No community will be held hostage - President
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said no community in this country will be
allowed to be hostage of another community or group under his rule.
“This will be made a reality by driving out the last LTTE terrorist,”
President Rajapaksa said adding that this will be achieved in the not
too distant future.
“All the communities should get-together as a nation so that they can
usher peace, prosperity and enjoy the benefits arising out of it,” he
President Rajapaksa was addressing a large gathering of Muslims from
all the electorates in the Kandy district at President’s House, Kandy on
A child greets President Mahinda Rajapaksa who addressed Muslims
in the Central Province on Saturday. Picture by Chandana Perera
“The United National Party said there would be no freedom for Muslims
to observe their religious practices if I was elected to power. This
conspiracy to turn the Muslims against me has now been defeated,” he
“At a time when many were unaware of where Palestine was, I supported
the Palestinian cause nationally and internationally as the President of
Sri Lanka Palestinian Friendship Association long ago.
“We didn’t change our policies under any circumstances. We maintain
good relations with Arab countries while dealing with Western countries
as well,” President Rajapaksa said.
“Our relations with Muslim countries are centuries old and they are
on a very firm footing nowadays,” he said. President Rajapaksa said the
Iranian President visited Sri Lanka at a time when the fuel price was
US$147 per barrel.
“He agreed to sell us fuel at a concessionary loan basis for seven
months. If not for that, we would have faced a grave crisis then. The
Opposition Leader was unhappy with this,” the President said.
Iran helped us start the Umaoya project and Sapugaskanda oil refinery
project. We are also trying to find employment to our youth in these
countries,” he said.
Muslim leaders who worked with the UNP are now with the Government.
They know that they are receiving a fair treatment from this Government,
President Rajapaksa said.
“Then Minister Badi-Ud-Deen Mahmoud did a yeoman service to Muslims
as Education Minister. He did that service to Muslim as a Minister in
our Government. Today Muslim leaders from Mutur, Ampara and Beruwala are
with us because they know we are genuinely doing a good service to this
community,” he said.
“The Tigers chased around one lakh of people from the North and they
are still in refugee camps. We redeemed the East from the Tigers and
started development programs. We resettled the Muslims in three months,”
President Rajapaksa said.
“When Muslims in Jaffna were chased out in hundred thousands, the UNP
leader didn’t express even sympathy. They were also silent when 4,000
Muslims from Mutur were chased out. But we were able to resettle them in
40 days.” he said.
“We are providing them with the education. If Kinniya was still under
LTTE control, the intelligent Muslim girl from Kinniya would never have
been able to come first in the G.C.E. Advanced Level examination in the
Art stream,” he said “We subject the areas captured from the LTTE to
development activities. Then we will resettle the people there”.
“Our fight against terrorism is not against Tamils. We must redeem
the people from the terrorists clutches”, President Rajapaksa said.
“Our children are free to go to school with their school bags and
shoes. But the children in the North don’t enjoy that freedom. They are
given the T56 in place of school bags. They are made to go to camps,
instead of schools with the cyanide capsule around their necks,” he
“There was a time when our people lit fire crackers in favour of
Pakistan team during cricket matches between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
That situation has now changed with Sanath Jayasuriya being greeted by
Muslims. Now the Muslims have developed a sense of patriotism and
feeling of oneness among them,” President Rajapaksa said.
“The need for a Muslim boys’ school in Kandy is greatly felt. We will
provide one soon,” he said.
Ministers A.H.M. Fowzie, Susil Premajayantha, Rajitha Seneratne,
Keheliya Rambukwella, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Ameer Ali, A.L.M.
Athaualla, Deputy Minister Faizer Musthapa and Central Province Governor
Tikiri Kobbekaduwa were also present.