Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2nd April 2015) — Industry players must look into producing products and services that are creative and innovative instead of fighting amongst each other on who produces a better Halal certificate.
Sharing his brutally honest and hard-hitting opinion during the final unified session at the World Halal Summit 2015 today, 63-year old Grand Mufti Emeritus of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr Mustafa Ceric said, he hopes next year, the World Halal Summit will move away from lethargic topics that are often seen to slow down the industry with continuous argument without reaching any conclusion.
“Year after year, we are debating about the same issues. Next year, let us move to brainstorming about innovation and creativity that makes Halal products more attractive and not just a label,” he said.
“I always wonder what makes haram sweet. Turn that around and produce products in Halal that are sweet, nice and attractive that will make people stop looking at the temptations in haram,” he stressed.
“We need to move away in trying to explain Halal in religious terms but (stress on) the fact that Halal is good, healthy and clean. Do people buy Chanel because it is French? No. People buy Chanel because it is good,” he said to a thunderous applause from the audience.
“Of course Halal is religion. We all know that. You don’t need to attend a three-day conference to tell you that. But too much emphasis on it (from religious perspective) will be counterproductive. Don’t make simple things complicated or complicate simple things. Halal is for humankind,” Ceric said.
What is worrying, he further adds, is the fact that these obstacles are not coming from outside but instead it is rooted within the Muslim community.
“We must stop the complaint, stop the attack and just continue doing what is beneficial for the Ummah. Move away from jealousy and corruption between each other,” Ceric said.
Meanwhile, in his closing remark, Euro Quality Lambs Ltd. UK executive director Rizvan Khalid pointed that while it may be challenging to reach a consensus agreement to reach a unified Halal standard, he suggested that a line be clearly drawn to emphasis on what is actually deemed haram.
“Accreditation bodies could distinguish properly on what is Halal and haram but with a higher manifestation on Halal according to Sunnah, like using a sharp knife to slaughter, treat animal with kindness, not allowing the animals to watch each other being slaughtered and so on,” he said.
Theological director SANHA, South Africa Moulana Navlakhi highlighted a strong point that was mentioned during earlier speech, that is one of the major dilemmas facing the Muslim Ummah is that what is Halal in Malaysia might be only makruh in Indonesia but haram in Brunei (due to the different agreement on animal stunning).
“This is damning for the industry – a predicament of the Muslim society as well as the outside world as there is no unity,” he said and further stressing the need to harmonise the Halal standard.
For the next forum, founder of DinarStandard USA Rafi-uddin Shikoh suggested for the organiser to include representatives from other industries such as organic producers and representatives from other faiths to give their insights and learn from each other.
“We should pull in big Halal industry players like (Malaysia based palm oil groups) Felda and IOI Corp,” he said.