PRESS STATEMENT: Halaal certification body moves on Israel, major implications
25 October 2023
Earlier today the South African Halaal certification body, MJCHT, made a ground-breaking announcement that will have an irreversible ripple effect across the Muslim world.
The human rights organization #Africa4Palestine welcomes the historic resolution that has been announced by the Muslim Judicial Council’s Halaal Trust (MJCHT). The MJCHT has adopted a policy position to decline, refuse and not certify any goods or services emanating from Israel – to boycott all such Israeli companies and products. This has major domestic and international implications as well as wide ranging financial and economic impact.
A statement released by the MJCHT reads:
“The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) commits itself to ethical business practices in line with international law and human rights. As part of this commitment, the MJCHT declines the certification of any goods or services emanating from Israel. The MJCHT, furthermore, declines the certification of any Israeli based companies or their directly controlled foreign subsidiaries.” (See attached)
MJCHT is a certification body that provides compliance certificates to companies that manufacture food and drink products as well as to restaurants and other similar establishments that meet certain strict criteria. Certificates are voluntary, however, in practice, Muslims will not purchase a product that does not have a certificate from an authorised certification or compliance body (such as the MJCHT). Similarly, Muslims will also not eat at a restaurant that does not have a certificate from a compliance/certification body (such as the MJCHT).
Consequently, companies seek such certification before selling their products locally or exporting their goods to other countries, especially those that are Muslim-majority. Countries and economies with significant Muslim populations include Egypt, Mauritania, Algeria, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Tanzania, Senegal, Malaysia, Indonesia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bangladesh, Qatar, Pakistan, etc.
Today’s announcement and decision follows MJCHT’s engagements with #Africa4Palestine. We thank the MJCHT for these discussions and commend the body for the position that it has adopted after our consultations. We also thank Chief Mandla Mandela for his support both in this MJCHT decision as well as his unwavering commitment to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid.
The MJCHT decision, which is the first such decision in the world, should and will set an example for other such compliance and certification bodies. We call on all other halaal certification bodies to adopt a similar position to that of the MJCHT. #Africa4Palestine has written to such bodies both in South Africa as well as internationally. *We have written to SANHA, NIHT, ICSA among others and will publish their responses in due course.*
Israeli companies and products not receiving such certification going forward will isolate them from major markets across the globe with colossal financial consequences. The message is clear – no normal trade with an abnormal country. Israel is paying for its violence, its violations of international law and abuse of the Palestinians people.
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Muslims – who make up 2 billion of the world’s population – do not consume pork or alcohol. In addition, the foods that they do consume must follow certain dietary and preparation requirements. Once these requirements are met, a company or restaurant seeks a certificate from an authorised Halaal Certification Body, such as the MJCHT, stating that the product of restaurant is “halaal”. A company or restaurant with such a certificate can then market their product or restaurant as halaal.
A halaal certification body (that provides a certificate stating that a product or restaurant is halaal) can be compared, with some limitation, to other certification bodies, such as bodies that provide compliance certificates confirming that a product is Kosher, free from nuts, free from animal cruelty, or free from gluten. In this vein, Africa4Palestine will also be engaging with such bodies to also adopt a position of withdrawing and not certifying Israeli companies.
ISSUED BY TISETSO MAGAMA ON BEHALF OF AFRICA4PALESTINE
Africa4Palestine Media Liaison, Alie Komape: +27 (0) 76 979 8801
Africa4Palestine Director, Muhammed Desai: +27 (0) 84 211 9988
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