COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Amid protests by Buddhist hardliners, Islamic clerics announced Monday (March 11th) the withdrawal of a halal labelling system for food in Sri Lanka "in the interests of peace", AFP reported.
The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), Sri Lanka's main body of Islamic clergy, said the halal certificate would be issued only for products being exported to Muslim countries.
"We are giving up what is important to us. We are making a sacrifice in the interest of peace and harmony," ACJU president Mufti M.I.M. Rizwe said.
Food manufacturers in Sri Lanka have long made all their products using halal methods and labelled them with the ACJU halal certificate, arguing it makes no sense to have two manufacturing processes for the same product.
Last month, nationalist Buddhist monks and their supporters launched a campaign to boycott halal-slaughtered meat, arguing that Buddhists should not be forced to consume food that is prepared according to Islamic rites.