BOMBERS DO NOT REPRESENT MUSLIMS NOR ISLAMIC FAITH - Muslim leaders say in one voice | Daily News


 

BOMBERS DO NOT REPRESENT MUSLIMS NOR ISLAMIC FAITH - Muslim leaders say in one voice

Madrasas need regulation:
Community ready for self-retrospect :
Calls for calm, expresses solidarity :
Minister Kabir Hashim and Imthiaz Bakeer Markar speaking at yesterday’s press conference. Picture by Shan Rambukwella
Minister Kabir Hashim and Imthiaz Bakeer Markar speaking at yesterday’s press conference. Picture by Shan Rambukwella

Minister Kabir Hashim together with civil society representatives PC Ali Sabry, former Minister Ferial Ashraff and Imthiaz Bakeer Markar speaking on behalf of the Muslim community said that they would own up to the responsibility of self-retrospect in an effort to create communal harmony.

Filling a void of a unified voice representing Muslims in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday terror attacks and communal clashes, they concurred that a close retrospection of their community ranging from lifestyles, schooling, preaching and even clothing was pertinent to ensure that Muslims maintain a Sri Lankan identity.

“We wonder if a section of our Muslim community by way of borrowing traditions from Arabian nations, their practices and teachings have deviated from what we once were as a community,” said former Minister Ferial Ashraff.

“Although we didn’t pay enough heed to these differences, we are ready to take a stand because we can’t let our differences divide us.”

She appealed to Buddhists and Christians not to cast innocent Muslims in the same light as the suicide bombers adding that the bombers do not represent Muslims nor the Islamic faith.

“These Muslims are not responsible for what a handful of terrorists have done.

The more you antagonize ordinary Muslims, the more you thrust them on the path of retaliation and extremism.”

President Counsel Ali Sabry added that the role of Madrasas is questionable since it’s unregulated. “We should know the curriculum taught, caliber of teachers, the funding, governance, structures for which there needs to be an act, regulatory and supervisory body,” he said adding that they are engaged with the All Ceylon Jammithul Ulema on these matters. “But if we continue on this path, alienate the moderate ones, and if an individual becomes a terrorist as a result, we have failed as a society.”

He added that many individuals were prompted by the violence unleashed in Digana and Aluthgama to retaliate against those perpetrators which eventually led them to pursue extremist ideologies.

Minister Kabir Hashim condemning the terrorist attacks said that Muslims as a community have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure that extremism is rooted out. He cited the search operations in Sainthamaruthu and Mawanella where Muslims themselves tipped off police on the activities of extremist individuals.

“Three months before Easter attacks, when three Buddha statues were vandalized, we assisted the police with their investigations. One of my coordinating secretary Thaslim who gave information to police was shot in the head in front of his wife and three-year-old child. Today that person is still fighting for his life. That is the price we paid.”

He added that despite the setbacks, they never took a step back or became complacent and still continue to assist the police and law enforcement agencies which he says is every Muslim’s responsibility.

Meanwhile, Imthiaz Bakeer Markar requested the media, politicians and clergy to not take advantage of the plight of Muslims. “Every few years we have to face such communal clashes, we cannot go on in this manner,” he said. “It is the aim of terrorists to divide communities and we should not assist them in this endeavour.”


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