Connect with us

News

Former Minister of Muslim Religious Affairs tells PCoI he was ignorant about extremism here

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

 

Former Minister of Muslim Religious Affairs, M. H.A. Haleem yesterday told the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks that although he had heard about the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) by 2014, he didn’t think it was a violent organisation.

He said so when he was asked by the Counsel representing the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, whether he had been aware of the NTJ during his tenure as Minister. Haleem also said that he didn’t know about Zahran before the Easter Sunday attacks.

Haleem said that he had not known what had happened in Kattankudy until the Easter Sunday attacks.

The lawyer representing Archbishop of Colombo: “There was a clash between the NTJ members and those of Sunnath Wal Jamaat on 10 March 2017 at Aliyar Junction, Kattankudy. Were you not aware of this?”

Haleem: “No. Perhaps local political leaders may have told higher-ups about the threats posed by the NTJ. But I was not informed.”

The lawyer representing Archbishop of Colombo then asked Haleem if he had been aware of a speech made by former Justice Minister, Wijeyadasa Rajapakse about ISIS activities in Sri Lanka. Haleem said that he had spoken to Muslim religious leaders, Muslim intellectuals and even law enforcement agencies but they all had assured him that there was no evidence of ISIS activity in Sri Lanka.

Haleem also said that there were too many mosques and Moulavis in Sri Lanka and added that six months after the establishment of a mosque, the trustees could request registration.

“There are too many mosques and these have also caused issues in the community. Many mosques are unregistered and we don’t know whether they receive foreign funding or what they do. There are also too many moulavis. Some people with Moulavi qualifications are driving three-wheelers.”

The former minister added there was no need to register certain types of religious schools.

A Commissioner asked Haleem about the activities of the Thowheed Jamaat movement and whether it was a problem to inter-communal harmony.

Haleem: “They are also a problem in the Muslim community. They start mosques near other mosques and cause trouble.”

The former minister also said that there should not be any weapons in mosques. He said this responding to a question posed by the Attorney General’s Department representative, who told him that there was evidence that some NTJ members had imported swords from China and distributed them among mosques.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Pakistan Navy ship arrives in Colombo

Published

on

Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Taimur arrived, at the port of Colombo, on a formal visit, yesterday morning (12). The visiting ship was welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy, in compliance with naval traditions.The 134m-long ship is commanded by Captain M. Yasir Tahir and it is manned by 169 as the ship’s complement.

The Commanding Officer of PNS Taimur is scheduled to call on Commander Western Naval Area, at the Western Naval Command Headquarters, today. The ship is expected to remain in the island, until 15th August, and the crew of the ship will take part in several programmes, organized by the Sri Lanka Navy, to promote cooperation and goodwill between the two navies.

PNS Taimur is also expected to conduct a naval exercise with the Sri Lanka Navy in western seas on its departure on 15th August.

Meanwhile, PNS Tughril, an identical warship belonging to the Pakistan Navy, arrived in Sri Lanka on an official visit on 13th December 2021 and conducted a successful naval exercise with SLNS Sindurala off the western coast on 16th December. Naval exercises of this nature with regional navies will enable each partner to overcome common maritime challenges in the future, through enhanced cooperation.

Continue Reading

News

Stalin reads riot act to govt. over proposal to allow schoolchildren to work part time

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Alliance of Trade Unions and Mass Organisations yesterday warned that the government’s decision to allow schoolchildren, between the ages of 16 and 20, to work part time, would have disastrous consequences.Addressing the media on 11 Aug., General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union, Joseph Stalin, said that the government was planning to amend laws, allowing schoolchildren to work in the private sector for 20 hours a week.

“Now, this may look like a progressive idea. A lot of families are

struggling and if another family member can chip in, it would be a great help. I am sure a lot of children feel the same way. It is also true that there may be children who will find great jobs and horn their skills,” he said.However, these proposals have come at a time when education is in crisis and the schools are on the verge of collapse.

“During the last two and a half years, most children have learnt nothing. But children who go to elite schools are doing better. These schools have systems in place, but most others don’t. Children who do not go to tier one schools have suffered and most children who do not go to such elite schools will not find part time work that will prepare them for the jobs of the future,” he said. “It’s not easy to balance school work with vocation training, especially physically intensive work. Most people will drop out and social mobility will further stagnate. Fix the education system first and create a more level playing field,” Stalin said.

Continue Reading

News

Harsha: Will RW use Emergency to steamroller his economic reforms?

Published

on

By Saman Indrajith

SJB MP Harsha de Silva yesterday asked President Ranil Wickremesinghe whether the latter was planning to use Emergency powers to suppress the people who might oppose his economic reform agenda.

“It is being asked why the government wants to continue the State of Emergency. The anti-government protesters have gone home. There is no unrest. There are those who say that the President wants to keep the Emergency laws to carry out economic reforms. Does that mean the President will use these laws to scare people into submission if they do not accept his economic reforms? I don’t think people can be intimidated. I want the President to answer this question,” he said.

MP de Silva said that the government did not have public support and that it was obvious that the spectre of the Rajapaksas was haunting the government.

“I agree that Wickremesinghe was appointed constitutionally. We have to work within the Constitution. However, the 134 votes he received on 20 July were not realistic. They have managed to manipulate the Constitution, but the government doesn’t have the support of the people. The problem is can the government win the support of the people,” he said.The SJB lawmaker added that Sri Lanka needed to restructure its debt. However, the country had not even started the process.

“One of the consultants we hired, Lazard, says that we have to start with China because it is new to debt restructuring. But we have not done so. Not only that, we have in fact started a diplomatic issue with China. What’s the front page news today? Can this government solve this sensitive international issue? Can it carry out the necessary economic reforms?” he asked.

MP de Silva said that the government had to work with the people and that it had to be honest with them. The government needed to present a common programme on which an all party government could be established.

“In 2020, we said that the government was on the wrong path and that we needed to seek IMF assistance. The government didn’t listen. We need an all-party programme to go before the IMF and get a decent deal. Today, I present to Parliament an economic recovery plan we have prepared. When we decided to throw our weight behind SLPP MP Dullas Alahapperuma, I was entrusted with the task of making an economic plan. We have run it through experts too. I ask the MPs to look at this and suggest improvements.”

Continue Reading

Trending