Sri Lankan leaders seek action to stop harassment against Muslims



Riyadh: Md Rasooldeen

Published — Sunday 4 May 2014

Last update 13 May 2014 4:00 am

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Muslim parliamentarians in Sri Lanka have called for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to intervene in order to stop the continued hate campaign, intimidation and threats perpetrated against Muslims by some Buddist extremists of the Bodu Bala Sena and other allied organizations.
With the exception of A.H.M. Azwer and A.R.M.A. Cader, 16 out of the 18 legislators signed the petition sponsored by the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCL).
Speaking to Arab News from Colombo, MCL President N.M. Ameen said that the campaign carried out against Muslims by the Bodu Bala Sena, Sihala Ravaya and Ravana Balakaya is alarming and dangerous.
“We have full confidence in our president and we believe he will take appropriate action to resolve this issue,” he added.
The petition urges the president to immediately intervene to stop the harassment against Muslim IDP’s who have lived in different parts of the country as refugees and as a “forgotten” people over the last 23 years.
“We, the Muslim parliamentarians, wish to bring to your Excellency’s kind attention that these groups have been targeting Muslim places of worship, Halal food, the Muslim attire and now the resettlement of the Muslim lDPs who were expelled by the LTTE in 1990 in the worst act of ethnic cleansing in the history of our nation,” the petition read.
These Muslim lDPs were labeled as “old lDPs” and did not even benefit from the resettlement scheme implemented by the government and international agencies including the cash grants provided by the UNHCR, it said.
In the absence of any substantial support for their resettlement, the Muslim religious, political and civil society leadership has been soliciting support for their resettlement from benevolent donors of Muslim countries and individuals. There has been some positive response from some of these donors and a number of houses have been constructed with their support,” the petition noted.
These houses have been constructed following due procedures of land distribution through the Divisional Secretariat and the Presidential Task Force for resettlement.
The Sena and some sections of the media are highlighting the resettlement now as illegal, stating that they have encroached upon the Wilpattu National Park.
Signatories to the petition included, Senior Minister for Urban Affairs A.H.M. Fowzie, Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem, ALM Athullah, Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Basheer Segu Dawood, Kabir Hasim, Faizer Mustapha, MS Thowfeek, Faisal Cassim, Hassan Ali, M.S M. Aslam, M.H.M. Haleem, M.L.A. M. Hisbullah, Unais Farook and Mustapha Bawa Farook.

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