“For us, Soviet Muslims, the concept of 'halal sausage' was alien”

“For us, Soviet Muslims, the concept of 'halal sausage' was alien”
Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

Potential of Russia in the Islamic economy

The Al-Mardzhani Kazan Cathedral Mosque hosted the all-Russian conference “Halal as a way of life” on 9 December. The forum is dedicated to the development and promotion of halal lifestyle in society, including among people with disabilities. The event is organised by Good World For Everyone ANO, Committee on halal standard of the Muslim Spiritual Board of the Republic of Tatarstan, Tatarstan Investment Development Agency, and Islamic Law Centre.

According to the head of the Investment Development Agency, Talia Minullina, the Islamic economy in the world, according to experts, reaches 5 trillion US dollars. And by 2024, the turnover is going to grow by 1,5 times.

There are usually a number of areas of the Islamic economy: Islamic finance, halal food, tourism, fashion, multimedia and entertainment, medicine and cosmetics. The leaders in this field are Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. The Islamic economy is actively developing outside the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — in Europe, North America, and Asia. These Are India, China, Russia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The Russian forum “Halal as a way of life” is dedicated to the development and promotion of halal lifestyle in society, including among people with disabilities. Photo: Timur Rakhmatullin

“Russia has a huge potential in terms of the Islamic economy," Minullina said. “We see this in the example of food sector. Russia produces more than 1 trillion tonnes of halal meat annually. Today, the Russian Federation's partners in this area are Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

She reminded that there are dozens of halal certification centres in the country. One of them operates in Tatarstan, the Committee on Halal Standard at the Muslim Spiritual Board of Tatarstan.

KazanSummit postponed until July 2021

The head of the agency drew attention to that the international platform 'Russia — the Islamic World: KazanSummit' plays a huge role in strengthening Russia's ties with the OIC countries. This forum annually gathers hundreds of experts, diplomats, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and officials interested in the development of the Islamic economy.

“This year, due to the spread of coronavirus, we were forced to postpone this event [KazanSummit] until next year. We previously planned to hold it in July 2021. But this date can also be revised — it depends on what situation we will face in the first half of 2021st year," Talia Minullina announced.

This forum annually gathers hundreds of experts, diplomats, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and officials interested in the development of the Islamic economy. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

KazanSummit has already been postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been reported that the forum would be held in the spring of 2021.

Many of the decisions made at the forum are being implemented in Tatarstan. For example, the republic has adopted a road map on the development of the halal lifestyle on the example of the United Arab Emirates. Within the framework of this document, a number of activities are being carried out in the region. The first investment fund in Russia that operates according to the principles of sharia was opened in 2019. This year, many events are held in an online format. Tatarstan held 10 free thematic webinars.

By the way, the head of the Investment Development Agency herself spoke remotely — via Zoom. The official, who periodically surprises the public with her hijabs, put on a headdress and a dark dress with long sleeves that time. The neck and ears remained open.

The head of the Investment Development Agency spoke remotely — via Zoom. Photo: Timur Rakhmatullin

Halal in all areas

Mansur Jalyaletdin, the chairman of the Council of Elders of Kazan, imam-khatib of the Al-Mardzhani Mosque stressed that halal applies not only to food, but also to medicine, tourism, finance and other areas that people face. While the halal industry is generally developed in a number of Arab countries, Turkey and Malaysia, there is still a lot of work to be done in Russia and European countries. Visiting foreigners who profess Islam are forced to search for a long time where to get halal food, get various services, without violating the norms of sharia.

"30 years ago, in 1990, we saw halal sausage for the first time in a Saudi store," Mansur khazrat recalled. “Then for us, Soviet Muslims, the concept of 'halal sausage' was alien. We asked a few more times: 'Halal?' The Arabs answered in the affirmative. We bought it right away.”

According to him, all religious denominations recognise that halal is much better for human health than haram. Tatarstan has made significant progress over the years: there are catering establishments with halal food, there are certified hotels, recreation centres, and medical institutions.

By Timur Rakhmatullin
Tatarstan