Radical Buddhists need to be restrained: Lankan minister

Updated 02 July 2014
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Radical Buddhists need to be restrained: Lankan minister

Sri Lankan Justice Minister Rauf Hakeen called on his government to bring the perpetrators of recent violence in the country to justice.
He lamented that those responsible for waging anti-Muslim violence were roaming free and stressed need to arrest them to restore law and order, the minister said while speaking with Arab News in Colombo.
“The organization and the person who instigated the violence have not been held accountable for their crime,” Hakim said. He praised the Mahinda Rajapaksa government’s efforts for taking relief measures. Hakeem, who is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), said Muslim families living in remote areas felt insecure in the aftermath of recent incidents of violence.
“A radical group is responsible for all this and unless they are properly dealt with, Muslims cannot live in peace in the country,” he said, recalling the group has been involved in sporadic attacks against Muslims over the past two years.
He regretted that religious worshipping places were also attacked. Security forces are deployed to maintain law and order in the country and there is a legal system to address citizens’ concerns.
“The Muslim community in the island is outraged, angered and frustrated by the violence,” Hakeem said and hoped the government would take action to stop recurrences of violence in the island.
Around 10 percent of the country’s 20 million population are Muslims, most of whom had formed an effective vote bank for the ruling government, but the recent incident has reduced support, due to loss of confidence in the government, Hakim said.
He stressed, “The rule of law should be strictly followed; no one can be above the law, whether he is a Buddhist or a member any other community.” He said despite the violence unleashed by the radical group, the moderate Sinhalese are for communal harmony and want to co-exist peacefully with other communities in the island.
Sri Lanka has in recent times witnessed a spate of violence against the country’s Muslims, the latest being on June 15 when the ultranationalist Buddhist Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) provoked a rally to violence that left at least four Muslims dead, 80 injured and many houses, both residential and business, destroyed in the town of Aluthgama and surrounding areas.


Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Jeddah on Tuesday. SPA
Updated 13 min 14 sec ago
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Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

  • The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers
  • China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has expressed his appreciation to scholars who took part in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan in Makkah, saying the Kingdom was making efforts to “heal the divisions and differences among the Afghan people.”

Chairing the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday, the king said Saudi Arabia was working toward “unifying the ranks and words of Muslims worldwide.”
He briefed the Cabinet on the results of his recent talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, on future cooperation between the two countries.
The Cabinet welcomed the final statement by the Makkah conference calling on states, organizations and Islamic elites to play positive roles in achieving security and peace in Afghanistan.
The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers, extinguishing the fire of sedition.”
Muslims worldwide should continue their “firm stand in front of the advocates of violence and extremism in defense of their religion and maintaining the unity of the Islamic world,” it said.
The Cabinet also reviewed a ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Beijing and welcomed a decision by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping to establish an Arab-Chinese strategic partnership.
China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries and “add to the prosperity and economic advancement of all,” it said.
The Cabinet denounced recent suicide attacks on two election gatherings in Pakistan and the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and offered condolences to families of the victims.
In the local arena, the Cabinet extended its appreciation to the king, based on a report by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for pardoning all troops who have taken part in the Saudi Renewal of Hope operation in Yemen of their military and disciplinary penalties for their heroism and sacrifices.
The Cabinet approved a license for the Iraqi Commercial Bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia and authorized the Minister of Finance to decide on any subsequent requests to open other branches.