The initiative was announced by Saqib Mohammed, chief executive of the HFA on the first day of its two-day conference, held in London last month.
“We are contributing to a halal defence fund to counter the accusations and false claims about halal,” said Mohammed. “We recently received some accusations and have vigorously gone after them and we will be taking legal actions against the perpetrators.
“The defence fund is being considered and there will be three or four organisations attached to that; those who would be involved in halal certification or halal PR or who have got interest in securing the integrity of halal generally.”
Improve education about halal
The fund would also be used to improve education about halal, said Mohammed. “We are looking for more partners to collaborate in that project,” he added.
Halal-certified food is growing in demand, both within the UK, which boasts around 3M muslims, representing around 5% of the 65M population, and the 1.7bn around the world.
However, halal is often subjected to criticism, both for animal welfare reasons by those who strongly oppose the use of non-stun slaughter methods and for other reasons – sometimes racist.
Often subjected to criticism
“Any accusations that are false will be taken very seriously; about halal certification funding terrorism, which is, of course, absolutely not the case,” said Mohammed. He cited the example of false accusations along these lines made in Australia, which were pursued and successfully prosecuted in the courts there.
“Any accusations that are false will be taken very seriously; about halal certification funding terrorism, which is, of course, absolutely not the case.”
- Saqib Mohammed, HFA
At the conference, HFA chairman Dr Abdul Matin Khan also announced plans to expand its activities in Europe, having opened an office in Brussels, as well as in the Middle and Far East. “For us being a charitable organisation, we have a bigger community to serve in the future,” said Khan.
While the HFA does operate halal standards that permit the stunning of animals prior to slaughter, it has also recently added an alternative standard called ‘Traditional Halal’ for non-stunned animals.