Halal food label withdrawn in Sri Lanka after protests

March 11, 2013 (AFP) – Islamic clerics announced the withdrawal of a halal labelling system for food in Sri Lanka on Monday “in the interests of peace” after protests from Buddhist hardliners on the Indian Ocean island. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), Sri Lanka’s main body of Islamic clergy, said the halal certificate issued by them would be used only for products that are exported to Islamic 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 Rizwe said, adding that they were keen to avoid any escalation of religious tensions.

Food manufacturers in Sri Lanka have long made all their products using halal methods and labelled them with the ACJU halal certificate.

They argued it is impractical and uneconomical to have two manufacturing processes for the same product.

The halal method of killing an animal requires its throat to be slit and the blood to be drained.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said that manufacturers agreed to drop the halal logo from all food with immediate effect.

Nationalist Buddhist monks and their supporters had launched a campaign last month to boycott hal