Civil group appeals for Muslim, Tamil unity
[TamilNet, Saturday, 10 January 2004, 14:32 GMT]
In a leaflet addressed to "Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters," distributed in Batticaloa-Amparai district, the Batticaloa Development Committee appealed for co-operation between Tamils and Muslims in the two districts and called on the community leaders to work jointly to combat forces trying to divide the two communities.
Excerpts from the leaflet follow:
"This critical period places a historical burden on us, as two peoples living together bound by a common language and common economic aspirations, to think and act wisely. Certain selfish political elements are determined to foment discord between us and to turn our peaceful co-existence into
a life of misery and fear. As brothers and sisters we have to decide who will benefit from thes acts. Who will benefit from worsening relationship between our two communities?
"Some politicians are making political capital out of claiming for separate Muslim unit and demanding independent Muslim unit in peacetalks. These politicians hatch their plans in luxurious hotels without regard to people struggling in harsh village environments.
"If we carefully examine the past we realize that duplicitous actions of past Sinhala Governments divided us. We worked hard to rebuild trust and learnt to live together. Liberation Tigers have unequivocally said that they are determined and prepared to resolve any issue to the satisfaction of both communities. They are participating in peace talks to gain our freedom skillfully leveraging their military strength and political acumen.
"We understand that, in all aspects other than religion, we are the same people. We therefore repeatedly stress the need to work and live together. Like resolving internal squabbles within families, we can resolve our differences by open discussions. We urge you not to lend support to nurture armed culture that can cause unnecessary hardship and destruction to property and lives of innocent Tamil and Muslim families.
"Let us work and strengthen our future together. We need to take timely action if we are to prevent future disasters.