Anti-Muslim riots in Lanka. Muslim council calls for common identity

Anti-Muslim riots in Lanka. Muslim council calls for common identity

S Murari

As Christian mobs attacked Muslims in Sinhala majority districts in Sri Lanka as a backlash to the Easter Sunday bombing of churches that left 253 dead and led to countrywide curfew for three nights in a row, the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka stepped in with a call to forge a common national identity.

While night curfew was clamped in districts close to capital Colombo like Puttalam, Kurunegala and Gampaha, it was extended through the island as a precautionary measure.

Several Muslim owned businesses and mosques came under attack on Sunday and Monday from Christians who are also a minority in the Buddhist country.

The riots followed reports that the deadliest attack in the churches were carried out by jihadist elements of the Towheed Jamaat of Sri Lanka.

Police said the  situation had been brought under control following raids on radical elements after two well educated sons of a rich Muslim, identified as leaders of the suicide mission, blew themselves in attacks in star hotels in Colombo and elsewhere in churches.

However, the anger refused to die down especially among Christians after an entire Muslim family blew itself up following a police raid on their hideout in Kathankudi in eastern Batticaloa. The raid led to recovery of an arms dump.

To wean the Muslim youths from the Islamic State which is fighting to spread Wahabism and Salafism, extreme forms of Islam that believes in killing infidels, the Muslim Council of  Sri Lanka has issued a set of guidelines.

The council , which had earlier condemned the Easter Sunday attacks, has now issued guidelines to promote a collective Sri Lankan Identity.

The guidelines include the restriction on azan( call to prayer), removal of Arabic sign boards,changes in behaviour and attire, reforming education sector and regulations of madrasas.

The council  has called for restriction on azan, Arabic signboards, new Mosques .It has said new mosques can only be built with the permission of the Department of Muslim Religious Affairs and local government officials.

The council has advised Muslims to wear coloured clothing in public and avoid wearing a black dress, face veils for women and thobe for men as much as possible.Signboards in Arabic in public places should be removed and stickers on Arabic letters or swords should not be allowed on vehicles.

Azan should be restricted in mosques in areas where people from other faith live and should be kept under specific volume even in Muslim neighbourhoods.It has recommended that there should be a standard school calander and Sinhala and Tamil should be taught to students.

All Madrasa’s-Arabic colleges and Quran Madrasa’s should be regulated and monitored by an independent authority, it has said.The recommendations are aimed at checking radicalisation of the community and its alienation from Christian, Buddhist and Hindu communities Ends