The Government today assured the safety and security of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.
Cabinet co-spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said that the Government has been given a mandate to ensure all Sri Lankans live a decent life.
He said that while there were certain incidents reported following the Easter attacks the investigations into the bombings carried out by the authorities did not target any specific community.
“We are a responsible Government. We want to reiterate the fact that we will look after the interests of all the communities in the country, including Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese,” he said.
Amnesty International had said yesterday that Sri Lanka’s Muslim community has suffered consistent discrimination, harassment and violence since 2013, culminating in the adoption of Government policies explicitly targeting the minority group.
From Burning Houses to Burning Bodies: Anti-Muslim Harassment, Discrimination and Violence in Sri Lanka, traces the development of anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka since 2013 amid surging Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism.
The report notes that the discrimination has evolved from a rising series of mob attacks committed with impunity, into Government policies explicitly discriminating against Muslims, including the forced cremation of Muslim Covid-19 victims and current proposals to ban both the niqab (face veil) and madrasas (religious schools).
“While anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka is nothing new, the situation has regressed sharply in recent years. Incidents of violence against Muslims, committed with the tacit approval of the authorities, have occurred with alarming frequency. This has been accompanied by the adoption by the current government of rhetoric and policies that have been openly hostile to Muslims,” said Kyle Ward, Amnesty International’s Deputy Secretary General.
The report documents several cases in which these laws have been abused to target individuals, including Hejaaz Hizbullah, a lawyer and activist who has been detained for more than 15 months, and Ahnaf Jazeem, a poet and teacher, who was arrested on 16 May 2020 following unsubstantiated claims about his Tamil language poetry. (Colombo Gazette)