Global Tamil Forum (GTF) strongly condemns the Sri Lankan Government’s complicity in the orders for the removal of the Muslim mosque in Dambulla, central Sri Lanka. GTF is profoundly disturbed by the attacks on the mosque by a minority, yet in their thousands as reported, of extremist Sri Lankan Buddhists led by monks on 20 April 2012, calling for its destruction claiming it was constructed illegally.
The inaction of law enforcement authorities to stop the attacks and the Prime Minister’s decision to order its removal and relocation highlights the State authorities’ continued infringement on religious freedom and intolerance of non-Buddhist faiths on the island. It is of greater concern that the Prime Minister’s office declared that the decision was taken in consultation with Muslim political leaders when this claim has been vehemently denied, as widely reported in the media. It is characteristic of successive Sri Lankan governments to succumb to pressure from the majority whenever there are ethnic tensions.
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka has said that the mosque was legally registered and has been in existence for over 50 years, long before the area was declared a sacred Buddhist area. Sri Lankan Muslims have a history in the island dating as far back as the 8th century.
The incident at the Dambulla mosque is not an isolated attack on a Muslim place of worship in recent months. In September 2011, a Muslim shrine in Anuradhapura was demolished by a group of Buddhist monks. These incidents can only take place under a Government which is willing to turn a blind eye, and even encourage, the maltreatment of non-Buddhists.
Some Buddhist leaders have said that they intend to demolish 72 structures in the Dambulla area, including the mosque and a Tamil Hindu temple. These deplorable acts are indicative of the treatment suffered by other religions in Sri Lanka.
In the Tamil majority areas, of the North and East of the country, Hindu temples and Christian churches have been desecrated and destroyed whilst a number of Buddhist structures have been built in their place or within close proximity. Tamil National Alliance has highlighted, in their situation report to Parliament in October 2011, the rapidly changing demography of the North of Sri Lanka where the numbers of Buddhist statues, viharas and stupas on the A9 highway have noticeably increased. It was also highlighted that armed forces are preventing people from rebuilding original Christian and Hindu places of worship that have been damaged or destroyed during the war.
The politicisation of Buddhism as the state religion and the intervening influence it has in politics and social affairs continues to threaten religious minorities and hinder peaceful coexistence of all communities on the island.
GTF calls on the state institutions and law enforcement agencies in Sri Lanka to prevent all attacks on places of worship, whatever the faith, and to take immediate measures to ensure that all religions on the island are accorded the same treatment and respect. GTF strongly urges the Government of Sri Lanka to act immediately to build confidence among all communities that the state institutions and mechanisms will accept, protect and promote the religious and cultural rights of all its citizens, as the foundation for reconciliation and lasting peace on the island.
Media Contact: Suren Surendiran
Tel: +44 (0) 7958 590196
Bodinayaka / April 29, 2012
But you guys cant create your EElamp with Muslims right? I remember you guys were silent when LTTE hacked them to death. It’s funny to see the negative news of Sri Lanka makes happy and active you guys. Get a life. We will give Muslims ” Dabulu Galen Bagayak Thadi Paliyak gahanna, Gahala Allla ekka connect wenna”
Tilak Abeysinghe / May 2, 2012
This is a pathetic situation with signs of inciting another ethnic conflict soon after the country successfully eliminated the most ruthless terrorist organization that used to kindle ethnic hatred to gain undue political advantage.
In short, nobody should be allowed to destroy a religious site or construct one in another religious property. The government should be thoroughly impartial in this situation and investigate the historical background before making judgement.
Ralf Sheldrake / May 4, 2012
…. Impartiality of even the Courts are questionable if the Leadership is permitted to appoint & discard SC or CA Judges when they want…history shall keep repeating itself… but it’s up to genuine leaders to find sustainable solutions… next time let’s be careful in picking and voting the right leaders to represent the land… but again after they are elected they are so far away from us, that we are led worthless… it’s better we have a check on them by directly electing at least the Supreme Court Judges and Auditors, so we can relax & we don’t have to do the checking and balancing… too bad we don’t even have a ceremonial monarchy to check on the ‘managers’ of the govt. and to be the guardians of the people….in this system we the voters, taxpayers & the citizens are powerless and vulnerable to the powerful clans who get elected and choose to overlook the concerns of the people, minorities etc.
Though modern Company Law takes good care of minority shareholders modern day emerging governments formed increasingly by younger people fail to be futuristic, or predict the future…. they appear to be short-sighted, selfish dudes who wanna build their own houses & fleets of vehicles and may even deal in arms procurement to sell weapons to both sides of conflicts…. incited by the invisible foreign hands…. if the law & order, Judges of Courts and the Auditors are with them… then we can expect to see more conflicts, violence & bloodshed…. history to repeat…..unless we think alike in the collective unconscious …..
Bodinayaka / May 4, 2012
The problem with you guys is the naming your organization. It has to be rename ” Global Forum” and our JHU should rename “Urumaya” and the Muslim guys should rename similar way. When you guys try to cater only a group you guys automatically create differences. It should be other way round. So when you come to that enlightenment I will come to see you again. Thank you very much and have a nice day.
Jayarath / May 5, 2012
GTF…you need to do more than this to support Muslim brothers suffering by Jingala Chauvinism…