Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid … More.. about Brunei To Help Maldives Establish Halal Science Lab
New Zealand’s Muslim population is not big enough to see a growth of Shariah-compliant banking options, the industry experts say.
Islamic banking, or Sharia finance, is governed by the principles of Islam.
According to Islamic law, you can’t use money to make money – it has to be from legitimate trade. It is prohibited to accept interest or fees for loans of money.
Muslim rugby player Sonny Bill Williams covered the BNZ logos from his Blues jersey while playing over the weekend, as a conscientious objection to the bank.
In New Zealand there are currently no banks operating according to Sharia law.
“I’m not aware of any banks in New Zealand that offer Islamic finance which will be compliant with Sharia law,” Ikhlaq Kashkari, president of the New Zealand Muslim Association said.
Kashkari said many Kiwi Muslims got around this by either having interest-free bank accounts, or donating generated interest to charitable organisations.
“What a lot of Muslims do is basically either not put money in an account that is interest-bearing or, take the interest, put it separately and donate it to charitable organisations or causes, with a view that it is best to use this money for charities and people in need.”
The Muslim population in New Zealand is approximately 50,000, with 35,000 living in the Auckland region.
Managing director of Sharia-approved KiwiSaver fund Amanah Ethical Brian Henry said there was demand for Islamic finance in New Zealand, but simply not a big enough population.
Originally published on www.nzherald.co.nz
New Zealand has been exporting halal meat since the 1970s for the most part with little government involvement, but times have changed. How did the meat industry asked for more regulation to prove the “halalness” of its products?
It’s peak season for the meat slaughter industry in the South Island, with about 100 workers ensuring that any cuts destined for overseas are suitable for Muslim markets.
Back in the 1970s, halal slaughter-men had to – of course – be Muslim, but they did not need qualifications. After all, the practice of halal slaughter has been largely the same, and enshrined in sharia (Islamic law), for hundreds of years.
But today, halal slaughter-men in New Zealand must be trained to New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) standards, and the companies that export halal meat – more than 50 of them – are required to be registered with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).
Ali Al-Kawaji, who carries out audits in the South Island on behalf of the Federation of the Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ), supports increased regulation.
Al-Kawaji says it would be great if auditing was extended to the treatment of animals on farms before they are slaughtered, “but that would be really hard for farmers to accept”.
However, if a big Muslim country wanted “a huge amount” of meat, audited right back to the paddock, then it could happen.
NZQA data shows that 118 people achieved a standard proving their knowledge of sharia in the production and certification of halal meat last year, and more than 65 people achieved a standard proving they could produce it.
Meat Industry Association (MIA) chief executive Tim Ritchie says the standards have been in place since 2009, before the introduction of the Halal Notice in 2010.
There are just over 240 halal slaughter-men employed in the industry, “and this number has been relatively steady over the last decade”.
Al-Kawaji, who is originally from Jordan, worked as a halal slaughter-man after arriving in New Zealand with his Kiwi wife in 1997. The plant he worked at in Timaru had already been doing halal slaughter for 30 years, exporting “a huge amount of meat” to Iran.
Al-Kawaji, a trained lawyer, never imagined working as a slaughter-man, but “they needed someone to do the job”.
It was hard and physical work, but after four years he became a supervisor – and now, as an auditor for FIANZ, he visits plants throughout the South Island.
He says many supervisors and managers gain the NZQA qualifications “just to at least know what it’s all about”.
“It’s good to have knowledge rather than to be in the dark.”
Ritchie says the Government, via the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, brought in the Halal Notice in 2010 as a result of market pressure.
In 2005, Malaysia delisted most New Zealand meat processing plants on ambiguous halal-based grounds. The implementation of the Halal Notice helped to overcome these restrictions, with 17 plants now approved for export to Malaysia.
MPI director animal and animal products Mat Stone says only halal premises that export meat are required to be registered with the ministry. However, “it’s quite possible that some premises may produce halal meat for domestic sale only”.
“When halal processing began, it was purely a business decision on behalf of the companies.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Nearly 20 per cent of New Zealand’s total exports of red meat and edible co-products were halal-certified
Halal products were exported to 66 countries
75,000 tonnes of halal-certified exports, worth $392 million, were sent to Muslim countries
The remaining 115,000 tonnes of halal-certified exports went to other countries
– In the year to September 2013.
Source: Meat Industry Association
HALAL MEAT IN CHRISTCHURCH
Halal slaughterman Salar Basharati has owned a halal butchery in Christchurch for more than a decade.
He buys stock at a weekly auction, and slaughters it himself in Cheviot, before bringing it to his shop. Originally from Kurdistan in Iran, where he was a butcher, Basharati says his Lincoln Rd shop has been selling halal meat to Muslim and non-Muslim customers for 12 years.
WHAT IS HALAL SLAUGHTER?
Sheep and cattle whose meat is destined for Muslim countries must be slaughtered with their necks and stomachs facing the holy city of Mecca.
The Muslim slaughterman says a prayer as he cuts the animal’s throat.
The animal must first be electrically stunned so it feels no pain. Halal meat must be kept separate from non-halal meat as it is processed.
All halal slaughter in New Zealand must be undertaken in a humane manner in accordance with New Zealand’s strict animal welfare codes.
Originally published on www. muslimvillage.com/
Demand for Islamic finance training from non-Muslims rose more than fourfold in the past seven years as students seek to enter an industry whose assets are set to double to $3.4 trillion by 2018.
Malaysia’s International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance had 2,000 people enrolled on its courses this year, of whom about 14 percent are from nations with small Muslim populations, its Chief Executive Officer Daud Vicary Abdullah said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. That compares with 3 percent in 2007, he said.
While students from South Korea, Japan and the U.S. dominate the enlistees, those nations have yet to introduce Shariah-compliant legislation. The U.K. became the first western country to sell sukuk this year, while Hong Kong and South Africa also plan to debut in the market in 2014. Ernst & Young LLP forecasts Islamic lenders will have 70 million customers by 2018, up from 38 million last year.
“Islamic finance is becoming less and less of a niche,” Daud said in a phone interview. “The Koreans and the Japanese see this as a business proposition and given the potential, they can’t afford not to participate.”
Malaysia, Indonesia and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council are the world’s main Shariah-compliant industry centers, with Hong Kong, Singapore and the U.K. all vying to become regional hubs since introducing Islamic finance laws.
Australia has considered employing such legislation since at least 2010, while plans in South Korea met with opposition from Christian groups. Japan has no rules of its own but allows subsidiaries of its lenders and insurers to offer Islamic financing overseas. The U.S. has no laws that permit the sale of sukuk although it does provide Shariah-compliant services.
Shariah law bans investment in companies involved in activities deemed as unethical such as gambling, prostitution and alcohol. Scholars are employed to vet products and services to ensure they comply with religious tenets, including a ban on interest payments.
The industry needs 1 million people with Islamic finance knowledge by 2020 as Shariah-compliant assets are set to reach $6.5 trillion by then, according to a November report from the MalaysiaInternational Islamic Financial Centre.
Rodney Wilson, who used to teach Shariah-compliant banking at Durham University in the U.K. and is now an Emeritus Professor, said he’s taught students from South Korea at Malaysia’s INCEIF and non-Muslim Europeans at the England-based institution.
“Islamic banking and finance is now accepted by mainstream bankers and finance professionals, who see it as an opportunity,” Wilson said in an Aug. 5 e-mail interview. “Sukuk are becoming more popular as the issuance in non-Muslim countries illustrates.”
Global offerings of Shariah-compliant bonds rose 27 percent in 2014 from a year earlier to $26.9 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A decade ago, full-year issuance amounted to $5.6 billion. Malaysia, the world’s largest sukuk market, accounted for 69 percent of sales last year, followed by Saudi Arabia with 12 percent, the United Arab Emirates with 6 percent and Indonesiawith 5 percent, Bank Negara Malaysia data show.
Many students from non-Muslim nations are sponsored by state agencies, such as their foreign and finance ministries, said Daud at Malaysia’s INCEIF, who is also on the steering committee of the Royal Award for Islamic Finance organized by Bank Negara and the country’s Securities Commission. More education is needed to clear up misperceptions about the Shariah-compliant industry that some people have, he said.
Hong Kong plans to sell as much as $1 billion of sukuk in its debut offering this year, according to an e-mailed statement in April. Maybank Kim Eng Holdings Ltd. and law firm Clifford Chance LLP began training staff in the city in preparation for this and future sales.
Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and U.K. were home to less than 0.4 percent of the 1.6 billion global Muslim population in 2010, according to the website of the Washington-based Pew Research Center. That compares with 1 percent in Malaysia, 12.7 percent in Indonesia and 1.6 percent in Saudi Arabia.
Luxembourg and South Africa are planning to sell Islamic bonds by year-end, Emad al Monayea, chief executive officer of Kuwait’s Liquidity Management House for Investment, said in an interview in London on June 18.
“The awareness is getting better,” Raj Mohamad, managing director at Five Pillars Pte, a consulting firm in Singapore, said in a phone interview yesterday. “Non-Muslim countries want to tap the liquidity available in Islamic finance and expand their offerings.”
Originally published on www.bloomberg.com
Part of the solution is to offer more “reassurance factors” to Muslim tourists, like halal food, placing markers in hotel rooms pointing to Mecca, and advertising nearby mosques where Muslims could worship or connect with other Muslims. Currently Gisborne meat plants use halal practices as a sign of respecting Islamic tradition.
With the door opening to encourage more Muslims to visit New Zealand come opportunities to widen our understanding of Islam and dispel current misconceptions, which often see Islam associated with fundamentalism and extremist views. However, there is another side to Islam which often receives little attention in the West.
An example of this was the recent action of a prominent Iranian Muslim cleric, Ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani who, in an extraordinary act of courage, gifted to the Baha’is of the world an illuminated work of calligraphy and a statement on religious unity. See the statement at news.bahai.org/story/987
This act was extraordinary because, in Iran, Baha’is are regarded as “unprotected infidels” and are subjected daily to torment and prejudice as a result of a formal government policy which states that “their progress and development” must be “blocked”. Yet Ayatollah Tehrani boldly dedicated his artwork “particularly to the Baha’is of Iran who have suffered in manifold ways as a result of blind religious prejudice.”
Fearless in his beliefs, and fully aware of the danger to which he was exposing himself, Ayatollah Tehrani also championed his views on religious tolerance and co-existence on his blog site. He has since been arrested and his fate is currently unknown.
Ayatollah Tehrani’s statement has cast illumination on the subject of religious unity — vital for peace and harmony in the world. Other religious leaders and organisations from a variety of countries have subsequently spoken in support of his call. They include Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Sikh, Zoroastrian and Jain, as well as other Muslims.
Sadly, though, his action — as one of a growing body of enlightened religious scholars in Iran — is not reflected in the actions of the Iranian government. Such actions we believe do not reflect the true teachings of the Islamic faith.
New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser expressed optimism regarding the signing of a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) that will lower trade barriers between Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries. “We’re making a lot of progress as far as the New Zealand-GCC free trade agreement is concerned. There are just a few legal issues being clarified and ironed out,” Groser told Arab News before he left the Kingdom on Tuesday.
Ambassador Hamish MacMaster, who was with Deputy Chief of Mission Greg Lewis, accompanied Groser during the exclusive interview at a hotel in the Saudi capital. Groser added that the FTA is within the framework of a comprehensive strategy with which New Zealand will deal with the Kingdom and GCC countries over the next five years.
He said that if and when the FTA officially takes effect, it will also promote trade, create job opportunities and high-paying jobs as well as improved incomes.
“We’re just a small part of the equation but our experience with FTAs is that these could also serve as platforms to develop other forms of cooperation between or among countries,” Groser said. For instance, he said, “this part of the world is rich in geothermal power and we can help by training its manpower to tap and develop its geothermal energy once the FTA takes effect.”
Groser added: “This is something we’re good at. New Zealand, for instance, has trained the geothermal engineers of a number of countries like Philippines.”
Groser was visiting the Saudi capital for the second time although he travels extensively in the Middle East.
As far as doing business with the region is concerned, Groser stated that New Zealand sees the same opportunity with GCC countries as it has with the Asia Pacific region, although “on a smaller scale given the size of the GCC compared to China and East Asia.” “However, we see some opportunities. New Zealand and the Gulf states are complementary on atomic renewable energy. We import fossil fuel from them and we export food to the GCC,” he said.
He added: “As you know, the GCC countries import something like 80-90 percent of their food requirements and New Zealand supplies 15 percent of that. So we’ re a very significant part of the food security of the region. When it comes to agribusiness, New Zealand is not a small country. It is the largest exporter of halal food in the world.”
He added that Indonesia, one of the giant Islamic countries, is the largest producer (of halal food) but “its people consume their own production.”
Groser said: “We sell halal food to 43 different Islamic countries around the world. We’re 4th to 5th largest beef exporter. We also export a significant amount of high-quality agricultural products.” He stated that being producer of agricultural products, New Zealand needs water, with which the GCC doesn’t have much, adding that 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is used in producing food. “In the long term, a system of free trade is also about natural use of resources. Our resources are around water and application of science to produce food while the GCC countries have to observe a rational limit to the use of water,” he said.
Aside from the FTA, which New Zealand is finalizing with Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, there are also 85 companies in the Kingdom in the agribusiness. “We also have a variety of specialists with different skills in Gulf countries as a whole,” he said, adding that there are also some 5,000 Saudis students in New Zealand, which would be a considerable addition to the Kingdom’s human resources if and when they return to Saudi Arabia.
He added that New Zealand also gives training in aviation, noting that the UAE is establishing an aviation university in Dubai, which had chosen his country to provide traffic controllers who would become instructors. Groser added that his country also gives a free visa entry to all GCC nationals, which is advantageous to parents who want to visit their children in New Zealand. “Those that I have mentioned are just a few examples of things that we do quite well. We’re limited to a few specific areas because of our small size but I think the GCC countries appreciate us for our being independent-minded partners,” Groser said.
Originally published on www.arabnews.com