Close on the heels of getting mandates from the Organization of the Islamic Conference to prepare unified standards for Halal food and cosmetics, the UAE is in the global limelight again, thanks to the Halal Congress Middle East that has brought together the most influential and authoritative minds on Halal markets and standards to Sharjah. The inaugural two-day Halal Congress Middle East got under way on Tuesday, December 11 at Expo Centre Sharjah and is running concurrently with the Halal Food Middle East. UAE Minister of Education H.E. Humaid Al Qutami was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony. The inaugural ceremony was attended by Haji Abdul Malik Kassim, Minister for Penang State Government, Malaysia, and Chairman, Penang International Halal Hub, Malaysia; Dr. El Hassane Hzaine, Director-General ICDT (Islamic Centre for Development of Trade of OIC); and Saeed Obaid Al Jarwan, Second Vice Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry & Expo Centre Sharjah. “While the focus was on the multitude of business opportunities associated with one of the fastest growing industries in the world, the need for a unified standards system was heard loud and clear since all stakeholders in the industry very well know that a single Halal standard will ultimately harmonise exports and imports and ease market access to several regions,” said Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General of Expo Centre Sharjah. Held under the theme ‘Halal — global standard for quality, hygiene and safety’, the Congress’ inaugural session was addressed by Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of OIC; Humaid Al Qutami, UAE Minister of Education; Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Senior Minister and Federal Minister for Commerce, Pakistan; and Dr. Mustafa Ceric, The Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1993 to 2012); and Saif Mohammed Al Midfa.
Considered by some to be a leading “liberal” Islamic leader, Mustafa Ceric is tied to the global Muslim Brotherhood through his membership in the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), headed by Qaradawi and by his participation in the U.K.-based “Radical Middle Way” consisting of a wide range of associated scholars representing the global Muslim Brotherhood. ” While the possibility exists that Dr. Ceric could be being groomed as a successor to Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, in ill health of late, recent statements by Dr. Ceric put him at odds with Qaradawi and some of his religious rulings. Dr. Ceric has also participated in Holocaust remembrance events which would also seem to put him at odds with Qaradawi’s history of Holocaust denial/minimization. It should be remembered that several earlier posts have discussed Dr. Ceric’s increasing visibility and importance within the global Muslim Brotherhood, noting that Ceric sees himself as a possible future leader of a “European Islam. It maybe that these actions may be designed to win greater acceptance for Dr. Ceric by European leaders while at the same time preserving his connection to Qaradawi by remaining part of the ECFR. A post from September reported that Husein Effendi Kavazovic, the mufti of the northeast Bosnian town of Tuzla, had been chosen as the new Chief Mufti of the country’s Islamic Community, replacing Mustafa Ceric who held the position for 19 years.
In November a post reported that the World Association of Muslim Scholars (aka International Union of Muslim Scholars), headed by Youssef Qaradawi, was expected to send a delegation to the Gaza Strip that included Dr. Ceric.