Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday warned of a possible repercussion on the employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in Middle- East countries if the racially motivated attacks against certain communities continued.
Addressing a gathering of ministers, parliament members, religious leaders and businessmen of all three communities at the Central Province Governor's office in Kandy, Mr. Jayasuriya stated that leaders of certain countries have been hurt by the violent incidents in the Kandy District.
"A large number of Sri Lankans are working in Middle East countries. If the leaders of those countries after being hurt over a certain community here being threatened, take steps to send back the Sri Lankans, it would affect the country in a big way" the Speaker warned after inspecting the situation in the areas where attacks on Muslim houses, businesses and mosques had taken place last week .
He pointed out that the riots had already taken a heavy toll on the tourism industry while a UN official visited the country to express the concern of the world body. He lamented that the situation tarnished the image of the country seriously.
Denouncing extremism and racism as a threat to all communities, the Speaker observed that no country could progress if these social maladies are condoned. "Countries have perished due to racism and extremism. We must ensure that there won't be a recurrence of the incidents that took place in Ampara and Kandy" he asserted.
Public Administration, Law and Order Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara who attributed the spread of the violence to the false and slanderous social media propaganda stated that stern action would be taken against those responsible for the situation that defamed the country's image.
While the Secretary of the Muslim Traders Association A.C.M. Rahuman expressed displeasure over the conduct of the authorities responsible for the security of the area, Maulavi Fasrul Rahman bemoaned his community was hurt by the insults hurled against them. "We are not importing Arab culture here" he said and urged that those responsible for the mayhem be punished while compensation must be paid for the damages. (J.A.L. Jayasinghe, Chandana Uduwawala and Sisira Kumara)