UNP, Bodu Bala Sena in pow-wow
- Kabir Hashim-led UNP team meet BBS reps in Parliament for talks
- Main Opposition says Muslim Ministers in Govt. are neglecting the issue
- Kabir refutes charges about Muslim extremist groups; clarifies Halal, Sharia Law concerns
By Dharisha Bastians
Charging that Muslim representatives in the Government were doing nothing to defuse tensions rising against the Muslim community, the main Opposition United National Party yesterday held lengthy discussions with the Bodu Bala Sena, a monk-led extremist Buddhist organisation that has been at the forefront of recent anti-Muslim protests in the island.
A delegation of the UNP’s Muslim Professionals Group led by Kegalle District MP Kabir Hashim held discussions with four monk representatives of the Bodu Bala Sena, a UNP Spokesman told the Daily FT. The discussions, which lasted for over two hours, were
During the talks, Hashim, who was joined by Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil, UNP Western Provincial Councillor, Mujibur Rahman and two others, attempted to clarify certain misconceptions about the Halal Certification and aspects of Sharia Law, the party said.
The Bodu Bala Sena reportedly raised the issue of Muslim extremist groups in the island receiving significant foreign funding, during the discussions.
Hashim responded that if there was in fact such information, then the Bodu Bala Sena representatives should present their suspicions before the Defence Ministry and request a full-scale investigation, the UNP Spokesman said. However, Hashim reiterated that there were no such Muslim extremist groups active in the country, the Party Spokesman added.
The UNP said that the Bodu Bala Sena representatives had been satisfied with the explanations and clarifications provided by the Opposition delegation.
The talks between the UNP and the Bodu Bala Sena will continue periodically in order to defuse misunderstandings that could result in religious tension, the party said.