The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) in a letter to President Rajapaksa has requested him to ensure that visa is not granted for Burmese monk Ashin Wirathu to enter Sri Lanka to partake in the Sangha Sammelana (summit of Buddhist monks) this Sunday.
MCSL in their letter have raised concerns over the reports that Wirathu, who is also known as the ‘butcher of Burma’ has been invited to speak at the summit that has been organized by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).
They have pointed out that the presence of such a person who has caused such extreme violence on the Burmese Muslims would surely pose a great threat to the peaceful co-existence in Sri Lanka.
Moreover, they have pointed out that considering the racially motivated sermons that have been delivered by Wirathu, his participation in the summit as well as any speech he would make at the event would incite further violence against the Muslims in Sri Lanka, the same way BBS general secretary Galagoda Atte Gnanasara’s speech did in Aluthgama in June this year.
“Further the government of Sri Lanka faces the possibility of being accused of tacit support of the extremist group who are indulging in a hate campaign against the minorities in Sri Lanka if he is granted permission to visit the country,” the MCSL has noted further.
We publish below the letter in full;
September 25th 2014
His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa,
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
As you are aware, Ven. Ashin Wirathu is the dreaded leader of the 969 Movement in Myanmar. He is also known as the Butcher of the Burmese Muslims. As the leader of the anti-Muslim movement in Myanmar, he has been responsible for hundreds of Muslims murdered by extremist Buddhists.
There are strong rumours that he has been invited by the Bodu Bala Sena to attend their “Great Sangha Council” meeting on the 28th of September 2014.
Time magazine, with Ven. Ashin Wirathu in the cover page branded him as the face of Buddhist terror in Burma. Your Excellency, the presence of such a person who has caused so much violence on the Burmese Muslims would be a real threat to peace and peaceful co-existence in Sri Lanka. Many across the world have accused him of inciting violence against Myanmar’s Muslim minority with fiery sermons claiming that the growth of Islam is putting Buddhism and Burmese culture at risk. His presence and speech at the Sangha Council meeting may incite further violence against the Muslims, similar to the speech of Ven. Galagode Aththe Ganansara Thero’s made in Aluthgama which caused the rioting in Aluthgama and Beruwela in June 2014. Further, the Government of Sri Lanka faces the possibility of being accused of tacit support to Buddhist extremist groups who are indulging in a hate campaign against minorities in Sri Lanka, if Ven. Ashin Virathu is granted permission to visit the country.
We believe that the nexus between the Bodu Bala Sena and 969 organizations for an anti-Muslim campaign was initiated during the visit of Ven. Gnanasara Thero to Myanmar a few months back.
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, on behalf of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka kindly requests your Excellency to ensure that no visa is granted to Ven. Ashin Wirathu to visit Sri Lanka as he would pose a serious threat to peace in our beloved motherland.
Thanking you, Your Excellency for your immediate attention and necessary action.
CC: Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksha
Secretary, Defence and Urban Development