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Hakeem says Muslims being marginalized

The suicide bombers want the Muslims pushed to the margins says Hakeem

By Arjuna Ranawana

 

Minister Rauff Hakeem is warning that Muslims in Sri Lanka are feeling marginalized after the Easter Sunday attacks and that is playing into the aim of the suicide bombers.

Hakeem says “the very purpose of these attacks, was to push the Muslims to the margin and achieve whatever purpose the handlers of these people wanted to achieve.”

The Minister who is the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress told RepublicNext that Muslims are “worried as there is an increasingly deliberate marginalization that is taking place.”

“They feel threatened as there is hostility when are in smaller numbers but people are trying to keep a distance and that kind of uneasiness is creeping in and that is very worrying” he added

Hakeem appealed to the majority Sinhala community “to be more compassionate as we are feeling more beleaguered than anybody else.”

Hakeem is also worried that “forces that have been looking at Muslim with a prejudiced eye will be looking to take this to another level.”

Muslims need to make changes in the way we do things

He says that the Muslim community on its part needs “deep introspection on the part of our community and not take anything for granted.”

Before the attacks, he says, “there was displaced prejudice and there was an aversion or discomfort to a particular cultural practice.  But now this is accompanied by fear and some of them are gripped by fear and anger.”

“We need to respond adequately to that kind of mental state,” he says.

In order to do that he urges Muslims “to adjust ourselves and be more flexible.”

“We are already looking into our dress culture, but we must look at other aspects too, such as the way we do business and the way we practice our religion,” he says.

“We need to reach out to other communities and be more open,” he told us in this exclusive interview

He also stressed the need for wide-ranging reform of the religious schools, the Madrassas.