Europe, US, A`lia support RI as world`s halal center

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The leaders of the European Union, US and Australian delegations to an International Seminar on Halal Products here said they supported the idea of Indonesia serving as the world`s halal center.

"We think Indonesia can a play a very important role in uniting halal standards and rules between exporter and importer countries of halal food throughout the world, and we are looking forward to it," Munim Al Chaman, a representative of the European Union Halal Certification Body, said in Jakarta on Monday.

Munim said Europe which is considered as a non-Moslem part of the world was much interested in the halal concept.

"People in Europe want to hear and know more about halal so it is our duty to give them information," he said.

According to Munim, considering its great contribution to the realization of halal certification in the country, the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) should become the authority on halal products globally because Indonesia had became the halal parameter.

"We want to be able to gain the same ability as MUI which can certify all products in Indonesia, including imported goods," he said.

Munim further said it was not easy to uphold halal standards in the Netherlands "because there are no standards that are accepted throughout the world."

That is why, he said, Indonesia as the country with the largest Moslem population in the world should make a breakthrough about halal standards.

"We are very happy and proud of the publication of MUI`s book titled "Requirements of Halal Certification`," said Al Chaman.

That book, he said, could be an international handbook and adopted as halal standards.

In the same vein, the chairman of the US Halal Certification Body, Munir Chaudry, also supported recognizing MUI to become an arbiter of international halal standards.

"We have to make universal standards of halal, so if there is a misunderstanding about halal or not, we have the standard book as a guide," said Munir.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Australia-New Zealand Halal Certification Body, Esad Alagic, said the MUI`s action was positive.

He said further, Australia exports meat to the whole the world and mostly to Indonesia. Therefore, Australia`s perspective is to guarantee to the world`s halal consumers and work together with MUI to produce the best authentic halal products.

"Last but not least, we will conclude that we agree that the` Requirements for Halal Certification book of Indonesia be declared the basis for global halal requirements," said Alagic.

Twenty-four chairman and representatives of halal certification bodies from 14 countries are attending the annual meeting of World Halal Food Council (WHFC) in Jakarta, January 16-17. (*)