The National Independent Halaal Trust (NIHT), the internationally acclaimed and accepted local Halaal food certifier, was invited to Russia for a conference, recently. The invitation, on behalf of the Council of Russian Mufties was extended to Moulana A.W. Wookay and Hafez Moorad Booley. They successfully delivered papers on ‘The History of Halaal Certification in South Africa’ and ‘Halaal Certification in a Muslim Minority Country’, respectively.
The Council of Russian Mufties have only been certifying since 1996 and are relatively new in the Halaal industry. Hence the invitation to the NIHT who have extensive experience in the Halaal Industry, internationally. With a Muslim population of over 49 million, the Russian Muslims are also a minority within their country. With more and more countries ready to do business with Russia and the economy gaining strength, Halaal globalization is evident in Russia and other East European Countries.
The two day Moscow Halaal Conference at the Croycus City Hall saw delegates from over 12 countries deliberating and presenting various papers. Day one was allocated to Halaal finance and Takafol. Day two saw various role players in the Halaal food industry deliver papers on pertinent issues and problem areas. A number of resolutions was tabled and accepted. The Council of Russian Mufties were elated that the NIHT could attend this year since last years conference was not attended due to other commitments. The Chairman of the Council of Russian Mufties, Sheik Ravil Gainutdin (Zaynudeen) warmly welcomed the NIHT delegation and looked forward to co-operation between the two organizations. “The reputation of South Africa’s Halaal Industry was recognized and accepted, hence the invitation to the NIHT who are leaders in their field”, said Mufti Gainutdin.
Due to lack of visible Islam during the old Soviet Communist Days, the revival of Islam has been tremendous with many young Russians embracing Islam fervently and eagerly. While Moscow has four Mosques, the Mosques are small and can only hold +/- 800 worshippers, yet for the Friday (Jummah) prayers more than 4000 worshippers attend at each mosque reading their prayers outside in the cold! Sadly the government has been dragging its feet to grant permission for the extension of the Masajids. With this in mind the NIHT has offered to assist in various ways and hope that a reciprocal visit by the Council of Russian Mufties to our country soon, would be a good start. An exchange of ideas and training modules is also envisaged in the not so distant future.
The conference was run professionally with many European delegates expressing their surprise. “We have had such a negative concept of Russia and its people, this is an eye opener”, said one delegate from Italy. Notwithstanding the language, culinary, cultural and climatic challenges, it was different and truly educational. “This was really an awesome and fascinating experience how these Muslims have held on to their Islam with all the challenges is really extreme”, said NIHT’s Hafez Moorad Booley. This is just one of the ways of proving that Islam is a Universal way of life. A different way to celebrate South Africa’s acceptance to the BRIC Countries.