Sri Lanka Muslim leader dismayed over hate campaign

Last Updated: Sunday, January 20, 2013 - 22:05

Colombo: Sri Lankan Justice Minister and leader of a leading Muslim party has expressed dismay at what he called an anti-Muslim hate campaign being run by extremists and asked the government to take necessary steps to protect the vulnerable.

Rauff Hakeem, the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), which is a part of the ruling coalition, also expressed dissatisfaction at the way the administration was dealing with this issue.

His comments came after members of a Sinhala extremist group, Sihala Ravaya, stormed a Muslim-owned department store in the Colombo suburb of Maharagama yesterday, asking for the facility to be removed from the area.

Hakeem, who is also the Minister of Justice, said in a statement that he was dismayed by the apathy displayed by authorities to check the spread of this hate campaign.

Calling for action to prevent such a campaign from growing, Hakeem said the government was duty bound to protect the weak and vulnerable communities.

The SLMC leader in his statement says that Muslims should not fall prey to this campaign of hatred launched by vested interests.

Another Sinhala majority group, Bodu Bala Sena or the Force of the Buddhists had late last year called on the Sinhalese to boycott Muslim businesses. The campaign failed to gain momentum, though.

In September 2011, a group of Buddhist monks led a crowd that demolished a Muslim shrine in Anuradhapura, an ancient Buddhist city and UNESCO world heritage site.

PTI




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