Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena asked for the support of the minority Muslim community in his government’s efforts for reconciliation with ethnic Tamils following the three-decade civil war with the LTTE.
“I trust those who follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad in Sri Lanka can make a significant contribution to building a nation rich in tolerance, understanding and reconciliation, which will strengthen the efforts to take the country on the forward march to progress,” he said in a message to mark Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, on Thursday.
Sirisena said that ‘Madina Charter’, written and promulgated by Prophet Muhammad for the pluralistic society, provides answers to most of today’s problems, presenting approaches to solving and preventing conflicts between groups based on differences in culture and belief.
Sirisena had received wide support from the 7% Muslim minority in his landslide victory against Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential elections in January this year.
“I wish to point out that the Medina Charter shows that Islam rejects the use of compulsion and force in religion and, has been demonstrated over centuries of human existence, that the most effective way to resolve conflicts is through mediation. It guaranteed the safety and welfare of all the communities and promoted reconciliation with all the communities,” he said.
The former Rajapaksa regime was accused of backing the extremist nationalist group Bodu Bala Sena who whipped up anti-Muslim feelings among the majority Sinhalese.
Sirisena is to embark on a new Constitution formulation process early next month in his bid to achieve national reconciliation by addressing minority concerns among other issues.
The Government is set to move a resolution in Parliament on January 9 to convert the House into a Constitutional Assembly which will initiate the process of drafting the new Constitution.