The inaugural World Halal Summit (WHS 2015) opened today with unified sessions held to discuss two broad industry imperatives – the current state of the global Islamic economy and the role of accreditation in regulating the global Halal food market.
Providing a snapshot of the global Halal industry, speaker Mr. Rafi-uddin Shikoh, CEO of DinarStandard (USA), presented a conclusive snapshot of the current and potential value for each Halal industry’s sub-sectors worldwide.
The report, produced by DinarStandard and Thomson Reuters and supported by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), UAE gave key insights not just for the Halal food space, but also for fashion and lifestyle, travel, media and recreation, pharmaceutical as well as cosmetics.
Supporting his figures was Mr. Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, the government agency entrusted to realise Dubai’s vision of becoming the global hub for Islamic economy. With about 40 projects in the pipeline, DIEDC is working with various government bodies and the private sector to implement various initiatives to achieve Dubai’s stated objectives.
As comparison, panellist Datuk Dr. Mohd Daud Bakar, Founder and Chairman of Amanie Group, highlighted issues within the Halal funding market in Malaysia, where there is currently no one single umbrella body that pushes for the convergence of Islamic finance and the Halal industry. He also highlighted notable gaps that must to be addressed by specialist Islamic scholars if the industry is to realise its full potential.
The second unified session saw the GCC Standards Organisation’s Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr. Nabil Molla, highlighting the need for a single accreditation body for the Halal industry, especially since Islam and the Qur’an is for everyone, not just for the Muslims.
He suggested signing memorandums of understanding (MOUs) between the various Halal accreditation bodies to mutually recognise each other with a single aim – to have one common market for all.
Concurring with him was Dr. Saleh B. Hussain Al Aayed, Secretary-General of the International Islamic Halal Authority (IIHA), Saudi Arabia who invited the Muslim countries worldwide to join the GCC Accreditation Centre (GAC) in their on-going efforts to harmonise the global Halal standards.
According to him, the most important variable within the Halal process is the slaughterman himself. He or she must be a Muslim, but production can be done by anybody. He also added that the communication on Halal and its importance should not be to everybody; enough to just the Muslims.
Re-emphasising on the call to unite under one banner, Mr. Salih Yuksel, SMIIC Accreditation Committee Chair & Acting Head, System Accreditation Department, Turkish Accreditation Agency (TURKAK), Turkey argues for the creation of a single accreditation that is mutually recognised by all countries. A better regulation would in turn open more doors for more investments leading to a natural expansion of the Halal sector.
In general, the two opening sessions of the inaugural WHS 2015 this morning provided delegates with a perfect overview of the Halal industry landscape as well as highlighting several defining elements of global commerce over the next decade.
The sessions also reviewed the importance of accreditation and explored some of the schemes that are being put in place to strengthen the integrity of the certification process and provide increased confidence in the Halal market worldwide.