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* Sri Lankan government says obtaining Halal certification is voluntary
Thu, Feb 7, 2013, 08:13 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 07, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government today said that obtaining the Halal certification from the All Ceylon Jamiyaathul Ulama (ACJU) is a voluntary act.

Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva told parliament that anyone had the right either to reject or accept Halal certified food items and nobody would be allowed to impose it on another.

The Minister made the statement in response to a call by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe for the government to intervene in preventing any religious extremism.

Wickremasinghe criticized the government for the uproar over the Halal certification and saying that a private organization should not be allowed to issue a certificate or force it on business entities.

He claimed that the ACJU did not have any legal power to issue Halal certification on business ventures.

De Silva noted that the ACJU had campaigned for Sri Lanka in Geneva last year and the government remained grateful to them.

"We regret such a statement against ACJU merely because they refused to act as the cat's paw of the opposition," the Minister added.

De Silva also noted that the Halal certification is essential in international trade and that it is followed by some European countries and Muslim countries in the world.

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