Canadian Muslim, Tamil and civil groups condemn religious intolerance in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 May 2012, 00:40 GMT]
Twenty organizations from Canada, which included prominent Muslim scholarly and activists groups, Tamil organizations, and influential Canadian civil society groups, came together to condemn the religious intolerance of the Sinhala-Buddhist government in Sri Lanka, in the wake of the Dambulla mosque attack, drafting a letter to Mahinda Rajapaksa on the issue. "The Canadian Peace Alliance stands against any type of discrimination, whether against the Tamil nation or the Muslim people of Sri Lanka. Any just society must uphold the rights of all people regardless of ethnicity or religion and must pay special attention to protecting the rights of the most vulnerable groups. That is why campaign against the Tamil genocide as well as Islamaphobia in Canada and abroad," Sid Lacombe, coordinatior of the CPA, told TamilNet.

The letter was sent under the banner of the CPA, largest peace organization in Canada.

Condemning the recent attack on the Dambulla mosque and attacks on other non-Buddhist religious structures in the recent past, the release said that the tacit support given by the Sri Lankan police to such activities revealed “an underlying religious fanaticism, bigotry and hatred that is raised and nurtured by the politics of Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism.”

“The very same government that speaks about ‘national reconciliation’ must show by practical example in condemning unequivocally the attack on the Dambulla Mosque. Instead, your Prime Minister colluded with the anti-Muslim mob and ordered relocation of the Mosque.”

Standing in solidarity with the protests of Tamils and Muslims in the island and Muslims in Tamil Nadu, the signatories added that “Regardless of the government’s political mindset, the government in Colombo has an international obligation to uphold the fundamental human right of religious freedom protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

"Canadians of all backgrounds are extremely concerned about Buddhist extremists rampaging through various towns destroying mosques and targeting temples. It is disturbing to note that the Sri Lankan government, far from protecting religious minorities and their places of worship, has actually sided with the thugs. The Sri Lankan government has a legal and moral obligation to protect the rights of all minorities--Christians, Hindus and Muslims--to ensure peace and harmony in society failing which it will only tarnish its own image," Zafar Bangash, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, said.

“The targeting of the Dambulla Mosque does not exist in a political vacuum. The attack against the Dambulla mosque flows from the culture of impunity that facilitates the destruction and desecration of places of religious and cultural importance in the Tamil homeland. We will continue to work closely with our allies in Canada to advocate for the rights of Hindus, Muslims and Christians in the island," Krisna Saravanamuttu from the NCCT told TamilNet.

The signatories include Aafaq Monthly Publications, Ahlul Bayt Assembly of Canada, Al-Haadi Musalla, Al-Huda Lebanese Muslim Society, Canadian Arab Federation, Canadian Peace Alliance, Canadian Shia Muslims Organization, Crescent International News Magazine, Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park Muslim Association, Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, Islamic Society of York Region, Middle Eastern Student Association, National Council of Canadian Tamils, Tamil Youth Organization-Canada, TARIC Islamic Centre, Toronto,, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War, The Seerah West Organization, Toronto Council of Pakistani Canadians, University of Toronto Mississauga Campus Muslim Students’ Association.

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