The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap says attacks against religious places of worship are reprehensible, whether in Sri Lanka, or in the United States of America, or anywhere around the world.
Speaking at an Iftar ceremony in Batticaloa the US Ambassador said that the Muslim community in Sri Lanka forms an integral part of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage.
“Muslims have been here for many centuries and have been contributing to the prosperity and happiness of this country. Despite the recent spate of attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned businesses, I applaud that the Sri Lankan Muslim community has remained peaceful, constructive, and resilient. In particular, I and so many others saw how the Muslim community of Sri Lanka joined together to help the people of this country after the recent floods that affected so many of your fellow citizens,” he said.
Keshap says he believes that those who spread hatred offend not just the good nature of human beings, but violate the human rights that we all should enjoy.
He said to preserve rule of law, to preserve harmony, religious freedom, and tolerance and mutual respect, it is imperative that anybody engaging in such acts of violence should be arrested and brought to trial.
“Friends, the U.S. Embassy’s relationship with the Muslim community in Sri Lanka, especially in the Eastern Province, spans many decades. We have USAID programs – our United States Agency for International Development – helping bring clean drinking water and better sanitation and health facilities to the people of the East. We also are trying to help our Sri Lankan friends in case of any natural disaster that may happen, as recently done during the floods down south. And I’m reminded by my Embassy team that even as far back as 1957, the United States was helping with disaster relief right here in Batticaloa,” he added.
The Ambassador also said that the US Embassy in Colombo is also supporting the construction and renovation of schools in Muslim, Sinhalese, and Tamil communities all across the Eastern Province.
This he says is part of a commitment that runs several hundred million Sri Lankan Rupees to help the former conflict areas get back on their feet and ensure those children can have a proper education. (Colombo Gazette)