SLMC threatens to withdraw
SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem is the Justice Minister in the UPFA government.The SLMC says it also hopes to discuss the issue with other Muslim government parliamentarians. He however said that it is most likely that the SLMC will withdraw all its 8 parliamentarians from the government benches if the government goes ahead with the decision to relocate the mosque. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will decide on Saturday if it will continue to be part of the government following the controversy over the move to relocate a mosque in Dambulla.A spokesman for the SLMC told the Colombo Gazette today the party High Command has decided that if the mosque is relocated then the SLMC should withdraw from the government. Prime Minister D.M Jayaratne had announced on Sunday that the mosque will be relocated. (Report by Indika Sri Aravinda for the Colombo Gazete) The spokesman said that if the government fails to reverse the decision to relocate the mosque then the SLMC will meet on Saturday and decide its next course of action. The SLMC is of the opinion that the area where the mosque is located is not designated as a Buddhist sacred area.A group of monks and several others staged a protest near the mosque last week demanding that it be removed.The monks later stormed into the mosque and according to some reports had even damaged some of the property.