In the backdrop of anti-Halal campaigns and protests in Sri Lanka, experts are saying Sri Lanka too can reap a significant economic benefit if it caters to the ever growing US$ 1.2 trillion global Halal market.
At a forum organized by the Halal Accreditation Council (HAC) under the theme “Opportunities For Sri Lankan Exporters In The Global Halal Market” on July 28, it was highlighted that Sri Lanka is well poised to follow examples set by countries like Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia South Korea and Singapore in reaping economic benefits by catering to the ever-growing US$ 1.2 Trillion global Halal conscious market.
CEO of the Halal Accreditation Council Ali Fatharally in his welcome address stressed on the fact that “the economic opportunities for Sri Lankan businesses are not just income and/or profits but also the ability to harness benefits, including much needed foreign exchange to the country; the ability to increase direct and indirect job opportunities, continuous improvement of quality in their establishment which meets international standards and being sensitive, respectful to an important segment of society.”
The statement comes in the backdrop of hardcore Buddhist groups such as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) openly protesting against the Islamic Halal concept. The BBS which was very vociferous during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s term carried out a series of anti-Halal protests in the country. In 2013, the BBS even went on to the extent of demanding that the Halal logo which appeared on certain food products be removed. The BBS was also behind the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama, Beruwela including Dharga Town where shops and houses belonging to Muslims were burned to the ground. The riots left many injured, displaced and killed three persons.