Sri Lankan Muslims try to end halal meat row

Updated 22 February 2013
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Sri Lankan Muslims try to end halal meat row

COLOMBO: Muslim religious leaders in Sri Lanka are trying to calm religious tensions by telling stores to sell halal meat only to Muslims, after protests by hard-liners from the nation’s Buddhist majority.
The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, Sri Lanka’s main body of religious leaders which issues the halal certificates, asked retailers to ensure that certified products were offered only to Muslims.
“We want to promote peaceful co-existence and harmony,” ACJU president Mufti Rizwe told reporters in Colombo, as the organization called for stores to have separate shelves offering halal and non-halal food.
Their move to defuse tensions came after thousands of nationalist Buddhists staged a rally recently to demand that all shops in the country clear their stocks of halal food by April.
Muslim religious leaders said a boycott of halal products organized by the Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Force, had created tensions that could erupt into full-blown violence in the country.
Nationalist Buddhist monks and their supporters also launched a campaign to boycott halal-slaughtered meat as well as other products that carry a halal certificate.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged monks not to incite religious hatred and violence, amid reports of a wave of attacks and intimidation targeting Muslim businesses.
The Buddhist Force has distanced itself from the violence.


Malaysia reopens grisly murder case linked to former PM Najib

Updated 1 min 29 sec ago
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Malaysia reopens grisly murder case linked to former PM Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have reopened an investigation into the grisly murder of a young Mongolian woman in 2006 which has been linked to the country’s ousted leader, reports said Friday.
Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives near Kuala Lumpur.
The murder was the most shocking aspect in a scandal involving allegations that an associate of recently toppled Prime Minister Najib Razak arranged huge kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002.
The case captivated Malaysia for years and there have long been allegations that Najib — defense minister at the time of the deal — and his wife Rosmah Mansor were involved. They have steadfastly denied the claims.
Two government bodyguards were convicted of the killing and sentenced to death. One subsequently fled to Australia, where he is in detention, and maintains he was ordered by “important people” to carry out the murder.
Altantuya’s father visited Malaysia this week. He met new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who backed re-opening the investigation, and lodged a fresh police report about the murder.
“I can confirm we are reopening investigations,” national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun was cited as saying by The Star newspaper.
“We will conduct our duties without fear or favor.”
Eric Paulsen, head of local rights group Lawyers for Liberty, said that Najib should be among the new witnesses to be interviewed by the police.
“We want to know why Altantuya was killed and who ordered her killing,” he said.
Malaysians broke the six-decade stranglehold on power of Najib’s coalition at elections last month, and voted in a reformist alliance headed by 92-year-old Mahathir.
Altantuya was the mistress of Najib’s associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, and was alleged to have demanded a cut in the submarine deal for translating during negotiations.
Abdul Razak was cleared in 2008 of abetting the murder.
The bodyguard who fled to Australia, Sirul Azhar Umar, recently said he is willing to assist any new government investigation into the case, a potential major breakthrough.