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Director against terrorism loses his position

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Director against terrorism loses his position
(Translated by Akitha Wijayasinghe)
Following instructions given by Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, the Director of the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs, A.B.M. Ashraf has resigned, the department sources state.
On the instructions of the secretary, Mr. Ashraf had handed over a letter to the secretary on January 1st, requesting his resignation. The sources said that several Muslim parliamentarians in the government had been trying for a long time to remove him from his position.
The sources state that Mr. Ashraf has worked tirelessly to improve the name and image of the department among the Muslim community, as well as to give access to the services of the department to all Muslims without discrimination, and to eliminate the perception that the Sufi / Tarika Muslim community is a Wahab camp and the fact that they are being discriminated against.
He is of the opinion that a neutral approach to Islam should be promoted with true Sufi ideology, without differentiating from other groups and that he was trying to create an Islamic culture that is unique to Sri Lanka in a way that suits the country. His work was widely accepted in the Sinhala community, the sources added.
Prior to taking over the post, the department had approached religious issues, completely ignoring the needs of the society and without any vision or mission to suit Sri Lanka, its sources said. Also, before him, the department had completely ignored the cultural sector.
Sources say that after taking over the post, he gave priority to the promotion of art, literature and cultural elements among the Muslim community and set up a separate unit for this purpose and appointed an Assistant Director and started many other activities.
An Advisory Committee consisting of leading artists and university lecturers as well as an action plan for 2021 had been prepared for this purpose. Its employees suspect that the program will not be operational in the absence of his position.
A Muslim civil society leader said it is doubtful whether the government would support the promotion of extremism by removing such individuals, who had sought to stop certain sections of the Muslim community from pushing for extremism.

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