‘Political action unless situation under control within a month’ | Daily News
Rauff Hakeem in Australian radio interview: 31 mosques damaged:

‘Political action unless situation under control within a month’

Unless the current harassment of the Muslim community is brought under control within the month, those Muslim Parliamentarians who have resigned their portfolios will be “compelled to take political action”, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and former Minister Rauff Hakeem has told Australian ABC Radio.

The SLMC leader who led the Muslim ministers and deputy ministers in a mass protest resignation last week, has said in the radio interview that: “We have pledged to sit as backbenchers in Parliament and continue to support the government nevertheless.

But we have given them an ultimatum. Unless this situation is brought under control, we will be compelled to take political action.”

The SLMC leader, however, did not spell out the ‘political action’ that could be taken.

The audio recording of the interview appears on the official Facebook page of former Minister Hakeem.

Hakeem expressed his alarm over “xenophobic extremist forces demonizing the innocent Muslim minority after the Easter Sunday terror attacks”. He also noted that 31 mosques have been vandalized in various parts of the country following the Easter Sunday carnage.

Explaining as to why the Muslim MPs gave up their portfolios, Hakeem said that: “We have collectively decided, not in order to capitulate to xenophobic extremist forces who are demanding action against certain colleagues of ours. But the collective action, instead, has been taken to emphasize the need for the government to act against these xenophobic forces instigating violence against the minorities who have thrown all kinds of charges against the community which are yet to be proved. What we felt was that there has to be some strong solidarity when the Muslim community, as a whole, is feeling as if they are in a perilous situation without the government forces taking the necessary steps to contain hate speech and hate culture which has resulted in a climate of cultural impunity.”

Speaking further, Hakeem said “After the Easter Sunday bomb attacks, the Catholic people who were at the receiving end of the heinous bomb attacks had maintained calm and composure. However, subsequently, xenophobic extremist elements went around instigating violence against Muslims in certain parts of the country resulting in serious damage to property. While being in government we have failed in taking sufficient action against forces that attacked the people who voted for us.”

“We were getting things organized within the government. We saw this hunger strike and various other elements using their privilege as Buddhist monks, one of whom who have been given pardon in an unprecedented manner by the President himself, going around the country, instigating people, threatening violent action.”

“So this hate speech by such religious bigots was totally ignored by the law enforcement forces. This is a matter for serious concern with such forces being unleashed. Muslim leaders have co-operated with law and order and security forces to apprehend the culprits of the Easter Sunday attacks. By and large all of them have been apprehended and we have cooperated. But unfortunately baseless allegations are brought about. These xenophobic forces are going around instigating violence against Muslims.”

Explaining last week’s mass resignation, Hakeem pointed out: “We want these claims thoroughly investigated. In case their innocence is indicated or they are found aiding terrorism in any manner, they are open to being punished for that. Such fair action is fully in order. Demonization of the Muslim community as a whole, must stop forthwith. A whole community is demonized due to the actions of a few, on the pretext of blaming Wahhabism for instigating terrorism. But, finally, they are targeting the Muslim community and their shops and businesses.”

“Thirty one mosques have been attacked mercilessly in many parts of the country. And the threat to carry the carnage further was very much alive yesterday and day before while the hunger strike was on.”



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