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Bikinis Deflected From Indonesian Airspace

Vietnam-based Vietjet is no ordinary airline. It has carved out consumer awareness of its brand by featuring bikini-clad flight attendants. The gimmick has worked for its female founder; Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao became a billionaire after the airline’s initial public offering in February. But minimalist uniforms are not export-friendly, at least to the Islamic world. In tandem with growing Vietnamese-Indonesian ties, Jakarta airport authorities looked for assurances that bikini-clad flight attendants will stay grounded on Vietjet’s soon-to-launch Ho Chi Minh City-Jakarta route. Vietjet obliged—and announced it will include halal meals in the service mix. While the lesson may be deference to cultural values, it is also one in business strategy. Vietnam is chasing Indonesia to propel its torrid growth rate of 6%-to-7%. Tourism is a key component in the mix. According to Mastercard, outbound Indonesian travel is one of the fastest growing hospitality segments in Asia, with outbound trips set to grow by almost 9% a year over each of the next few years.

Our Vantage Point: Wealth generation trends in the Islamic world offer enormous profit potential to multinationals. But the character of that business needs to side with conservative halal lifestyles.

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Image: Stable rupiah is one outgrowth of Indonesian economic wherewithal. Credit: Capturelight at Can Stock Photo.

Essential Reading

As a complement to this blog post, we offer suggestions for further reading. Industry practioners and academic experts provide context for our business priorities.

The Qur'an and the Bible is an academic work, primarily aimed at those scholars who pursue critical interpretation of religious texts. While an exegetical study may sound too severe for lay readers, the selection is highly-relevant to those looking to untangle the many strands of monotheism as part of their own journey of faith. One common problem with comparison studies is that they take a Muslim view of the Bible or a Christian view of the Qur'an. This highly-learned, highly-readable material roots its analysis in a cultural and historical perspective, avoiding an overt theological bias that might other derail analysis. Our enthusiasm for the book in part sprouts from the array of insight into these primary religious texts that is drawn from collateral documentation. At about one-thousand pages, this monumental volume is a smorgasboard of insight to be savored over time; it makes a fresh contribution to the essential underpinnings of an interfaith dialogue.

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Halal Food goes well beyond issues associated with ritual slaughter, focusing on ethical and health concerns, among other important points. Many books on this subject are meal-preparation guides. This material is a socio-economic journey across the Muslim world.

We recommend this work because it provides useful insight on why halal products are common in global markets, irrespective of faith affinity. For the businessman, it clarifies why the halal market is so dynamic and why the largest enterprises align with this consumer segment.

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Featured Selection

Brand Islam
The Marketing and Commodification of Piety
Faegheh Shirazi

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Take-Away Wisdom

We offer insight on a selection of recently-published books that are relevant to Islamic finance and halal industry.

Books at Mosque