Thursday, 24 April 2014 00:00
By Faiszer Musthapha
I wish to convey my grave anguish and great concern in regard to the action of misguided elements which is calculated to vilify Islam and the Muslim community and thereby endanger the harmonious relations that have prevailed in this country between the Muslims and other communities. In this context, I am gravely perturbed by the statement made by the Rev.Galaboda Athe Gnanasara, the Secretary of the BBS who was portrayed on television.
This is a grotesque distortion of the Holy Quran which contains no such injunction and this fabrication is calculated to arouse the feelings of the Muslims. The Holy Quran, to us Muslims, is the word of God and our undisputed guide. The above statement is mischievous, derogatory of the Holy Quran and gravely blasphemous.
This is not the only occasion on which the BBS is reported to have deliberately misquoted the Holy Quran. It was widely reported in the media that on 17 March 2013, at a meeting held by the BBS in Kandy, a person said to be a Buddhist monk, had, in the course of his address stated that the Holy Quran requires a Muslim to spit into food served to non Muslims. This is an enormous lie and is a figment of the imagination of the speaker concerned.
It is most distressing that such statements should emanate from persons who have adopted the saffron robe, which is held in universal esteem and who claims to follow the teachings of Lord Buddha. The compassion and tolerance preached by the Buddha resonate with each of us and represent common values to which we can all relate. These actions are a negation of such noble teachings and are indulged in by a highly vocal but miniscule group.
In the face of these provocative acts, the Muslim community has acted with commendable restraint.
I am a strong believer in a united Sri Lanka and I have tirelessly advocated a Sri Lankan identity. I have had the privilege of being elected to Parliament from the Kandy District, a predominantly Sinhala Buddhist electorate. I have also had the honour of working under the guidance of Most Ven. Mahanayakes on a number of projects of importance to Buddhists.
Our beloved country needs to come together as one nation. We have emerged from a 30-year-old conflict and the Government is engaged in a process of reconciliation coupled with development. These misguided elements should appreciate that such actions greatly threaten the efforts to arrive at a Sri Lankan identity and would destabilise the country.
Whilst condemning these acts, I appeal to these misguided elements to refrain from such despicable conduct. I am sure that all right thinking Sri Lankans would echo this sentiment.
(The writer is a Member of Parliament and is the Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion.)