Islam alien to Chinese halal meat magnate

Updated 29 April 2016
0

Islam alien to Chinese halal meat magnate

Qingtongxia, China: The founder of Sai Wai Xiang Halal Foodstuff Co. does not follow Islam, but still sells more than $50 million-worth of food to Muslims across Asia and the Middle East.
The company is at the forefront of a Chinese drive into the global halal food and beverage market.
Businessman Deng Zhijun bills his wares as “products with Muslim ethnic flavor,” but has difficulty recalling some of Islam’s basic dietary tenets.
“Muslims definitely don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol,” he said over a lunch at the company, in a garden lined with caged peacocks, macaws and chickens. “There’s also some kind of meat they don’t eat, but I forgot.”
His half-knowledge is typical of China’s complicated relationship with Islam, which officially has more than 23 million adherents in the country. Some independent estimates put it as high as 50 million — which would put China among the world’s top 10 Muslim nations.
Deng’s company is based in Ningxia, a western region a third of whose six million population are Hui. The group are a separate minority under Beijing’s classification policies even though most are essentially from the Han ethnic majority, differentiated only by being Muslims.
The global halal food and beverage market is projected to grow to $1.6 trillion by 2018, up from $1.1 trillion in 2013.
There are concerns over how strictly halal standards are followed in China.
Last year, hundred of Muslims took to the streets in Xi’an to protest the sale of alcohol in halal restaurants. In Qinghai province a crowd destroyed a bakery after pork sausages and ham were found in its delivery trucks.
Such fears have an impact in potential export markets, and food safety scares are common in China, from gutter oil to milk powder.
The integrity of Chinese halal food was “questionable,” Miriam Abdul Latif, a professor of food science and a halal expert at the Malaysian University of Sabah, told AFP, citing examples of “fake halal documents or certificates.”
To build consumer trust, Latif said, Chinese companies should have their products inspected by certification bodies from Muslim countries.


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince says Brexit opens UK for greater business opportunities with Kingdom

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
Updated 07 March 2018
0

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince says Brexit opens UK for greater business opportunities with Kingdom

LONDON: People in the UK and Saudi Arabia are much safer if the two countries have a close relationship, the Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said ahead of his visit to Britain.
Prince Mohammed arrived in the UK from Cairo last night to begin the second leg of his first overseas tour since becoming heir to the throne.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper, the crown prince said Brexit potentially freed up Britain to do more business with the Kingdom.
“We believe that Saudi Arabia needs to be part of the global economy,” he said. “People need to be able to move freely, and we need to apply the same standards as the rest of the world. After Brexit, there will be huge opportunities for Britain as a result of Vision 2030.”
He said the two countries enjoyed historic ties that dated back more than 100 years to the foundation of the Kingdom.
“We have a common interest that goes back to the earliest days of the relationship,” he said, adding: “Our relationship with Britain today is super.”
The 32-year-old crown prince, who is making his first official visit to Britain, has overseen a raft of reforms to modernize the Kingdom.
During the trip, he will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, the Queen and other members of the British royal family.
A number of events have been scheduled, including a forum on business partnerships between the two countries and a discussion event at Chatham House.
The visit is expected to focus on defense, security and economic ties. The two sides will also review key bilateral and regional issues.
Billboards highlighting his UK visit have been erected in parts of the capital, Saudi state-news channel Al-Ekhbariya reported.
One shows the flags of the two countries with “United Kingdoms” written across the top. Another shows Crown Prince Mohammed with the slogan: “He is bringing change to Saudi Arabia.”
The Telegraph interview touched on the wide-reaching reforms in the country that include allowing Saudi women to drive, work and run businesses.
He said that while Vision 2030 worked to diversify the economy, the inclusion of women in driving that economy was essential to the long-term success of the project.
The crown prince said that global travel had made Saudis increasingly aware how other countries operated. Such an insight, he explained, had led to a change in the aspirations of the country’s younger population.
Currently, UK trade with Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states accounts for 10 percent of total commercial transactions — more than the total amount of trade with China, the newspaper added, citing British diplomats.
Security and intelligence cooperation are expected to feature heavily during talks in the UK.
“The British and Saudi people, along with the rest of the world, will be much safer if you have a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia,” the crown prince said.
He said the job at hand was to promote a “more moderate Islam,” to counter the “extremists and the terrorists (who) are linked through spreading their agenda.”
Economic growth in Saudi Arabia would benefit the rest of the Middle East, which would help to defeat extremism.
He dismissed claims that the Saudi government’s current stance against Iran and Qatar could potentially provoke new regional conflict.
Britain was “very supportive” of the Kingdom’s concerns over Iran and other regional security issues, he said.
Before leaving Egypt, Crown Prince Mohammed visited Al-Azhar, the world’s leading seat of learning for Sunni Muslims.
Accompanied by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam, he was shown the completed restoration work carried out on Al-Azhar Mosque.
The three-year project was financed by a grant from Saudi Arabia. The mosque, built in the 10th century, is now part of a sprawling university, which teaches Islam as well as secular subjects, and a nationwide network of schools.
Hundreds of Al-Azhar students met the crown prince and Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
During the trip, Crown Prince Mohammed visited the main Christian cathedral in Cairo and met the head of the Coptic church. He also toured infrastructure projects and the Suez canal and attended a play at Cairo Opera House.
The two countries signed deals linked to investment funds and the building of a project in Sinai connected to Saudi Arabia’s Neom megacity project.