[As the global demand for Halal products surges, the Muslim Ummah stands at a pivotal moment to harness this economic power. Drawing valuable lessons from China’s remarkable economic ascent, the global Muslim community can significantly strengthen its voice in international negotiations through the burgeoning Halal industry.] 

Halal Expo Australia – Indonesian Islamic Dress Culture

Since opening to foreign trade, investment, and implementing free-market reforms in 1979, China has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The World Bank describes China’s economic growth, averaging 9.5% annually through 2018, as “the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history.” In just two decades, China’s economic revolution has lifted 800 million citizens out of poverty, doubling its GDP every eight years through robust global trade and exports.

Today, China stands as a formidable superpower, rivalling other global giants. Its dominance lies not just in defence technology but in its unparalleled economic prowess. China’s journey from an economic power to a technological and manufacturing genius offers a blueprint for the Muslim world. The global Muslim population, 1.9 billion strong and growing, can learn from China’s model to elevate their economic and geopolitical standing through the Halal industry.

Muslims make up 24.1 percent of the world’s population, numbering 1.9 billion, with a majority in 57 countries. Seventy-three percent of the world’s Muslim population lives in countries where Muslims are the majority, while 27 percent lives in countries where Muslims are the minority.

The world’s Muslim population is growing twice as fast as the non-Muslim population. In the next ten years, the annual growth rate of Muslims is expected to increase from 0.7 percent to 1.5 percent. According to a PEW research study, if this trend continues, Muslims will make up around 27 percent of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion by 2030.

More than 20 percent of the world’s Muslim population lives in non-Muslim countries, particularly in the West. Muslims are the fastest-growing community in many Western countries, have a higher fertility rate, and migration form their homelands due to the political turbulence and ethnic clashes in their own homelands.

For example, the population of Muslims in the United States is expected to double in the next twenty years, rising from 2.6 million to 6.2 million by 2030. In Europe, the Muslim population is expected to grow by 33 percent over the next hundred years, rising from 44 million to 58 million by 2030.

Despite diverse geographic locations and cultural contexts, Muslims are bound together by a shared identity as the Muslim Ummah. The demand for Halal food, products and services transcends national borders and political boundaries. Whether in majority-Muslim countries or as minorities in non-Muslim states, Muslims strive to uphold their faith by seeking out Halal food, products, and services in their lifestyle. This pursuit reflects a deep-seated commitment to following the tenets of Islam and living in accordance with its principles, regardless of a non-Islamic environment.

The rising demand for Halal food, products, and services embodies the unity and solidarity within the global Muslim Ummah.

Today, many Muslim-majority countries face numerous problems, including economic decline, inflation, manufacturing industry downturns, and job opportunity crises. On the other hand, there are financially rich and economically strong Islamic states.

If Muslims follow the concept of the Global Ummah as consumers of Halal food, products, and services, Islamic states can play an effective role in establishing a global Halal industry consortium to boost the Halal economy. The Muslim Ummah can establish a global organization to strengthen poorer Muslim countries through Halal trade, manufacturing, and marketing, thereby boosting their exports.

In today’s modern world, the success of manufacturing and trade industries has brought economic revolutions in many countries like Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, and India, enlisting them among rising nations. Unfortunately, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has failed to focus on similar lines. The self-centred view of OIC guardians has even failed to resolve political and geopolitical issues in Islamic countries. The OIC has not yet made notable efforts to promote the Halal industry in developing and underdeveloped Muslim states. Otherwise, the increased demand would create more business, trade, and production. Today, the Halal market is one of the fastest-growing consumer segments in the world, with an estimated worth of $2.3 trillion. The global growth rate of the Halal industry is estimated at 20 percent – or about $560 billion annually, yet this growth is not seen in poorer Muslim countries.

Many international companies are owned by Muslims. For the sake of uplifting the economies of their fellow Muslim countries, they should invest in the Halal industry in poor Muslim-majority countries, particularly in African countries. They should invest in the Halal industry in their countries and other poor Muslim countries to uplift the living conditions of Muslims living below the poverty line while building the Muslim Ummah as an economic force in the world.

This Halal industry as a global economic force can play an effective role in negotiating political and geopolitical issues for Muslim nations, such as the major issues of freedom for Palestine, independence for Kashmir, human rights for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, and ethnic conflicts in Burkina Faso, Chad, Sudan, Niger, Mauritania, and Mali. The rich Middle Eastern Muslim states must invest money and boost the Halal industry in these countries. This will serve multiple purposes, including uplifting human development in these countries and enabling them to find opportunities to export their Halal food and products to other nations.

Similarly, Muslim business tycoons in the US, Europe, Australia, Canada, and the UK can play effective roles in investing in the Halal industry in their countries. There is a need in these and non-Islamic countries to educate their citizens about the scientific and trade benefits of using Halal food, products, and services.

Regarding the Halal industry in non-Muslim countries, more work is required by Halal industry players, Islamic scholars, and leaders. They should work closely and establish communication with their local governments and related authorities to form a regulatory body for the Halal industry and trade export. For example, Australia is one of the top exporters of Halal meat but lacks a regulatory government body to oversee and boost the Halal industry in the local market and export.

Today, countries with strong economic status are ruling those struggling with their economic conditions due to a lack of export manufacturing industries.

Muslims as a global Ummah can learn from China. To formalize the above concept, it is necessary to build a global Halal industry consortium or an international organization. For example, rich and economically strong Islamic countries can take the initiative to build a Global Halal Trade Organization (GHTO). The aim of the GHTO can be to provide sustainable solutions to its members, share resources, and offer loans and grants to Halal industries and businesses, making them stronger and helping them in Halal manufacturing and international trade. Certainly, establishing a global Halal organization will be a challenging task that will need fulfilling local procedural requirements and following policies. However, this can be negotiated with individual countries by strong GHTO operators.

Rich Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Brunei Darussalam can play an effective role as the main operators of GHTO. These countries can offer financial support by initially pouring money into the organization. The GHTO can provide interest-free (Halal) loans to Halal industries and businesses in poor and developing countries on easy instalments. These loans can be recovered from easy instalments depending on the financial returns of the loan recipients. Similarly, countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and other economically better-off Islamic countries can provide their expertise in various areas of Halal manufacturing, processing, and marketing. Even large international Halal companies in non-Islamic countries, especially those run by Muslim owners and entrepreneurs, can help needy Halal factories and businesses in poor and developing countries. By working on these proposed lines, rich Islamic countries and international Muslim tycoon companies can formalize a workable solution for the Global Halal Trade Organization (GHTO) to become a global Halal trade power with its main hub in monetarily strong countries and branches in strong Islamic and non-Islamic countries.

In conclusion, the establishment of a Global Halal Trade Organization (GHTO) can harness the economic potential of the Muslim Ummah. By leveraging the collective resources and expertise of rich and developing Muslim-majority countries, the GHTO can elevate the economic status of poorer Muslim nations, foster unity, and create a formidable global Halal industry. This collaborative effort will not only uplift the living standards of Muslims worldwide but also strengthen their political and geopolitical influence on the international stage. (The writer, Syed Atiq ul Hassa, is a Sydney-based journalist, analyst, and writer. He is also the founding director of Halal Expo Australia and an international speaker on Halal Affairs. His email is ).

Syed Atiq ul Hassan

Sydney-based journalist, analyst and a commentator,

Founding Director, Halal Expo Australia,

International Speaker on Halal Affairs,

Mob +61 479 143 628

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