The riots claimed at least four lives and were mainly carried out by gangs of Sinhalese Buddhists.
Muslim council for hate groups ban
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to immediately investigate the actions of all extremist groups and ban those who have been carryout a campaign of hate, intimidation and violence against Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities.
In a letter to the President, a copy of which was released to the media, the Muslim Council said that recent incidents have heightened fears that violence will spread and that Muslims will come under attack, resulting in deaths and injuries, the destruction of businesses and homes, and the mass flight of Muslims from their homes and communities.
The Muslim Council recalled that appeals made to the police and other authorities by several Muslim groups and the Muslim politicians to stop the rally in Aluthgama that preceded the recent attack was not heeded.
“We feel that it is necessary and urgent that the climate of impunity with which these groups have been permitted to act thus far is challenged. We urge decisive action by your Excellency’s Government to restore and uphold the rule of law in this country. It is necessary that a culture of respect for ethnic and religious tolerance– a part of this country’s rich and ancient heritage –is endorsed and encouraged at the highest levels,” the Muslim Council added.
The Muslim Council also said that there has been a strategic build up to this violence during the last two years by the Bodu Bala Sena, the Sihala Ravaya and the Ravana Balakaya and that the violence in Aluthgama and Beruwela is not something that happened spontaneously, but was a well planned and coordinated assault to attack the Muslim community and their economic base.
“Extremists continue to inflame and incite violence against the Muslims and other religious minorities, and this must be stopped. It is important that, under your Excellency’s able leadership, Sri Lanka will not repeat the same mistakes of July 1983. This country cannot continue to witness private feuds being turned in to racial violence. Therefore we urge you to commence an investigation into these groups’ activities, including into the hate speech, inciting violence and direct involvement in violence, and ensure that they function within the law of this country. We also urge your Excellency to ban any group that continues with hate campaigns and inciting violence,” the Muslim Council said in its letter to the President.
The Muslim Council says the Muslim community are committed citizens of this country and the Presidents decisive and immediate action at this juncture will reinforce their faith in him to resolve to ensure that all communities will be treated as equal citizens. (Colombo Gazette)