Deputy Minister for Investment Promotion Faiszer Musthapha in a statement yesterday emphasised that there should be no room left for fanning communal and religious hatred.
Following is the full text of his statement:
Firstly, as a representative of the Muslim community in this country and secondly as a responsible member of the Government, I wish to commend the Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara, for initiatives taken by him and his Ministry for addressing the imperative need of the hour to cry halt to the fanning of communal and religious hatred.
It is clear from the recent actions of a small group of individuals, that there exists an organised campaign to destabilise the country which is on the fast-track of post conflict development and reconciliation. The hard-won victory for peace is now at stake. The intention of this group seems to be to arouse the feelings of the Muslim community in this country who have been part and parcel of the national fabric for hundreds of years.
The Muslim community, along with the other minority communities, has peacefully cohabited with the majority community and indeed contributed much to the defence of the country and preserving its national heritage. A few misguided elements should not be allowed to destroy this bond.
Sri Lankans are all too aware of the repercussions of arousing hatred based on ethnicity, having just recovered from a 30-year long debilitating war that cost the country its global competitiveness. But since May 2009, we have seen the progress the country has made in different fronts and in fact we have become an emerging nation in South Asia.
However, since May 2009, we had witnessed a virulent campaign being carried out in the international fora against the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The fodder for such activities was provided by certain groups within the country.
The anti-Muslim hate campaign is not a campaign approved or endorsed by the large majority of the Buddhist community. Several Buddhist prelates of the calibre of Venerable Dr. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thero and laymen had voiced concern against the religious hate campaign carried out against the Muslims.
This campaign on one hand is aimed at distancing the Muslim community from supporting the Government both locally and globally while on the other hand, within the country it is used as a tool to affix a wrong label on the Government, despite the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statements on the need to promoting communal and religious harmony. Therefore, as the need of the hour is to project a Sri Lankan identity and not an identity based on ethnicities, I appeal to all Members of Parliament and the civil society to voice their concern against all forms of campaigns which are detrimental to strengthening the nation’s reconciliation process.