Halal Activism: Networking between Islam, the State and Market

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to further our understanding of contemporary Muslim consumer activism in Malaysia with a particular focus on halal (in Arabic, literally “permissible” or “lawful”) products and services. Muslim activists and organisations promote halal on a big scale in the interface zones between new forms of Islamic revivalism, the ethnicised state and Muslim consumer culture. Organisations such as the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia play an important role in pushing and protecting halal in Malaysia, that is, halal activists constantly call on the state to tighten halal regulation and they also at times call for boycotting products that are associated with haram (literally, “prohibited”) impurity and unwanted foreign influences. I argue that insufficient attention has been paid to the micro-social logics of modern forms of religious consumer activism and networking in particular historical/national settings and that these issues should be explored in the interfaces between Islam, the state and market. More specifically, this article examines the above issues building on ethnography from fieldwork with three Muslim organisations in Malaysia.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Journal of Social Science
Volume44
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)104-131
ISSN1568-4849
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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