Sunday, February 03, 2013

Sri Lanka's Muslims under threat

Sri Lanka's Muslim's have become the target of an organised campaign of hate. How should the Government and ordinary citizens react to this?

 The reaction of the UK government to a controversy surrounding traces of pork DNA being found in halal products is instructive. Following the discovery of horse meat in beef burgers, testing was done on a variety of meat products, wherein traces of pork DNA were found in halal food served in prisons.

The reaction from the UK government was swift: the supplier was suspended and investigations launched simultaneously by the Prison Service and the local authority. The Food Standards Agency, which is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK, called an urgent meeting of major retailers and suppliers on Monday, to ensure that everyone is fully aware of their responsibilities.

"It is the responsibility of food businesses to ensure the food they sell contains what it says on the label. We are considering, with relevant local authorities, whether legal action is appropriate following the investigation."

The Prison Reform Trust said it welcomed the immediate apology and investigation. Its director Juliet Lyon said: "This is not a matter of dietary preference but of Islamic law.

"There are clear hospital and prison rules that halal meat must be on the menu."
"This lapse will have offended and distressed high numbers of Muslim prisoners and their families so apologising, suspending the supplier and investigating the incident are the right steps for the Ministry of Justice to take." (from The Guardian)

Back in the Paradise Isle, the President instructs the Secretary to the Ministry of information and Mass Media "to take immediate action against those electronic and print medias, which spew venom against the Muslims."

What? Is the media the problem? It is the organisations behind the campaign, the very organisations that met the President that need to be brought to heel, not the media.

The President asked the organisations not to engage in activities seen to be promoting communal hatred and said that people should be mindful of attempts to tarnish the image of the country.  

Mindful of attempts to tarnish the image of the country? Really? A more wishy-washy, watered down statement could not be imagined, worthy of Ranil Wickremasinghe, who for his part has remained deafeningly silent on the matter. No condemnation, apology or even a firm statement and nothing, beyond a vague promise to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee (which a long-drawn out, time consuming thing), of any action.

What a contrast to that of the UK Government which regards its Muslim community which has existed only for around fifty years as equal citizens.

To come back to my question, what should citizens do? There does not seem to be much, but on the eve of independence day, perhaps we should make it a point to go out of our way to patronise Muslim owned shops.

I've never shopped at No Limit, I never even realised it was Muslim-owned, I don't really need to shop for clothes either but I will drop in and buy something. Even if its only a pair of socks, a point needs to be made.     



sbarrkum said...

It is all most impossible to live a life in the modern world and consume only Halal.

Any product that has mono and diglycerides can contain pork fat extract. Look at the labels.

Gelatin contains pork collagen.

So that means Ice Cream, all gel capsules of medicines contain pork extract.

Many drugs specially for Diabetes is made from Pork extract.

I think this is hypocrisy. Its impossible to consume only halal stuff in this world.

Jack Point said...

Complex supply chains do pose a problem. For Muslims, it is possible to accept the assurance of a vendor that the product is halal.

For jews, whose requirements are identical, they cannot rely on the assurance of a vendor alone, they need to investigate and be certain.

For the most part marketing to these groups is being viewed as an opportunity, similar to organic or fair trade products.

sbarrkum said...

It not about vendor assurances or supply chains.

Its that there are many products that are consumed in modern every day life that are too expensive or impossible to be made by veggie.

Example medicines in gel caps. Ever seen them with halal certifications.

Yes Elephant House ice cream is certified Halal. But is it really Gelatin or digyceride free.

sbarrkum said...

No need to post this.

Watch the second video with English subtitles. Surreal is the word.

Anonymous said...

Sbarrkum, there is halal and kosher gelatin available widely. Jews don't consume pork either, and hence Kosher gelatin is free of pork.

Further for the case of halal, there is also fish gelatin available.

When elephant house is certified, the indgredients are monitored. i.e. there are dedicated food scientists ensuring there is no pork content.

your comments are absolutely arbitary.

Jack point- thanks very much for posting the article, your point is pertinent!.

Jack Point said...

Thank you for reading Anon.

Angel said...

What are the many drugs for diabetes that are made from pork extract? Available here in SL?

sbarrkum said...


If you click on the link for Gelatin in the original post you would read under the subsection Religion and gelatin substitutes that there are substitutes for
a)Muslims/Jews that are pork free.
c)Hindus that is bovine free
d)Vegetarians that is animal free.

That said the alternatives can be very expensive.

If you click on this link at Amazon, you will find that
a) Kosher gelatin is $32 for 2lbs.
b) Porcine gelatin is $22 for 2lbs

I doubt that in Sri Lanka we are buying the higher priced bovine Gelatin for halal certified products.

Senura said...

I want to make a comment on the aspect of Muslims not eating pork but eating beef.

Pork was banned by religion mainly as a health related reason where most of the parasites of pig are zoonotic and cause harm to man and also because pigs eat all rubish and garbage they find suitable for consumption. Well I also have to make the point that what ever that is taken in that way is made into good useful proteins by the body systems when storing as muscle or fat. but lets ignore that.

The modern cows are not only fed on grasses. They also are fed concentrates that promote their growth and in addition some additives. A good source of nitrogen that is supplied to the cow is by supplying Urea which is present in high levels in faeces of chicken that is added to the feed of cows. Nitrogen is an important part of all protein and muscle that we consume as beef has majority of proteins of it's dry weight.

Something to consider to not to eat...

sbarrkum said...

I remembered reading this a while back. Finally got around to sourcing the articles.

Preceding all this in Jan last year (2012) there was a campaign (Facebook, SMS Blogs) to get Muslims to Boycott Perera and Sons one of the largest Restaurant and Catering chains in Sri Lanka.

I also notice that the blogger has not weighed in on the Bodu Bala Sena actions.