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Sri Lanka's nationalist Buddhist monks and their supporters launched a campaign yesterday to boycott Islamic halal-slaughtered meat amid mounting religious tensions in the ethnically divided nation.
Thousands of men and women led by hundreds of monks of the Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Force, staged a rally outside Colombo to announce the boycott, demanding that shops clear their stocks of halal food by April.
"More than 90 percent of the population are Buddhists, Hindus and Christian and therefore there is no justification to force them to eat halal products," Buddhist monk Kirama Wimala Jothi said in a statement.
He urged Sri Lanka's non-Muslim majority to boycott any product with the halal label and asked the government to outlaw Islamic clerics issuing such certification.
The halal method of killing an animal requires it to have its throat slit.