President assures Muslim world

Diplomatic heads from Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar took part in the meeting.Minister of External Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem, Minister of Petroleum Industries Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Parliamentarian A.H.M Azwer, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Karunatilake Amunugama were also present during the discussion. The President has said that if anyone has proof and evidence of attempts to create religious disharmony they should hand over that information and action would be taken promptly. The Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the parent body of 57 member countries, had last month expressed its concerns over the escalating ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka, which has affected the island’s Muslim community and its businesses sector.The (OIC) (formerly known as the Organization of the Islamic Conference) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations, with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and strives to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslims in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.Arab News reported lat month that in a letter addressed to the Sri Lankan government, the OIC expressed its concerns amid increasing reports of ethnic tensions in parts of Sri Lanka particularly in the central province of Buwelikade, which has a large Muslim population. The President’s office said that the meeting took place to discuss various matters of mutual interest in the domestic and international arenas. The OIC has pointed out that it is confident that the Sri Lankan government is taking the appropriate measures to calm the situation on the ground. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured diplomats from Muslim countries that the Government will not tolerate anyone perpetrating acts to create communal or religious disharmony in Sri Lanka, the President’s office said.He had given the assurance when he met a delegation comprising 15 diplomatic heads of Islamic countries based in Sri Lanka. The Bodu Bala Sena has been at the forefront of inciting violence against Muslims in various parts of the country. (Colombo Gazette)

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