A group of Muslim professionals feels that its community members should cast their votes wisely for peaceful coexistence and for a Government which would pave the way for economic development of the country and peaceful living.
Speaking on behalf of the group, accountant Nawaz Mustapha, son of one-time Finance Minister M.M. Mustapha, said that the statement is being issued after a series of brainstorming sessions and interactions carried out among the professionals of the community.
The statement said: “We are at the cusp of an important election. The voters need to assess the past and focus on the future in a learned manner. Our decision should be good for the nation. Therefore, as considered it is present this analysis and present, so that it could help you make your decision at the upcoming General Election.
“The reason why the vast majority of Muslims voted for the UNP in the early days of independence was because of the patronage of many prominent Muslim businessmen who saw the party’s business-friendly policies beneficial. Those large businesses were not sustained over the period. Now those businesses don’t exist. Over the years, this voting behavior became the norm for the Muslims. It was not rational. By and large now the Muslim businesses are small businesses. It is time that the community re-evaluate its undisputed allegiance to one party.
“Muslims having been coexisting peacefully with other communities for centuries. Unfortunately, the doings of certain elements in the society have disturbed that peace in the recent past. Some political elements try to shift the blame to the Rajapaksa administration by twisting the facts. Case in point is the Easter Sunday attacks. We need to critically analyse these false propaganda to determine the truth.
“Looking at the foreign policies of the Rajapaksa administration, they focus on maintaining cordial ties with all countries. However, the potentials of Muslim world, Arab countries in particular have not been fully exploited, whereas Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaska had paid official visits to a large number of them and established favorable links with all of them. No other leader had this amount of respect and regards with them other than Mrs. Bandaranaike. We need a great external support for economic development. Effective utilization of the connections we have with the Muslim world would give a great positive energy for economic growth.
“Furthermore, we have observed that in the eight-month tenure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he has steered the country in the right direction with harmony among communities.
“What is needed now is a strong Government which will lead to economic development. Economic development paves the way for greater harmony among communities. The great development we saw in all parts of the country after the defeat of LTTE. We also witnessed the retardation of development during the unstable Government. We also witnessed the emergence of disunity during the last weak Government.
“In final analysis, we advise the community to take a wise decision in electing a strong Government for economic prosperity and a harmonious nation,” the statement concluded.