Even though I had not been affected directly by the cruel war in our country for 30 long years, I too had felt its effects for a long time. A man’s family and the atmosphere he lives in affects his thoughts and views. In 1989, when the war was at its peak my parents had to leave there native place in the Eastern province and had to live in Kandy because of the constant threat of the LTTE. This made me believe that all Tamils were either LTTE or supporters of the movement. The different governments which ruled our country from the time of the independence repeatedly did great injustices to minority ethnics groups. This made me to come to the conclusion, that the majority of our country was people who have racist inclinations.
All those situations and incidents made me think like a Muslim but not as a Sri Lankan Muslim. In 2011 I got the opportunity to participate in the Future Leaders’ Conference organized by Sri Lanka Unites. Here I got the opportunity to interact with youth from other ethnic groups. This made me get rid of the wrong impression and hatred I had towards these young men and women. The Future Leaders’ Conference made me realize that it’s unreasonable to find fault with whole community because of the wrong doings of a certain group of people and stereotyping other ethnicities.
I was also taught a great lesson at this conference that a selfish person only thinks about himself and has concerns only about his community. I greatly regret for being such a person in the past. It is feared that the recent attacks on the Muslim community may lead Sri Lanka into yet another era of darkness. I am certain that if not for my involvement with Sri Lanka Unites, I would also have had the same stereotyped mindset of other Muslim youths at this time.
Hakkani Majeed From the Eastern Province (Sri Lanka Unites Dream Team Member 2012)
Translated by - Shruthi Waduge