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Moderate Muslims should foster inter-communal harmony

In the wake of anti-Muslim attacks this week, representatives of the community yesterday appealed for moderates of all religions to step up to foster inter-communal harmony, insisting that violence was harmful to all Sri Lankans.

Highways and Road Development Minister Kabir Hashim, former Ministers Ferial Ashraff and Imthiaz Bakeer Markar, and President’s Counsel Ali Sabry, speaking to media, made multiple pleas not to group the moderate Muslim community with the small group of radicalized people who carried out the Easter Sunday attacks.

They pointed out that the moderate Muslim community does not excuse or support their actions, and have stepped forward to denounce the bombers in the strictest terms.

Even the last rites were not given to the culprits of the Easter Sunday attacks by Muslim religious leaders.

“The Easter Sunday attacks were carried out by a very small group, and they do not characterize the entire Muslim community, most of whom are peace-loving moderates that have lived peacefully with other communities in this country for generations. The Muslim community has been living in Sri Lanka for centuries, and we have always worked to discharge our duties as citizens of this country. I consider myself to be a Sri Lankan. Please focus on the similarities that we share, and do not let the small differences drive us distant,” Hashim said.

The Muslim community had also work together in the Easter Sunday attack investigations, giving several tips to police that resulted in three safe houses being found in the Kalmunai and Saindamaradu areas. Hashim also backed steps taken in the last week to express legislation for Madrasas, and termed the formulation of an Act as important.

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