Sri Lankan authorities and clergy said today that they had decided to withdraw the Halal logo from food products sold locally as a result of tensions which arose in the country recently over the issue. Addressing a joint media briefing, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and a group of senior Buddhist monks, said that the decision was reached following discussions held between all parties.
However the logo will be made available as an option for products to be exported to some countries, the ACJU said.ACJU President Rizvi Mufthi said that the Halal certification was issued as a service to the Muslims and was not compulsory.
He said that the money obtained to issue the certificate was used to cover the overhead costs. “But this led to a situation which affected the co-existence of the communities so we decided to do away with the logo,” he said.
Meanwhile the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it did not expect the withdrawing of the logo for products sold locally to have an impact on businesses. Susantha Ratnayake, chairman of the Chamber, said that the Halal logo will be imprinted on products sent to some countries like in the Middle East and the Maldives where it is compulsory for the logo to be on food products.
The issue over the Halal certification arose after the Bodu Bala Sena campaigned against it and demanded it be withdrawn.
A leading Buddhist monk, the Venaerable Bellanwila Wimala Ratna, addressing the joint media briefing, said that as monks they were glad the issue was brought to light and the issue was resolved amicably in a manner which did not affect the co- existence of the communities in Sri Lanka.