The National Shoora Council (NSC) comprising prominent Muslims and religious organizations, has expressed dismay at the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, directing the Divisional Secretary, Dehiwala, and the police, to close down a mosque in Dehiwala, despite the Divisional Secretary having no authority to do so.
“Some foreign governments have openly threatened action at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva scheduled for March 2014, when the allegations against Sri Lanka, which are said to include alleged violations against minority religions and their places of worship, are taken up. We are terribly dismayed that the actions of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs would only prove that these allegations against our country are true,” Head of the NSC, Tariq Mahmoud, said.
Meanwhile, addressing a letter to the Assistant Divisional Secretary for Dehiwala, Thanuja Fernando, the Secretary of the NSC, Ismail Azeez, pointed out that if Fernando carries out the illegal request made by the ministry, it would impact on the peaceful coexistence between the different communities.
The letter further stated that ordering the police to shut down an approved mosque would tantamount to unwarranted interference in the religious practices of a community. It also emphasized the importance of the duties of the Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs Ministry, one of which should be to provide leadership for unity and peace, and also to desist from creating divisions on religious or ethnic lines.
Azeez also cited a previous correspondence between Fernando and the Religious Affairs Ministry, pointing out that, in that instance, Fernando had clearly stated that she was furnished with the appropriate documents of approval for the mosque by the trustees of the said mosque.