Roger M. Othman
Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu ‘ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH (S) and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad (s). Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!
Welcome to this special issue of the Islamic Perspective. Over the years, IFANCA has produced many publications, including books, guides and newsletters. IFANCA newsletter, The Islamic Perspective has proven to be a valuable tool in disseminating information, initiating discussions and educating the public and the food industry.
We at IFANCA, are working very hard to promote the Institution of Halal. We are also working hard to use the latest technological tools to achieve our mission and to disseminate information in the most efficient manner. In the past couple of years, we have relied more on the Internet to disseminate information quickly and easily than the printed material. Information is readily available on our Web site, www.IFANCA.org. This year we introduced Halal Digest, our Web based newsletter. Yet there is still a place for printed newsletters and in response to inquiries we felt it appropriate to produce another issue of the Islamic Perspective.
This issue was designed to serve as a reference for the Muslim family. In this special issue, we address a number of important topics. Those less familiar with IFANCA work will find a story about IFANCA and Halal: How It All Began to be a very informative one. It highlights the circumstances which existed in America when IFANCA was established and the vision of the pioneers who established IFANCA. Then we briefly review some of the accomplishments of IFANCA and take a look at the challenges we face.
As an example of a past challenge, which IFANCA was able to meet, is explained in The Halal Gelatin Story. This discusses the challenge of producing Halal certified gelatin, the time and effort required to accomplish this goal and the products that will be produced with it.
Two of the questions that are frequently asked concern meat and alcohol. Dr. Jaafar Al-Quaderi, IFANCA’s Religious Advisor and Al-Azhar scholar discusses the food of the people of the book in The Food (Meat) of Ahlul Kitab. Dr. Al-Quaderi presents the guidance from the Quran and Sunnah and the efforts of the great scholars of Islam in reaching a conclusive position on this question. The piece on Electric Stunning shares some insight into the use of electric shock to control animals during slaughter. While effective, it has different effects on different animals being slaughtered.
In Alcohol and Intoxicants, the guidance from the Quran and Sunnah are presented to reach a conclusive position on alcoholic drinks. You will also find some useful information on the effects of alcohol on the body and the uses of alcohol in the food industry. Perhaps additional deliberation is needed to address the use of alcohol as a media for other ingredients. Those of you who had a question about a specific product or a specific ingredient in a product will find the Product Manufacturer Telephone Number List a handy reference. This list contains toll free numbers you can call to get information on many of the common products in the supermarkets. If you have other products and phone numbers you would like included on the list, please let us know. The IFANCA Shopper’s Guide is a handy companion to the Product Manufacturer Telephone Number List. The Shopper’s Guide lists specific ingredients that must be avoided or investigated further.
This is an exciting time to be working with the food industry and the Muslim consumer. The American Muslim population is growing and the food industry is slowly waking up to the opportunities this presents. There is a lot of competition for the Muslim food dollar. Muslim consumers must continue to let their needs be known if they are to get the products they desire at a competitive price. We encourage Muslim businessmen to claim their share of the Halal pie by stepping in to fill some of these needs. We encourage you to visit the Web site, (www.ifanca.org) complete the surveys and send us your feedback. And our closing supplication is “Praise be to ALLAH (S), the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds”. [RMO]