OUR STAFF REPORTER KARACHI - Secretary General and CEO of Halal Development Council (HDC) Asad Sajjad represented Pakistan in the 6th World Halal Forum (WHF) in Malaysia which was attended by over 600 delegates from 40 countries. This years WHF, inaugurated by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, hits the right note by converging Islamic Finance and the Halal industry, into one integrated Halal economy . This is a step forward for both industries to work closer together to elevate the Halal economy , with Islamic Finance as the key driver in this new world economy that seeks to serve 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. Asad Sajjad, quoting Abdul Hamid Evans, Director WHF, said that This years World Halal Forum was a new milestone for the global Halal industry, moving past the discussions about standards development and slaughter methods, to address many of the wider strategic growth issues in the Halal marketplace. The initial steps towards the convergence of the Halal and Islamic Finance industries opens up the market from both sides which will be much bigger than most people realise. The convergence of these two Shariah-based industries forms a strong economic platform that is built on a set of shared values - values that will play an increasingly strategic role in shaping global markets in the coming decade, hence the theme for WHF 2011 was: Towards a Halal Economy : The Power of Values in Global Markets. The worlds first 'Sami Halal Food Index (Sami stands for Socially Acceptable Market Investing) is a physical manifestation of the concept of converging the two massive Shariah-compliant industries and was launched at the World Halal Forum. SAMI index comprises over 200 companies listed in Muslim-majority countries with a total market capitalisation of over $100 billion, positions Halal as an Asset Class within the investment community. The 'SAMI Halal Food Index is powered by Ideal Ratings with the backing of Thomson Reuters and supported by World Halal Forum. According to Rushdi Siddiqui (Global Head, Islamic Finance & OIC Countries, Thomson Reuters, USA), An index is a DNA for the Asset Management industry, so, this Halal Index is going to be the DNA for the Halal industry.