He made this observation while speaking at the Meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers in Malta, the Foreign Ministry said today.
He said that as radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism undermine the core Commonwealth values of democracy and pluralism, the Commonwealth states should direct it’s focus towards collective efforts in countering these efforts.
“However, in countering terrorism, we must be careful in distinguishing between the perpetrators of terror and the wider communities they claim to represent. Just as the LTTE terror, which we in Sri Lanka experienced for several decades did not represent the hopes and aspirations of the majority of the Tamil community, the brutal and heinous terrorism of the IS does not in way reflect the values of Islam, which is, to the majority of it’s followers, a great religion of peace. Therefore all counter terrorism Programmes must be accompanied by a vigorous plan to win the hearts and minds of the people whom the terrorists claim to represent,” he said.
The Foreign Minister said that young people who comprise nearly 60% of the Commonwealth’s population have an important role in building stable, secure and prosperous societies and Commonwealth Programmes can help raise awareness of risks radicalisation and prevent young people from embracing violent extremism and terrorism in all its forms. (Colombo Gazette)