Court orders closure of Dehiwala mosque

Wednesday, 5 March 2014 00:48 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Police file public nuisance suit against Kadawatha Road mosque
  • Claim mosque is unregistered
  • Mosque trustees dispute the claim, scheduled to go before court today
One day after a draft resolution sponsored by the US Government at the UN Human Rights Council noted with “alarm” rising attacks on places of religious worship in Sri Lanka, a court has ordered the closure of a mosque in Dehiwala after Police filed a public nuisance case against the premises. The Gangodawila Magi-strate yesterday issued an injunction against the Kadawatha Road mosque in Kalubowila Dehiwala, demanding the cessation of all religious activities on the premises. The order follows a case filed by the Kohuwala Police on 20 February that the mosque was a public nuisance and was an unregistered place of religious worship. However the mosque trustees contend that the mosque is legally registered with the Wakf Board, the legal body that is authorised to register Mosques and Muslim places of worship. Lawyers for the mosque trustees will be going to court today against the injunction, Sri Lanka Muslim Council representatives told the Daily FT. While the Police has filed a public nuisance complaint against the mosque, the premises do not use a public address system, the representatives said. The Kadawatha Road mosque functions largely as a prayer and learning centre, conducting Qu’ran classes and small prayer meetings, not even Friday prayers, the representatives explained. The closure comes just days after a group of Muslim representatives and businessmen met with Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 25 February, on the initiative of Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil, where there were given an assurance that the Government would not permit the closure of registered mosques. Rising attacks against minority faiths in the island, both in terms of violence and discrimination has featured heavily in the US draft resolution on Sri Lanka. The resolution explicitly calls on the Government to bring to book those perpetrators of attacks against temples, mosques and churches in the island.