The Ministry of Islamic Affairs’ has claimed that the new halal certification program for local fish products is receiving “huge support” from local fish processing companies, the ministry has said yesterday.
Denying reports published in local news outlet Haveeru of a lack of support for the programme , the ministry said that issuing halal certificates for five different products from ‘Felivaru’ company is in it’s final stages.
The ministry also stated that “famous Maldivian fish processing companies such as MIFCO” are also in the process of submitting necessary documentation in order to acquire the halal certificate
Training of halal assurance officers to inspect factories has begun, and ministry teams have made visits to “successful” halal industry countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.
The Haveeru article in question – published yesterday – quoted Permanent Secretary of the Islamic Ministry Mohamed Didi as saying that Felivaru was the only company to have shown an interest in acquiring the certification.
Didi was reported as saying that the reason for this could be that such a certificate is not important for their export markets.
According to the article, a team from the ministry had travelled to the Felivaru fish processing factory to check if the process and ingredients used are ‘halal’, with Didi saying that certification would open doors to export Maldivian fish products to middle-eastern markets and would increase the value of such products.
Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon at the time said the decision was connected to Maldives’ reservations towards freedom of religion and other conventions before noting that the Maldives is “not running out of friends in the international community”.
Since then, the government has said it is analysing new markets for such as middle-eastern and Malaysian markets for Maldives fish exports.
Earlier this week, Vice President of the Maldives National Chamber Of Commerce and Industry Ismail Asif said that Maldivian fishermen intended to stage a protest against the EU’s trade policies.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Ministry’s ‘Fiqh Academy’ issued a fatwa this week stating that kosher meals, while halal, are inadvisable in Shariah. The ruling suggested that the import of such goods would “introduce and spread such a religious slogan of the Jews into an Islamic country like the Maldives”.