Former MP.M.M. Zuhair said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘Independence Day’ pledge not to allow “extremism to raise its head again in this country” and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement in Parliament in response to a question raised by Colombo district parliamentarian S.M.Marikkar, to restore burials will be welcomed by all who love peaceful co-existence in this country.
Issuing a statement, Mr. Zuhair said the President’s reference to take into account the report of a committee of the previously, defeated Parliament that made recommendations under 14 subjects, 90% of which targeted and sought to punish the entire Muslim community for the crimes of a dozen criminals, has come as a deep disappointment.
Attempts to implement that controversial report could potentially multiply and not end extremism in the country. Divisive elements with possible links to the global arms manufacturing industry appear determined to further divide Sri Lankans and create conflicts.
The previous government-appointed Sectoral Oversight Committee report was never tabled or debated in the last Parliament. There was no broad dialogue on the report either in or outside Parliament
“The previous government-appointed Sectoral Oversight Committee report was never tabled or debated in the last Parliament. There was no broad dialogue on the report either in or outside Parliament. That report was clearly prejudiced and partisan unlike to a much lesser degree, the Select Committee Report of the former Parliament.
The report arose from the 21/4 Easter Sunday attacks but the committee’s recommendations did not show any intelligent or logical links with the probable causes or the reasons that led to the terrorist attacks. That report did not give a single convincing reason for any of its fourteen inputs.
For instance one recommendation was the need to control electronic, print and social media but what has that got to do with the Easter Sunday attacks?
Another called for face masks to be banned, yes banned, allegedly for security reasons, though none of the 21/4 Easter Sunday suicide bombers wore face masks! Within a month of the 19th February 2020 dated report, wearing face masks was made compulsory for everyone, including the authors of the report! That report also decried the right of women to wear burka and abaya, even though worn by much less than 1% of the country’s population. Today not a day passes without the electronic media news bulletins showing health personnel fully covered! No one has raised any “national security” concerns!
The paranoic list of 14 ‘final solutions’ contains matters which had nothing to do with the Easter Sunday attacks. The list includes dealing with the Muslim Marriage and Divorce laws, the Mosques Act, Muslim & international schools, halal certification etc. Improvements to these institutions and laws are no doubt required. But what have these time tested and cherished institutions of the Muslims got to do with the Easter Sunday attacks? The report exposes the biased mindset of its authors.
The President’s reference to take into account the report of a committee of the previously, defeated Parliament that made recommendations under 14 subjects, 90% of which targeted and sought to punish the entire Muslim community for the crimes of a dozen criminals, has come as a deep disappointment
Implementation of the recommendations will push the Muslims into the hands of extremists and strengthen those looking to create conflicts and ethno-religious clashes. It will damage the growth and progress of the country beyond any immediate repair.
The report appears to have been rushed through and filed on 19th February 2020 in view of the then impending dissolution of parliament. The President dissolved parliament days later on 03rd March 2020. Whether the report received the consideration of even its members appears doubtful, “he said in his statement.
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