’s maternal grandmother and Khurshid after Nyla’s grandmother. Both of them are hopeful that their collection will fill a need in the fashion industry. From what it looks like right now, they are both heading towards success. The Eva Khurshid Woman The Eva Khurshid woman is bold yet sophisticated. She compliments her confident personality with effortlessly alluring attire. Her poise is captivating while her wardrobe appears refined and pronounced. She does not announce her presence, yet her aura naturally draws in admirers. This woman challenges existing definitions of “sexy” by redefining it for herself. The brand provides the Eva Khurshid woman with the ability to control what she represents. Her look is ‘sexy rediscovered.’ Eva Khurshid brings to life the design-duo’s vision of giving women options. It presents pieces that flawlessly come together, easily adapting from day to evening for different occasions. Where to buy Eva Khurshid? Check out their stunning and sophisticated collection at www. The Eva

Khurshid collections are also available at selected stores in the US and one in the UK: New York: ELEGANCE BOUTIQUE 1656 CONEY ISLAND AVENUE BROOKLYN, NY 11230






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art & literature

photography + photojournalism


Kuala Lumpur: A contrast of blue sky and the sea of skyscrapers Photo by 贸morfi zo铆

Recycling . Instead of being a beggar, poor Muslims find ways to work for Halal income. Lack of recycling bins and kiosks in third world countries had opened up job opportunities for the poor in the recycling business. This photo shows a 50 year-old single mother foraging tin cans from a trash bin at a tourist spot. She cycled from one trash bin to another, from one bench to another, and along the sidewalks looking for tin cans. Not a pretty site to most, but on a positive note, she is cleaning up the tourist site from tin cans. Photo by Mark Piet

The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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art & literature

photography + photojournalism


Bazaars...a definite tourist attraction Photo by Faizal Ortho

Taking a walk to the nearest mosque Photo by Faizal Ortho

The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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5/5/10 11:59:54 AM

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parting words Travelling to a non-Muslim majority country can be difficult for Muslims especially when it comes to prayer facilities and food. With the Halal market gaining momentum in growth and value, companies in many industries other than food and beverage have tapped this market, including those in the travel and tourism sector. Even governments are now applying this concept as their country branding to attract more visitors. The mobile online revolution has led many Halal service providers to choose the World Wide Web as a communication medium, including travel and tourism industry players. Fazal Bahardeen, Chief Executive Officer of Crescentrating Pte Ltd, Singapore, shares his knowledge and experience on travel and tourism with a Halal twist.

Travelling with peace of mind

What is Halal/ Islamic Tourism? The words “Halal Tourism” or “Islamic Tourism” tend to indicate religious travel such as Umrah, Hajj and travels to other religious sites. At Crescentrating, we approached it from a different perspective. Muslims are becoming more Halalconscious and increasingly mobile for both work and leisure, meaning there is a need to provide travel and tourism facilities and services catering to their unique needs. As such, we coined the term “Halal-Friendly Travel”. This better reflects the market segment that we are looking at. Has there been an increase in awareness of HalalFriendly Travel? Just four years ago, there was not much awareness in the industry about the Halal market. From mid to late 2007, the travel industry began to acknowledge the emergence of this market segment. Since then, we have seen many hotels launched as “Shariah-compliant”, and many tourism boards promoting their destinations as “MuslimFriendly” (especially during the Arabian Travel Mart last year). International tourism The Halal Journal | Mar+Apr 2010 |

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expenditures from Muslim majority countries (i.e. UAE, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Qatar, Turkey and Egypt) reached an estimated USD46.4 billion in 2007, an increase from USD15.4 billion in 2000 [World Tourism Organisation]; I believe overall Muslim traveller market segment will reach USD100 billion per annum in the next three to four years. Can Halal-Friendly Travel contribute to the economic growth of a nation? It is the same analogy as Halal food or Islamic banking. Going Halal is not a zero sum game but it expands the market segment by attracting consumers who would otherwise not be part of this segment. If you make the travel destination Halalfriendly, then Halal-conscious Muslims will be more willing to explore those destinations that they were unsure of before. It will also improve communication between Muslims and other communities. What is the role of governments in promoting and developing Halal-Friendly Travel? Governments should look at this not only for economic benefits (which is

a good enough reason to attract this market) but also for social benefits. More social interaction will lead to better communication, understanding and tolerance between Muslims and other communities. As such, governments should look at working with the industry in accommodating these unique but simple-to-implement services and facilities. There are already a number of destinations that accommodate the basic needs of Muslim travellers. The two most important are Halal food services and prayer facilities. Destinations targeted for Muslims must at least have these two requirements available in hotels, attraction sites, and major shopping districts/ malls, amongst others. What is Crescentrating’s approach in promoting Halal-Friendly Travel? Our main focus is on the following areas: • Raise industry awareness on the HalalFriendly Travel market. • Promote Crescentrating standards globally: The rating is based on the principle of “Halal-Friendliness”. We launched the Crescentrating for hotels and we plan to launch Crescentrating for restaurants, theme parks, and others, in the course of the next few months, Insya Allah. The hotel rating was launched in October 2009 at ITB Asia, and Alhamdulillah, we received good feedback. More than 80 hotels from 13 countries have signed up with us and we have Crescentrated and listed 50 hotels from eleven countries in our website up until now. • Support the growth of the market segment through travel portals, mobile applications, publications and MICE (meetings, incentive travels, conferences or exhibitions) activities: Our website is dedicated to support the needs of Halal-conscious travellers and we plan to develop it as a one-stop centre for all Muslim travellers’ needs. What does your statistics show on tourists’ decision in hotel selection (for Halal Friendly Travel) and can you please tell us about Crescentrating for hotels? Currently we do not have quantitative statistics on hotel selection based on its “Halal-Friendliness”; but going by the interest on Crescentrating, the launch of many “Shariah-compliant” hotels, and the drive of some tourism boards to accommodate the requirements of Muslim travellers, it is definitely a market to be reckoned with. For our Crescentrating criteria for hotels, we look at the six areas (prayer facilities, Halal food services, guest bathroom facilities, Ramadhan facilities, recreation facilities and services, and non-Halal activities), and based on it we rate hotels from Crescentrating 1 to Crescentrating 7. Country-specific hotel rating standards (Star rating and others) already cover the general quality, service standards, and so on, and Crescentrating will complement it by looking at the Halal-Friendly aspects only. With this approach, the consumer will be able to make an educated choice based on both the “Star rating” and the hotel’s Crescentrating. What are the challenges faced in Halal-Friendly Travel? The key challenge is creating awareness. This can only be done in concerted effort by educating the industry players and travellers. Once the industry players understand this, they are eager to come on board. The operational challenge is providing Halal food, especially in countries with small Muslim communities. But, this actually opens prospects for Muslim communities to explore opportunities with the travel industry players in the country they reside in, and for Halal businesses worldwide to come up with innovative products to service the Halal food markets in different countries. Halal-Friendly Travel and Tourism is here to stay and will emerge as the next big sector in the Halal industry. hj

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GLOBAL HALAL UNITY IHI Alliance is an international non-profit organisation created to uphold the integrity of the Halal market concept in global trade through recognition, collaboration and membership. Our mission is to propagate the benefits of Halal and elevate it as the standard of choice. Through our strategic partnership with the Islamic Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), we seek to assemble world class experts, leading industry figures and stakeholders across the whole industry supply chain to harmonise the global Halal industry. We invite companies, organisations and individuals to join as IHI Alliance members and be a part of an initiative to build a stronger and robust global Halal industry. For membership details including benefits, categories and fees, please log on to or email



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The Halal Journal - Mar/Apr 2010  

Issue 33, March/April 2010 | Global Consumer Awareness: Statistics, Market & Socio-cultural Trends On Halal Products Across The Globe | Clea...

The Halal Journal - Mar/Apr 2010  

Issue 33, March/April 2010 | Global Consumer Awareness: Statistics, Market & Socio-cultural Trends On Halal Products Across The Globe | Clea...