The prime minister’s call for everyone to stay alert alongside the intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies to fight religious militancy has come at the right time. She has rightly pointed out that everyone must play their part in the fight against this scourge including religious leaders. She has asked the imams of mosques to deliver sermons against terrorism and militancy at the Friday congregations where they should highlight Islam as a religion of peace.
This is definitely a crucial step in fighting radicalisation that leads to such horrific attacks that we have just witnessed in Sri Lanka and in many other countries including our own. As the PM cautioned, there are still attempts to carry out attacks in this country and although our counter terrorism efforts have been laudably successful, we must all be continuously alert. She has mentioned that guardians, teachers, public representatives, imams of mosques and clerics of all religions can stand together against suspected militant activity in their respective localities.
The reality is that terror attacks can occur anytime anywhere and the profiles of terrorists are becoming increasingly difficult to categorise. But if we can effectively address the roots of militancy it will become more and more difficult for terror groups to recruit agents and carry out attacks. While the government has initiated de-radicalisation programmes, we, as a people, have a responsibility to make sure our young people especially, do not fall prey to the indoctrination of distorted ideologies. Religious leaders do have a major part to play as people are greatly influenced by them. They must speak against these heinous attacks that have taken the lives of thousands of innocents in the name of Islam, as they are in contradiction to the religion’s true teachings.
It is time for all of us to be united against this cancerous growth called terror by embracing and advocating the values of humanity, namely tolerance, peace and love for our fellow human beings.