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Attacks on Religious Freedom : Silence and apathy of the Government and the Buddhist Mahanayaka Theros is disheartening

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Statement condemning the attack on the Masjid Deenul Islam at Grandpass, Colombo

We the undersigned strongly condemn the violent and unprovoked attack on the Masjid Deenul Islam in Grandpass area on Saturday, August 10, 2013 by an extremist mob injuring 12 people, in the wake of the Eid Festival. We are outraged over the spate of violent attacks against Christian and Muslim places of worship, and remain deeply concerned about the rise of extremist rhetoric around the island. While recognising and promoting the constitutionally guaranteed rights of free speech, religious worship, and assembly, we urge all communities to respect the religious beliefs and the associated rights of their fellow citizens, and to not be influenced by State-condoned Buddhist extremists groups. At this time, we also wish to express our deep disappointment at the lack of concrete outcomes from inquiries into multiple other attacks against places of worship that have occurred in the recent past. We are extremely disheartened at the silence and the visible apathy displayed by the Government and the Mahanayake Theros of the Tri-

Nikayas, at a time when the rights to religious worship and assembly of its citizens are being threatened by extremism. We also wish to highlight apparent State complicity, and the level of impunity repeatedly granted by the State to extremist elements in the country. We urge law enforcement authorities to ensure strict adherence to rule of law and prosecute those who are responsible for these heinous crimes, in the existence of abundant evidence put forward by both the public and the media. In addition, we are very disturbed to see continued Police inaction and delays in responding to incidents of racist mob violence, which is a clear indication of State complicity, and the lack of any interest by Defense Authorities to hold perpetrators accountable. We welcome and endorse the open letter of protest by Muslim members of the Government addressed to the President of Sri Lanka, and share their view that "the lukewarm and ineffective measures taken by the law enforcement agencies on previous occasions, when Muslim communities and their mosques were deliberately attacked, seem to have emboldened some extremist groups who seem determined to create chaos in the country that is still in search of national reconciliation after a prolonged war." Further, we call on the Government to investigate into and hold accountable those responsible for the brutal killing of three youth in Weliweriya earlier this month, when the State sent in the military to quell a civilian protest calling for clean water. In light of reports of media suppression and violence against media personnel reporting from the scene, we strongly urge law enforcement authorities and the protestors to respect the freedom of the press, and to take all measures to ensure their safety. We wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured in this attack, and commend the calm resilience demonstrated by many of those who were victimised. Signatures; 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. A.H. Stephen - Deputy Secretary General, Liberal Party of Sri Lanka A.M. Faaiz Attorney-at-Law A.S. Mohamed Rayees Ainslie Joseph - Convenor, Christian Alliance for Social Action (CASA) Aisha Ajmal Wahab - Student Aisha Nazim Ajmal Wahab Partner, Bullion Exchange Jewellers

8. Amal de Chickera 9. Amar Gunatilleke 10. Ameena Hussein 11. Anandi Devendrakumary 12. Anberiya Hanofa 13. Anitha Selvarajah 14. Ann Jabba 15. Anoma de Alwis 16. Antonio A. Oposa Jr. - (Philippines) 17. Anukshi Jayasinha 18. Anushya Coomaraswamy 19. Ayeshea Perera 20. Azra Abdul Cader 21. B. Gowthaman 22. Balasingham Skanthakumar 23. Bannu Ifthikar 24. Bhathiya Waduge - Director/Structural Engineer, CSE Consultants (Pvt) Ltd. 25. Bhavani Fonseka 26. C. Gadiewasam Journalist 27. Cayathri. D. 28. Chamindry Saparamadu 29. Chandra Jayaratne - Former Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce 30. Chandraguptha Thenuwara 31. Chandralal Colombage 32. Cheran Rudhramoorthy 33. Chulani Kodikara 34. D.B.S. Jeyaraj Journalist 35. Damaris Wickremesekera 36. Danesh Casie Chetty - Ambassador (Retd.) 37. Deanne Uyangoda 38. Devika Colombo 39. Dinesha Samararatne - University of Colombo 40. Dinidu de Alwis 41. Dinouk Colombage - Journalist 42. Dr. A.M. Ali Saja Doctor 43. Dr. Anita Nesiah - National Peace Council (NPC) 44. Dr. Danesh Karunanayake - Senior Lecturer, University of Peradeniya 45. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka - Former Ambassador to the UN in Geneva 46. Dr. Leonie Solomons - Social Entrepreneur 47. Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan - Development Economist & Principal Researcher, Point Pedro Institute of Development 48. Dr. Neavis Morais - Senior Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka 49. Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

50. Dr. Ranil D. Guneratne - University of Colombo 51. Dr. Sepali Kottegoda 52. Dr. Shamala Kumar - University of Peradeniya 53. Dr. T. Jayasingam National Peace Council (NPC) 54. Dr. Vagisha Gunasekara - Senior Research Professional, Centre for Poverty Analysis 55. Dr. Vivimarie VanderPoorten Medawattegedera - Senior Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka 56. Dr. Zulfika Ismail 57. Emil van der Poorten 58. Faizun Zackariya 59. Freddy Gamage - Meepura Newspaper/Center for Peoples Dialogue 60. Furkhan Bee Ifthikar 61. G.S. Lakshan J.S. Dias 62. Gamini Viyangoda 63. Gavin Britto - Co-Founder, RuCode International 64. Harean Hettiarachchi 65. Harini Amarsuriya - Open University of Sri Lanka 66. Harith de Mel Attorney-at-Law 67. Hashintha Jayasinghe - Graduate 68. Herman Kumara - National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) 69. Hilary Perera Wirasinha DoC 70. Hilmy Ahamed 71. Ifthikhar Aziz - President, Sri Lanka Pakistan Friendship Association 72. Isuru Perera - Social Research Supervisor 73. Jake Oorloff 74. Janaki Jayawardena - University of Colombo 75. Jansila Majeed 76. Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala - Women and Media Collective 77. Jayatilaka Kammallaweera 78. Jehan Perera National Peace Council (NPC) 79. Jehanki Anandha 80. Jeyachithra Selambaram 81. Joe William 82. Joel Fernando - Business Development Manager, Insu Trading International 83. Juwairiya Mohideen 84. K. Aingkaran - Attorney-at-Law 85. K.S. Ratnavale Attorney-at-Law 86. Kath Noble 87. Krishna Velupillai 88. Kumudini Perera 89. Kumudini Samuel 90. Kusal Perera Journalist

91. Lakshan Dias Attorney-at-Law 92. Leila Udayar 93. Liyanage Amarakeerthi 94. Lucia Nicholas 95. M. Rahman - Mannar 96. M.A. Sumanthiran Member of Parliament & Attorney-at-Law 97. M.H. Mohamed Hisham 98. Mahaluxumy Kurushanthan - Mannar 99. Mahendran Thiruvarangan 100. Mala Liyanage - Executive Director, Law and Society Trust 101. Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema - Journalist/President, Sri Lanka Journalists' Trade Union (SLJTU) 102. Mano Ganesan Convener, Civil Monitoring Commission (CivilMC) 103. Manouri Pieris - Attorney-at-Law 104. Marianne David 105. Mario Gomez 106. Marisa de Silva 107. Mathuri Thamilmaran - Attorney-at-Law 108. Melani Manel Perera 109. Melisha Yapa 110. Menaha Kandasamy 111. Michael O'Leary - Freelance Writer 112. Michelle Pinto 113. Minna Thaheer 114. Mirak Raheem 115. Mohammed Ajiwadeen - Research Officer/Parliament of Sri Lanka 116. Mohammed Mahuruf - Secretariat for Muslims 117. Muzzammil Cader - SAMADANA/M, Centre for Promoting Non Violence, Conflict Resolution & Peace Building 118. Nadeesh Jayasinghe 119. Nalliah Kumaraguruparan Ashokbharan - Law Student 120. Nigel Nugawela 121. Nilshan Fonseka 122. Nimalka Fernando - Women's Political Academy (Sri Lanka) 123. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri 124. Nirmanusan Balasundaram 125. Nishelli Perera - Senior Strategy Analyst 126. P.A.R. Anuruddha 127. P.N. Singham 128. Padmika Dissanaike 129. Padmini Weerasooriya - Mothers and Daughters of Lanka 130. Prabu Deepan

131. Priti Sudra 132. Priya Thangarajah 133. Prof. Kumar David 134. Prof. M. Sitralega 135. Prof. Navaratna Bandara 136. Prof. Priyan Dias - University of Moratuwa 137. Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage Principal (Retd.), Marx School 138. Pushpalatha Paramasivam 139. R.M.B. Senanayake - National Peace Council (NPC) 140. Raashid Riza 141. Raghu Balachandran 142. Rajaluxmi Visvasam 143. Rajani Chandrasekaran - Jaffna 144. Rajiva Wijesinha Member of Parliament 145. Ramla Ajmal Wahab - International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) 146. Remo Shihan 147. Renton de Alwis - Former Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism 148. Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris 149. Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos 150. Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunga 151. Rev. Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando 152. Rev. Fr. S. M. Praveen (OMI) 153. Rev. Fr. Sebamalai 154. Rev. Fr. Sherard Jayawardane 155. Rev. Fr. Terrence Fernando 156. Rev. Fr. V. Yogeswaran - Centre for the Promotion & Protection of Human Rights (CPPHR), Trincomalee 157. Rev. Jason J. Selvaraja - Assembly of God, Chavakachcheri 158. Rev. Sr. Deepa Fernando (HF) 159. Rev. Sr. Helen Fernando 160. Rev. Sr. Immaculate de Alwis 161. Riza Yehiya 162. Rohana Ratnayake - Senior Lecturer in Law, Open University of Sri Lanka 163. Roshni Alles 164. Ruki Fernando 165. Rushdi Jaleel Khan 166. Ruvan Weerasinghe - University of Colombo 167. Ruzaina Mahuruf 168. S.A.M. Jabir 169. S.C.A. Obeyesekere 170. Safana Gul Begum 171. Sahan Mendis

172. Saliya Pieris - Attorney-at-Law 173. Sampath Samarakoon 174. Sanja Jayatilleka 175. Sanjaya Senanayake 176. Selyna Peiris Attorney-at-Law 177. Shanthini Kanapathy 178. Shariz Faleel Manager - Finance & Administration, Secretariat for Muslims (Guarantee) Ltd 179. Sharni Jayawardena 180. Shiromalee Perera 181. Shreen Saroor - Women's Action Network 182. Shri Shankar Subramaniam 183. Shyamala Gomez 184. Shyara Jaleel Khan 185. Siritunga Jayasuriya - General Secretary, United Socialist Party 186. Sivamohan Sumathy 187. Srinath Perera - Attorney-at-Law 188. Subashini Ramesh 189. Sulakshani Perera 190. Sunanda Deshapriya Journalist 191. Sunil Jayasekera 192. Supipi Jayawardena - Researcher & Lecturer 193. Swarnalatha Subramaniam 194. Tehani Ariyaratne 195. Thahir Kubais 196. Thajun Mohamed Nishan - One Text Initiative 197. Thanuka Nandasiri Attorney-at-Law 198. Thiruni Kelegama 199. U.L. Jaufer 200. Upali Pannilage - Senior Lecturer, University of Ruhuna 201. Upeksha Thabrew 202. Upul Wickramasinghe 203. V. Jokeswaran - Teacher 204. V.S. Ganesalingam Attorney-at-Law 205. Vanie Simon 206. Venuri Perera 207. Visaka Dharmadasa - Association of War Affected Women 208. Wasaam Ismail August 15, 2013,Colombo, Sri Lanka