The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) on Wednesday invited various stakeholders in the halaal sector to an open workshop in a bid to address some of the challenges faced with regards to halaal certification and Islamic economics. The gathering tackled different aspects of the industry including that of the media perspective, with media commentator, Mahmood Sanglay giving a critical analysis on the relationship between the MJCHT and press.
Open engagements of this nature have been something of a rare occurrence within the MJCHT, and Sanglay said the decision to open up to external viewpoints was something “unprecedented and long overdue”.
“I think it was an important step that the Halal Trust took to have this seminar, to call on stakeholders to give their input, and to indicate that they are willing to consider the various inputs that were made in order to bring about meaningful change,” he stated.
The Muslim Views columnist’s own presentation sought to tackle three aspects of the MJCHT’s relationship with the media. These were the broader public opinion and interest, the Trust’s own use of the press as a means of communication and PR, as well as how the body is being perceived and covered in the news.
Part of the event’s focus was also directed at the independent halal review panel set up in response to the Orion debacle, with little coverage given since. However, it was revealed that the panel had drafted 30 ‘focus points’ to be addressed by the MHCHT, with the trust spurred to establishing ’19 standards’ to tackled some of the concerns. While Sanglay was somewhat unsure of what this would entail, he suspected they related to procedure and policy changes in the issuance of certificates.
“If they have gone through and set up 19 of these standards as recommended by the independent halaal review panel it means they’ve made significant progress, and I think this ought to be recognised…we applaud them for that,” he acknowledged.
Questions were also raised as to why the Trust has continued to provide its services to companies of contention, including Woolworths. The retailer is the subject of a BDS boycott, a campaign supported by the main body of the MJC. Sanglay said this was a dilemma the MJCHT was yet to find a resolution for.
“The answer that was given yesterday i feel was not satisfactory, and I believe the act of providing a service equates to being engaged in a trade relationship. That is a trade relationship between the MJCHT and Woolworths,” he added. VOC