By RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN –
Sri Lankan expatriates in the Kingdom yesterday condemned a protest at a mosque in the Sri Lankan city of Dambulla where worshippers were barred from performing their Jumma prayers.
A group of Buddhist monks with the support of a large group of hooligans had staged a mass demonstration there.
Syed Hamid, marketing executive in a food supplying company in Riyadh, told Arab News that although this is the work of a few misguided people from the majority community, he found the involvement of the Buddhist clergy really disturbing.
Nihal Gamage, the former president of the Sri Lankan Expatriates Society who is a practicing Buddhist, told Arab News that this was an unfortunate incident engineered by a group of people with vested interests.
“As Sri Lankans we have to co-exist with other communities in the island. We have already proven this concept at the Kataragama sacred area where one can find mosques and Buddhist and Hindu temples in the same quarter,” Gamage added.
Gamage said the incident was the work of a few who should be brought to justice without any delay.
Mohammed Mackeen, who works in the medical profession, said that he was worried since his family was living in the same Dambulla district where the incident happened.
H.M. Rafeek, president of the Sri Lankan Expatriates Society in Jeddah, said all Sri Lankans believe in communal harmony
“We have just finished an ethnic conflict and the government has been trying to bring all communities under one umbrella for its progress and prosperity,” Rafeek said, adding those who have personal grievances should report them to the concerned authorities.
Another community member, Mohammed Hashim, said these incidents would strengthen the claims made by the Tamil diaspora at various levels.
“Dambulla may be an unknown town on the world map but not any more. The mosque attack in this sleepy town was widely publicized in all the international media. It is now the responsibility of the right thinking leaders of the majority community to act and act fast,” Hashim said.
“Sri Lankan Muslims who stood by their motherland with all their might to protest again at the US resolution in the UNHRC in Geneva are disappointed by the gratitude paid by some unruly elements,” community member Ahmed Lebber Mohammed Sabir said.
“The world community and especially the Arab and Muslim world are watching with all eyes open. The Sri Lanka government should not treat this lightly. This is the time for it to prove to the world how it safeguards minority rights,” said a Sri Lankan worker, who wished to remain anonymous.