YMMA alleges extremists misinterpreting Defence Secretary’s statement

The All Ceylon Young Men’s Muslim Association (YMMA) Conference has alleged that certain extremist elements were trying to misinterpret a recent statement by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that overseas groups were inciting extremism among the Muslims here.

The following is the full text of a statement issued by Razmara Abdeen, National General Secretary on behalf of YMMA: "All Ceylon YMMA Conference, at an Emergency Executive Council meeting held on 12th August 2013, unanimously resolved to release the following message to the Press.

"The attention of the Executive Committee of the Young Men’s Muslim Association (YMMA) has been drawn to recent news items quoting the Defence Secretary’s address in the recent defence seminar, organized by the Sri Lanka Army, under the theme Post Conflict Sri Lanka, Challenges and Regional Stability.

In his address at the seminar the Defence Secretary had stressed the need to promote the Sri Lankan Identity irrespective of racial and religious beliefs and had clearly identified any extreme and/or hard-line element within the minority and/or majority community in the country as a threat to the Nation’s progress and that it would lead to a vicious cycle of greater fragmentation of the Sri Lankan Identity.

The Young Men’s Muslim Association, being one of the premier and most reputed organisations, representing the Sri Lankan Muslim Community, welcomes the stand that all Sri Lankan should work towards establishing a common Sri Lankan Identity and pledges its unstinted support and cooperation to espouse the cause of a true Sri Lankan identity and to defeat any form of extremism whether it emanates from the minority and/or the majority community irrespective of racial or religious inclinations.

However, Young Men’s Muslim Association notes with concern, the attempts made by certain extremist elements in the Country to portray the said message in a negative manner and use it to tarnish the image and goodwill of the Muslims in general, which will lead to greater fragmentation of the Sri Lankan community to use the Defence Secretary’s own words.

The Young Men’s Muslim Association of Sri Lanka invites all Sri Lankans to stand up for unity in diversity and defeat all forms of extremism to achieve the true potential of our nation."

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