Following the attack on the Grandpass mosque on Saturday, the Muslim Ministers in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Government issued a scathing criticism about the state’s lukewarm response to previous attacks against the Muslim community that had emboldened extremists in the country.
Issuing a joint statement following a meeting at the residence of Senior Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, the Ministers expressed their “unequivocal and unreserved” condemnation of the Masjid in Grandpass.
They said the attack was premeditated and planned.
The Ministers urged President Rajapaksa to take “decisive action to halt the trend of openly espousing religious hatred towards the Muslim community,” and called for an independent inquiry into the attack on the Grandpass mosque during evening prayers.
The statement came hours before a high level meeting at the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs resulted in a compromise on the contentious mosque issue. The Government decided to revoke the order by the UDA reclaiming the old Molawatte mosque and said a Bo Tree on the premises would be removed in order to allow the mosque premises to expand. The new mosque that was attacked on Saturday would be shut down.
The Ministers in their statement called on the President to instruct law enforcement agencies to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of what they called an “anti-national act.”
“The notion that there are elements in our society who can act with impunity should be totally eradicated from the public perception that has now taken root in our society,” the joint statement said.
“The State has a fundamental duty to ensure that our religious freedom is preserved in this multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation,” the Ministers said.
Minister Fowzie, Ministers Rauf Hakeem, Rishad Bathiyutheen, A.L.M. Athaullah, and Basheer Segu Dawood, and Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha. Deputy Ministers A.L.M. Athaullah and A.R.M. Abdul Cader did not sign the statement being out of Colombo.
Full text of the letter here.