‘Rein in extremist mobs’: Muslim Council of Sri Lanka
Saturday, 18 January 2014 00:00
Muslim group says Buddhist monks acting as unofficial police; intimidating minorities after Sunday’s church attacks
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to “rein in” extremist mobs that infringe upon the people’s fundamental right to worship, following the two attacks on Christian churches in the southern town of Hikkaduwa last Sunday (12).
In an open letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lanka Muslim Council drew his attention to what it called a mob attack on the Assemblies of God Church and Calvary Free Church in Hikkaduwa while the congregations were engaging in peaceful worship services on 12 January.
The Council charged that Buddhist monks were continuing to intimidate minority communities and publicly make claims about being the country’s ‘unofficial police’.
“This is not the first incident of this nature and the police who were present could not prevent these elements from causing havoc at a place of religious worship,” the letter goes on to say.
“This has become a growing trend and has gone unchecked,” the Council said in the letter.
The Muslim Council urges the President to order law enforcement agencies to “rein in the mobs that “infringe on the peoples’ fundamental right to worship.”
The Council said the Muslim community had also faced many situations of violence, harassment and intimidation by extremist Buddhist groups. “Up to now, the Police have not made any arrests in any of these incidents,” the Council charged.
“Should there be any breach of law by any individual or groups, we kindly urge that due process is followed and necessary legal action is taken without letting individuals or religious groups to take the law in to their own hands,” the letter to President Rajapaksa said.
The Council said it looked forward to a complete halt to the threat to minority communities by these extremist groups by immediate action by the President. (DB)