Malaysia to Launch ‘Made by Muslims’ Logo

To go with feature story Lifestyle-Malaysia-cosmetics-Islam-halal by Beh Lih Yi This photo taken on 14 April, 2010 shows Muslimah Skincare and Cosmectics Managing Director Famiza Zulkifli (R) posing behind halal cosmetics during an interview with AFP at an exhibition centre in Kuala Lumpur. Entrepreneurs producing "halal" cosmetics say the global …
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Two Malaysian economic groups have created a new logo to distinguish products made by Muslims from those made by others in order to boost Islamic businesses.

Although Malaysian Muslims already have a symbol to denote products that are “halal,” or permissible by sharia law, the new logo will allow consumers to support businesses owned and operated by Muslims as well as providing further guarantees of a product’s religious purity.

The new logo is a joint project by the Malaysian Institute of International Islamic Corporation (Ikiam), together with the Malaysian Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), who say that the market for halal products is massive, and still growing.

Promotors of the venture hope that the new logo will allow Muslim companies to cash in on the lion’s share of that market.

“The need for another halal logo is to distinguish products that were produced by Muslims against that of non-Muslims,” said Risda chair Zahidi Zainul Abidin, which will help “Muslim entrepreneurs make forays into the halal markets locally and abroad.”

Though halal refers mostly to food products, with items like pork and alcohol banned by the Qur’an, it also extends to items such as cosmetics, which can contain animal-derived products. It also affects how food and other products are prepared and stored.

With some 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, market potential is enormous. According to the United States Halal Association, the global halal food market is worth $632 billion, and the entire Sharia-compliant product market worldwide is worth more than $2 trillion yearly.

Last December, Malaysia inaugurated its first halal-compliant airline, Rayani Air, one of just a few airlines in the world to comply with Islamic principles. Flight attendants were required to wear a headscarf, no alcohol was served, all food was halal-certified and prayers were recited before each flight.

Plagued by complaints of late flights, last-minute cancellations, a pilots’ strike and an unsuccessful safety audit, however, the airline was shut down in June.

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