NPC Election: Govt. planning Muslim Alliance to avoid defeat – Kabir Hashim

Who advised President to postpone Haj Festival date?


by Zacki Jabbar

With the UPFA government facing the prospect of certain defeat, if and when it held the Northern Provincial Council Election, it had influenced some Muslim religious leaders and organizations with vested interests to coax the Muslims into forming an alliance which would be to its benefit, the UNP said yesterday.

Unity among Muslims was salutary, but it was the Government’s ulterior  motives that need to be questioned, UNP MP Kabir Hashim MP said, at a press conference in Colombo.

He said that with the Muslims in the East having deserted the UPFA as indicated by the results of the recently concluded Eastern Provincial Council Poll, it had managed to convince some Muslim religious leaders of the need to form an alliance of its own to face the next election.

Implementation of proposals made by those who were at the beck and call of President Mahinda Rajapaksa would result in Muslim political parties being decimated, the MP warned.

Hashim said that currently the Muslim parties that supported the government had contested elections after entering into MoUs, but with the formation of a Muslim alliance they would lose their individual clout.

Muslims, he said, need not look far since the UNP had always worked to protect them and ensure that their rights and privileges were safeguarded in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.

Hashim told The Island that under the present governmnet many Muslim religious places of worship had been attacked and even this year’s Haj Festival which should have been celebrated on October 26, according to the religious calendar, had been put off for the following day.

The Muslim Ministers and so-called advisors should tell the public who had advised President Rajapaksa that it was not good to celebrate Haj Festival on October 26, which was a Friday, one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar. The entire Muslim world observed the Festival on October 26, but there were no reported calamities in any of those countries.

Despite the official decree many Sri Lankan Muslims had celebrated Haj Festival on October 26; he said adding that the country did not suffer any loss as a result. It was the following day October 27 that floods were reported from several areas.

Obviously, those who had advised the President had wanted to impress him, but none of their claims had come to pass despite a large number of Sri Lankan Muslims celebrating the festival on October 26, Hashim noted.

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