Media Statement by NSC on the 3rd anniversary of the Easter Sunday attacks

3 yrs commo

National Shoora Council calls for justice for Easter attack victims; action on Parliamentary Select Committee and Presidential Commission reports on Easter attacks and to expedite the release of innocent persons in custody

The National Shoora Council (NSC) the umbrella body of 15 Muslim Organizations with a national reach in Sri Lanka joins all Sri Lankans in remembering the third anniversary of the horrific Easter Sunday attacks of Sunday, April 21, 2019. The NSC conveys once again its profound condolences to the families of the victims of all communities, mainly Christians and tourists, who suffered from these attacks.

The NSC wishes to state that

  1. The Easter Sunday attacks carried out by some persons with Muslim names have nothing to do with Islam and are contrary to the fundamental principles of Islam. Recourse to self-defense is the only instance in which limited counter-response to attacks is permitted in Islam, which in any event prohibits suicide or suicide bombings or attacks.
  2. Muslims of Sri Lanka have co-existed peacefully with the majority as well as the minority communities, particularly the Christians throughout the history of Sri Lanka. The Easter attacks are a misguided but failed blow to the unity and peaceful co-existence of the peoples of our beloved country.
  3. All Muslims in Sri Lanka and internationally were shocked when the attack took place and all Islamic bodies expressed their strong condemnation. They unanimously agreed not to permit even the dead bodies of the bombers from being buried in Muslim burial grounds.
  4. It should be noted that respected international Islamic scholars and the Fatwa Councils have firmly stated that ISIS is an anti-Islamic militant group and that their policies and practices are completely un-Islamic.
  5. 5 Many Sri Lankans including His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, have stated more than once that the Easter Sunday attack was carried out by Muslim name-bearers who had been used as cats’ paws by evil schemers to gain power. His Eminence had stated that local as well as foreign elements appear to be involved and that these allegations need an independent probe.
  6. Both the Parliamentary Select Committee on Easter Sunday attacks and the Presidential Commission of Inquiry had identified certain named majoritarian extremist organisations as having led to the radicalisation of the Easter attackers but thus far, two successive governments and the Attorney General had failed to prosecute any of them except as stated by the Cardinal only the Muslims were being prosecuted.
  7. Investigations against several hundreds of people, almost all of them Muslims arrested on suspicion are taking place at a very slow pace without a large number of them not being consented to bail for nearly three years. Not only are their families mentally depressed, frustrated, and in financial crisis, but there remains the danger of the possibility of further radicalisation of youths within the community.
  8. Muslims of Sri Lanka and their religious, cultural, and commercial institutions had come under continuous hate speeches, unjustified vilification, and attacks in the country since 2010 in attempts to push Muslim youths to extremism. A large number of Mosques had also come under attack. Over a hundred youths from the majority community were arrested but they were all enlarged on bail with none of them being prosecuted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) while the PTA had been reserved only to be used against the Muslims, in violation of the fundamental rights provisions of the Constitution. Majoritarian extremists burnt the effigies and denigrated Allah, worshipped by billions across the globe. Copies of the Holy Qur\’an were burnt by extremists but no actions were taken against those criminals. The Muslims were deeply shocked, saddened, and hurt by these injustices.

The National Shoora Council urges positive action on the following matters: –

  1. Justice must be meted out to those killed and injured in the Easter Sunday attacks irrespective of their race, religion, or ideologies.
  2. Those responsible for the injustices inflicted on Muslims as disclosed in the Parliamentary Select Committee and the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attacks should be prosecuted and duly punished.
  3. Investigations on detainees and in custody should be concluded without any further delay and the innocent should be released immediately and legal action should be taken against suspects against whom there is actionable evidence.

The National Shoora Council is ready to extend its fullest cooperation to the authorities and anyone else who seeks to ensure justice for all in Sri Lanka.

Let us live with love and tolerance and with the secure feeling that we are citizens of the same motherland!

 T K Azoor Attorney at Law,
President, National Shoora Council.

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