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Friday, December 8, 2023

Scholar urges Sri Lankan expats to stay calm over racial tensions back home

M.I.M Rizvi Mufthi

A Sri Lankan Islamic scholar currently visiting the Kingdom said racial tensions following an attack on Dambulla mosque in Sri Lanka had greatly eased and the country’s government is trying its best to resolve this issue amicably.

“We firmly believe that very soon a satisfactory solution will be realized on the initiative of the government,” M.I.M Rizvi Mufthie, president of the Colombo-based All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU) said in Riyadh on Friday. Abdul Cader Al Mashoor Moulana, the Sri Lankan president’s coordinating secretary, was also present at the lecture.

Mufthie, who was adjudged among the 500 most influential Muslims worldwide, was addressing the members of the Sri Lankan Muslim community here on Friday.

The ACJU headed by Mufthie plays an active role as the Islamic religious authority with 3,000 active members under its 22 districts and 15 divisional branches.

The ACJU has recently established a Halal Certification Authority in Sri Lanka and publishes a quarterly magazine, which lists halal certified organizations and products.

Mufthie is a pioneering scholar in the field of Islamic banking and finance. He is also a member of the local Shariah advisory council for a number of Islamic financial institutions in Sri Lanka.

During his speech, the scholar requested Sri Lankan Muslims to be calm and be confident of the steps taken by ACJU in resolving this issue. “Our duty is to make dua (prayers) for the wellbeing of Muslims and resolve this issue amicably through tolerance and compromise with the concerned parties,” he noted.

On April 20, a large group of hooligans staged a mass demonstration at the Khairiya Juma Mosque in Dambulla just before the Friday prayers, barring worshippers from conducting their regular prayers.

Mufthie explained that the mosque premises which was sealed by the security authorities following the incident, was reopened the following day on an initiative taken by Senior Minister Abdul Hameed Mohammed Fowzie and Industry and Commerce Minister Rishath Bathiudeen.

“On the following Friday, Juma prayers were conducted peacefully without any hindrance,” he added.

The Islamic scholar said problems can be resolved peacefully.

“Earlier, Muslims in the Kandy district allowed the Line mosque to be demolished to give way for some city development projects. Similarly, we built the mosque in Nimal Road far away from the stipulated boundary to accommodate the highway that was constructed in the neighborhood,” he added.

“Following the end of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, our country’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged that all Sri Lankans will be treated equally without any discrimination,” he said. “We should have faith in the country’s leaders, who will look after all communities without any prejudice,” he noted.

He said ACJU had a roundtable discussion with all Muslim leaders irrespective of political affiliation and decided to form an action group under the leadership of Fowzie. “We have also formed a legal committee  to look into the legal aspects of the whole case,” he said.

Mufthie stressed that Islam believes in one Ummah and Muslims are bound by the principles of Islam as enunciated in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.

Mufthie also addressed the youths at a special lecture held yesterday at the auditorium of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth in Riyadh.


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