New Zealand has taken appropriate steps to comply with the Islamic strictures on meat through a strict Halal regime, a senior government official has said.
“We are aware of the importance of Halal in Islam and therefore have put in place a strict regime of compliance. All New Zealand meat exported to Muslim markets is Halal certified,” Dr Tony Zohrab, Market Access Director at the Ministry of Prime Industries said.
He was speaking at a symposium on ‘Halal Slaughtering: Challenges and Solutions,’ organised by the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) at Auckland’s Langham Hotel on November 28, 2013.
Dr Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsin Al Turki, Secretary General of the Saudi Arabia based Muslim World League (MWL), Auckland based Saudi Consul General Ahmed Al Johani, Australian Federation of Islamic Councils President Hafez Kassem, Meat Industry Association Chief Executive Tim Ritchie were among those who attended the one-day symposium.
FIANZ President Dr Anwar Ghani said that MWL has been a great guide and supporter of the Muslim community in New Zealand and that over the past 34 years, the relationship between the two organisations has grown from strength to strength. “The League (which has its headquarters in Makkah) has also assisted many New Zealand Muslims to perform Hajj and sent many prominent scholars to visit this country. This relationship was taken to another level when Saudi Arabia entrusted FIANZ with the responsibility for Halal Certification of meat and meat products exported from New Zealand to the Kingdom,” he said.
According to Dr Ghani, while the current total value of Halal exports from New Zealand is about $2.5 billion, the industry is beginning to cover larger areas.
“Halal goes well beyond meat and meat by-products to include dairy, cosmetic and pharmaceuticals. The unique contribution of Muslims and opportunities in Halal tourism are yet to be realised. There is much more that can be achieved,” he said.
Dr Ghani said that although small (about 50,000), the Muslim population in New Zealand is vibrant, accounting for 50 different nationalities.
“Despite such diversity, all of us perform Eid prayers on the same day and follow one calendar for Ramadan. And with that rich diversity we feel that we have always been an integral part of the wider society of this nation,” he said.
“As an organisation, FIANZ has been the prime mover of Islamic development in New Zealand. We have managed to consolidate our achievements since our establishment in 1979. FIANZ has grown enormously with the support of the members of the regional associations and the community,” he said.
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Photo : 1. Abdullah Mohsin Al Turki 2. Dr Anwar Ghani