- Muslim Affairs Minister requests Muslims to pray at home
- ACJU says stands in solidarity with those affected by attacks
- Requests Muslim community to pray for Sri Lanka
By Nuwan Senarathna
Given the prevailing security situation, the Government yesterday requested the Muslim community not to participate in Jumu’ah prayers at noon today but pray at home following concerns of possible attacks.
The request was issued by Muslim Religious Affairs Minister M.H. Abdul Haleem after a notice by the Police was circulated among the public warning of potential attacks.
The letter, which was printed on letterhead paper of the Office of the Inspector General of Police, said that military intelligence had warned Police of possible attacks at some mosques that were built with tombs of shrines dedicated to saints, which are also colloquially referred to as avuliya mosques.
The letter also requested Police officials to provide additional protection to VIPs.
Minister Haleem in the statement requested Muslims to pray at home for the peace and security of the country. “We need to earnestly pray that Almighty Allah destroys the activities of these inhuman terrorists,” he further stated.
Meanwhile, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) also requested the Muslim community to make Dhuhr prayer instead of Jumu’ah prayers on Friday, insisting safety should be placed first. The ACJU also encouraged and advised women not to wear the face covering niqab to assist security operations.
Addressing media at the ACJU Head Office in Colombo, ACJU President Mufti M.I.M. Rizwe called on the Government to provide necessary protection to all places of religious worship.
“On behalf of the Muslim community we, the ACJU, express our deepest sympathies to the families affected and pray for the quick recovery of all injured by the terrorist attacks and thereby we stand in solidarity with the Christian community,” he said.
He said the Muslim community vehemently condemned the act of terrorism on Christians while at worship in their churches on Sunday. He requested authorities to bring those responsible for the attack before the law and mete out maximum punishment.
He pointed out that there was no place in Islam for extremism, murder or violence against innocent people and it was regarded as one the gravest sins. He noted the attackers did not belong to the Muslim community and their bodies would not be accepted.
According to Rizwe, ACJU and other Muslim organisations had been continuously informing Defence authorities and requesting them to take necessary actions against individuals who hold extremist ideologies.
ACJU Spokesman Akram Nooramith told media they did not have any connection with the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) and the authorities had been alerted to certain activities of the group.
He acknowledged ACJU was aware of certain groups that had been spreading hate speech among the community for several years, but they were not aware of plans for an attack. He noted they had taken all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the country as peace-loving citizens.