Colombo, Nov 19 (NIA) – The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, on Saturday, strongly objected to a statement made by Justice Minister, Wijedasa Rajapakse, that 32 new Muslims from ‘well educated’ families had joined the IS in Syria.
Rajapakse told Parliament on Friday that according to intelligence reports, 32 members from four families had joined the IS militant orgaisation but refused to divulge further details.
He said these Muslims were not from ordinary families. “These people are from the families which are considered as well-educated and elite,” Rajapakshe said, adding that the government was aware of some foreigners coming to Sri Lanka to spread what he called Islamic extremism.
“If somebody tries to spread extremism in this country, we will not allow for that from today. The law of this country is no different to Buddhist monks or ordinary people,” he said.
Rajapakse’s statement has been strongly objected by the MCSL, an umbrella body that includes most Muslim organizations in the country, who have urged the Minister to provide evidence and take immediate action against anyone who may have violated the laws of the land, irrespective of ethnicity or religion.
“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,” MCSL president N M Ameen said in a statement.
“There have been no new reports of any others involved since this was reported last year,” he said.
Ameen said the Minister’s statement comes at a very opportune time to certain extremist elements bent on tarnishing the image of the Muslim community for reasons only best known to them.
“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.”
“We urge the Hon 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,” the MCSL President said.