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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Statement on Reconciliation by Muslim Civil Society Individuals

“However, on the ground specific problems that hamper the transition from war to a sustainable and meaningful peace are left unaddressed. In particular, the challenge of reconciliation remains. Our failure to act now will result in all communities losing a historic opportunity to address the conflict and its impact.”

Sri Lanka today faces a range of challenges in ensuring a return to normality and a lasting peace, following the end of the twenty five year old war.

Significant progress has been made on a number of fronts, including the partial return of displaced persons, the provision of basic rehabilitation assistance for war-affected communities, the progressive restoration and upgrading of essential services, the holding of elections and the implementation of macro-­development projects.

However, on the ground specific problems that hamper the transition from war to a sustainable and meaningful peace are left unaddressed.

In particular, the challenge of reconciliation remains. Our failure to act now will result in all communities losing a historic opportunity to address the conflict and its impact.

We, the undersigned, call for immediate action by Muslim politicians and civil society representatives to take collective responsibility and to devise mutually agreed upon ways and processes for moving forward.

We also urge politicians and civil society groups of all ethnicities to acknowledge the suffering of their ethnic others and to develop processes of engagement towards reconciliation.

The war witnessed the targeting of civilians, widespread violence and chauvinistic politics, fear and suspicion among communities. This resulted in severely straining and even destroying pre-­war patterns of co-­‐existence and social and economic mutual dependency, and led to the ghettoisation and polarisation of ethnic communities in war-affected areas.

While the state, Tamil militants and politicians from all groups bear primary responsibility for the violence and its multiple impacts, the role played by religious leaders, community leaders, academics, journalists, lawyers, social workers and others either through their actions or through their silence also contributed to this situation.

In post war Sri Lanka, there have been few initiatives that address the fundamental issues relating to reconciliation. As a result other key processes such as on going return and reconstruction efforts could be undermined. The return of the displaced to the North and East is increasingly difficult for communities who are a minority in a particular area as the ‘host’ community views them as outsiders attempting to grab resources and land. Government and civil society actors often prove unsympathetic, and unsupportive. Development projects in the North and East continue to be designed so as to benefit largely one ethnic community, leaving other communities marginalised, which may force them to construct a similar project. These constitute an unequal and sometimes wasteful distribution of resources that end up reinforcing the segregation of ethnic communities. Ethnic favouritism of one or another community in development practiced during the war continues to be carried out not just by the State but also by international and national humanitarian organisations and by Muslim politicians, thereby reinforcing ethnic prejudices.

The recent statement by 71 Tamil civil society representatives titled ‘An Appeal to the Tamil Community and its Civil and Political Representatives’ in response to the expulsion of Northern Muslims in October 1990 is a welcome gesture in the process of reconciliation. This attempt to confront the past, acknowledge collective responsibility and to forge a new path towards reconciliation could prove to be one of the most significant efforts at promoting Tamil-­Muslim coexistence over the last two decades. It builds on the efforts by individual Tamils in the past to recognise and acknowledge the heinous act that was the expulsion. The statement not only condemns the expulsion and vows ‘never again’ but also points to the long shadow the expulsion has cast on the Northern Muslim community. It also highlights the responsibility of Tamil civilians to address this community’s current situation and will hopefully encourage a broader discussion within the Tamil Community.

The statement also calls for a wider process of dialogue to address the problems of power sharing, equal rights for all citizens and reconciliation; a call which we endorse. Addressing issues of Tamil-Muslim coexistence is a must, for which both communities need to take responsibility.

While welcoming this initiative by Tamil civil society representatives, we as Muslim civil society activists feel that it is also incumbent on us to engage in a process of self examination. The Muslim community struggled to secure recognition for the problems it faced during the war. The expulsion, massacres of Muslim in the East and elsewhere, mass displacement, loss of lands, human rights violations, and exclusion from peace talks are some of the issues that Muslims have had great difficulty in having the larger Sri Lankan community as well as policy makers acknowledge. However, just as we struggled to articulate our own concerns, we also have not been able to fully express empathy with and reach out to other communities who were victimised. In some cases we were even silent on issues faced by sections of the Muslim community, due to our sense of self preservation, fear of challenging the government and the LTTE, and sometimes due to prejudice based on region, class or gender.

We also failed to articulate our empathy with the multiple victims of the conflict, including the victims of ethnic riots prior to the outbreak of war and those killed, missing, maimed and displaced during the bloody years of the war. While all the ethnic communities suffered during the war, the Tamil community in the North and East in particular were subjected to brutal levels of violence and it is paramount that we recognise and acknowledge this.

We welcome the breadth of issues and recommendations covered in the government appointed Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report, including the recognition of some problems faced by the Muslim community. We believe that the LLRC report provides some positive recommendations for consolidating peace and democracy in Sri Lanka.

The report highlights the need for action on a variety of issues ranging from facilitating the return of the displaced, problems of land ownership, demilitarisation; investigations into disappearances and other human rights violations, improving the implementation of the language policy and a government led reconciliation process. We do note, however, significant gaps especially with regard to power sharing and addressing accountability issues. While acknowledging these gaps and calling on the Government to address them, we urge the Government to implement the LLRC’s recommendations, which have far reaching implications for national level reconciliation, peace and democracy.

Developing a mechanism to monitor the implementation that is answerable to Parliament would be a useful step in this regard. As the LLRC report points out the principal actor capable of implementing reconciliation initiatives and of facilitating an environment for reconciliation is the Government. This does not rule out or minimise the critical role that needs to be played by other actors.

For the Muslim community, it is essential that our politicians move beyond their usual response of complaining about exclusion including of Muslim representation in political negotiations. We need to devise a consensus on how we want the variety of post war issues to be addressed, including IDPs and resettlement, land, the political solution and co existence. While this would strengthen our own position, it would also throw into relief the commonality of issues, and the need for consensus building with other communities, including Tamils, Sinhalese and Up Country Tamils. Given the failure of our political leaders to do so, we as civil society activists need to recognise that we have a responsibility to take on this challenge of developing a consensus and to demand that our political representatives take action. Our failure to do so could result in feeding exclusive communal politics, discriminatory social practices and worst of all in sustaining the conflict. We could then lose this historic opportunity to address our differences and to build a Sri Lanka based on principles of pluralism, democracy and justice


1) Ms. Azra Abdul Cader -Colombo
2) Mr M. Abdul Cader -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Puthukudiyiruppu
3) Mr. K.A.M. Aboobaker -Federation of All Farmers Societies, Muttur
4) Mr. A.C. Aboobucker -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Konarpannai
5) Mr. M. Ahamed Naina -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
6) Mr. Hilmy Ahmed
7) Mr. Shifan Ahmed-Colombo
8)Mr. M.H.M. Ajmeer -Matale
9) Ms. M.S. Ajmiya -PMA, Sammanthurai
10) Mr R.M. Ali Khan -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
11) Mr. M.A.C.M. Ameen -Hira Islamic Reawakening Academy
12) Mr. H. Ameer Ali
13) Ms. M. Anitha -Palavi Women Development Society
14) Mr. A.S. Anoordeen
15) Mr. F.M.S. Ansar Moulana -Maruthamunai
16) Mr. M.S. Anver -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
17) Mr. S.A. Ashar -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Konarpannai
18) Ms. U.L.F. Ashriffa -PMA, Sainthamaruthu
19) Mr. S.H. Ashroff-Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
20) Mr. K.M. Asker-All Fishermen’s Federation, Muttur
21) Mr. A.H.M. Aroos -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
22) Ms. L. Arushiya -Women Development Society, Kalpitiya
23) Ms. A. Asvina -Sammanthurai
24) Mr. Y.A. Athuham -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
25) Dr. U.L.A. Azeez -Justice of Peace, Maruthamunai
26) Mr. S.M. Azhar -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
27) Mr. A.G.A. Azeem -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
28) Mr. A.W. Badurdeen -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
29) Ms. S.F. Beham -Women’s Action Network, Trincomalee
30) Ms. M.B.F. Bisliya -Jaffna Civil Society for Equality
31) Ms. M.A.B. Bisriya -Muslim Women’s Development Trust, Puttalum
32) Mr. A.H.M. Buhary -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
33) Mr. A.M. Fahim -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
34) Mr. S.M. Faizal -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Moor Street, Mannar
35) Mr. A.C.M. Faleel -Sainthamaruthu
36) Mr. S.A.C.M. Fareed -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
37) Ms. A. Fareeda -Federation of Women’s Societies, Muttur
38) Moulavi A.A.M. Farzath -Oluvil
39) Ms. Saadiqa Fauz
40) Mr. A.S.M. Firthows -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Moor Street, Mannar
41) Mr. A.R. Furhamdeen -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
42) Mr. M.S. Gazzali
43) Mr. Sajahan Hameed -Board of Trustee Thanneeruthu Mosque
44) Ms. Sharmila Haneefa -Jaffna Civil Society for Equality
45) Ms. Anberiya Hanifa -Muslim Women’s Research Action Forum
46) Mr. M.M. Hanifa -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
47) Dr. Farzana Haniffa -University of Colombo
48) Ms. Rishana Haniffa -Colombo
49) Mr. A.B.M. Hasmin -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Moor Street, Mannar
50) Mr. N.M. Hassan-Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
51) Mr. A.H.M. Hilmy -Maruthamunai
52) Mr. M.A.A.Husain -Mullaitivu District Youth Development Federation
53) Ms. Rifla Husain -Women’s Action Network
54) Mr. S.M.S Hussain -Addalachenai
55) Mr. M.Y.M. Ieyas -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Moor Street, Mannar
56) Mr. M.I. Illiyas -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
57) Mr. M.C.M. Iqbal
58) Dr. Zulfika Ismail
59) Ms. Jezima Ismail -Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum
60) Mr. A.C. Iyoob -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Puthukudiyiruppu
61) Mr. Ameen Izzadeen
62) Mr. M.T. Jaber Ali -Malikaikadu
63) Mr. A.R.A. Jahan -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
64) Mr. M. Jahubar -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Puthukudiyiruppu
65) Ms. M.S. Jaleel -MWRAF, Maruthamunai
66) Mr. S.H.M. Jameel
67) Mr. A. Jameel -Natpiddimunai
68) Mr. S. Jamoon -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
69) Mr. M.I.M. Jawath -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Moor Street, Mannar
70) Mr. A.W.M. Jihad -People’s Forum, Muttur
71) Mr. M. Jusli -Alangkuda Mosque Trustee
72) Mr. M.M. Kajoon -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
73) Mr. M.M. Kamal -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
74) Moulavi M. M. Kareem Masjid Al – Shurah Council Muttur
75) Moulavi K. M. Karees -President, Jamiyyathul Ulama, Muttur
76) Mr. Abdul Kayoom -Batticaloa
77) Mr. V.M. Khalideen -All Mosque Federation Muttur
78) Mr. A.M. Lafeer
79) Mr. M. Liyakath Ali S-ELSS, Ninthavur
80) Dr. M. Mahees -University of Colombo
81) Ms. Jensila Majeed -Women’s Action Network
82) Ms. Jeslina Majeed -Mullaitheevu Women’s Development and Rehabilitation Federation
83) Mr. M.I.M. Mansoor -CELSS, Ninthavur
84) Mr. N. Misjath -Erukkalampiddi Welfare Association for Renaissance Development & Sports
85) Mr. A.C. Mohammed -Sainthamaruthu
86) Mr. Baheej Mohideen -Akkaraipattu
87) Ms. Juweriya mohideen -Muslim Women’s Development Trust, Puttalum
88) Mr. M.I.M. Mohideen
89) Mr. A.S.M. Mowjood -Kalmunai
90) Mr. Mohamed Mubarak
91) Ms. Rameeza Mubarak -Changers Foundation, Batticaloa
92) Ms. S. Mubeetha -Puthukudiruppu Women Development Society
93) Mr. K.M. Abdhul -Muhaimin Organisation for Rural Education and Cultural Services
94) Mr. A.S.M. Mujahith
95) Mr. N.M.A. Munaf -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
96) Mr. A.G.M. Munaffar -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
97) Mr. A.C. Musathide -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
98) Mr. M.N. Mushafque
99) Mr. S.H.A. Muthalifu -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
100) Mr. M.S.M. Naleer -Sainthamaruthu
101) Mr. A.R. Naleer -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
102) Mr. S.A.C. Naseer -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah
Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
103) Mr. M.R.M. Nawfeel -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Moor Street, Mannar
104) Mr. A.H.M. Nawfer -Kalmunai
105) Mr. M.S. Nazaar -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
106) Mr. M.A.M. Nazeer -Kalmunai
107) Mr. Faleel Mohamad Nifraj
108) Ms. J. Nihara -Erukkalampiddi Women’s Society
109) Moulavi S. H. Nizar -Katheeb’s Federation Muttur
110) Mr. A. Niyas -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Puthukudiyiruppu
111) Dr. M.A. Nuhuman
112) Mr. S.M. Nuhuman -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
113) Mr M.H.A. Raheem -Mullaitivu District Displaced Social Service Organisation
114) Mr. Mirak Raheem -Colombo
115) Mr. P.N.M. Rahman-Mussali
116) Mr. M. Rahmathulla-Puttalam
117) Mr. M. Ranoos-Vethatheevu Resettlement and Development Society
118) Mr. A.S. Mohammed Rayees Mannar
119) Mr. A.N. Riyas -Husainiya Jummah Mosque, Tharapuram
120) Mr. M.R.M. Riyas -Kandy
121) Mr. J. Rizard -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
122) Mr. A.R.M. Rizwi -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Moor Street, Mannar
123) Mr. A.C.M. Rumaiz -Puttalam
124) Mr. A.S.M. Safrin -Northern Muslims Students’ Organisation
125) Mr. A.C. Sajahan -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Konarpannai
126) Mr. M.N.M. Sarjah -Oluvil
127) Mr. A.C. Sathar -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Konarpannai
128) Ms. Shreen Abdul Saroor -Mannar Women’s Development Federation
129) Mr. S.S. Seinulabdeen -Mohideen Jummah Mosque & Katubawa Jummah Mosque, Erukkulampiddi
130) Mr. A.L. Subuhan -Jaffna Muslim Development Committee
131) Ms. A.L. Tahgiva -Mediation Board, Sammanthurai
132) Ms. Minna Thaheer -Colombo
133) Mr. M.I.M. Tharjoon
134) Moulavi A.S.H. Thasreeq -Arafa Nagar Resettlement Society
135) Mr. M.M. Umar Saibo -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
136) Mr. M.M. Uthuman Lebbe -Sainthamaruthu
137) Ms. Hafsa Uvais -Colombo
138) Mr. M. Uvais -All Ceylon Moors Association
139) Mr. A.S.M. Uvais Karume -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Moor Street, Mannar
140) Mr. M.A.M. Washasdeen -SESSO, Oluvil
141) Mr. M.H.M. Wazeen Sainthamaruthu
142) Mr. N. Yaseer -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Mannar
143) Mr S.A. Yasser -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Konarpannai
144) Mr. A. Yoonus -Mohideen Jummah Mosque, Puthukudiyiruppu
145) Ms. Faizun Zackariya -Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum
146) Ms. Hazeera Zavahir -Kandy
147) Ms. G.M.R.Zeena -Sainthamaruthu



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