The statement: “The United National Party wishes to reply to the comments made by three so-called Muslim activists who have made a statement in support of the Taliban and their earlier actions. These individuals, who include a former Member of Parliament from the SLMC, are defending the Taliban while choosing to criticize the UNP.
“The UNP has continually stood for a Sri Lankan identity, which includes upholding human rights, and ensuring that Muslims have the same rights as all other citizens to worship and enjoy their culture. We have not moved away from these principles and have remained steadfast in this concept. A founding member of the UNP was Dr.T.B.Jayah, a respected member of the Muslim community”.
“The recent stands of the party include:
·Opposition to the military takeover in Myanmar which impacted its Muslim citizens.
·Urging the Government to revoke their policy of a ban of burials which impacted all citizens including Muslims. We urged the Government to follow the procedure of India, South Korea and Germany.
·We have raised in Parliament the attempted arrest of Harin Fernando and the arrest of Rishard Bathiudeen, both which raises a serious breach of privileges.
Sri Lanka agreed to Afghanistan joining the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) after the Taliban was expelled by a UN sanction mission. We do not agree that Afghanistan lost its independence following this operation and that the Taliban’s attempt to regain control is a struggle to regain their independence.
This is the view of terrorist sympathizers. We are viewing daily images of a large number of Afghan citizens who are leaving Afghanistan due to the Taliban, these are all Muslims. The Taliban is now a threat to many Muslim states in Central Asia and the Middle East.
The Taliban continues to maintain its links with terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
In 2001 Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake went to Pakistan, and alongside the Pakistan Government urged the Taliban to not destroy the Bamiyan Buddha statues. These statues are one of the hallmarks of the Gandhara kingdom and the Buddhist schools that existed in Afghanistan.
These statues were as sacred to us as the dome in Jerusalem is to Islam. Do these three activists condone these actions of blowing up the statue?
When the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, produced a caricature of Prophet Muhammad, the UNP condemned this act. Why is it, that these activists are hesitating to condemn the Taliban for an act of sacrilege? Instead, they are trying to portray them as heroes. The UNP has always opposed extremism amongst all the communities in Sri Lanka. The biggest harm to the Muslim community was not by any other communities but by extremists Muslims who were responsible for the Easter Sunday Terror Attacks. Therefore, as a Sri Lankan party we would like to remind these activists that all Sri Lankans must unite for the future of the country and let us all condemn the Taliban which continues to allow terrorist movements to spawn under their watch”.