Stop Anti Muslim Campaign in Sri Lanka
20th June 2014 -Joint Press Release STOP ANTI MUSLIM CAMPAIGN IN SRI LANKA
We condemn the anti – Muslim Violence instigated by the Bodhu Bala Sena in Aluthgama and Beruwela recently in Sri Langka . The incident had resulted in 3 deaths and over sixty injuries including Muslim owned houses, businesses and Mosques were torched. We are shocked by the unhindered outbreak of the communal violence on Sunday June 15th 2014 that was triggered off by the “Ethno Religious Fascist” Organization the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS). The reported case that have triggered the violence clearly indicattes that the anti Muslim sentimen through hate speeches and rallies lead by prominent BBS leaders should have awaken the police to anticipate the violence.It is surprising that the police only stood by and took not preventive action to stop the certain violent outcome .
This intentional attack on Muslim homes , business premises and mosques , provoked and fired-up by an anti Muslim procession must be condemned . It is unacceptable that the securities are allowing this criminal act , less they will be seen as also in complicit with the violence to launch a massacre and extermination of Muslims. The Muslims have the right to defend their mosque from any destructive intention from the attackers. The attrocities inflicted on the Muslims by the extremist and racist movement , targeting Muslims is deliberate and had ignored the law. The call for “holy war” the monks against the Muslims who has been living in mixed neighbourhood amidst the Sinhala people is tantamount to calling for a full fledge civil war in Sri Lanka. Some of those in the forefront in the attacks were in yellow,maroon and saffron robes. The government must act fast to curb further violence and stop the perpetrators amongst the extrimist Budfhist monks who are fueling the attack . They must be brought to justice for the crime they have committed and peace and order must be enforced by the security forces. The unwillingness of the police to restraint the mobs from furthering their rampage must be held accountable for their ineffectivesness. The attack was exacerbated by the inaction from the police , and the violence became viral when it started to spread to nearby areas from where it started .
We are very concern that this will lead to even more widespread attacks targeting Muslims as what happened in the Rakhine State of Myanmar since the June 2012 incident. The targeting of Muslim owned businesses , houses and even a pre-school was vandalised is a prelude to ethnic cleansing with very dangerous consequences. Act of arson and setting ablaze buildings is definetly a sign of anarchy that should be quelled by the securities. The increasing act of violence by the mobs that had even assaulted several media personnel trying to cover the incident and attempting to forcibly set houses on fire with family members including children inside are clearly signs of a worst scenario to come.Loud threats were uttered that Muslim women would be raped.
The deployment of the Police Special Task Force(STF) should have been effective . However , this incident is alledged to have been well planned and cordinated to destroy the economy of the Muslims in the targeted areas.Elaborate preparations had been made to attack Muslim establishments and torch them. Local reports said some of the mobsters were well armed and are suspected of being linked to the armed forces. Many Muslims blaming the Police for not arriving at trouble spots on time and delaying by even three hours in some instances , but the Police themselves justified their position by saying that they could not proceed quickly as they were obstructed by mobs who accused them of being Sinhala traitors aligned to Muslims. Although large contingents of Policemen were deployed in the area concerned , the BBS event ,deteriorated into serious anti-Muslim violence as feared by responsible sections of Sri Lankan society. The casualties will escalate if the government is slow moving .
The explosive situation in Aluthgama and Beruwela was further exacerbated by the conduct of the Police. Eyewitness reported that the mobs were freely moving and Cops were passive bystanders in most instances. Muslim residents state that the Police used tear gas on Muslims trying to defend their loved ones and property but did not lift a finger against Buddhist mobs.They also alleged that the Police prevented Muslim families from leaving their houses and seeking safety in Mosques. It is now stated that the situation is currently under control though another outbreak cannot be ruled out if the BBS is allowed to run amok again. No arrests of any BBS leader or follower has been made so far according to reports received.Some of the STF personnel on duty opined apologetically to visiting journalists that the Buddhist monks were responsible for instigating violence.
We register our vehement protest against the Bodhu Bala Sena General Secretary Gnanasara Thero for his stance of fueling the anti Muslim campaign. He even issued a statement criticising Muslims over the June 12th Aluthgama incident and accused the Police of “living inside Mosques” meaning that the Police was partisan towards Muslims.
We note with regret that when the BBS made preparations to stage a rally in Aluthgama on Sunday several reputed Muslim organizations made representations to the IGP and Senior Police officials that the proposed event be disallowed. Several Muslim leaders from Rauff Hakeem to Faiszer Mustapha made entreaties that the BBS event should be disallowed.The BBS protest was however given the green light despite Muslim misgivings and fears. We demand that the goverment enforce law and order and keep abreast at any attempt to reignite the violence. We call on the peace loving people of Sri Langka to urge the extremist and anti Muslim perpertrators to stop the racist and anti Muslim campaign and allow communal harmony to prevail. We urge that all religous buildings , homes and business premises of the Muslims be protected by the security as the extriist cannot be allowed to take law into tehir own hands.
The police should undertake a full investigation and the pepertrators of violence must be brought to justice and face the law. We also call on all Muslims in Sri Lanka to restrain from any act of violence and to keep their unity in defence of their rights according to the law of the country.
Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid
President Malaysian Consultative Council of Islam Organizations ( MAPIM)
- Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
- Secretariate for the Ulama Assembly of Asia (SHURA)
- Union of World Ulama Muslimin ,
- Malaysia TERAS Pengupayaan Melayu
- Persatuan Persaudaraan Muslimah Malaysia
- Inspirasi Muhibbah Indian Muslim Malaysia
- Persatuan Perintis Malabari Malaysia