The Halaal Issue : A Way Forward ?
Posted on January 14th, 2013

Bisthan Batcha

In a bid to penetrate the International Market for Halal Foods, estimated at US$ 2 trillion per annum, the Government of Thailand is promoting their Country (where approximately 90% of the population are Theravada Buddhists and the largest minority are Muslims) as the “ƒ”¹…”Kitchen of the World’ and has to this end provided the necessary support to establish an independent halal certification authority, The Halal Standard  Institute of Thailand, governed by the  Central Islamic Committee of Thailand. This move is perceived by the Thais as a “ƒ”¹…”National Project’, the benefits of which will accrue to all citizens irrespective of religion.

However, in Sri Lanka, the move to provide halal certification was initiated by the ACJU ( a religious body of Muslim theologians) and has over the last few years attracted hostile and vituperative criticisms since it is largely perceived by Non-Muslim Sri Lankans as benefiting only less than 10% of the population. For instance, a recent highly emotive statement by the Anti-Halal Group asks the question “Why should 90% of the people pay for the needs of just 10% ?” How would a Sri Lankan Muslim respond to this rhetorical question ? The anger of these Critics is so intense that it blinds them to the fact that if Sri Lankan Exporters are successful in their attempts to penetrate and expand their share of the International Halal Foods Market, then the fruits of their success will cascade directly or indirectly to all Sri Lankans.

In the spirit of compromise, the ACJU should seriously consider  divesting their Halal Division and using it as the embryo of a new independent Non-Profit Certification Authority established in conjunction with the Sri Lanka Standards Institute and the Ministry of Export Development & International Trade. The new Body should emulate the Thai Institute and promote themselves as engaging in the facilitation of an economic activity which will benefit Sri Lanka at large rather than serving the needs of a minority.  This voluntary action on the part of the ACJU will go a long way towards negating the criticisms currently being leveled against the prevailing halal system and strengthen the image of Sri Lankan Muslims as being sensitive to the apprehensions of the Majority Community and being genuinely concerned about Forging Unity & Re-building our Motherland after 30 years of unmitigated hell.

Adopting a hard, inflexible stand on this issue is not what is desired at this point in time. This is not a question of prestige and reputation or of right and wrong. This is a time to be putting out fires, not lighting fires or adding fuel to existing fires. The ACJU should take the initiative in this matter and put forward proposals for the establishment of “ƒ”¹…”The Halal Standard Institute of Sri Lanka’ along the lines of the Institute in Thailand.

3 Responses to “The Halaal Issue : A Way Forward ?”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Wrong information about Thailand.

    ONLY Thailand’s EXPORTS to Halal countries are Halal. NOT foods for domestic consumtpopn!!! IN SL food for everyone is Halal!!

    By forcing EVERYONE in SL eat Halal, racism and discrimination is created by Wahabi elements.

    For 5,000+ years SLs ate NON HALAL foods and thats how it MUST remain.

    Fearing TRUTH HURTS and keeping silent is WORSE than war. Wars are WINNABLE (e.g. May 2009) but if we all keep silent about this Wahabi invasion, that will be the end of humankind.

  2. Kamil Says:

    Nobody’s forcing anybody to consume or take the Halal Certification. It is not a law of SL.

    The Muslims were consuming Halal products from selected suppliers prior to this for many years. However, because the Non-Muslim suppliers realised the loss of income due to their products being non-halal, THEY are the ones who came behind seeking the Halal Certification. Nobody went behind them.

    So, nobody’s forcing anybody. Get YOUR facts in order before critisizing the Halal Certification system. YOU STILL HAVE A CHOICE. Go purchase non-halal products. Nobody’s stopping you…….

  3. HussainFahmy Says:

    The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted person if they have not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent person if they have already closed their mind.

    Our passion to practice our faith is unpalatable to a few. We Hope Sri Lanka builds its future on the firm foundations of:- Multi-culture, Multi-Lingual, Multi-Faith, Equal Opportunities to all Citizens, Respect all communities, their Honour and Property rights, No community claims supremacy over the other, Strictly Merit based governance, Allegiance to one country, Makes diplomatic efforts to convince all to be part of the solution and assure them of fairness through constitutional guarantees.

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