The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) has raised concerns over the explicit threats that have been levelled against their organisation by the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) during the convention of Buddhist monks that was held this Sunday.
MCSL Vice President Hilmy Ahamed, in a letter to President Rajapaksa has written that during the convention held on Sunday at the Sugathadasa Stadium, the controversial monk had made public threats against the MCSL stating that the organisation would be ‘taken care of’ following the conclusion of the event and has urged the President to intervene against the intimidation and threats posed by BBS and other extremist organisations.
He has pointed out that it is this type of rhetoric that would tarnish the good name of Sri Lanka in the international arena and goes on to state that they are raising concern over Gnanasara‘s comments not simply as Muslims but as concerned citizens of this country.
Commenting on the context in which Gnanasara had made this threat, the MCSL has stated that they along with several other Muslim organisations raised concerns over the visit of controversial Burmese monk Ashin Wirathu due to his sermons that led to the massacre of thousands of Burmese Muslims. Ahamed has pointed out that it was not simply them and even a number of government ministers including AHM Fouzie, Rauff Hakeem, Rishard Bathiudeen and Faizer Mustapha too had objected to the visit of Wirathu.
Against the backdrop of the anti-Muslim sentiments that have been propagated by certain extremist Buddhist monks, the MCSL states they were concerned of the possibility of Wirathu’s visit disrupting the peaceful coexistence between religion and ethnic communities in the country.
“We were also concerned of his visit further contributing to the allegations on human rights violations directed towards Sri Lanka,” he has noted.
While noting the manner in which Gnanasara has managed to remain unpunished by law despite his virulent speeches and misquotation and blasphemous comments regarding the Quaran that has resulted in a propagation of hatred against Muslims, Ahamed has noted that they have taken all possible steps to address such actions such as the ongoing case at the Colombo Magistrate Courts and the complaint that has been made at the Religious Police division at the Ministry of Buddha Sasana against the Gnanasara’s comments.