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Taliban or Homeland first?

I am a Sri Lankan Muslim whose ancestors have lived in this country for countless generations in the closest amity with our Sinhalese brothers who gave us refuge when persecuted by the Portuguese. When I saw the orchestrated demonstrations outside many mosques last Friday denouncing Bush for bombing the Taliban, I realised why many Sinhalese regard us Muslims as less patriotic owing their allegiance elsewhere. May I ask these demonstrators, and their misgided leaders, whether they ever held similar protests over the Tiger terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka such as those on the Central Bank, Galadari, Dalada Maligawa, Aralaganwila etc which killed hundreds of us Sri Lankans? Did they demonstrate when thousands of Muslims were hounded out of Jaffna and Mannar (to be accommodated among the hospitable Sinhalese of Anuradhapura and Puttalam?) Why this misguided loyalty towards the brutal Taliban? Are they not aware of the horror and disgust of our Buddhist brothers at the Taliban destruction of the great Bamiyan Buddhas ? Why should we invite our compatriots to assume that we are on the same side as these brutes and thus provoke anti-Muslim violence? Cheering for Pakistan at cricket was bad enough (and led to many jibes) - but demonstrating in favour of the Buddha destroying Taliban is suicidal. It is no wonder that we Muslims are often labelled unpatriotic towards our Motherland!

I sincerely appeal, on behalf of the vast majority of Sri Lankan Muslims, to Muslim leaders to stop this rot instead of provoking violent reaction against the innocent, which is inevitable if these misguided demonstrations continue.
A.M. Sherifdeen


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