With the government distancing itself from issuing Halal certificate, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) said they would proceed with Halal certification regardless of its consequences.
Speaking to The Nation, Aslam Zubair, Media Coordinator at the ACJU cited that “the ACJU had not ordered the government to take it over but merely suggested for it to be brought under the purview of a recognized institution or ministry in an attempt to negate the controversies.”
At a meeting held at their head office on Friday (1), President of the ACJU Ash Sheikh Rizwie Mufti met with members of the organization and urged for them to continue the issuance of the Halal certificate.
The move comes in the wake of the government turning down the ACJU’s request to take over the Halal certification process.
“Not putting the Halal logo does not make it Haram. But because non-Muslims are reluctant of buying products that do have the logo on it, we are urging companies to confine the label only to products sold for the Muslim community,” he said. “The product might be the same, so will the ingredients, but because the logo has caused so much uproar, there will be products with and some without it,” Zubair said.
Zubair cited the ACJU accepts Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella’s opinion that the Halal issue had been blown out of proportion. “First there was an issue with the logo, then the name, then the implications.”
In a media statement the ACJU reiterated its stance that the issuance of Halal certification with the intention of facilitating the availability of Halal foods to Muslims on a service oriented basis without any commercial motive.
Meanwhile, reacting to the ACJU’s decision, General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara thera said they would continue to hold ‘peaceful protests’ against the issuing of Halal certificates by the ACJU.
“We have repeatedly stressed that the Halal certification is unnecessary and we urge companies to refrain from applying for Halal certificates and those that already have obtained the certificates to withdraw them immediately” he noted.
The thera warned that if companies continued to keep the Halal label on their products, they would have no choice but to urge a general boycott of those companies and their products.
He dismissed the ACJU’s claim that only one company has so far withdrawn their Halal certification. “That is an absolute lie. We know for a fact that around 10-12 companies have already written to the ACJU informing them of their desire to withdraw Halal certification from their products. We have the letters with us”, he claimed.