Feb 28, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government today refused to assume the responsibility to issue Halal certification of food products.
Cabinet media spokesperson and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella at the cabinet press briefing today said the government is not prepared to take over the responsibility of issuing Halal certification.
In response to the queries on the controversial issue, the Minister said it is not wise for a government to interfere in activities connected with a religion.
Follwing the ultimatum issued by the Buddhist extremist group Bodu Bala Sena (BSS) over the Halal certification of foods by the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) to remove all Halal products by March 31and suspend issuing certificates, the Muslim clerics' organiztion appealed to the government to take over the responsibility in administration of Halal certification in Sri Lanka.
The head of the ACJU M.I.M. Rizvi Mufti, requested the government to create a methodology to issue the Halal certificate as done by governments of countries like Singapore and Thailand.
In order to reach a compromise the ACJU last week suggested the businesses to have Halal and non-Halal products and limit the sale of Halal products to only Muslim consumers.
The assistant manager of the ACJU's Halal certification division has told media that although the government has not accepted the responsibility to issue Halal certifications, the government still needs to intervene to provide a solution to the issue to curb growing tensions between the Sinhalese and Muslims.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed a ministerial committee to look into the growing religious tensions.