mardi, 27 juin 2017

Halal Standard : ASIDCOM’s Letter to AFNOR President

As part of its efforts to defend the interests of Muslim consumers, ASIDCOM wrote on January 30 to the President of AFNOR. the letter covers non-compliance of the work of the AFNOR commission "denrées alimentaires halal" and the Technical Committee CEN / TC 425 "halal food".

You find this letter below. Three paragraphs, however, are suppressed for reasons of confidentiality imposed by the AFNOR settlement .

Lille, January 25, 2015

For the attention of : Mr. President Claude SATINET


11, rue Francis de Pressensé

93571 La Plaine Saint-Denis Cedex

Subject : Commission AFNOR/V06A « Denrées Alimentaires Halal » - Comité Technique CEN/TC 425 « Halal Food »

Copy :

Mr Dalil BOUBAKEUR, Président du CFCM et Recteur de la GMP

Mr Mohammed MOUSSAOUI, Président d’Honneur du CFCM

Mr Amar LASFAR, Président de l’UOIF

Mr Aslam TIMOL, Président de la Commission Halal du CFCM

Mr Kamal KAPTANE, Recteur de la Grande Mosquée de Lyon

Mr Khalil MERROUN, Recteur de la Grande Mosquée d’Evry

Mr President,

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ASIDCOM has in turn fundamentally disapproved of this standardization project from its start in January 2010. But if it did not engage in the AFNOR process through the representative of France to CEN to represent and defend the interests of France and especially those of its Muslim consumers, the halal standard could still according to CEN procedures become a legal requirement even if they have not participated.

If the work of the feasibility study (2010-201) had not drawn our attention to some non-compliance, this is not the case within the framework of the commission AFNOR / V06A "Foodstuffs Halal"(2014-2017). With the first meetings in France (of the AFNOR VO6A “Foodstuffs Halal” Commission) and Europe (of the technical committee CEN/TC 425 « Halal Food »), ASIDCOM quickly realized that some fundamental aspects were not covered by the feasibility study :

- The suitability of using the legal framework of AFNOR and CEN to impose religious specifics for halal standards that violate the religious freedoms of Muslim communities in France and Europe is unacceptable.

- Compliance with the work and the applications of the Commission is in conflict with the constitutional principle of secularism.

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But we hope that you understand that it is essential at this stage of the project for your organization to assure us that the process will respect the following conditions resulting from the aforementioned fundamental aspects :

- Any religious questions or definitions, or religious decisions are the exclusive prerogative of the Muslim community (its representatives and its members).

- Any accreditation, auditing, certification, and control of the halal aspects of production must be done by Muslims operating under recognized Muslim authorities.

- No standards for halal procedures may be owned by a non-Muslim organization.

Of course, if the legal framework that AFNOR is operating under at present does not meet these Muslim religious requirements, we collectively need to consider the appropriate procedures to complete the work of the commission. At the French level, the transfer of the work into a legal framework consistent with French constitutional principles and the right to religious freedom is now an essential first step.

But once these nonconformities are resolved in France, we must also consider the steps to be taken at the European level. Should the Muslim community rely on AFNOR to resolve the non-conformities related to aspect that violate the religious freedom of Muslim communities in Europe ? “Currently, we have no basis for such trust.”

It was hoped that a European halal standard might help to solve the problem of widespread unfair practices in the halal market. However, even if implemented, it will not solve certain problems inherent in the halal market since its commercial inception in the 1970s. These current problems, for example, within the French halal market include

-  The inadequate regulation of ritual slaughter so that it meets the needs of Muslim communities

-  The 24 years of administrative empowerment of Muslim religious slaughterers (1970-1994) : In 1970 a requirement was made that Muslim slaughterers must be certified by an administrative body. Ideally, this would be a religious organization, but in the Muslim case there were no approved religious organization. So the Muslim slaughterers were certified by the secular prefecture authorities until 1994.

-  The DGCCRF (Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) has not seen fit to control the traceability of halal products.

-  As well as enforce other key aspects of the policies of the French governments with respect to protecting the halal consumer.

This has led to the multiplication of self-proclaimed and less than adequate halal certification bodies, often with inappropriate ties to the organizations they are certifying. Similarly, the opacity of the practices of the traditional halal butchers and supermarkets with current regulations remains unsatisfactory from the consumers’ point of view. ASIDCOM is actively working on trying to improve the situation and regularly calls upon public authorities to address the rights of Muslim consumers that are being violated.

So as you can see with respect to the Muslim community, especially in France, it does not believe that it has been sufficiently heard by the public authorities. Similarly, the creation of CFCM (French Muslim Council) 10 years ago to represent Muslims aims to enable the Muslim community to address its own religious questions. It is necessary for any secular agency to respect the autonomy of the Muslim community in the inherently religious question of halal. It is interesting that there is substantial work to reform the organization of the halal market, before initiating the establishment of a Muslim halal legally protected repository. The challenges of exporting halal products are modest compared to those of internal halal market (see report COPERCI p.17). It is probably more important to actually assist the halal market working with CFCM to become properly organized rather than to establish a legal halal standard that is unlikely to be enforced and may even be declared unconstitutional in some European countries, particularly in France.

Waiting to receive your reply Mr. President, my best regards.

Mme Hanen REZGUI PIZETTE President

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A propos de ASIDCOM
A propos d’ASIDCOM Créée en 2006 et présidée par Abdelaziz Di-Spigno jusqu’à juin 2011, l’association ASIDCOM est une association de consommateurs musulmans, déclarée ( type loi 1901) le 3 octobre 2006 en Préfecture des Bouches-du-Rhône, puis déclarée le 28 janvier 2013 à la Préfecture du Nord et elle (...)
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