Green Muslims Foundation questions ‘halal’ standardization by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) for the food industry.
The Technical Board of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has initiated a working group called “Halal food – Requirements for the food chain”. This working group is preparing a report on the feasibility of developing a European Standard on “Halal food – Requirements on the food chain”.
The following parties are taking part in this: representatives from Islamic authorities, industry, trade associations, conformity assessment bodies, consumer associations, animal welfare associations, standardization institutes and others.
From the start of this, several Islamic organizations in the Netherlands have been completely opposed to this initiative in principle because of the involvement of non-Islamic organizations and non-Muslim stake-holders. Please see attached document entitled “CIRCULAR: GREEN MUSLIMS ON HALAL STANDARDS”. This circular stresses very clearly why everyone should oppose this initiative. Note that the Dutch Islamic organizations involved in the initial Standards meetings* with the Dutch standardization organization NEN have withdrawn themselves completely from this initiative; see attached document entitled “CEN Halal standardization project – statement”.
It is very important that we keep regulations concerning Halal where they belong: with the Muslims and with our Ulama. We cannot and may not leave it up to non-Muslims to decide on the set of rules over what is Halal and Haraam. If we let this happen, where will it end? We have to take a stand on this! We urge you to think about our statement and our mission and to contact the Islamic organizations in your country who are involved in this initiative to follow the example of their Dutch counterparts. The participation of Muslims in this non-Islamic Halal standardization initiative must be stopped. In the Netherlands, we will take all necessary actions to oppose this initiative.
* Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid (CMO), Halal Voeding en Voedsel (HVV), Groene Moslims, and Halal Correct Certification.
Summary of Green Muslims Circular
1. The approach of the CEN ‘halal’ standardization project uses European legislation to intervene in internal religious affairs. Industry concerns are used to drive the creation of this legislation. This interference will not stop with the ‘halal’ issue;
2. ‘Halal’ standardization pushes an interpretation of Islam on Muslim citizens, forcing choices that undermine religious freedom;
3. Islamic scholars will be under constant temptation of bribery and will therefore be suspected of corruption;
4. There are obvious alternatives that guarantee diversity and freedom, prevent corruption and discord (fitna), and better encourage conscious and informed consumerism;
5. These alternatives are to be found solely in facilitating transparency and better information for the (Muslim) consumer.
The Foundation intends with this circular to ensure that involved Muslims and Islamic organizations collectively and consciously design a roadmap for the future of ‘halal’ in Europe and the European Union.
We consider the choice of an alternative route crucial for not merely an existing but also a healthy Muslim community.
Green Muslims Foundation aims to help Muslims adopt a more sustainable lifestyle: (self) critical and conscious and inspired by the Word of God.
For more information on this subject call +31 (0) 6 25 44 11 49.
Statement by Turkish Certifier Gimdes to CEN (Turkish and English)