Instead of attempting to take genuine efforts to quell rising ethnic tensions among the Muslims and the Sinhalese in the country, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe made a statement in Parliament on Friday, which will very likely fuel the anti-Muslim campaign launched by radical Buddhists in the country.
On Friday, addressing Parliament, Wijeyadasa announced that 32 Muslims had joined ISIS, however, this appeared to be a very similar number as revealed by Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi who told an event in early January this year that 36 Muslims had gone to Syria, some to join ISIS.
“The justice minister appears to be attempting to add fuel to the fire, instead of trying to diffuse the tensions. There is nothing new in this number, this was a number already reported on, so why is he repeating an old number?,” a source noted.
During his speech, Wijeyadasa alleged that the 32 Muslims who had gone to join ISIS were from 4 families who were well connected and well respected. “There is a serious situation brewing in this country,” he said. He also said that people were coming to the country on tourist visas and going to Muslim schools and trying to brainwash students specially in places like Beruwela and Kalmunai.
Wijeyadasa also crticised the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamath (SLTJ) and its secretary for making statements against Lord Buddha, however, Wijeyadasa made no mention about the increasing anti-Muslim campaigns in the country, including by the Bodu Bala Sena, which threatened to launch a blood bath from Maligawatta mid this week.