Dismissing the popular view on the attitude of a majority of Sinhalese towards the attacks on Muslim-owned properties and mosques during the recent riots in Ampara town and the Kandy District, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya claimed they seemed happy about what happened.
"The claim that a majority of Sinhalese were against the recent attacks on Muslims is wrong," he said.
At a workshop on ethnic harmony on the theme, "building Bridges" held on Saturday at SLIDA, Mr. Deshapriya was quick to observe that a majority of Sinhalese were happy to see the Tamils too being attacked in 1983, only to regret it a few years later.
He said embracing some aspects of Arab culture by Muslims in Sri Lanka is fanning fires of distrust while Muslim girls were being further and further pushed into an insulated society since they had been compelled to go to the mushrooming small international schools run by Muslims, as they have no schools to attend.
Mr. Deshapriya urged the Muslims to assimilate themselves into a Sri Lankan nation and reminded the Sinhalese that there is no unmixed community in the country or in the world.
"Didn't the 14,000 people brought by King Gajaba from India father anyone here," he asked.
Mr. Deshapriya said the word "Marakkalaya" and "Hambaya" were derived from the names of the vessels that were used by the early Muslims to come to Sri Lanka and added that in that sense, even King Vijaya was also Marakkala, as he too used that vessel to come to Sri Lanka.
He threw a challenge to the Muslims with a question whether they would invite a Buddhist monk for a lecture in a totally Muslim institution. (M.S.M. Ayub)