Japanese peace Envoy Akashi assures fair share for Muslims

Feb 12 (IL) Japan’s special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi addressing the media soon after his meeting with Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem today morning said that his visit was intended to learn the Muslim community’s considerations, needs and their requirements since the tsunami tragedy.

“We are aware that it was the Muslim community which was the hardest hit in the eastern province from the tsunami. And my talks with Mr. Hakeem have given me a new understanding and insight in connection to matters related to the post tsunami situation,” Mr. Akashi said.

Commenting on the setting up of the Muslim Peace Secretariat, the Envoy said, “The establishment of the Muslim peace secretariat bring in together the entire Muslim community is ‘good news’. He added that, “it should be made sure that the interest of the Muslim community is guarded.”

Meanwhile, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem addressing the media after the meeting pointed out that the Japanese Envoy had agreed that the Muslim community’s concern was legitimate, but Mr. Akashi has assured that during the needs assessments and the designing of projects in the North East attention would be paid to all communities needs.” Mr. Akashi had noted that with the setting up of the Muslim Peace Secretariat, it could now hold vibrant institutionalised engagements with the International Community, Government and the LTTE.

Mr. Hakeem meanwhile, condemned the style the Government was handling the post tsunami reconstruction phase. “The minorities, which incidentally were the hardest hit due to the tsunami, have been ignored,” he alleged.

SLMC Chairman and Parliamentarian Basheer Segu Dawood, National Organiser K.A. Baiz MP, Digamadulla district MP Faizal Cassim and National List MP Nijamudeen participated at the discussion.