The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said yesterday the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJ) had not obtained any legal rights based on the Qur’an or from the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to issue Halal certificates.
JHU parliamentarian and Minister Champika Ranawaka told a news conference some 20 per cent of the market had shown a decline because of the Halal controversy which is raging in Sri Lanka.
“Islamic dietary guidelines have been laid out in 2:173 of Sura al-Baqarah the second chapter of the Al Qur'an, which forbids the consumption of dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah as food. Other than the above there are no other citations in the Al Qur’an on the classification of food as Halal or Haram. However the Qur’anic text is flexible enough to grant permission to consume the forbidden matter by whoever is forced by circumstances,” he said.
Commenting on the initiative of the ACJU, the minister said the ACJU was incorporated by an act of parliament as recently as August 18, 2000.
He said ACJU was established as a religious body of Islamic theologians to provide religious and community leadership to the Sri Lankan Muslim Community. It is only in Sri Lanka where a group of theologians are issuing Halal certificates.
The minister said it was forbidden for theologians to sell certificates for money according to the 2:174 of Sura al-Baqarah while the CAA had also stated that the ACJU had no legal rights to issue Halal certificates.
“Anyone can perform social welfare activities through some volunteer service to society but no one has a right to establish entities to set standards or issue certificates. No person or organization has legitimate power to perform such practices except the Sri Lanka Standards Institute or the Consumer Affairs Authority. It is obvious that the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama has clearly surpassed the limits of the mandate granted to it by the relevant Act of Parliament,” the minister said.
The JHU also challenged the ACJU to prove that it had been acting according to the teachings of the Qur'an and said the ACJU was deceiving and cheating Sri Lankans for so long. (Jayashika Padmasiri)