The Sunday Leader

‘Halal’ Haram?

Halal has to be stopped by hook or crook. Sometimes we will have to resort to very hard decisions. But we will stop this menace. The so called company is no different from ‘Jamiyatul Ulamas’. The members of the Jamiyatul Ulama have beards. Those who are in the new company do not have beards, but they have similar objectives. What is Halal for them is Haram for us.

John Amaratunga, Milinda Moragoda, Nimal Siripala De Silva and Reginald Cooray

The much debated Halal controversy took a new turn this week with the All Ceylon Jamiyatul Ulama (ACJU) agreeing to hand over the issuance of Halal certification to a new body called Halal Accreditation Council (HAC). This new body has an interesting structure as it has been registered as a company under the Sri Lanka Companies Act No 07 of 2007. It is reported that a group of Muslim professionals have played a pivotal role in setting up the HAC and it will continue to issue the certification in compliance with the Sharia law.

One of the main allegations against the All Ceylon Jamiyatul Ulama brought forward by organizations such as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) was that they were earning a large amount of money on a yearly basis by issuing the Halal certification and channeling those funds to trigger anti-Buddhist activities in predominantly Muslim areas. That is the main reason why the new body has been formed in the form of a company, so that the flow of money would be fully transparent and every transaction will go into the company’s accounts. The very first media statement issued by the company clearly stated that it was a not-for-profit company.

A spokesman of the HAC told The Sunday Leader that the new company will purely meet the demands of the business community who need the Halal certification to operate in local and international markets. According to international studies, the global Halal market is estimated at US $ 2 trillion and is one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the world. There are nearly 2 billion Muslims all over the world, particularly in the Middle East countries, who would exclusively buy Halal certified products.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Halal Accreditation Council is Ali Fatharally, a Muslim professional who is well known among the business circles in Colombo. Educated at Royal College Colombo, Fatharally was formerly the Director of Global Commodity Solutions (Pvt) Limited, an International trading arm with its main focus on baby diapers, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. Before that, he was a Business Analyst at Expo Lanka Holdings Limited. Fatharally’s profile is suggestive of the professional background of the others who are involved in the operations of the HAC. This is in sharp contrast with the ACJU which can be identified mainly as a religio-cultural body for Muslims.

However, this does not mean that the ACJU is completely out of the equation with the setting up of the new body. The ACJU will continue to work with the HAC and offer technical assistance to the new company to issue Halal Certification in line with the standards set by Sharia law. But the ACJU will now take a backseat and the operation will be handled by the Halal Accreditation Council.

“This certification is not forced upon anybody. HAC was established to cater to a national need and, as far as we are concerned, there is no compulsion for any business to be Halal compliant. Also, as much as we say we are a not for profit organisation, it does not mean our services are gratis. We employ a large number of professionals to ensure that best practices are maintained in this certification process.

And, therefore, have to meet the cost in supporting the mechanism we have put in place,” Fatherally said.
He also said there were many requests from the business community to continue with issuing Halal certification as it was required to operate in predominantly Muslim markets. As of now, the new body has received nearly 195 requests from various businesses and industries seeking to obtain Halal certification.

BBS pledges to stop Halal by hook or crook

The formation of the Halal Accreditation Council has come under trenchant criticism from the BBS who are of the view that the new mechanism is “fraudulent”. Speaking to media, General Secretary of the BBS Ven Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera stated that the new mechanism was aimed at hoodwinking the Sinhala-Buddhists of the country. He also demanded a complete ban on Halal and the ACJU, saying such certifications and bodies were of no relevance to Sri Lankans.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Gnanasara Thera said his organization has already started an island wide campaign against the Halal certification. He said there will be house to house campaigns, as well as large scale protests, urging the government to ban Halal as well as the new body which is entrusted with issuing the Halal certification. He added that the fresh campaign against Halal would also coincide with the 150th birth commemoration of Anagarika Dharmapala, a heroic figure revered by Sinhala-Buddhists.
“Our position is very clear on this matter.

Halal has to be stopped by hook or crook. Sometimes we will have to resort to very hard decisions. But we will stop this menace. The so called company is no different from ‘Jamiyatul Ulamas’. The members of the Jamiyatul Ulama have beards. Those who are in the new company do not have beards, but they have similar objectives. What is Halal for them is Haram for us!” Gnanasara Thera claimed.

Interestingly, some members of the Muslim religious circles have also opposed the setting up of the HAC saying the new company will ‘commercialize’ the religious and cultural aspects of Halal certification. The editorial of the ‘Muslim Murusu’ newspaper, on Friday, strongly criticized this decision by ACJU, stating that the issuance of Halal certification should have been given to the Muslim Cultural Department. It also stated that the new move will undermine the religious aspect of the matter and give priority to commercial objectives.

It is ironic that both the BBS and some Islam religious circles, who were earlier at opposite ends of this problem, are now on the same page about the new body handling the Halal certification! It would be interesting to see how the new company carries out its operations in the face of the heavy pressure coming from two rival groups.

John to be made the Speaker?

Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga delivered a panic attack to the rank and file of the UNP by being part of the presidential retinue that visited several Middle East countries including Israel and Palestine. Serious questions arose as to how the Chief Opposition Whip participated in a foreign tour with the leader of the opposite political camp and sat alongside the President during bilateral discussions with leaders of foreign nations. While the questions were simmering, a story broke out saying that Amaratunga had promised to join the government if he was offered the position of Speaker or Deputy Minister of Defence.

This story has gained momentum, in a context where it is widely rumoured that Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa would be appointed as the Prime Minister in the near future. Prime Minister D M Jayarathne is already in hot waters as a result of various allegations wedded to his name and his continuation in office, according to government sources, is uncertain.

Ready to strike while the iron is hot, Amaratunga has indicated to the government that he is willing to cross over and become Speaker of Parliament, paving the way for the present Speaker to become the Prime Minister of the country.
However, it is still not clear whether Amaratunga will cross over to the government as he did the same number nearly two years ago when the United National Party was crisis-ridden due to internal disputes.

He participated in a foreign tour with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the same manner and it was widely believed that he would join the government after returning to the country. However, at the eleventh hour, he decided to remain with the UNP. At that time, when a fellow UNP Parliamentarian inquired about his political future, John Amaratunga gave a very interesting answer.

“I am nearing 80 now and I don’t have to do opposition politics. It is good to be in the opposition when you are young and energetic. But I am running out of time!” Amaratunge told the UNP Parliamentarian. This reflects his line of thinking when it comes to crossovers and political leapfrogs. Putting two and two together, one can come to the conclusion that the octogenarian is now planning to make his long awaited move and join the government ahead of two provincial council elections.

UNP Working Committee Meeting

When asked about the matter, UNP Parliamentarian and member of the UNP Leadership Council Lakshman Kiriella told The Sunday Leader he smells a rat in protests against the Prime Minister.

“It is crystal clear that the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a constituent party of the government, is selective in its criticism against corruption. There are so many politicians in this government who are directly responsible in bribery and corruption. While they operate freely without any problem, the JHU is mounting pressure on the Prime Minister, demanding him to step down from his position. It is obvious that they are doing a contract,” the UNP Parliamentarian said.

Amaratunga’s move was discussed at the UNP Working Committee when it met on Wednesday (8) at the Party Headquarters with Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the chair. Some members of the Working Committee asked Wickremesinghe whether Amaratunga obtained permission to participate in the foreign tour with the President.

Wickremesinghe revealed to the Working Committee that Foreign Minister G L Peiris telephoned him a few days before the tour and requested him to allow Amaratunga to take part in this tour as the latter wanted to attend some religious events.
“Since it was about some religious events, I didn’t take the matter into serious consideration and granted the request. I don’t know about any other developments,” the Opposition Leader said.

However, if the Chief Opposition Whip decides to join the government, that would be a serious embarrassment for the opposition ahead of two important elections. On the other hand, it would boost the feel good factor of the government which had a hard time recently grappling with various issues at the local government level.

Moragoda denies crossover rumours

Meanwhile, another crossover story drew the attention of political circles last week when a Sinhala newspaper reported that Milinda Moragoda would join the UNP before the Western Provincial Council election.

Soon after the story appeared in the paper, Moragoda received telephone calls, one after another, inquiring whether there is any truth in the story. Moragoda responded to them saying that he had no intention of joining the UNP as he had no reason to leave the government.

He told his close associates that the story has been fabricated by a ruling party Parliamentarian representing the Colombo District. Moragoda has told his associates that the Colombo District Parliamentarian considers him a serious threat to his political future, and, therefore, wants to plunge the former minister into an uneasy situation in the party.

Nimal Siripala warns Geetha

Benthara-Elpitiya electorate was heated again this week due to a SLFP meeting that took place under the auspices of Minister Reginald Cooray. Benthara-Elpitiya electorate organizer Geetha Kumarasinghe and her intra-party rival UPFA Provincial Councilor Major (retd) Ajith Prasanna were present at the meeting; there was a sense of uneasiness in the air from the beginning.
Prasanna’s name was proposed as the Secretary of the Electorate and Kumarasinghe vehemently opposed the suggestion, reviving memories of the unpleasant argument took place at the Coordinating Committee meeting just a few weeks ago.

Kumarasinghe’s severe opposition led to a heated argument between the two and, finally, Minister Reginald Cooray, who is a calm and quiet character by nature, had to intervene to sort this out.

The Minister warned Geetha that she should not wash dirty linen in public as such acts would create embarrassing situations, not only for the government but also for the president. “In the end, the linen will be torn apart and nakedness will be exposed,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who is handling the government’s election campaign in Galle at the forthcoming Southern Provincial Council election, made an interesting remark on Tuesday (7) while addressing an internal meeting attended by party members and supporters. He said the ruling party does not need super stars or real stars, but need only political stars that can actually perform!

“We need intelligent representatives of the people and it is the responsibility of the public to get them elected to power,” the Minister, who is also the Vice Chairman of the SLFP, said.

In a strong message to Geetha Kumarasinghe, who also represents the same district, the minister said the politicians should know how to hold their tongues.

“It is because of the tongue that politicians get into trouble. We should protect our tongues and refrain from slinging mud at anyone. There is a discipline in the party and everyone, regardless of their positions, has to adhere to that. We want people who can perform. We don’t want candidates who only want to act in front of TV cameras” he added.

It did not require a lot of wisdom to realize that he was alluding to the recent development in the Galle District and ruling party Parliamentarians who were present at the meeting, such as Minister Piyasena Gamage, Chandima Weerakkody, Nishantha Muthuhettigama, Gunarathne Weerakoon, Ramesh Pathirana and Mohan de Silva, were seen smiling at the senior Cabinet Minister’s remarks.

10 Comments for “‘Halal’ Haram?”

  1. Mohamed

    This monk looks very racist from the bottom of his heart due to some personal reason or motivation from a invisible party. Are we aware that even Jew community go through “Halal” Process called ” Kosher in English (In Jewish term its called – Halakha) and its almost similar to “Halal” . As you all know Jew , Christians and Muslim share the same faith in many aspects as these religions originated from the same seed. BBS is connecting this to many areas . its pathatic to note such premtive sect in our country as we saw them in antentcent few 100 years back.

  2. Thai Monk

    Dear Sri Lankans,

    Thailand is a Buddhist country and we have one of the largest tourist arrivals in any Buddhist country in the world. We are business friendly and our economy is real big in ASIA and who can resist US 2 trillion business that does not permit CASINO gambling , Alcohol and Prostitution.

    We promote HALAL certification to various business in Thailand. Please take a look at what we have done:

    http://www.halal.or.th/en/main/index.php

    http://halalfocus.net/thailand-tourism-takes-the-halal-route/

    http://www.tmfb.net/home

    “Welcome to Thailand the Last hope of Lord Buddha ! “

  3. thambi

    Stop the ridicules HALAL entirely from Sri Lanka ask all thambies to get the hell out of our mother land if they trying to be too smart.

    2. Second problem is there are Buddhist monks who cannot have a DANA with out meat? so how can they oppose to such demands?

  4. perera

    who cares. meat is meat hal, haram or whatever.
    all i want is to cook it and eat it.

  5. sandman

    Why is the BBS not taking up the fight against Casinos? Are Casinos OK for Buddhists and Buddhism ? What about Narcotics ? Why is there no fight against the Drug dealers ?

  6. naleer

    BBS want HALAL to be stopped fine what about KUDU does many harm ? why dont they open mouth ? known knows fact…

  7. Sylvia Haik

    There is no need for Amaratunga to cross over as it is not essential for the Speaker of Parliament to be a member of the government. In fact, according to our Constitution it is essential that he/she remains impartial.

  8. Ashad Dole

    Of the 7 billion people in the World today, no one religion/belief/philosophy, has more than 1/7th, of this number. This goes for Islam too, it has no more than one billion, believers.
    Each one of us, must always remember, that we are born into a faith, by chance & NOT by choice, & that there are SIX others, who are also born into a faith by chance & NOT by choice.
    If we all keep this in mind, & go our ways, without being fanatical, about it, the World will be a better place to live.
    The bottom line. is we all need, “TO LIVE IN PEACE”, & HARMONY WITH THOSE AROUND US. No faith is perfect, that is why we have so many choices, if we are intelligent enough, & follow the rule of law,” WHO NEEDS A RELIGION ?

  9. Mohamed

    why do not you publish the truth . even you wouldn’t have expected such a explanation.

  10. Malcolm X

    These saffron robed thugs will have to hold their horses for now,so until UNHRC is over,until then the minorities can have some peace from this menace.Their executive director(of all things) will not tolerate the saffron robed henchmen running a mock harassing minorities during this period & now it will also become “HALAL” for the director to seek support from mostly “HALAL / THAMBI” countries in order to save his skin in front of the whole world. These are Hypocrites of the virulent type playing mostly to the Sinhalese gallery while others have begun to realize that they are up to mischief & will end up taking the Sinhalese race to doom,gloom & isolation just to achieve their narrow aims.Wonder where these rowdy saviors of Buddhism were when the poor Sinhalese boys were getting butchered in the north for several years & both Sinhalese & Muslims were slaughtered kicked out en mass & the war was a big time business in the south. They should now instead get ready their rowdy caravan & go & try to perform their drama in the north come March/April 2014 & see the response the get.

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