MCSL objects to Justice Minister’s statement on Muslim community

Colombo [Sri Lanka], Nov. 20 : The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) has objected to the statement made by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe in Parliament regarding the Muslim community.

Rajapakshe told the Parliament earlier on Friday that information has been uncovered on 32 well-educated Sri Lankan Muslims of four families joining the Islamic State in Syria, reports the Colombo Page.

Reacting to the comment, MCSL president N.M. Ameen said that the Minister's statement implies that 32 Muslims have joined the ISIS recently. "We strongly object to this misplaced statement. The facts given by the Honorable Minister were reported in the media more than one year ago when a Sri Lankan combatant died fighting with ISIS," Ameen said in a statement.

"There have been no new reports of any others involved since this was reported last year," he pointed out.

Ameen said it is believed that one family had gone to Syria to provide humanitarian support to the war wounded and refugees.

"Some of the men are alleged to have joined or forced to join the fighting forces of ISIS. The Muslim community, including the Muslim Council, Jamiathul Ulema and other organizations cooperated with the government in identifying the families to provide the necessary support for the intelligence agencies to investigate.

Those who have gone to Syria as quoted by Hon. Rajapakshe include women and children," he added. Ameen said that Rajapakshe's statement comes at a very opportune time when extremist elements are trying to tarnish the image of the Muslim community.

"The Muslims of Sri Lanka has a long history of peaceful co-existence and have stood with the Sri Lankans at good times and at times of adversity," he said.

"As alleged by the Hon. Minister, no Muslim international school invites extremists to indoctrinate its children with fundamentalism.

Such has been the language of certain countries who created terrorists out of Madrasas in Pakistan to achieve their own ends.

We urge Hon. Wijedasa Rajapakshe to provide the evidence and take immediate action against anyone may have violated the laws of the land irrespective of ethnicity or religion," the statement read.

"The Muslim community is seriously alarmed about the re-emergence of the racist campaign that was carried out by extremist Buddhist monks since the end of the war in 2009.

Many youth too have started social media campaigns against the Muslim community. The statements made by the Hon Minster would only help to disturb peace and promote the interests of certain vested interests to destroy our country," he said.

The MCSL president urged the Minister and the government to investigate this and take appropriate action.

"We urge the government to take immediate steps to halt all form of extremism and restore peace and harmony for all Sri Lankans," he concluded.

Source: ANI