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FeaturesNewsAttacks on Religious Freedom : Silence and apathy of the Government and the Buddhist Mahanayaka Theros is disheartening

Attacks on Religious Freedom : Silence and apathy of the Government and the Buddhist Mahanayaka Theros is disheartening


Statement condemning the attack on the Masjid Deenul Islam at Grandpass, Colombo

We the undersigned strongly condemn the violent and unprovoked attack on the Masjid Deenul Islam in Grandpass area on Saturday, August 10, 2013 by an extremist mob injuring 12 people, in the wake of the Eid Festival.
We are outraged over the spate of violent attacks against Christian and Muslim places of worship, and remain deeply concerned about the rise of extremist rhetoric around the island.

While recognising and promoting the constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech, religious worship, and assembly, we urge all communities to respect the religious beliefs – and the associated rights – of their fellow citizens, and to not be influenced by State-condoned Buddhist extremists groups.

At this time, we also wish to express our deep disappointment at the lack of concrete outcomes from inquiries into multiple other attacks against places of worship that have occurred in the recent past. 

We are extremely disheartened at the silence and the visible apathy displayed by the Government and the Mahanayake Theros of the Tri-Nikayas, at a time when the rights to religious worship and assembly of its citizens are being threatened by extremism. We also wish to highlight apparent State complicity, and the level of impunity repeatedly granted by the State to extremist elements in the country.
We urge law enforcement authorities to ensure strict adherence to rule of law and prosecute those who are responsible for these heinous crimes, in the existence of abundant evidence put forward by both the public and the media. In addition, we are very disturbed to see continued Police inaction and delays in responding to incidents of racist mob violence, which is a clear indication of State complicity, and the lack of any interest by Defense Authorities to hold perpetrators accountable.
We welcome and endorse the open letter of protest by Muslim members of the Government addressed to the President of Sri Lanka, and share their view that “the lukewarm and ineffective measures taken by the law enforcement agencies on previous occasions, when Muslim communities and their mosques were deliberately attacked, seem to have emboldened some extremist groups who seem determined to create chaos in the country that is still in search of national reconciliation after a prolonged war.”

Further, we call on the Government to investigate into and hold accountable those responsible for the brutal killing of three youth in Weliweriya earlier this month, when the State sent in the military to quell a civilian protest calling for clean water.
In light of reports of media suppression and violence against media personnel reporting from the scene, we strongly urge law enforcement authorities and the protestors to respect the freedom of the press, and to take all measures to ensure their safety.
We wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured in this attack, and commend the calm resilience demonstrated by many of those who were victimised.

1.       A.H. Stephen – Deputy Secretary General, Liberal Party of Sri Lanka
2.       A.M. Faaiz – Attorney-at-Law
3.       A.S. Mohamed Rayees
4.       Ainslie Joseph – Convenor, Christian Alliance for Social Action (CASA)
5.       Aisha Ajmal Wahab – Student
6.       Aisha Nazim
7.       Ajmal Wahab – Partner, Bullion Exchange Jewellers
8.       Amal de Chickera
9.       Amar Gunatilleke
10.   Ameena Hussein
11.   Anandi Devendrakumary
12.   Anberiya Hanofa
13.   Anitha Selvarajah
14.   Ann Jabba
15.   Anoma de Alwis
16.   Antonio A. Oposa Jr. – (Philippines) 
17.   Anukshi Jayasinha
18.   Anushya Coomaraswamy 
19.   Ayeshea Perera
20.   Azra Abdul Cader
21.   B. Gowthaman
22.   Balasingham Skanthakumar
23.   Bannu Ifthikar
24.   Bhathiya Waduge – Director/Structural Engineer, CSE Consultants (Pvt) Ltd.
25.   Bhavani Fonseka
26.   C. Gadiewasam – Journalist
27.   Cayathri. D.
28.   Chamindry Saparamadu
29.   Chandra Jayaratne – Former Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
30.   Chandraguptha Thenuwara 
31.   Chandralal Colombage
32.   Cheran Rudhramoorthy
33.   Chulani Kodikara
34.   D.B.S. Jeyaraj – Journalist
35.   Damaris Wickremesekera
36.   Danesh Casie Chetty – Ambassador (Retd.)
37.   Deanne Uyangoda
38.   Devika – Colombo
39.   Dinesha Samararatne – University of Colombo
40.   Dinidu de Alwis
41.   Dinouk Colombage – Journalist  
42.   Dr. A.M. Ali Saja – Doctor
43.   Dr. Anita Nesiah – National Peace Council (NPC)
44.   Dr. Danesh Karunanayake – Senior Lecturer, University of Peradeniya
45.   Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka – Former Ambassador to the UN in Geneva
46.   Dr. Leonie Solomons – Social Entrepreneur
47.   Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan – Development Economist & Principal Researcher, Point Pedro Institute of Development
48.   Dr. Neavis Morais – Senior Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka
49.   Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
50.   Dr. Ranil D. Guneratne – University of Colombo
51.   Dr. Sepali Kottegoda
52.   Dr. Shamala Kumar – University of Peradeniya
53.   Dr. T. Jayasingam – National Peace Council (NPC)
54.   Dr. Vagisha Gunasekara – Senior Research Professional, Centre for Poverty Analysis
55.   Dr. Vivimarie VanderPoorten Medawattegedera – Senior Lecturer, Open                    University of Sri Lanka
56.   Dr. Zulfika Ismail
57.   Emil van der Poorten
58.   Faizun Zackariya
59.   Freddy Gamage – Meepura Newspaper/Center for Peoples Dialogue
60.   Furkhan Bee Ifthikar
61.   G.S. Lakshan J.S. Dias 
62.   Gamini Viyangoda
63.   Gavin Britto – Co-Founder, RuCode International
64.   Harean Hettiarachchi
65.   Harini Amarsuriya – Open University of Sri Lanka
66.   Harith de Mel – Attorney-at-Law
67.   Hashintha Jayasinghe – Graduate
68.   Herman Kumara – National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO)
69.   Hilary Perera Wirasinha – DoC
70.   Hilmy Ahamed
71.   Ifthikhar Aziz – President, Sri Lanka Pakistan Friendship Association
72.   Isuru Perera – Social Research Supervisor
73.   Jake Oorloff
74.   Janaki Jayawardena – University of Colombo
75.   Jansila Majeed
76.   Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala – Women and Media Collective 
77.   Jayatilaka Kammallaweera
78.   Jehan Perera – National Peace Council (NPC)
79.   Jehanki Anandha
80.   Jeyachithra Selambaram
81.   Joe William
82.   Joel FernandoBusiness Development Manager, Insu Trading International
83.   Juwairiya Mohideen
84.   K. Aingkaran – Attorney-at-Law
85.   K.S. Ratnavale – Attorney-at-Law
86.   Kath Noble
87.   Krishna Velupillai
88.   Kumudini Perera
89.   Kumudini Samuel
90.   Kusal Perera – Journalist
91.   Lakshan Dias – Attorney-at-Law
92.   Leila Udayar
93.   Liyanage Amarakeerthi
94.   Lucia Nicholas
95.   M. Rahman – Mannar
96.   M.A. Sumanthiran – Member of Parliament & Attorney-at-Law
97.   M.H. Mohamed Hisham
98.   Mahaluxumy Kurushanthan – Mannar
99.   Mahendran Thiruvarangan
100.                       Mala Liyanage – Executive Director, Law and Society Trust
101.                       Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema – Journalist/President, Sri Lanka                          Journalists’ Trade Union (SLJTU)
102.                       Mano Ganesan – Convener, Civil Monitoring Commission (CivilMC)
103.                       Manouri Pieris – Attorney-at-Law
104.                       Marianne David
105.                       Mario Gomez
106.                       Marisa de Silva
107.                       Mathuri Thamilmaran – Attorney-at-Law
108.                       Melani Manel Perera 
109.                       Melisha Yapa
110.                       Menaha Kandasamy
111.                       Michael O’Leary – Freelance Writer
112.                       Michelle Pinto
113.                       Minna Thaheer
114.                       Mirak Raheem
115.                       Mohammed Ajiwadeen – Research Officer/Parliament of Sri Lanka
116.                       Mohammed Mahuruf – Secretariat for Muslims
117.                       Muzzammil Cader – SAMADANA/M, Centre for Promoting Non Violence,           Conflict Resolution & Peace Building
118.                       Nadeesh Jayasinghe
119.                       Nalliah Kumaraguruparan Ashokbharan – Law Student
120.                       Nigel Nugawela
121.                       Nilshan Fonseka
122.                       Nimalka Fernando – Women’s Political Academy (Sri Lanka)
123.                       Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri
124.                       Nirmanusan Balasundaram
125.                       Nishelli Perera – Senior Strategy Analyst
126.                       P.A.R. Anuruddha
127.                       P.N. Singham
128.                       Padmika Dissanaike
129.                       Padmini Weerasooriya – Mothers and Daughters of Lanka
130.                       Prabu Deepan
131.                       Priti Sudra
132.                       Priya Thangarajah
133.                       Prof. Kumar David
134.                       Prof. M. Sitralega
135.                       Prof. Navaratna Bandara
136.                       Prof. Priyan Dias – University of Moratuwa
137.                       Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage – Principal (Retd.), Marx School 
138.                       Pushpalatha Paramasivam
139.                       R.M.B. Senanayake – National Peace Council (NPC)
140.                       Raashid Riza
141.                       Raghu Balachandran
142.                       Rajaluxmi Visvasam
143.                       Rajani Chandrasekaran – Jaffna
144.                       Rajiva Wijesinha – Member of Parliament
145.                       Ramla Ajmal Wahab – International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES)
146.                       Remo Shihan
147.                       Renton de Alwis – Former Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism
148.                       Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris
149.                       Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
150.                       Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
151.                       Rev. Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando
152.                       Rev. Fr. S. M. Praveen (OMI)
153.                       Rev. Fr. Sebamalai
154.                       Rev. Fr. Sherard Jayawardane
155.                       Rev. Fr. Terrence Fernando
156.                       Rev. Fr. V. Yogeswaran – Centre for the Promotion & Protection of       Human Rights (CPPHR), Trincomalee
157.                       Rev. Jason J. Selvaraja – Assembly of God, Chavakachcheri
158.                       Rev. Sr. Deepa Fernando (HF)
159.                       Rev. Sr. Helen Fernando
160.                       Rev. Sr. Immaculate de Alwis
161.                       Riza Yehiya
162.                       Rohana Ratnayake – Senior Lecturer in Law, Open University of Sri      Lanka
163.                       Roshni Alles
164.                       Ruki Fernando
165.                       Rushdi Jaleel Khan
166.                       Ruvan Weerasinghe – University of Colombo
167.                       Ruzaina Mahuruf
168.                       S.A.M. Jabir
169.                       S.C.A. Obeyesekere
170.                       Safana Gul Begum
171.                       Sahan Mendis
172.                       Saliya Pieris – Attorney-at-Law
173.                       Sampath Samarakoon
174.                       Sanja Jayatilleka
175.                       Sanjaya Senanayake
176.                       Selyna Peiris – Attorney-at-Law
177.                       Shanthini Kanapathy
178.                       Shariz Faleel – Manager – Finance & Administration, Secretariat for      Muslims (Guarantee) Ltd
179.                       Sharni Jayawardena
180.                       Shiromalee Perera
181.                       Shreen Saroor – Women’s Action Network
182.                       Shri Shankar Subramaniam
183.                       Shyamala Gomez 
184.                       Shyara Jaleel Khan
185.                       Siritunga Jayasuriya – General Secretary, United Socialist Party
186.                       Sivamohan Sumathy
187.                       Srinath Perera – Attorney-at-Law
188.                       Subashini Ramesh
189.                       Sulakshani Perera
190.                       Sunanda Deshapriya – Journalist
191.                       Sunil Jayasekera
192.                       Supipi Jayawardena – Researcher & Lecturer
193.                       Swarnalatha Subramaniam
194.                       Tehani Ariyaratne
195.                       Thahir Kubais
196.                       Thajun Mohamed Nishan – One Text Initiative 
197.                       Thanuka Nandasiri – Attorney-at-Law
198.                       Thiruni Kelegama
199.                       U.L. Jaufer
200.                       Upali Pannilage – Senior Lecturer, University of Ruhuna
201.                       Upeksha Thabrew
202.                       Upul Wickramasinghe
203.                       V. Jokeswaran – Teacher
204.                       V.S. Ganesalingam – Attorney-at-Law
205.                       Vanie Simon
206.                       Venuri Perera
207.                       Visaka Dharmadasa – Association of War Affected Women 
208.                        Wasaam Ismail
August 15, 2013,Colombo, Sri Lanka 
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