On behalf of Sri Lankan community living in Luton (Al-Furqan Committee) and Luton Mosques, we would like to draw your attention to the escalating racist violence against minority communities in general, and Muslims in particular, in Sri Lanka. As covered by international media, widespread attacks have taken place on mosques and businesses despite the Government’s ‘Good Governance’ policy which aims to promote national reconciliation and cohesion.
These unfortunate and unhealthy developments have led to the gross violation of constitutional rights to freedom and practice of religion and have upset the peaceful relations between Muslims and the Sinhalese communities which has existed for more than 1,000 years. Over the last two months, hate crimes and violence against Muslims have escalated with an insufficient response from the government of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan community in Luton has had regular communication from their families and the wider community in Sri Lanka and are gravely concerned about their wellbeing.
Analysts are already predicting that the ongoing hate-crimes, perpetuated by far-right gropus, have the potential to lead to social catastrophe, similar to the ‘Black July anti-Tamil’ riots in 1983. Unfortunately, media reports show evidence that hate campaigns have been developing for many years and that these recent attacks have not been clamped down by the government, nor have extremist groups been arrested or held to account. This has been identified by international organizations including UNHRC, Minority international and Amnesty international who have condemned the inaction and indifference of the government.
It is imperative that the government takes decisive action to enforce law and order, arrest the offenders and restore confidence and trust in minority communities.
To this end, it is important that effective pressure be brought to bear by influential countries like the United Kingdom to bring a halt to this unhealthy trend of hate and hostility towards the Muslims of Sri Lanka and take positive action to restore their confidence in the rule of law.
We wish to bring to your notice that the Sri Lankan community in UK, has received an appreciable show of support from many MPs across the UK, giving us assurance that they will highlight the plight of minorities in Sri Lanka and to press for effective action through the Foreign Secretary.
We would sincerely appreciate if you will be kind enough to take up our cause as our MP, in the House of Commons and with relevant government officials including the Foreign Secretary with a view to getting him to do the needful as outlined in our report. We once again thank you for your support in this regard.
Dr. Azath Kamil Mohamed Lafir, President, Luton Al Furqan Committee