No place for extremism in Sri Lanka, says envoy
Sri Lankan ambassador to the Kingdom Vadivel Krishnamoorthy has allayed fears of the Sri Lankan Muslim expatriate community amid growing concerns about the anti-Muslim campaign on the island saying that Islamic traditions are well respected in the South Asian country.
His remarks came at an iftar party held recently for Sri Lankan expatriates in the Kingdom. The Sri Lanka Muslim community in the Kingdom raised concerns when violence broke out in Sri Lanka on June 15 after a rally led by the ultranationalist Buddhist Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) organization left four Muslims dead, 80 injured and destroyed numerous homes and businesses in the town of Aluthgama and its surrounding areas. The attendees at the iftar were united in their common fear for the safety of the Muslims back home.
Addressing the event, Krishnamoorthy said: “There is no place for extremism in Sri Lanka. We respect Islamic traditions and bigotry, fear and exclusion have no place in our beautiful island. Generations of patriotic Muslims in our country have demonstrated that Islam, like many other faiths, is part of our national story.”
He said Sri Lanka recognizes the importance of Ramadan and the government is committed to creating bridges of understanding and respect that will bring people of all faiths together and build stronger bonds of communication and cooperation.” He said the
Mohamed Shafraz, an expatriate worker who hails from the recently affected Alutgama area of Sri Lanka, said that although the violence is over, the fear still lingers.
“My family back home was witness to the violence and are still restless,” he said, adding that assurances are being given but the root cause of the problem is not being dealt with.
At the end of the event, Sri Lankan Muslim philanthropists who had contributed generously were thanked profusely for making the program a grand success.
Separate arrangements were made for women and children to break their fast. The program for the day included three speeches on the significance of fasting in Ramadan by Hijaz Moulavi and Rahumin Nizer, followed by dinner.
During the iftar, traditional “Kanji” (porridge) were served along with typical Sri Lankan treats and fresh juices to the guests.