Sri Lankan expats in EP submits petition to their President on violence against Muslims
On behalf of the Sri Lankan government , its ambassador in Saudi Arabia Azmi Thassim said ‘ Sorry’ for the recent violence occurred against Muslims in the Kandy district, central part of the island, which had damaged Muslims, their properties and their worshipping places.
The envoy was speaking at a meeting held in Dammam, Eastern part of Saudi Arabia, where the aggrieved expats community of the island gathered to voice their concerns to their government in Colombo.
More than 25,000 Sri Lankans live in the Eastern part of the Kingdom out of the 200,000 islanders in Saudi Arabia.
A formal petition seeking their country’s presidential intervention to get an assurance that such events would not recur since their families are living back home, was handed to Thassim who promised to forward it to President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo.
Sequel to the recent violence against Muslims, expats from Riyadh and Jeddah also submitted similar petitions to the Sri Lankan ambassador and to their Consul General A W A Salam, respectively , to be handed to the President of Sri Lanka.
The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has voiced their concerns to the Sri Lankan government on the recent violence against Muslims which has damaged Muslim persons, properties and worshipping places.
Addressing more than 500 Sri Lankans comprising Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese expats from the island, Thassim said that the violence was perpetrated by a small group of people , who are now in police custody pending further action against them. He recalled that the damages caused to Muslim properties could have been controlled by quick action by the security authorities. “ appropriate action is being taken by the government and those responsible for the vandalism will be subject to legal actions ,” the diplomat said.
He also said that situation has been brought under control and the emergency which was imposed at the time of the violence, has now been lifted. He assured the expats that every action will be taken by his government to prevent such recurrences.
Speaking on behalf of the Sri Lankan expats community in the Eastern province, Izzat Hameed said it was a pity that the violence was focused on innocent peace-loving people, who had lost their properties and sustained severe damages on 24 worshipping places where they frequent for their daily prayers.
“ Ethnic groups from Sri Lanka have been living in Saudi Arabia peacefully like members of one family,” he noted , adding that this example could be well emulated by people in the island.
The meeting started with the singing of the Sri Lankan national anthem and those present vowed to work for communal harmony in Sri Lanka and to promote the good image of their motherland in the international arena.