Two days after ordering the closure of a small mosque in Dehiwala, the Gangodawila Magistrate has set aside the order after mosque trustees appealed against the order refuting police claims that the premises was operating illegally and was a public nuisance.
The Magistrate set aside Tuesday’s order and granted the mosque permission to reopen.
The Magistrate observed that the Buddha Sasana Ministry Secretary’s circular about authorised places of worship cannot supercede the approval of the Wakf Board which is a legally empowered entity to register mosques. The Magistrate also acknowledged that there could be no obstruction or nuisance caused to public life by the mosque’s existence.
A team of lawyers led by M.M. Zuhair, PC and Shiraz Noordeen appeared on behalf of the mosque trustees in court yesterday.
Kohuwala Police filed a complaint in court saying that the mosque was a public nuisance and that it was operating in violation of a Buddha Sasana Ministry circular. The police complaint followed months of resident complaints about the prayer centre, a phenomenon that has been growing where different communities live in close proximity, following the campaigns carried out by Sinhala Buddhist extremist movements like the Bodu Bala Sena and the Sinhala Ravaya.