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Friday, March 1, 2013
The whole sordid issue has just got completely out of hand
We don’t seem to know how to organize a kitefest if we had
one! This whole unnecessary campaign against ‘halal’ and by extension against
the Muslim community, is another example of our supposedly civilized people not
knowing how to live and behave peaceably whilst solving a simple issue without much
bad blood flowing in trying to fix the mole hill.
After all in the end it is the Sri Lankan economy that
suffers and the trouble makers cannot care a toss about it. In terms of
economic repercussions, no matter what anyone says, the exporting community,
wish to have a recognizable ‘halal’ certified tag on their packaging for
exports to certain countries as preferred by the selling agents in those
countries. In their own economic interests it is better for them to get the
certification from a local body, rather than have to pay top dollar to get
overseas certifying companies to come to SL to give their certification!
So in the fall out these companies are suffering in silence,
and they have nothing to do with the local debate, only a way to sell our
products overseas. So both parties to the dispute are held to blame, for not
being able to resolve it before it got to this nasty stage, where NONE wishes
to certify halal anymore!
The economic activity of Companies in Sri Lanka are held to
ransom by a debate amongst two foolish, stubborn groups who could have resolved
this issue long before it came to this point. After all how did we survive
It is clear to the Muslim community that in their zest for
halalization, the ACJU went overboard not being sensitive to the local host
community and their religious practices to not see the impending cataclysm. It is just called insensitivity and stupidity. The Muslim community is too smart to make a deliberate policy to impose their certificate on the General community. Where they fell short was give the incorrect impression to their community to demand 'halal' certification when they perform certain activities, like eating out and engaging in practices that require their religious requirement to be squared up.
With the capitulation of the ACJU, and the Govt. saying that they do not wish
to get tainted by certifying it boils down to the basic principles of giving an
honest listing of the ingredients that have gone into the production of the
item, and let the Muslims, through centuries of practice in knowing how to
adhere to their religion, making the personal decisions on their practices, and
not make it a national event!
Take a time out, let sizzling attitudes simmer, and re-start
on a note of reason, requesting that the Muslim population just be aware of the
responsibilities to the community at large and find an internal solution rather
than impose the unneeded dictats from above.
As for the halal certificate, let the exporters who want it find the most practical method for giving them the necessary guidance in practice to conform to the regulations of the importing country, Just like when one exports goods to Japan, one must have a fumigation certificate that conforms to certain standards, otherwise the products could be rejected at the port of entry. This is similar and we should permit the companies to give the stamp of certification.
It is also wrong for the banning of the 'halal' on a package, as it may have been printed for the export products that form 95% of the Company's business and the balance 5% is sold in the local market.
With the cost of printing and packaging for a small amount being very high it is cheaper to take some from the main production run for the local market. Otherwise the price of the product WITHOUT the 'halal' designation which will be done for a small market, will be much higher, running counter to the BBS claim that products cost more due to the 'halal' certification and logo.
I trust people will look at this contrary opinion and determine what they feel as the best alternative to project and put forward in this debate.