Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Let's start a new Journey!

Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (SLDF) and the Sri Lanka Islamic Forum-UK (SLIF-UK)
invite you to a public discussion on

Saturday 30 October from 2- 5 pm

Tamil - Muslim Relations: After 20 years of Expulsion of Northern Muslims

The venue:
Conference Room
3rd Floor, Berkeley Business Centre
44 Broadway, Stratford, London, E15 1XH
(nearest tube station: Stratford )

Panel discussion will be chaired by Najah Mohamed


1.Riza Yehiya and
2.Chinniah Rajeshkumar
3. Rajendran Ramamoorthy

Guest Speaker :

Ustaz.Hajjul Akbar (Sri Lanka)
The Return of the Northern Muslims

Rebuilding damaged relations between communities is fundamental for peace, reconciliation, and economic and political development; it is also key to resolving many of the questions facing Sri Lanka today, such as questions of democracy, justice and minority rights. How do we achieve this, after long-held attitudes have become entrenched by the conflict and there is no on-going effort at present, either by the State or civil society organisations to diffuse this situation and bring communities together?

While communities continue to remain polarised new developments are taking place at a rapid pace, and the fear is that this could only widen the misunderstandings between communities. The processes of return, resettlement and the rebuilding of community relations are inextricably intertwined. The resettlement question and return have to be viewed as being part of the process of rebuilding inter-community relations.

It is in this context we remember the eviction of the northern Muslims who were expelled from the northern province, in this month, October, exactly 20 years ago. They have languished in refugee camps in Puttalam while their neighbourhoods that they lived in the north for centuries have gradually lost all physical and cultural traces of their presence and history.

It is important to emphasise the positives of “Return” rather than dwell on the negatives. As such, it is important to recognise the right of the various IDP communities to return, and on the basis of this right of return, look at opportunities to turn the process of return to facilitate better community relations.

A campaign for the speedy return of northern Muslims is just and urgent and should be taken up as a challenge by all those campaigning for peace, democracy and justice in Sri Lanka.

The meeting will be held in Tamil. A Tamil leaflet is to follow.

Nirmala Rajasingam
SLDF Steering Committee member

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