”It would be very bad internationally. The current issue could be used as a slogan to say that there is no place for minorities in the country. It would therefore go badly against the Government. The so-called anti-Muslim community wants to do just that.”
There Would Be Another Communal Problem If Campaign Continues – Fowzie
Q: What do you think would happen if the anti-Muslim campaign continues without the Government taking any steps to stop it?
A: I hope and pray that it would not continue. In such a scenario there would be another communal problem. We are just recovering from 30 years of war. Another communal problem would prevent us from enjoying the hard won peace and the development work.
Q: Would the Muslims be pushed to an armed struggle if the anti-Muslim campaign continues?
A: There’s no armed struggle. Jihad is a struggle that is within our community. It is not a fight or a battle to kill each other. Jihad is to get a Muslim to follow the holy path or God’s way of life. For example getting a Muslim who stays away from mosque to visit the mosque and pray is jihad.
Q: What impact would the anti-Muslim campaign have on the Government’s attempt to create reconciliation among communities in the country?
A: The Government must ensure that all are citizens of Sri Lanka and have the right to follow a religion of their choice in peace.
Q: What implications do you think the country would have to face internationally due to the current situation?
A: It would be very bad internationally. The current issue could be used as a slogan to say that there is no place for minorities in the country. It would therefore go badly against the Government. The so-called anti-Muslim community wants to do just that. They are trying to expose Sri Lanka in a bad light before the international community. The Jamiyyathul Ulama that issues the halal certificate has been there for 15 years. It is important to understand that the Muslims have to make sure that all their actions are according to Allah’s teachings. It is obvious that this campaign is politically motivated. The head of the Jamiyyathul Ulama campaigned for the Government at the UNHRC sessions last March. He is now being targeted because of it. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament that the head of the Jamiyyathul Ulama had called for a meeting during the last Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) election and asked people to vote for the Government candidate Milinda Moragoda. All these statement indicate that this campaign is politically motivated.
Hakeem threatens to quit portfoloio in one month if……
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader and Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem on Tuesday (5) threatened to resign, along with the other SLMC ministers, from all portfolios if the government fails to fulfill the SLMC’s demands within one month.
He made this threat at a meeting, hurriedly convened by the Ampara district group members of the SLMC, when he was present in the district for the first time after the appointment of the new cabinet of ministers.
The meeting was held at the vocational training centre in Nintavur.
The group posed various questions and the SLMC leader maintained silence, always with a smile, in order to control the prevailing situation there.
The group queried the recent appointment of Basheer Segu Dawood as Minister and wanted to know the reason why the Batticaloa district, with a lesser number votes cast for the SLMC, was given prominence with the appointment of a minister disregarding the Ampara district, which had around 80,000 votes cast for the SLMC at elections.
The group also wanted to know the reason why the SLMC was sticking with the government when none of its demands had been met. The group accused the SLMC leadership of sticking to the government only to enjoy ministerial benefits and privileges provided by the state, without fulfilling the aspirations of the SLMC voters.
Minister Hakeem, addressing the meeting, said that the SLMC ministers would resign from their portfolios if the government failed to meet the demands put forward to the government within a period of one month. A resolution was adopted at the meeting that the government should announce the formation of Kalmunai Coastal District within one month the SLMC ministers would resign from their portfolios if the government failed to meet the demands put forward to the government within a period of one month. A resolution was adopted at the meeting that the government should announce the formation of Kalmunai Coastal District within one month.
No need to fear extremists – Basil
Minister Basil Rajapaksa has said that the government is not ready to bow down to the opinions of the extremists calling themselves as Sinhala Buddhists and it should not be feared over their agitations. The Minister has emphasized this at the last Cabinet meeting. The subject of “Halal” has been a heated subject at this Cabinet meeting and Minister Basil has expressed these views challenging the points presented by the Ministers Dinesh Gunawardene and Champika Ranawaka.
Ministers Dinesh Gunawardene and Champika Ranawaka have told the Cabinet that this government depends on the blessings of the Sinhala Buddhist people and if the government approves the attempts being made to force “Halal” goods on the people, it will face a situation similar to losing the grip of both the branch it held on to and the branch it stepped in to.
The leader of the Muslim Congress Minister Rauf Hakeem has said that his party will not accept attempts to forcibly impose “Halal” food items. He has said that his party greatly value unity and reconciliations among the nationalities.
However, Minister Basil has reiterated that if the government gave in to the extremists the government will get further isolated internationally and the economy will collapse.
The President after patiently hearing all these arguments has appointed a committee comprising Ministers Rauf Hakeem and Nimal Siripala de Silva to study about this matter and submit a report to him.
New police unit to deal with religious tension
Starting tomorrow, a special unit will be set up in police stations to deal with issues arising from religious tension, and will be operational throughout the day. This step has been taken as a method to avoid unsavoury and socially awkward situations that could arise when reporting such incidents to the police.
Complaints can be made to this Unit via telephone calls or faxes.
Unit telephone numbers: 011-3182904/011-3188753
Bodu Bala Sena To Take ACJU to court
The Bodu Bala Sena is to file legal action against the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU ) over the issuing of the Halal certificate.
General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena the Venerable Galagodatte Gnanasara Thero alleged that local businesses are being forced to pay for the certificate.
He said the Bodu Bala Sena will also investigate who gave the initial clearance for Halal certificates to be issued in Sri Lanka.
The Venerable Galagodatte Gnanasara Thero said the Ministry of Defence convened a meeting with the monks recently to discuss the tense situation which arose in the country following protests over the issuing of the Halal certificates.
The Bodu Bala Sena insists it is not working to the agenda of any individual or organization either locally or overseas
By Indika Sri Aravinda