Friday, February 15, 2013

I have caused the ire of the ACJU and that’s fine, if they get their act together to give confidence that their certification is actually reliable/credible

The ‘halal’ debate is now raging amongst and within communities in Sri Lanka and I have been accused of being anti Halal! I believe an open debate is best to further direct this issue to a level to prevent misunderstanding. Such a debate involves healthy skepticism, which forces the party to defend and explain their practices and procedures that give rise to their representations. It will therefore actually increase their credibility not lessen it, if they have conformed to best practice.

I trust people who continually read my various blogs know my position on tolerance and inclusivity and need for the nation of many communities, religions and view points to unite as one nation under our flag and keep their personal animosities against religion, caste and race to debates and discussions and not to violence and hostility. In that same vein this country in my opinion IS NOT the EXCLUSIVE "nija bima" of any one community or religion. Accordingly I am no fan of Bodu Bala Sena or their tactics.

Therefore it is advisable for one to keep an open mind to read the following link to further understand the issues which reinforces my views on certification.

Certification is only as good as the certifier. Everything has a label and now with brands we are label mad and I consider ‘halal’ another label. It is up to the human being to work out in his or her mind if that label amounts to a hill of beans or not. As I am a skeptical person I view all certifications with suspicions as I do not trust human beings with honesty as a general rule, and if there is not enough statistical sampling and testing of the certifications then its reliability is called into question.

I have a couple of dogs and I purchased all of them as puppies, but I never insisted on a certification letter of their breed from the Kennel Club, etc as I know instances in which these have been issued based on false information given to the Kennel Club. The Kennel Club followed their practice, but are unable to verify the information they were relying on, relating to the authenticity of the breed.

As long as I am happy that my specimen is of the breed or mixed that is OK as I do not intend making representations to others and if they purchase any pups I may sell in the future it is up to the buyer to aware. In fact when I was given a pup with certain representation as to its pedigree, I was not too fussed when it grew up it was clearly not pure bred. Further it is the dog I have with least problems with diet and illness! So much for being "pure anything". I am getting a great kick out of new gene testing which is showing how mixed we are, and seeing those who claimed purity, being proved to be anything but. 

The horse meat scandal in the UK is another example of another con coming out to haunt the beef industry, including the tainting of the halal and kosher camps too. What happens to the sins of the people so fooled?

I therefore appeal to the average person to come to their own conclusion and realize that they may be incorrect in their reliance on a certificate which is intended to benefit another party financially. I have accused the ACJU of the fact that I have not seen sufficient proof that their procedures are reliable, and I have further accused them of being politically biased, and I have yet to see any proof of them being certified by another body as being permitted to issue the Certificate. So I don’t care who is authorized, I just want them to be credible. To me they are not.

I am also skeptical of the various standard setting bodies including certifications by Auditors of their statements on the accounts of companies that later turnout to be materially incorrect. In fact one of the largest accounting firms, Arthur Andersen disappeared from the face of the earth due to a scandal.

It is the 'kalpanakaranna' that I stress in anything we do or believe in and work out  ourselves that on balance we are happy with that belief due to our own personal evaluation and not because someone else said so.


Jack Point said...

With halal it is important to remember that it is not the quality of the certification/representation that matters.

Muslims are required to inquire if food is halal. If the vendor or restaurant says so, they are entitled to accept this and no further inquiries need be made.

The article quotes a small restaurant that does just that.

Anonymous said...

In a bid to penetrate the International Market for Halaal Foods, estimated at US$ 2 trillion per annum, the Government of Thailand is promoting their Country (where approximately 90% of the population are Theravada Buddhists and the largest minority are Muslims) as the ‘Kitchen of the World’ and has provided the necessary support to establish an independent halal certification authority, The Halal Standard Institute of Thailand, governed by the Central Islamic Committee of Thailand. This move is perceived by the Thais as a ‘National Project’, the benefits of which will accrue to all citizens irrespective of religion.
Unfortunately, in Sri Lanka, the move to provide halal certification was initiated by the ACJU ( a religious body of Muslim theologians) and has over the last few years attracted hostile and vituperative criticisms since it is largely perceived as benefitting only less than 10% of the population.
The ACJU should seriously consider divesting their Halal Division and using it as the embryo of a new independent Non-Profit Certification Authority established in conjunction with the Sri Lanka Standards Institute and whichever Ministry is responsible for Foreign Trade. The new Body should emulate the Thai Institute and promote themselves as engaging in an economic activity which will benefit Sri Lanka at large rather than serving the needs of a minority. This voluntary action on the part of the ACJU will go a long way towards negating the criticisms currently being leveled against the prevailing halal system and strengthen the image of Sri Lankan Muslims as being sensitive to the apprehensions of the Majority Community and being genuinely concerned about Forging Unity & Re-building our Motherland after 30 years of hell.