Congress to be unified soon
D. B. S. Jeyaraj
politically fragmented Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will be
unified by the end of this month if current moves to forge unity
Muslim sources told The Sunday Leader that efforts by concerned
Muslim politicians and community leaders to unite the party have been
remarkably successful so far and that if “God wills” all three SLMC
factions would come under one umbrella again.
negotiations among concerned leaders are currently going on and a three
member committee has been appointed to formulate a common basis of
agreement for estranged SLMC elements to realign. The primary focus of
this common agenda would be to ensure the safety and security of Muslims
living in the North - East Province.
would also address the ongoing peace talks between the government and
LTTE with a view to gaining effective representation for the Muslims at
has to be a united and powerful Muslim voice in the talks to protect
Muslim rights at the peace talks,” said the sources.
Sunday Leader learns that the recent communal violence in Muttur
where Muslims were severely affected had been the turning point in
favour of SLMC unity.
Leader Rauf Hakeem spent several days in the Trincomalee District and
interacted with all shades of Muslim opinion there.
was emphasised then that broader Muslim unity was vital to safeguard
Muslim interests and help realise legitimate aspirations.
was pointed out that the premier political party of the Muslims had been
divided and weakened at a time when it should have been strong to
advocate the Muslim viewpoint.
is learnt that a lengthy meeting between Hakeem and estranged SLMC
Parliamentarian Noordeen Mashoor from the Wanni District had delved into
these matters in depth.
District MPs Anver Ismail and Haris had been constructively involved in
these unity moves and had lobbied rival SLMC factions to sink
differences and re-unite.
SLMC split first after the demise of its charismatic leader M. H. M.
Ashraff. A faction led by his wife Ferial Ashraff and M. H. M. Hizbullah
function independent of the SLMC under the National Unity Alliance (NUA)
SLMC suffered further fragmentation when a faction led by Amparai
District MP, A. H. M. Athaulla and national list MP Dr. Hafrath rebelled
strongly against Hakeem's leadership.
sides sought legal recourse against each other and some salient issues
concerning the party are pending before courts.
break-away faction now calls itself the Ashraff Congress.
and Haris however had not joined either faction and continued to
maintain cordial relations with both Hakeem and Athaulla. They are now
interacting between both sides and helping to patch up differences.
the Hakeem and Athaulla led SLMC factions come together, further moves
will be on to bring the Ferial Ashraff group back to the SLMC fold.
Sunday Leader learns that informal moves towards unity have been on with
regard to the Ferial Ashraff bloc and that there are positive signals
indicating a possible tie-up if Athaulla's dissidents merge with the
has been strong pressure, particularly from the Muslim intellectuals and
student community of the Eastern Province on Muslim politicians to put
their differences aside and
unite for the greater good of the community.
sources said that a meeting will be held in parliament when it convenes
on May 6 and that all factions of the SLMC will participate.
meeting will be crucial and will determine the future course of unity
moves," the sources said.