President Maithripala Sirisena has called for explanation from the Secretary of the Ministry of National Policy and Economic Affairs M. I. M. Rafeek as to whether the Sharia banking practice is been introduced to the country by following the respective laws and regulations of Sri Lanka.
Sirisena’s Additional Secretary, S. T. Kodikara, in a letter addressed to Rafeek has called for explanation within two weeks on the matter. Incidentally, the National Policy and Economic Affairs portfolio is held by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The letter to Rafeek comes, amidst reports that the government is looking at introducing a new regulation to facilitate Sharia banking practices in the country, so it could obtain finance from Saudi Arabia to get out of the current debt ridden situation.
The letter to Rafeek was sent after the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Chief Executive Officer Dilanthe Withanage wrote to Sirisena claiming that the Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had gone against an earlier assurance and was going to introduce the Sharia banking practice in the country, which, according to Withanage would bring in social and religious disparity among communities living in Sri Lanka.
Withanage in his letter said, “Due to the failure of the leaders, and specially for a country where the majority is not Muslims, to enforce the Islamic Sharia Law in secret is cause for concern. Further, the Parliament’s silence on this matter is also a dangerous precedent. Therefore, I call on you take look into this matter.”
In a separate letter to Mahendran, Withanage said that this move was completely unacceptable with catastrophic consequences which will cause an irreparable damage to social cohesion and integration of different communities into mainstream society.
Withanage added that Sri Lanka must not sell its national identity to Saudi Arabia for US$ 1 Billion. ( By Munza Mushtaq © Colombo Telegraph )