For the past 10 months, I have been thinking of going to an Islamic office to inquire how Coffee For Peace Bistro could become a certified Halal place for food and beverages. This would attract more folks belonging to the Muslim community from Davao City and from all over Mindanao to trust CFP, to become our coffee shop clients, and eventually to be part of our peacebuilding network. We have been practicing Halal standards at CFP for the past 10 years although we’re not officially certified.
Halal. In Arabic, halal simply means permissible or allowed. Opposite to it is haram, which means forbidden or not allowed. To make meat halal or permissible, an animal or poultry has to be slaughtered in a ritual way known as Zibah or Zabihah. To make it readily comprehended halal is somewhat like Jewish kosher. (Halal Food Authority)
It was Sihaya Ansibod, our PAR Field Facilitator and Inclusive Development Worker in Central Mindanao, who informed me about the growing interest among some Muslim leaders who frequent CFP Bistro to become halal certified. Arafat ‘Toto’ Balono, our expert transporter for more than a decade, was the one who arranged for me to meet with the halal authorities in the Greater Davao Area. Sihaya and Toto introduced me to Ms. Zuhairah A. Abas of the Philippine Department of Tourism – Region 11. With her were Aleem Solaiman Piang of the Davao Muslim Ulama Halal Certifying and Monitoring Agency; and, Hajji Kadir S. Murod who is the administrator at Masjid Ecoland, one of the largest mosques in Davao City which is walking distance from CFP Bistro. Ms. Abas presented the possibility of including CFP Bistro as a Muslim-friendly place for tourists coming from Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Aleem Piang encouraged me to apply for halal-certification since he’s already aware that we have been practicing halal standards in our preparation of food and drinks. Hajji Murod promised to promote CFP Bistro among the Muslim community members in our neighborhood.
This meeting may be one of the initial steps for Coffee For Peace, Inc. to be officially Halal Certified and deepen the trust-building between the Christian Settlers, Muslim, and Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao. Through this, we pray that CFP Bistro would truly be a space for peace among the tri-people of Mindanao.