Youth urge religious leaders not to be politically biased

A multi-religious, multi-ethnic coalition of youth organisations are calling for religious leaders to stop being politically biased.

Ravindra De Silva Executive Director of the Association For Friendship and Love (AFRIEL) to promote young leaders who are apolitical.

He made these remarks at a press conference today (30) by Youth For Democracy, AFRIEL and 30 other youth organisations in Northern and Eastern provinces at the National Christian Council.

“We can hear the same things politicians say in the morning coming from a religious leader in the evening,” he added further.

Speaking about the recent communal attacks Jayantha Dehiatthage a Lawyer from the Naththandiya area said that after the Easter Attacks on 21 April no incident of violence between groups was reported. “There was a peaceful situation to some extent in the country.”

“But after three weeks from the Easter attacks, to have attacks happen exactly on the same day in several areas shows how well coordinated and targeted those attacks were,” he said.

Dehiatthage also said that many people in his area including him have received anonymous phone calls saying to be on alert as  5 or 6 Muslims had come with swords to the area. The very next day these attacks happen but no one knows who and how were they able to call all the people.

“As a youth from the Muslim community, I would say that those terrorists who are responsible for the Easter attacks do not have a religion even though they are from the Muslim community. They have destroyed the very principle of Islam,” said Ambri Nizam a member of the youth movement and a local councilor from Kegalle

He added that after the attack, islamophobia has grown because of a few people from the community.

“Don’t look at Muslims in a wrong angle..we have to join hands to demolish terrorism, racism and violence and it is the responsibility of every single citizen,” he added

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De Silva also said that discussions are ongoing with youth Muslim organisations to build a Muslim youth network connecting all the villages and towns in order to prevent the young Muslims from being radicalised and motivated to do acts of terrorism.

“We won’t isolate the Muslim youth saying they are terrorists but we want to be with them at this situation,” he said

He also urged civil society leaders not to work for political agendas but stand with the people and let the youth help them for the well being of those people.

“Changing the 225 in the parliament won’t solve the problem but changing how we as country react and respond to them will solve them,” he added

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