Cross on the beach | Sunday Observer

Cross on the beach

Extending their sympathy towards those who were slain and affected by the Easter Sunday attack and protesting against extremism in the name of Islam, ‘Muslim Facebook Friends, a social media friend group organised a special event at Wellawatta beach last week.

The group of youth, made a cross on the beach using sand then presented flowers in front of the cross and maintained a one-minute silence in remembrance of those who are no more following the Easter Sunday tragedy.

More than 50 Muslim young men and women who work at nearby offices also participated. Youth belonging to all communities participated in the protest too. They carried placards urging the public about the importance of preventing any type of extremism. Singer Fathima Ramzina Jepper and a few other artistes also joined the event.

“We are totally against the terrorist attack unleashed on civilians” said Co-Convener of the Youth collective for a progressive Muslim society, Arshad Najudeen. He further said, “No one can accept such behaviour. We take this as an opportunity to extend our sympathy towards those who are disturbed by those incidents. Moreover, we are completely against extremism. We kindly request all our Sri Lankan brothers and sisters, not to isolate us but support us to defeat this extremism”.

Co-Convener of the Youth collective for a progressive Muslim society (TCPMS), Sakeef Saam stressed the importance of the need for new Muslim leadership in the country. “Now the extremists’ time within the Muslim society is all gone. They have no place in this society. Therefore we kindly invite progressive Muslims to come forward and to lead their community. The Muslim community has a vacuum of leadership unlike in the past” he said.

“If we do not fill this vacuum with progressive moderate Muslims, again extremists will take control. They will again produce live bombs” added Sakeef.

The protest and sympathy displayed organised by a group of young, obscure civil activists finally ended the event by a signing a banner pledging their support towards preventing extremism.

In the time to come, TCPMS plans to host a national level conference aiming to spread their message to the masses. “Political polarisation is the common enemy of the Sri Lankan Muslim society. They should understand these incidents without any political angles. For an instance, the attack on Muslims on May 13, had a political motive. We are now in a process of bridging this gap between communities. We had various discussions throughout the years about the same matter. But it was in individual capacities, not streamlined” said Arshad.

In the upcoming conference, Muslim youth and academia will interact with each other to address gaps between communities.