Remarks made by certain persons for petty political advantage has become a hindrance to the process of restoring normalcy and national harmony, President Maithripala Sirisena said.
Addressing members of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) at the Presidential Secretariat, President Sirisena noted that responsibility of all those who love the motherland should not be to achieve their political goals but to help the country come out of the current crisis and do their bit to build a just and peaceful society.
“Criticism is vital but they must be fair and free of vituperative and malicious intent. Anyone who criticizes must do so with the full knowledge of the issue. No one must put persons from another faith in difficulty with his or her comments as such comments will sound hollow and meaningless. Therefore, all comments and criticisms made in society or in parliament must be pragmatic and positive” President Sirisena stressed.
The delegates of the ACJU in response noted that those who have committed unforgivable atrocities on the country and killed hundreds of innocent civilians must not be considered as those belonging to the Muslim community and added Muslims dismiss and reject extremism and terrorism with contempt.
They also pledged their fullest cooperation to the police and armed forces to annihilate Muslim fundamentalist terrorism.
The ACJU appealed to the public not to look at all Muslims with a suspicion or as a terrorist and lamented that they have been given a tough time by those unrepentant Muslim extremist terrorists who committed the carnage on Easter Sunday.
They requested President Sirisena to give the maximum possible punishment to Muslim extremists who carried out the attack and to those who aided and abetted them. They said that the law enforcement authorities must be mindful when they take into their custody books literature that is not in anyway connected to extremism.
They also pointed out the importance of teaching Islam under accepted guidelines and giving an understanding of Islam to Sri Lankan society.
They also stressed the need to closely monitor social media such as Facebook as in many instances their postings have disrupted peace and tranquillity among communities.
They expressed their deepest gratitude to President Sirisena for his prompt action in restoring peace and interfaith harmony, without leaving any room for the destabilisation of national security.
Western Province Governor Azath Salley, former Minister Faiszer Musthapha, Secretary to President Udaya R Seneviratne, acting IGP S.D.Wickramaratne and top officials from the armed forces took part in the discussion. (Sandun A Jayasekera)