Monday, 08 July 2019 17:08

Diverse Efforts to Combat Religious Hostility Around the Country

Several activities including peace walks, advocacy and poster campaigns and meetings with Muslim religious leaders were held in many areas around the country under NPC’s project, Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF). The activities were carried out by Local Inter Religious Committees (LIRCs) formed under the project.

Three poster campaigns along with peace walks were held in Akkaraipattu, Vavuniya and Mannar with the participation of religious leaders, police officers, government officers and civil society leaders. The campaigns sought to counter religious extremism and tensions that arose in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks.

LIRC members, in collaboration with Divisional Secretariats, facilitated discussions with Muslim religious leaders and community leaders in Mannar, Vavuniya, Negombo, Weligama, Mahiyangana and Akurana to identify the root causes of the Easter Sunday attacks and to plan future interventions to defuse religious tensions.

The religious leaders and the representatives of the Muslim community raised concerns about the harassment faced by the Muslim community after Easter bombings. They condemned the attacks.

Addalaichenai LIRC conducted an inter faith awareness session for 55 participants including religious leaders, government officials, police officers and community leaders. The event was organized to counter misconceptions about the Muslim community such as the possession of weapons, underage marriages and Islamic extremism.

LIRC members met Minister of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment, Daya Gamage, and Acting Minister of Highways, Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development, Anoma Gamage, to inform them about LIRC activities and its future plans. The discussion centered on the recent communal violence in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks. The ministers praised the LIRC for its efforts and extended their support towards future activities.

Beruwela LIRC facilitated a dialogue with 100 members of community policing committees at the Divisional Secretariat of Beruwala, which focused on conflict mitigation and sensitivity. The meeting was aimed at capacitating members of community policing units at the village level to defuse tension in the area after the Easter Sunday attacks.