Qingjing, Taiwan (Indonesia Window) – A statistics obtained from the Taiwanese Government show that Buddhism is the majority religion of 35.1 percent on the Formosa Island, followed by Taoism 33 percent, Christians 3.9 percent and Yiguandao 3.5 percent. Meanwhile, around 18.7 percent of Taiwanese people are not religious.
Although Taiwan is not a Muslim country, there are around 40,000 locals and 200,000 foreigners on the Island embracing Islam.
The lives of Muslims who must apply Islamic laws in their daily activities, including consuming food and drinks and worship, receive the attention of the government.
In fact, the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) issued by MasterCard International in 2019 placed Taiwan in the third position as a Muslim-friendly tourist destination out of 130 countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and non-OIC members.
The ranking was higher than that compared to 2018 when Taiwan ranked fifth.
The index assesses four indicators, including transportation, communication, environment, and services.
Muslims around the world should need not worry about traveling to Taiwan to work, study, or spend holidays as most of facilities and services are provided according to the Islamic laws, commonly called “halal”.
Halal certificates in Taiwan are issued by the Chinese Muslim Association (CMA), the Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association (THIDA), as well as some mosques management such as Taipei Mosque and Kaohsiung Mosque collaborating with the two institutions.
The CMA and the mosques are responsible for providing halal certification for local services. Meanwhile, THIDA is accountable for providing halal certification for such export products as processed foods and fresh products.
Taiwan applies five halal categories, namely MR (Muslim Restaurant) which signifies restaurants owned by Muslims; MFR (Muslim-Friendly Restaurant) which means the owners are a non-Muslim restaurant; and MFT (Muslim-Friendly Tourism) that indicates the place is friendly to Muslims with prayer rooms.
The other two categories are MCH (Muslim Convenient Hotel) and HMI (Halal Menu Included).
In order to be certified as a halal place, hotels and restaurants must have two separate kitchens, one of which is used to cook halal foods with kitchen utensils that are different from those used for preparing general foods.
Food and beverage ingredients are also checked to ensure that Muslim menus always comply with Islamic rules. Hotels and restaurants are advised to hire Muslim chefs as they understand about the Islamic laws.
Muslim-friendly hotels or restaurants must provide qibla sign (the direction to which Muslims turn at during prayer) and prayer rugs. Some hotels even provide the Quran.
Pack your suitcase and let us visit the Formosa Island!
Reporting by Indonesia Window