Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Uncertainty Over Kyrgyz Halal Label

Many shops in Kyrgyzstan are responding to rising consumer demand by offering halal meat and other products, but it is hard to verify the provenance of this food.
By IWPR Central Asia
As reporter Kanymgul Elkeeva discovered, some traders are using the “halal” label to boost sales without understanding the way food needs to be processed to qualify as clean according to Islamic precepts.

The ministry for economic development and trade issues certificates for genuinely halal products, but not all traders have them. The central administration of Kyrgyzstan’s Muslim clergy has also set up a commission to inspect traders claiming to meet halal standards, but its rulings carry no legal force.

IWPR’s reporter found that some shopowners and street traders were distinctly evasive or vague on what constitutes halal meat.

One man said he had no certificate as his butcher’s shop was just starting up, but he sourced his meat from a reliable friend.

A woman selling “samsa” – meat wrapped in pastry – said that to her, halal meant, “We don’t add pork, and we say a prayer before starting work. We buy the meat from Turks, and after all, they pray five times a day. We don’t want to commit a sin by adding other meat.”

More IWPR's Global Voices

Young Iraqis Are Demanding Change
A new generation is standing up for what they believe in - and they refuse to be intimidated.
Nineveh Reborn
Iraq: Women Plant Trees for Peace