The country’s Muslim clerics and food experts said they were not yet prepared to adopt a ruling on whether or not to declare as “halal,” which means permissible or lawful, experimental animal cloning.
The Muslim Mindanao Halal Certifying Board Inc. (MMHCBI), which is composed of muftis (guardians of the House of Opinion) from the country’s six Muslim-populated provinces, and food scientists and technologists, said it was still reviewing a “fatwa” (opinion) rendered by the Islamic Fiq Academy of Pakistan.
MMHCBI has admitted receiving a copy of the ruling on animal cloning, which was translated to English from the Urdu language by Khalid Baig, a Muslim scholar from Pakistan.
The ruling, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, said in part: “Regarding the question of permissibility, the majority of the Academy members after discussion reached the conclusion that cloning is permissible in case of plants as well as in case of animals except human beings.”
It added: “The extension of cloning to human beings would create extremely complex and intractable social and moral problems. Therefore cloning of human beings cannot be permitted.”
Ustadz Esmael Ebrahim, MMHCBI spokesperson, said Islam does not allow the controversial experimentation of human cloning because the Koran (Muslim Holy Book) itself narrates the development of human embryo in stages of “alaqa” (leech-like) and “mudqa” (chewed-like) in a “fixed settlement” designated in terms of period or time and space.
But he said it could be different in the case of animals and they were trying to determine it.
Esmael said MMHCBI representatives would meet with Northern Mindanao poultry raisers in Cagayan de Oro City to discuss with them the procedures governing the issuance of halal certification.
“The MMHCBI, the Philippines’ halal certifying body based in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, will conduct a briefing on the religious and technical aspects of producing halal foods with representatives of the Mindanao Poultry Growers’ Association (which) is composed of Magnolia, Swift, Bounty Fresh, Nestle Philippines and Del Monte Philippines,” he said.
Food companies have long wanted to cash in on the halal market, which government economists have estimated to be worth $150 billion per year.
The main markets for halal food are Middle East, Africa and Asian countries with sizeable Muslim populations.
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