May 02, Colombo: Muslim legislators of Sri Lanka have asked the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to immediately intervene to stop the anti-Muslim hate campaign carried out by the extremist Buddhist groups.
In a letter to the President, the Muslim parliamentarians asked to pay attention to the continued hate campaign, intimidation and threats to Muslims, carried out by some Buddhist extremist elements of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Sihala Ravaya and Ravana Balakaya organizations.
The Muslim MPs' letter follows the government's measure to establish a special police unit to address the hate crimes committed against religious minorities.
The group of legislators noted that the extremist Buddhist organizations have been targeting Muslim places of worship, Halal food, the Muslim attire and now the resettlement of the Muslim lDPs who were expelled by the LTIE in 1990 from the North in the worst act of ethnic cleansing in the country's history.
They pointed out that those Muslims displaced by the LTTE orders did not even benefit from the resettlement scheme implemented by the government and international agencies including the cash grants provided by the UNHCR.
"In the absence of any substantial support for their resettlement, the Muslim religious, political and civil society leadership has been soliciting support for their resettlement from benevolent donors of Muslim countries and individuals."
They noted that with the support from donors a number of houses have been constructed following all due procedures of land distribution through the Divisional Secretariat and the Presidential Task Force for resettlement.
However, the BBS and allegedly some sections of the media are now campaigning that this resettlement has encroached the Wilpattu National Park and illegal.
"We the undersigned kindly request Your Excellency’s immediate intervention to stop the harassment of these lDPs who have lived in different parts of the country as refugees and as a 'Forgotten' people over the last 23 years," the Muslim MPs wrote to the President.
Senior Minister AHM Fowzie, Ministers Rauf Hakeem, ALM Athaullah, Rishad Bathiyutheen, deputy ministers Basheer Segu Dawood, and Faizer Mustapha, MPs Kabir Hasim, MS Thowfeek, Faisal Cassim, Hassan Ali, MSM Aslam, MHM Haleem, MLAM Hisbullah, Unais Farook, and Mustapha Bawa Farook were among the Muslim MPs.
Sri Lankan President recently, responding to the complaints of rising incidents of religious intolerance from extremist Buddhist monk groups towards religious minorities, especially towards Muslims, assured that he will not allow any individual or an organization to take the law into their hands and create religious discord in the country.
The incidents against Muslims have raised alarms among the moderate public as well as in the international community and the country has come under severe criticism for failing to take any meaningful actions to curtail the unfair treatment.