Expressing solidarity with the victims of Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, the Muslim leaders of the country have called for one united identity of the island nation.
"We, as a community, have done a lot of soul searching following the attacks. We could not imagine that they came from us. We concede that we saw elements but didn't think it would turn to this," Public Development Minister Kabir Hashim as quoted as saying on Thursday.
The need of the hour was to "forge a Lankan identity", Hashim said, while addressing a media conference in which former Ministers Imthiyaz Bakeer Marker and Ferial Ashroff were present.
He added that there was "soul searching from within the community unbeknownst to many".
A Muslim leader said that admonishing a whole community of two million for what the terrorists did was unjustifiable.
"We immediately took steps to take on the issue of the Madrasas and want them regulated under the Ministry of Higher Education. We want to know what is taught at these Madrasas and who is teaching them, they all must be regulated. The overview of mosques and sermons, the steps to ban the Niqab were all done by the Muslims themselves before intervention of the government."
"We are doing everything possible to quell any form of extremism," he added.
Former Minister Ashroff pleaded against marginalizing of an entire community due to actions of the terrorists.
"We are still in shock as to what happened on Easter Sunday. We are still grieving. We couldn't imagine that these terrorists could come from our community... But I plead of you to not look at an entire community with hate and suspicion" she said.
Protesters had torched Muslim-owned shops and homes earlier this week.
They had also vandalised mosques in several towns as the anti-Muslim unrest spread in the aftermath of the April 21 attacks, in which over 250 people were killed.
Islamic State terrorist group had claimed the responsibility of the attack.