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'Govt. must facilitate industries to produce halal pharmaceutical products'
Saturday December 21, 2013 9:29 PM, IINA

Indonesia's top Muslim body has called for applying halal rules on pharmaceutical products such as medicines and vaccines, calling for halal certification and labels in the Muslim majority archipelago.

"Pharmaceutical products are the same as food products and therefore, must be halal before being consumed by Muslims," Marouf Amin, the Chairman of the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI), was quoted by Abtara News.

The MUI chairman added that the government must protest right of the Muslims to not consume haram medicines and vaccines, adding that consuming halal products was part of Muslims belief and faith.

"Certification of pharmaceutical products is part of the efforts to protect Muslims from consuming haram (not allowed) medicines," he said.

"The halal and haram issues must be comprehensively regulated by law. Therefore, the government must draw a Bill on the Halal Product Guarantee," added Amin.

The halal regulation were more urgent in medicine and vaccines; products that control the lives of many Indonesian Muslims.

Amin said that MUI also encouraged the government to facilitate industries to produce halal pharmaceutical products through research and development activities.

"MUI asks all sides to mutually respect each other's competence and authorities based on their respective tasks and functions," he added.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim state where Muslims make up 86.1 percent of Indonesia's 235 million population.

The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.

Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.

Now other goods and services can also be certified as halal, including cosmetics, clothing, pharmaceuticals and financial services.

The Ulema council, established in 1975, has carved a key role for itself in the Muslim country.

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