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Islamic Finance
UK firm Quilter Cheviot launches Sharia compliant investment service

The multi-billion dollar investment manager is targeting high wealth individuals and sees further opportunities in developing more Islamic services. 


London: Quilter Cheviot, an arm of UK-based multibillion dollar investment manager Quilter, has launched a new Sharia compliant wealth management product for high-net-worth individuals and institutional clients.

The new Sharia compliant discretionary investment service will offer portfolios to private clients and institutional investors with a minimum of $1 million of available capital. These portfolios will consist of a broad spread of global equities and can be held within a range of structures including trusts, companies, foundations, pensions and portfolio bonds.

Quilter Cheviot is primarily involved in structuring and managing discretionary portfolios for private clients, charities, trusts, pension funds and intermediaries. Its parent company, Quilter, manages around £27.7 billion ($37.3 billion) in funds. 

Discretionary investment management is a form of investment management where buy and sell decisions are made by a portfolio manager or investment counsellor on behalf of a client.

This discretionary Sharia compliant portfolio service allows Quilter Cheviot’s specialist investment managers to tailor customers’ investment portfolios, according to Mark Leale, head of Dubai office and senior executive officer at Quilter Cheviot.

“The launch of this service is based on 12 months of groundwork,” he said. “The investments held in portfolios will be made into global equity markets and therefore customers will require a higher risk appetite.”

The service will be managed centrally by an investment team at the firm’s Jersey,  UK office, utilising the expertise of their London research analysts. The service will initially be offered to clients in the Middle East and Africa via the firm’s Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) branch.

The investment team will work closely with London-based Sharia advisory firm Yasaar and its Sharia Supervisory Board. Majid Dawood, CEO of Yasaar, said that the Sharia audit will be done on a quarterly basis as well as on an annual basis.

“Our engagement with QC [Quilter Cheviot] will be very close so as to identify any issues that arise, [such as] whether a company falls out of Sharia compliance and will need to be monitored, there is a corporate event or such like that requires a review within the quarter as necessary,” said Dawood. 

Growing Islamic wealth space

According to a recent report on 'Global Attitudes to Islamic Wealth Management' commissioned by Jersey Finance, 62% of respondents said they would always choose a Sharia compliant investment even if the performance was inferior to an equivalent conventional investment.

Faizal Bhana, director of Middle East, Africa and India at Jersey Finance, believes that the new Quilter Cheviot Sharia discretionary investment service highlights the increasing demand for Sharia-compliant products and services, particularly for the high and ultra-high net worth market segments.

“This product is designed to target the sophisticated investor,” he said. “Once this is rolled out successfully, it will open doors to other offerings by other providers for different types of investors, including those with smaller savings. These types of products help, not only with increasing awareness, but also to scale up the market in the private wealth space.” 

Quilter Cheviot’s new discretionary service will join a small but growing number of asset and wealth managers offering Sharia compliant portfolios.  Providers offering Sharia compliant discretionary investment services include TAM Asset Management, Lombard Odier Assayil and Simply Ethical.

Better education needed

Whilst the introduction of halal portfolios is positive, it is important for asset and wealth managers to ensure they communicate and educate the benefits of Sharia compliant portfolios as well as the differences to conventional investments.

“Whether if this is retail banks offering access to vanilla products, or family offices looking to inform the next generation, not only is there competitive advantage in educating clients on the benefits of investment, but there is also arguably a social responsibility to do so, particularly for the mass market segment,”  said Thomas Woods, senior consultant, Wealth & Asset Management Consulting at Capco UK. “It will be interesting to see how firms approach this topic, particularly through harnessing digital channels.”

More products on the horizon

Depending on the success of this new investment service, Quilter Cheviot is also open to looking at launching other Islamic wealth management products and portfolios including at the lower end of investment scale, according to Leale.


© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Islamic Finance
Newswrap: Islamic Finance

A summary of the latest Islamic finance news from around the world.


Islamic funds market expands by 300% over a decade 

The global Islamic funds market has expanded by over 300% over the last decade, now totalling some $200 billion in assets under management, according to the Bahrain-based General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), Reuters reported. Saudi Arabia has the most assets under management in the Islamic funds market, followed by Iran and Malaysia, according to the report, Reuters noted. It added that Malaysia has the highest number of funds at 401, followed by Indonesia with 209 and Saudi Arabia with 183. There are 1,508 Islamic funds globally, operated by 345 Islamic financial institutions in 29 countries, CIBAFI said.

Emirates Islamic Bank reports net profit of $224 million 

Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB) reported a profit of AED 823 million ($224 million) last year, a 20% year-on-year increase, according to Zawya. Customer financing was recorded at AED 42.6 billion ($11.59 bn), an increase of 4% from 2020 while customer deposits were at AED 47.3 billion ($12.87), an increase of 1% from 2020 with CASA balances at 78% of total deposits, according to figures published by Zawya. The bank said one of its major achievements was the successful issuance of a $500 million five-year Sukuk. 

Fitch forecasts Islamic finance growth in Nigeria

Nigeria’s Islamic finance industry is forecast to continue to grow in 2022-2023, according to Fitch Ratings. This growth will be driven by sukuk issuance by the federal government, asset growth by newly-established Islamic banks, and enabling regulations, Fitch said. It warned however that the industry needs to address challenges including “the limited bottom-up public demand for Islamic products, low awareness, and the still-developing regulatory and debt capital market infrastructure in Nigeria.” The Nigerian Islamic finance industry was estimated to be valued at $2.3 billion by end-2021, according to Fitch. Outstanding sukuk was the largest segment at 66%, followed by Islamic banks at 32% (total assets), and the remaining 2% between Islamic funds (total assets) and takaful (total contributions), Fitch said. 

Malaysia’s Al Rajhi Bank chooses Thought Machine to build Islamic digital bank

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia (ARBM) has selected Thought Machine, the cloud banking technology firm, to build a new digital bank in 2022 with a range of retail and SME financial services, such as savings and financing products, IBS Intelligence reported. ARBM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the world’s largest Islamic bank by assets, Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi Bank, will deploy Thought Machine’s core banking engine, Vault, to design, launch and manage a full suite of products on a single, clear architecture, according to IBS Intelligence.

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Islamic Lifestyle
Dinner Table Prejudice: Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain

Survey shows high levels of Islamophobia, with over a quarter viewing Muslims in a negative light.


A new survey has revealed high levels of Islamophobia in the UK, with 25.9% of those polled viewing Muslims in a negative light.

The survey, carried out by the University of Birmingham in conjunction with YouGov, polled 1,667 people for their views on different religious and ethnic groups.

“The aim was to map the extent of Islamophobia in British society and provide better data on that,” said Stephen Jones, a Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, at the launch of the report. What we did “is new and almost unique... [to] contrast different religious and ethinic groups...around the wider discourse around Islamophobia in the UK,” he said. Muslims account for an estimated 5% to 6% of the UK population.

'The Dinner Table Prejudice: Islamophobia in Contemporary Britain' report by Jones and Amy Unsworth investigates prejudice against Muslims as a group of people and Islam as a belief system, and showed how these two varieties of Islamophobia appear differently in British society.

The title of the report was taken from a statement in 2011 by former Conservative chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, when she said that Islamophobia has “passed the dinner table test” by going beyond extreme positions into more middle-class respectability.

The report reflected this assertion, noting that while “hostility to ethnic and religious minorities, including Muslims, tends to be more common among people who are politically conservative, nationalistic and from lower social grades,” the survey showed that “prejudice towards Islam and its teachings does not follow this pattern. This prejudice is more evenly spread across political groups and more common among educated middle classes.”

Muslims are the UK’s second ‘least liked’ group, after Gypsy and Irish travellers, with 25.9% of the British public feeling negative towards Muslims (with 9.9% feeling ‘very negative’) compared with 8.5% for Jewish people, 6.4% for black people, 8.4% for white people, and 44.6% for Gypsy and Irish travellers.


The survey also debunked sensationalist claims made in the UK media that parts of the UK are under Sharia law and are ‘no-go areas’ for white people. The report noted that “more than one in four people, and nearly half of Conservative and Leave [the European Union, Brexit] voters” held “views about Sharia ‘no-go areas’: 26.5% of the British public agree that ‘there are areas in Britain that operate under Sharia law where non-Muslims are not able to enter’. This increases to 43.4% among Conservative voters and Leave voters. In addition, 36.3% of British people, and a majority of Conservative voters (57.3%) and Leave voters (55.5%), also agree that ‘Islam threatens the British way of life’”.

“The electorate really buys into this conspiracy theory [about Sharia ‘no-go’ areas],” said Jones.

The survey showed that “those who attend religious gatherings and who believe in God are less likely to view Muslims negatively than people who do not do these things. Some 23.5% of ‘believers’ view Muslims negatively compared with 29.8% of ‘unbelievers’.”

However, 71.4% of those polled consider that at the global level, religions bring more conflict than peace. “The UK is increasingly a non-religious country, and a anti-religious people,” said Jones. In the survey, more people agree that religious people tend to be less rational than non-religious people, 36.5% compared to 18.8%.

In a open-response question on which global religion has a more negative impact on society than others - answered by 20.3% of the total survey sample – 64% named Islam as the ‘most negative’ religion.


The report also highlighted that prejudice was higher among middle and upper-class occupation groups than people from working class occupational groups. It noted that “British people from higher professional occupations, who tend to be more educated, seem to suffer more from... a systemic miseducation about Islam itself.”

The study uses a definition of Islamophobia that includes racism. "What our data suggested was that, with religion not being subject to the same social sanction as remarks about race, culture, and discrimination, narratives about Islam as a belief system allowed liberal, middle-class participants to express anxiety about Muslims without fear of censure," the report states. "Among conservative, libertarian or populist interviewees, stereotypes about Islamic belief often went hand-in-hand with cultural othering and sometimes overt racism."

The study follows a December report, titled ‘British Media’s Coverage of Muslims & Islam’, which revealed that almost 60% of online media articles and 47% of TV clips associate Muslims or Islam with negative aspects or behaviour.

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
Halal baby food brand Little Maryam taps into unmet demand

Dutch brothers launch first organic and halal baby food line in the Benelux.


Breda: In late 2021, halal baby food brand Little Maryam hit the shelves of 137 stores of Albert Heijn, the leading supermarket chain in Belgium and the Netherlands. Launched by brothers Mohamed and Riduan el Mourabit, Little Maryam is both halal certified and organic.

“Three years ago my son was born,” said Mohamed el Mourabit by video link from Veenendaal, a small town in the heart of the Netherlands. “As he grew older, we started making him food. But sometimes, after a busy day at work or on holiday, it is just easier to have something ready-made. It was then [that] I discovered that the shops did not offer any halal baby food.”

The two brothers discussed the idea of launching a baby food line. “I was aware of the growing trend of halal food in Dutch stores and immediately thought it was a golden opportunity,” said Riduan.

The idea was only the start of a journey that started in early 2020 and saw the Mourabit brothers spend their evenings and weekends at the kitchen table drawing up plans and tasting every possible brand of baby food on the market. They were not impressed.

“I’m convinced that when parents taste some of the baby food on the market they will ask themselves: “How on earth can I offer this to my child?” said Mohamed.

The brothers, who both have an administrative job, soon found there were no producers of halal baby food based in the European Union. “There is one major player in England and another one in Morocco,” said Riduan.

Founded in 2014 in Nottingham, For Aisha is arguably the world’s biggest halal baby food producer. The British brand illustrates the immense potential for halal baby food.

For Aisha is sold in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Singapore, France and the United Arab Emirates. In November, 2021, the brand received a £400,000 ($540,105) cash injection from the Midland Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) to further expand.  

Moroccan firm Agro-Food Industry (AFI) produces the halal baby food brand Vitameal. While it has a new factory in-line with EU standards, the brand is not yet available on European supermarket shelves.

After assessing the competition, the next step for the Mourabits was to “develop the tastes and decide how to position ourselves in the market in terms of name, logo and colours,” said Mohamed.

They decided upon bright images that showed the whole meal on the packaging. For most baby food it is common to show only the ingredients.

Little Maryam was launched last November in five combinations of vegetables, lasagna, risotto, chicken and beef.

“So far, the feedback has been great,” said Mohamed. “A lot of people told us: ‘Finally baby food that tastes good. And that is at least partly due to us using organic ingredients.”

Little Maryam is the world’s first baby food that is both halal and organically certified, according to the brothers. They add that there is growing demand for healthy food that contains less pesticides, while many consumers want to see farm animals have a better life.

With the launch of their “baby,” 2021 ended well for the Mourabit brothers, and they have further plans for the brand.

“By the end of February Little Maryam will be on the shelves of another big Dutch supermarket chain,” said Riduan. “And by the end of the year it will also be sold by a major drugstore chain. Internationally, we already sell in Belgium. Germany would be a logical next step. But in the end we want to be in any country offering us a chance, be it Malaysia or the UAE.”

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Islamic Lifestyle
91% of OIC citizens cannot travel to half of the world without a visa

Henley Passport Index shows a widening mobility gap. Citizens of just five OIC members states can travel to over 110 countries visa-free, while citizens of 14 OIC countries can travel to only a quarter of the planet.


Visa-free travel has increased for citizens of the world’s richest countries, reaching record-breaking levels this year, but the mobility gap has also widened. This is particularly apparent for most of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Council (OIC) countries.

In the Henley Passport Index 2022, passport holders of the world’s top-ranking nations, Japan and Singapore, can now enter 192 destinations around the world visa-free – 166 more than Afghanistan, which is at the bottom of the index, ranked 111, with visa-free travel possible to just 26 countries.

The OIC countries dominated the lower rankings, accounting for 13 out of 18 countries ranked 101 to 111, with Iranians and Lebanese able to travel to 42 and 41 countries visa-free respectively, while the citizens of the very bottom five – Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – can visit fewer than 33 countries visa-free.

Out of the 196 countries worldwide, the citizens of 14 OIC countries can only travel to a quarter of the planet - 49 countries - visa-free. The top ranked OIC countries, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), can travel to around 90% of the world visa-free.

Overall, the citizens of 52 OIC countries – 91% of the Council’s members - cannot travel to half of the world without a visa. Just five have the possibility to travel to over 110 countries visa-free – Malaysia, UAE, Brunei, Albania and Turkey.

Henley & Partners noted that when the Index started in 2006, the average global citizen could visit 57 countries without needing a visa in advance. In 2022, that figure has nearly doubled, to 107 countries, “but this overall increase masks a growing disparity between countries in the global North and those in the global South, with nationals from countries such as Sweden and the USA able to visit more than 180 destinations visa-free, while passport holders from Angola, Cameroon, and Laos are able to enter only about 50.”

The travel divide was brought into stark relief last year during the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, in which countries, mainly Southern African, were put on travel ban ‘red lists’. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described this as being equivalent to “travel apartheid.”

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Islamic Lifestyle
HalalBooking sees growth opportunities in Muslim-friendly tourism despite uneven travel recovery in 2022

Online travel platform expects organic growth of up to 70% this year, but has delayed its IPO plans.


London: HalalBooking is anticipating a recovery in the international travel industry this year, which it hopes will reignite its growth plans.

“We expect that the travel industry will continue its recovery further in 2022 as many economies continue to open up for international travel and reduce travel restrictions significantly with the continuous and wide global vaccine roll out,” said Ufuk Secgin, chief marketing officer at HalalBooking.

London-based HalalBooking said it has over 300,000 customers from more than 110 countries and more than 3,000 affiliate agency partners providing a service to halal-conscious travellers throughout the world.

“We are expecting an acceleration with an estimated 50-70% organic growth rate to an estimated $50-$60 million, said Elnur Seyidli, CEO of HalalBooking. “In this regard, sales in the first two weeks of January are very promising.”

Weathering the pandemic

In 2019, HalalBooking recorded sales of $31 million. However, in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, the travel sector suffered severe strain and the company’s sales dropped to just $8 million.

In addition to issuing refunds to customers, the company had to come up with new ways to maintain and attract customers.

At the same time, HalalBooking developed new innovative features such as “Book now, pay later” instalment payment options, and new flexible cancellation policies to deal with COVID-19 related travel restrictions, said Secgin. “This gave peace of mind to existing and new customers to book with confidence,” he said.

These efforts seem to have paid off. In the past year, the company said that it recorded sales of $37 million.

Seyidli said that they experienced 50% growth (compared to 2019) in most of their major markets including Germany, France and Turkey. He added that these sales were achieved despite sales from the UK market, which is traditionally HalalBooking’s second most important source market, tumbling from 23% in 2019 to only 3% in 2021, because of the UK’s strict travel restrictions.

“Customers rewarded the company’s efforts in 2021 with a record number of bookings and its sales reached a record $37 million, a result higher than the previous pre-pandemic record from 2019,” said Seyidli. “This was despite a very slow first quarter and the impact of lockdowns and travel restrictions, as well as the news of the Omicron variant scare in the fourth quarter.”

He added that despite the pandemic and the challenges stemming from Brexit – the UK’s exit from the European Union - the company did not lay off any of its staff.

Series B funding, and delay to IPO

Seyidli said that during the first quarter of 2022, HalalBooking is hoping to complete its Series B $20 million round, of which $5 million is already secured - and use the money for significant marketing spending and global expansion to boost its 2022-24 organic growth.

“The Series B round aims to accelerate the company’s already exponential growth rate and achieve $1 billion unicorn status by 2025,” said Seyidli.

In March 2021, the UK-based platform raised $5 million in Series B funding. In a statement at the time, the company said that it had raised $5 million through a group of private angel investors, including the state-owned British Business Bank, in the form of a pre-Series B convertible loan agreement.

Despite the optimism of a rebound in travel and organic growth, the company has decided to delay its IPO listing. The company had previously targeted their IPO for 2024.

“[As a result of] COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn, the company’s original IPO plans for 2023/2024 have been delayed by around three years,” said Secgin.

Looking ahead

International travel is expected to fare better in 2022, according to a recent UNWTO report. It points to a faster and more widespread vaccination roll-out, followed by a major lifting of travel restrictions, and more coordination and clearer information on travel protocols as key drivers.

Although it forecasts that international tourist arrivals could grow by 30% to 78% compared to 2021, this is still 50% to 63% below pre-pandemic levels. The report further highlights that a majority of industry experts expect international arrivals to return to 2019 levels only in 2024 or later.

Despite this uneven recovery in global travel, HalalBooking will focus on developing their offering.

“The business continues to improve its product offering and user-friendliness of its website by implementing hundreds of projects each year. We will continue to do so throughout 2022,” said Secgin.

He said that these activities will include: working on new strategic marketing partnerships; increasing their product portfolio further; launching more granular halal features as well as information about privacy levels available in rooms; improving the booking experience for villa bookings, and preparing the groundwork for launching tours and attractions in 2023.

“With so much going on, we’re very excited about the future for the company in particular and for halal-friendly travel in general,” Secgin said.

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Islamic Finance
United Bank of Albania plans a digital turnaround amid losses

The country’s Islamic bank has struggled in recent years, despite support from the Islamic Development Bank.


When Bosnian Amel Kovačević took over as CEO of United Bank of Albania (UBA) in 2020, the institution recorded a loss of over 356.6 million Albanian Lek ($3.3 million), falling from a 30.7 million Lek ($0.3 million) profit in 2018 and 8.7 million Lek ($0.08 million) in 2019.

Speaking to Salaam Gateway, Kovačević confirmed that the 1994 founded bank has started a comprehensive turnaround exercise to transform UAB into a progressive and modern Islamic bank.

“In 2020, our strategy was to cleanse the bank’s portfolio, consequently resulting in a negative financial performance,” Kovačević said.

Part of the strategic plan is focused on retail banking and expanding its current network of four branches. In addition, the development of a digital ecosystem is expected to provide efficiencies and attract the younger generation as clientele.

The results for the three quarters ending 30 September 2021, showed a 22.1 million Lek ($0.21 million) loss. Kovačević faces challenges ahead, coinciding with an notable shift in shareholders.

UBA’s CEO hopes that the new structure with Eurosig as the primary stakeholder will synergise customer acquisition. The local insurance company became the bank’s majority shareholder in 2021 when the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) sold 30% of its shares. Currently, Eurosig holds 51.02% and IsDB 42.2%.

Kovačević, who served as Bosnia and Herzegovina's ambassador to China and Mongolia from 2010 to 2013 ,and as Sarajevo’s regional finance minister for 16 months, brings diplomatic skills, experience and knowledge to the table to manage the bank’s transformation.

Before his UBA appointment, Kovačević was the head of retail banking at Sharia-compliant Bosna Bank International (BBI), which IsDB also co-founded.

Considering that UBA is the smallest of the 12 banks operating in Albania, Kovačević tries to position the bank as a niche player, banking on the movement around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It’s very fashionable now, globally accepted and inclined to Islamic finance, too,” Kovačević said.

The finance expert believes that Islamic finance will attract foreign investments into Albania, accelerate economic participation, and help redistribute income in society.

But he also pointed out that Islamic banking in Albania, an OIC member state with a population of 2.8 million, is not going to answer all problems or fix socio-economic issues such as poverty. Around 60% of the population is Muslim.

“UBA tries to provide a fresh approach to Albania’s development,” Kovačević said.

“Albania is going to be a prosperous country in years to come because of its competitive advantages,” Kovačević said, referring to its location in the Mediterranean, which provides an ideal climate for agriculture and tourism.

However, the country still shows weak structural conditions for sustained development.

Although growth averaged 3.3% in 2015-2019, Albania’s stagnant productivity, a landscape dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises that employ low-skilled and low-wage labour, limited access to finance, burdensome logistics, and poor market integration discourages private investment, the World Bank wrote in its Europe and Central Asia economic update 2021.

What Albania lacks in private investment the IsDB compensates for with infrastructure investment. In December 2021, the development bank announced the latest project - $56.8 million to construct a section of the Tirana-Korca Corridor, improving connectivity between the capital with East Albania’s largest city.

Kovačević was surprised that many of the IsDB projects were not going through UBA while realising the limitation to absorb transactions exceeding the bank’s capacity.

“We’re working on having much more synergy between IsDB and UBA and on channelling as much of IsDB’s activities as possible towards UBA,” Kovačević said. “They understand the need for us to be part of those projects as well,” he said about his discussions with the ministry in charge.

IsDB so far has approved 39 investment projects in Albania, in total worth $597.6 million.

Referring to Albania’s economic development over the past 30 years, Kovačević is optimistic about successfully transforming UBA.

“Progress happens,” Kovačević said, “and Albania is a country with great potential.”

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Halal Industry
Newswrap: Halal industry

A summary of the latest halal industry news from around the world.


Texas-based H-E-B to offer Crescent Foods' halal hand-cut

Crescent Foods announced a strategic partnership with Texas-based supermarket chain H-E-B to offer halal hand-cut chicken, beef, and lamb products as well as breaded, frozen offerings at Houston, Texas locations, PR newswire reported, adding that the programme is expected to quickly expand throughout Texas.

Integrated Media Tech signs 60% private equity agreement with Malaysia’s World Integrated Supply Ecosystem

Shares of Integrated Media Technology Ltd. Fell 7.1% after it signed a deal to enter the halal certification and foods market, the Wall Street Journal reported. Integrated Media signed an agreement for 60% equity interests in Malasyian firm World Integrated Supply Ecosystem Sdn Bhd which is "engaged in the business of the provision of halal certification to qualified businesses/operations, the establishment halal products supply chain, and sale of halal products." The company also plans to promote the global supply chain of halal products, Integrated Media said, according to Market Watch. Xiaodong Zhang, the chief executive of Integrated Media, was quoted as saying: "Although this is not IMTE's traditional technology investment, we see many applications in bringing this ecosystem to the new digital economy from traceability, anti-counterfeiting technology, application of Blockchain and automation."

Indonesia to issue halal certification for 10 million MSMEs

Indonesia’s Presidential Staff Office (KSP) is to work with its Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH) to issue halal certifications for 10 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Indonesian News Agency reported. It said the KSP will help in conducting coordination with the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs and Ministry of Finance to obtain valid MSMEs' data, according to Deputy III of KSP Panutan Sulendrakusuma. According to Sulendrakusuma, data was collected for 12 million micro-businesses in 2020 and data of 12.8 million of such businesses in 2021. The halal certification programme for 10 million MSMEs is targeted for those involved in sectors that have low risk in terms of the halal aspect, such as F&B, animal slaughter services, food stalls, restaurants, hotel kitchens, food courts in malls, and e-commerce, the Indonesian News Agency said. 

Alcohol-free cosmetics to witness bumper growth by 2027

The alcohol-free cosmetics market is expected to grow during the forecast period due to a rise in product launches and approvals combined with a growing cosmetics industry, EIN Newswires reported. In November 2021, Unilever filed a patent for its antiperspirant formula that uses non-alcohol actives, plasticizers, and polymers to minimise excessive sweating, according to the report published by EIN Newswires. It said growth is expected to be strongest in the Asia-Pacific region due to a large consumer base and wider acceptance from the e-commerce sector. This is followed by the European region due to a robust fashion industry and increasing promotional activities on social media platforms, EIN noted. Major companies contributing to the global alcohol-free cosmetics market include IBA Halal Care, Amara Halal Cosmetics, Martha Tilar Group, Ecotrail Personal Care, Inika Organic, Clara International Beauty Group, Paragon Technology and Innovation, and Talent Cosmetics Ltd.


Islamic Lifestyle
Newswrap: Islamic Lifestyle

A summary of the latest Islamic lifestyle news from around the world.


Muslim dating app accused of copyright infringement

Match Group Inc. accused Muslim-only dating app Muzmatch Ltd. of copyright infringement, Bloomberg reported. In a UK court case, Match Group, the parent company of Match.com, Tinder and Hinge, is suing Muzmatch over use of the word “match” in its name. Match Group made several attempts to buy Muzmatch between 2017 and 2019, Bloomberg reported.  

Saudi Arabia launches new fashion reality show

The Saudi Broadcasting Authority and Dubai production house Art Format Lab are launching a new reality and fashion lifestyle TV show Yalla Nyghayer (Let’s Change), Broadcast Pro Middle East reported. The show centers on three Saudi female entrepreneurs and fashionistas who offer makeovers to their clients. Targeted primarily at women, the show hopes to capitalise on the growing fashion demand in the kingdom where the import market is estimated to be more than $2.9 billion, according to Broadcast Pro Middle East. “This is the first Saudi makeover show with a fully local cast,” Khulud Abu-Homos, CEO of Art Format Lab, was quoted as saying.

UAE’s REDTAG launches modest fashion range

REDTAG, a leading value fashion and homeware brand with 200 stores across the GCC, launched A’anika, a ladieswear range of modest apparel, reported MENAFN. “A dedication to REDTAG’s women customers, A’anika means “unique” in Arabic, and “gracious”, “brave”, and “song” in other languages - which are metaphorical of our female clientele. This range is the by-product of multiple customer feedback we have received in recent months. Women shoppers sought a dedicated range of refreshingly modest apparel. So, after a fair amount of market study and interpretations of international high fashion, we are finally catering to their needs, just in time for the post-pandemic reopening. We also have a great A’anika collection lined up for Spring and Ramadan,” said Jitender Advani, Head of Fashion, REDTAG.

Saudi Arabia restricts Umrah repetition for foreign pilgrims

Saudi Arabia has restricted the repetition of Umrah for foreign pilgrims, only allowing them to perform it three times during a 30-day stay amid concerns over rising COVID-19 cases in the country, The Siasat Daily reported. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said that the mandatory interval of 10-days between the issuance of two Umrah permits is applicable to pilgrims aged 12 and above, Siasat Daily reported. Foreign pilgrims coming to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah have to show status of immunisation on the health app Tawakkalna, Siasat Daily noted. 

Egypt is spending billions to preserve and promote its cultural heritage

Egypt hopes to revitalise its tourism industry by spending billions of Egyptian pounds on new museums and archaeological sites, its tourism and antiquities minister said, according to a report in The National. The country has experienced a cultural renaissance in recent years, said Khaled El Enany at the American University in Cairo. Opening “very soon” and “ready 100%” is the Capitals of Egypt Museum in the New Administrative Capital east of Cairo, he was quoted as saying. Other planned openings this year include the Mohamed Ali Palace in Cairo, the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria and the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), The National reported. It added that GEM is a separate budget in itself, costing about $1 billion for the 490,000-square-metre building, a sum that covers the 55,000-plus artifacts, as well as security.

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