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* Muslim leaders call for self-criticism to rebuild the trust in the community
Thu, May 16, 2019, 11:56 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 16, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Muslim political and civil society leaders today said they are ready for self-criticism to address some of the concerns raised over the Muslim community in Sri Lanka to rebuild the lost trust.

Speaking at a media conference today, Minister of Highways and Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development, Kabir Hashim said the shortcomings of the community could also have breached the trust in the Muslim community. He said the Muslims also should correct that mistake.

Former Ministers Imthiaz Bakeer Markar, Ferial Ashraff and lawyer Ali Sabry also attended the media conference held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo Thursday.

Minister Hashim said the moderate Muslim community in Sri Lanka is attempting to fulfill obligations as Sri Lankans and prepared to make changes to ensure their lifestyles are in line with the majority of Sri Lankans.

The Minister noting that there is criticism against some cultural traditions of the Muslim community, said decisions will be taken in the future looking at those practices detrimental to Sri Lanka.

The Minister appealed to all Sri Lankans to stay united and not isolate the Muslim community.

Speaking at the conference President's Counsel, Ali Sabry said since national unity is of paramount importance for the country all parties involved in extreme violence should be punished regardless of their status.

Sabry said as a Sri Lankan representing Muslim community he vehemently condemns the Easter Sunday attacks on churches by Muslim extremists. He said it was impossible for him to bear it more than anyone else.

Pointing out that every society has differences within and much of what the Muslim community does is not exposed to the society.

He said that from time to time, various disasters came to the country such as the war, and uprisings in 1971 and the late 80's and all should face them together.

He said that the Muslim community has done a lot of things as a society and with the open economy many practices were added to their culture. "Therefore, it is time for us not to allow everything that comes from outside," he said adding that these practices are being reviewed and measure are being taken to regulate such practices.

Mr. Sabry said Madrasa schools should be regulated and everything from the education system and how they receive funding should be regulated.

He pointed out that the Muslim community took action to stop women covering face before the government enacted the law to ban face veils and many other steps that can be taken to integrate into the Sri Lankan culture are being discussed now.

"However, unfortunately if at least one person joins the extremists, then the Muslims as a community will be defeated, the nation will be defeated, "President's Counsel Ali Sabry said.

He pointed out that the Digana incident against Muslims helped the Saharan's group to grow. "Extremism nurtures extremism. Terrorism nurtures terrorism," Sabry said.

However, Sabry said that public should not be deceived with the hidden agenda for ever. "We need to identify the hidden agenda. As Muslims, we have a huge responsibility and some steps should be taken within the Muslim community," he said


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