In a bid to penetrate the International Market for Halaal Foods, estimated at US$ 2 trillion per annum, the Government of Thailand is promoting their Country (where approximately 90% of the population are Theravada Buddhists and the largest minority are Muslims) as the ‘Kitchen of the World’ and has provided the necessary support to establish an independent halal certification authority, The Halal Standard Institute of Thailand, governed by the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand. This move is perceived by the Thais as a ‘National Project’, the benefits of which will accrue to all citizens irrespective of religion.Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka, the move to provide halal certification was initiated by the ACJU ( a religious body of Muslim theologians) and has over the last few years attracted hostile and vituperative criticisms since it is largely perceived as benefitting only less than 10% of the population.The ACJU should seriously consider divesting their Halal Division and using it as the embryo of a new independent Non-Profit Certification Authority established in conjunction with the Sri Lanka Standards Institute and whichever Ministry is responsible for Foreign Trade. The new Body should emulate the Thai Institute and promote themselves as engaging in an economic activity which will benefit Sri Lanka at large rather than serving the needs of a minority. This voluntary action on the part of the ACJU will go a long way towards negating the criticisms currently being leveled against the prevailing halal system and strengthen the image of Sri Lankan Muslims as being sensitive to the apprehensions of the Majority Community and being genuinely concerned about Forging Unity & Re-building our Motherland after 30 years of hell.
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