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Filed under: Latest News — admin     3:18 pm July 13, 2011

Non-muslims who seek to participate in Islamic tourism need to first have sufficient understanding of halal requirements, according to former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

He said this understanding of halal is necessary because Muslims generally could only accept tourism as Islamic if this fundamental requirement was observed.

“Islamic tourism is a new brand in the contemporary world of tourism, but in terms of organisation, planning and packaging, Islamic tourism has to deal with the same issues that have to be faced by any conventional tourist agency.

“However, in the case of Islamic tourism, there are additional requirements that have to be fulfilled in accordance with the teachings of Islam. For example, observance of the halal requirement would be a major component of syariah-compliance,” he said in his keynote address at the opening of the World Islamic Tourism Forum (WITF) 2011 here today.

The two-day forum was organised by the Global Islamic Tourism Organisation Malaysia (GITO) and the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS).

Abdullah said Islamic tourism could also help expand the amount of intercultural cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia.

“Collaboration between Muslims and non-Muslims in the tapping of vast potentials in Islamic tourism can contribute significantly to the strengthening of cultural and other societal relations between them.

“In Malaysia, it is desirable to expand the scope of intercultural cooperation with the view of achieving societal peace and national cohesion,” he added.

The continued participation by non-Muslims also can help to project a positive image of Islam as a religion that is basically inclusive in nature in its social teachings and practices, and not one that is exclusive, he noted.

“Muslims are perceived by many Westerners as being incapable of living peacefully with others because of their religion. Of course, this is a false image of Islam and Muslims.

“Malaysian non-Muslims who live and work together with Muslims to build this country can testify that this is, indeed, a false image of Islam and Muslims,” he said.

Meanwhile, Insaniah University College Rector Prof Datuk Dr Jamil Othman said cross case studies and academic exchanges of views among Islamic hospitality practitioners were needed to enrich the knowledge and set guidelines for Islamic hospitality and travel.

“Terminologies like Islamic hospitality, Islamic tourism, Muslim hospitality, syariah-compliance hotel, Islamic hotel and halal-friendly hotel had created much confusion as to which is to be used.

“Sometimes it scares foreign visitors and this may be one of the factors that explains why major hotel conglomerates were reluctant to attach the term to their hotel brand.

“Hence, some service organisation choose to use other terms, like ‘Malaysian Hospitality’ or ‘Arabic Hospitality’, which is more acceptable for marketing purposes,” he said.

Jamil said the Tourism Ministry should also recognise and promote this industry to act as a catalyst in its rapid development and, thus, contribute significantly to the tourism industry and also the economy of the nation.

Source : Bernama

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