The government and the people of Sri Lanka are fully appreciative of the huge sacrifices made by Muslims for the unity and territorial integrity of our country. In this backdrop, the community must ignore the attempts by a small minority of deviants who sought mischief but ended up in damaging the country’s image, at a critical time in its history.
On 3rd August 1990, separatist tigers mercilessly gunned down 147 Muslims at the Meera Jumma and Hussainiya mosques in Kattankudy as they knelt down in prayers. One hundred thousand Muslims were forced out of the Northern Province soon thereafter in a brutal act of ethnic cleansing that exposed the LTTE agenda in the North-East. Another massacre of Muslims in Palliyagodella this time by the separatists ended with 109 Muslim men, women and children being hacked to death while asleep.
Again, Muslims who were returning from their Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages were done to death before they could reach their homes.
These and many other acts of brutality were committed against Muslims because they were the first to resist the division and dismemberment of this country. The Muslims paid a heavy price in many other ways for not joining hands in the Eelam project of the tigers. The Tamils and the Sinhalese also suffered heavily because of the LTTE.
Sri Lankans of all ethnic shades while regretting the extensive violence are fully appreciative of the huge sacrifices made by the Muslims for the unity and territorial integrity of this country. Muslims who served in the armed forces, mainly from the Malay community of Muslims, such as Lt. Col. T. M. Muthalif, Col. A. F. Lafir and a number of others paid the supreme price in defending the unity of this country. Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Libya were in the forefront of assisting the government during those difficult days.
These sacrifices, support and contributions are part of the permanent history of modern Sri Lanka, which none can seek to erase. They are part of our current history, in which the Muslim community alone stands out as the only community which stood in its entirety with the majority in resisting the division of our motherland.
Extracts of a speech delivered by Mr. M. M. Zuhair, President’s Counsel and former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Iran, who was the Chief Guest at the ‘Celebration of Excellence’ Prize Day of Hejaaz International School held recently.