Consolidate domestic harmony
A statement by
Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha which we front-paged yesterday
drove home the point that religious harmony in this country
which is continuing vibrantly must be further consolidated.
Apparently, a potentially damaging rumour was doing the rounds
that some state agencies were making a list of some of this
country's Muslim religious institutions. The statement by the
Deputy Minister effectively quashes this rumour and puts the
record straight on the matters raised.
We could rest assured that the state would be leaving nothing
to chance on the question of continued social harmony. A couple
of months back when some tensions of a religious nature were
stirred in Dambulla, the state lost no time in defusing the
issues in question. Since then, complete religious harmony has
prevailed, as it did for centuries previously, but the Dambulla
tensions and the rumour mentioned earlier, point to the fact
that there could be forces in our polity which are inimical to
this country's hallowed tradition of religious tolerance.
The vast majority of the public is of a peaceful disposition
and would say 'no' vehemently to discord of any nature among our
communities. But as in the case of communal disharmony, there
could be political forces which are seeking to have a vested
interest in religious tensions. We hope we would be proved
wrong, but nothing could be left to chance. Looked at
objectively, from a Political Science perspective, the
possibility cannot be ruled out of parochial-minded political
forces seeking to destabilize our hard won peace and harmony.
Such dark designs should be resoundingly defeated.
One lesson which our polity should have learnt from the 30
year conflict which was effectively resolved by the Mahinda
Rajapaksa administration was that although it is very easy to
trigger social conflicts it is astoundingly difficult to resolve
them. We in Sri Lanka should know this lesson fully well because
we suffered collectively for 30 long years. It should be obvious
to all sections that in such conflicts there are no winners.
There are only losers. Accordingly, it would be foolhardy for
any quarter to seek to stoke religious tensions within our
Yet, there could be sections which would prefer to put narrow
short term gain above the collective interests of the country.
These forces must be defeated and this is not a task for only
the state. It is a task for the whole of society and we hope
civil society too would address its mind to this challenge
Perhaps, the state should think in terms of outlawing
divisive political forces which seek to undermine religious and
communal harmony. True, religious disharmony is not an issue
among us but nothing could be left to chance, as said earlier.
We believe the religious and ethnic communities of our land
should think in terms of linking hands with each other more
tightly and resolve to take Sri Lanka into a bright new future
where social disharmony of any kind would not be heard of.
We call on all sections of society to be proactively involved
in peace-building among our ethnic and religious communities.
Besides the state continuously working towards social harmony in
all its dimensions, the moderates in all our communities need to
come forward and say 'no' vehemently to disharmony of any kind.
Besides, they must stand united against divisive political
currents which are seeking to sow the seeds of discord among us.
We propose that all well meaning persons and groups be
proactively involved in creating more and more harmony among our
social segments. They should ensure empathetic understanding is
solidly built among all social groups. Men and women of goodwill
need to stand-up and be counted.