16 May, 2022

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A Covid Lesson To Muslims

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

It is almost two years since the pandemic broke out, and Sri Lanka was one of its earliest victims. Millions died all over the world and many more suffered and were debilitated. Economic losses had been colossal and continues. Yet, in Sri Lanka, the Muslim community went through a most exceptional and harrowing experience during those two years. It all started when a group of Sinhala-Buddhist ethno-nationalists blamed the Tablighi Jamaat for bringing that virus from India. A similar blame was spread in India by Hindutva zealots. It was proved false later. In Sri Lanka, the first Covid victim was not a Muslim, but a 44 years old Chinese woman. However, the accusation refused to go away for some time. Although the history of anti-Muslim violence goes back to the years immediately following the end of the civil war, the provocation for the blame was the anger of Buddhist zealots and their thirst for revenge on Muslims for deserting the Rajapaksas in the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. These zealots took pride of the fact that they were able get a Buddhist elected to the presidency solely on the strength of Buddhist votes, and GR acknowledged it. His collusion with Sinhala-Buddhist ethno-nationalism came to be clearly reflected in his post-election relations with the Muslim community. The fact that he appointed a Muslim as Minister of Justice, in spite of strong opposition from the ethno-nationalist camp, was meant to payback for services rendered by a trusted friend who happened to be a Muslim rather than a willingness to accommodate a Muslim in the cabinet.

A precious opportunity to seek revenge on the community came when Muslims too started losing lives from Covid. Based solely on an opinion rather than solid research findings, and that too not from an epidemiologist or a medical scientist but from a professor of soil science at the Jayewardenepura University, who argued that by burying the Covid dead there was a danger of the virus spreading through contaminated water underground, an order was made by the President to cremate all Covid dead bodies irrespective of the dead person’s religious affiliations. This order was a shock to the local Muslim community and to the world of Islam at large. Since Islam was born burial of the dead after funeral prayers had been the universal practice, and neither the WHO nor any epidemiologist nor a medical expert from any part of the world saw any danger from burying the Covid dead. But President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his Viyathmaga and a saffron army of ethno-nationalists were not willing to give in, and despite protests from compassionate Buddhist monks, Christian prelates, human rights activists and civil society leaders. The psychological torture of forced cremation traumatized the Muslim community for one whole year, until the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, took up the issue at UNHRC. Rajapaksa regime’s debacle at UNHRC’s 48th session in Geneva forced GR to relent and withdraw the order of forced cremation.

However, the torture took a different form and continued for another year. A new order was issued to the effect that all Covid dead bodies should be buried only in one cemetery in Oddamavadi, a sleepy Muslim enclave in Eastern Province. No reason was given for that choice. (Coincidentally, the soil scientist who gave the original advice to cremate and who carries a soft corner for hardline ethno-nationalism resigned from the advisory group around this time). The cost of transporting the corpse to Oddamavadi from all corners of the country with army escort, taxed the public and private purses enormously. In addition, restrictions imposed on family members to participate in the final journey agonized Muslims further. The torture continued until the 49th session of UNHRC in February this year. Finally, in fear of further strictures, admonitions and legal repercussions from UNHRC the government withdrew the second order and freedom returned to the dead to be buried in any cemetery in any district.

This torturous experience teaches one important lesson to the Muslim community. During the last two years the community’s political and religious leadership proved utterly impotent in persuading the regime to relax its hardline policy. Neither the Muslim minister in the cabinet, nor those Muslim representatives in legislature who sold their votes to pass that infamous 20th Amendment to enable President GR behave like a virtual dictator, could do anything to ease the community’s pain. The most hilarious incident in this episode was the advice given by the then ACJU-chief who recommended Muslim relatives of the cremated to accept the ashes and perform the required religious rites before and burying! This was adding insult to injury and the community condemned at once the man’s idiocy. Ultimately, relief came from the initiatives of a world body.

In between the world body and the government of Sri Lanka is the diaspora community, which has now become a force to be reckoned with. Although this community is dominated by Tamils it has now become multi-ethnic, including Muslims and Sinhalese. With hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans are dying to get out of the country, because of the chaos prevailing there, the numerical strength of the diaspora community is set to swell. What is more important is the influence and pressure that the diaspora community is able to exert upon governments of their respective countries of domicile. That influence and pressure was one of the factors that made UNHRC to take a stand on human rights violations in Sri Lanka. It is time local Muslim groups in Sri Lanka realize this fact and start coordinating their activities with diaspora counterparts. Muslims should give up the idea that as members of a so-called universal ummah, Islamic countries would come to their aid in times of danger. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for example, could only be effective when it works through other multi-ethnic and multi-racial international bodies. Such international fora are the only hope for minorities enduring majoritarian oppression in their home countries.

Recently, stories have emerged that Sri Lankan security forces had sexually harassed and mistreated Muslim women who were taken for questioning with regard to the Easter massacre. These traumatized women when released were found afraid to talk in public about their ordeal for fear of bringing shame to themselves and their families. These are serious allegations, and if local Muslim groups could collect the factual details and bring to the notice of diaspora leadership, those matters could be dealt with on international levels. All this are totally unnecessary however, if the country could return to normalcy under a democratic regime free of any ethno-religious bias. In the meantime, while Muslims should work hand in hand with other communities to bring about such a regime change, in the current oppressive political climate the community’s link with diaspora leadership is vital. This the lesson that Covid has taught to Muslims.

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business & Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 16
    1

    Politicians are far away from learning lessons.

    • 9
      4

      US citizens Goat and Basil Rajapakse are American Puppets who wrap themselves in the SInhala Buddhist flag to Weaponize ethno-religious identity politcs and distract and divide Lankan and enable the American Deepstate to Colonize Sri Lanka.
      It is time to look East and forget about the US and EU and AUKUS and their Fake Human Rights and Dept Trap development policies that has also weaponized the Lankan Diaspora — to divide and rule and COLONIZE Lanka again.
      Today on the behest of the IMF the LKR rupee has been de valued by the war criminal US citizens Rajapakse brothers who rule Lanka, to 290 against the USD, although the US is the most indebted country on the planet and has a 20 Trillion debt.
      Sri Lanka is being asset stripped and beggared by America and its Rajapaksa citizens – accused of war crimes to boot! What a circus American Human Rights and Minority Rights is!

      • 4
        4

        Time has come to DE-DOLLARIZE and NOT to de-value the rupee.
        The US dollar will crash soon as they have printed 9 trillion in the past 2 years of “Covid Bailouts”.

        Time to stop distracting ourselves with narrow ethnic and religious concerns so Please stop always whining about Muslims and talk about Sri Lankans who are ALL suffering under the US citizen Rajapakse Jackboot!

    • 1
      1

      @Amir Ali – ur article ends ” …in the current oppressive political climate the community’s link with diaspora leadership is vital”

      DO YOU SEE UR SELF AS THE DIASPORA LEADERSHIP OF THE SL MUSLIMS? are you also power hungry?

      HERE IS ARTICLE FOR THE SAVIOUR OF SL MUSLIM WOMEN? ”

      IN SAUDI – FEB 2022 -Girls under the age of 18 cannot be married off, although teenagers have the right to marry someone of their choice without any interference. They can file lawsuits, review their marriage contracts, and clerics cannot marry women without verbal confirmation.

      IN SRI LANKA
      ‘Long-awaited Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) reforms continue to be bogged down in bureaucracy, with it now stuck at the Cabinet of Ministers”

  • 22
    1

    Dear Dr Ali,
    .
    thanks for the article. You talk about women being harrased and attacked by Rajapakshes biased security men ..
    -.
    Quote
    Recently, stories have emerged that Sri Lankan security forces had sexually harassed and mistreated Muslim women who were taken for questioning with regard to the Easter massacre
    Unquote
    .
    This is the only country which is the number one place among all the places where minorities are hugely discriminated in a routine manner. Earlier I thought Israelis are the worst, but now looking back, our sons of bitchs would not tolerate any kind of minorities. Burgher communities left the country forever… so have the tamils during the last few decades.UNHRC should open their eyes wider and punish our racial leaders could open hopes for a better future in this country.

    tbc

  • 20
    2

    It appears Rajapakse Family is now of the opinion that Covid will not contaminate or spead through ground water. as the UN session is on. I would have never thought after living in USA Gota and Basil would think of such stupid idiotic reason just to spike the Muslims and bring about a race riot for Rajapakse’s family survival.

    • 10
      0

      Dear Buddhist/
      .
      I dont mind uneducated/ uncultured Gota and Basil wouldn’t understand the basics in microbiology/ but recalling what some Professors to support the kind of discriminating acts in public? Authorities should have removed their titles doing the justice to the nation/ youth in this country? 😎😎😎😎😎😎😎😎

    • 11
      0

      Buddhist1
      It was very ugly what happend in SL with the groundwater contamination story.
      If the groundwater contamination storey was valid, then no corona positive patient should have been allowed to use the toilet. After all most toilets emptied into septic tanks in the ground.
      Any human with half a brain should have figured this out, instead of hanging onto myth and punishing the dead.
      I think much of our problems starting from always rooting for wrong leaders stems from flaws or weaknesses in our society. The average Sri Lankan has a mean streak in them. We are happy to see others suffer.
      How can you build a society where everyone wants to push the next person down and prevail.

      • 2
        0

        HT,
        “After all most toilets emptied into septic tanks in the ground.”
        Logical thinking is not a quality of our current leaders.They know 90% of everything, and Viyathmaga knows the rest.
        Sadly, some CT commentators are the same. Where is Punchi Willy nowadays?

  • 18
    2

    “It all started when a group of Sinhala-Buddhist ethno-nationalists blamed the Tablighi Jamaat for bringing that virus from India.”
    In this country, every bad thing that happens is conveniently blamed on outsiders.
    At the start of the epidemic, there was even a dramatic deployment of the Navy to “stop fleeing Indian refugees”. Our media went to town with videos, mostly fabricated, of Indians collapsing en masses, pandemonium at hospitals, etc, in contrast to our military “building hospitals in 24 hours”. Well, we now know how all that turned out, and who our government is begging from.
    The ignorance and supine attitude of our scientists is amazing. Many of them are plain time-servers who pretend to be scientists by daylight but at night put their faith in mysticism. There were many commentators even on CT who even quoted “research papers” that were behind a paywall. All were out and out racists.

    • 13
      1

      old codger

      “All were out and out racists.”

      Garbage in Garbage out.

    • 5
      2

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 13
    2

    Dr Ameer Ali

    “Recently, stories have emerged that Sri Lankan security forces had sexually harassed and mistreated Muslim women who were taken for questioning with regard to the Easter massacre.”

    It would be surprising if the Sri Lankan security forces hadn’t sexually harassed and mistreated any women they come across.

    The only way we can stop sexual harassment and mistreatment is that all members of security forces should be required to wear Chastity Belts, and keys kept in gun cabinet under lock and key.

    • 5
      21

      “It would be surprising if the Sri Lankan security forces hadn’t sexually harassed and mistreated any women they come across.”

      It is not Sri Lankan security forces that sexually harassed and mistreated any woman they came across but IPKF. Their record for raping Tamil women is unprecedented. But Tamil politicians never talk about those incidences. Why?

      • 10
        1

        Eagle Bum Eye

        “It is not Sri Lankan security forces that sexually harassed and mistreated any woman they came across but IPKF. “

        If true what were your leaders and armed forces doing at the time IPKF perpetrated war crimes? Cowards were hiding behind their women folks or behind VP’s fat bum.

        The cabinet, president, prime minister, …MPs, Police armed forces were supposed to have protected them, instead all were hiding inside their mothers’ shirt.

        Do you have b***s?
        Are you sure?
        If you do why?

        • 0
          3

          Come on Native
          Where did your political machos ( your present heros after Thalaivar) were hiding during the war and Sun God was ruling Jaffna?
          .
          Thiagarajah Venugopal 10dec20
          “Only country in the world a bunch of MP’s lived amongst their enemies, studied with their enemies, owned businesses amongst their enemies, ask living spaces for some other foreigners in even my lands, conducted war and killed their enemies whilst they lived amongst the enemies, went around the world and told pokies about their enemies (I’m agentry) to by western life style too, during the war lived amongst the enemies and after the war refused to go home too their territories, and some some retire and come to Tamil territories and talk through their back side whilst I am washing toilets somewhere else????”

          Soma

          • 2
            0

            soman

            Where is Thiagarajah Venugopal now?
            Did he ever say hello to you?

            It shows what type of witness statement you are trying to invent?

            • 0
              1

              NV
              His words must be inscribed on stone and presrved for eternity.
              An unforgettable commentary on Tamil politics.
              It helps next gen Tamils reflect back on how accommodative Sinhalese were and why despite intense, unrelenting propaganda of discrimination, violence, loot, rape, murder or even genocide not a SINGLE TAMIL FAMILY who lived among the Sinhalese in the South during or after the war has relocated the residence to Jaffna.
              .
              I don’t know where the good gentleman is now but his immortal words of truth will never leave me.
              .
              Truth and logic are anathema to Tamils on Colombo Telegraph.

              Soma
              .
              (Can you kindly on pass the following links to Hon. MP Sumathitharan who is threatening us
              https://youtu.be/ylyubAClZbw
              https://youtu.be/0W3Yi20049w)

              • 1
                0

                soman

                Contact details of
                Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran
                https://www.facebook.com/sumanthiran
                https://www.facebook.com/M.A.Sumanthiran
                email: sumanthiran_m@parliament.lk

                We know you are a confirmed lazy bum.

                “Reality beyond bans & boycotts: When India’s imports, trade deficit with China break all records” by Shekhar Gupta

                Shekhar Gupta is another Indian like Subramanian Swamy.
                He loves the clan except Gota.
                Do you know why hates Gota?
                OK what is your message?
                Are you threatening Sumanthiran you will pull the plug using Chinese Trade Muscle?

                “PM Modi Inaugurates Made in China Statue| Statue Of Equality| Telangana | Hyderabad| Make In India https://youtu.be/0W3Yi20049w)”

                What is your message?
                Since India is constructing statues made in China, Sri Lanka too reserve its rights to build statues of Gota/Mahinda/Basil, …. or Anagarika, Siri Mao, ….. Sinhala Buddha, …. even on credit?

                Don’t entertain such stupid ideas.
                You don’t even feed the people properly.

                Since you are crazy about him, without a doubt he must be indeed crazy.

                • 0
                  0

                  NV
                  You are THE master of evasion par excellence.
                  I wanted to know why you protested Chinese made wind turbines in Jaffna?
                  Can you ask Hon. Sumathitharan to stop threatening us.

                  Soma

      • 9
        1

        Eagle ‘ding dong mutt’ Eye then what happened in Haiti?

      • 14
        1

        Eagle,
        “It is not Sri Lankan security forces that sexually harassed and mistreated any woman they came across”
        You must be quite young if you haven’t heard of Premawathie Manamperi and Krishanthi Coomarasamy (and her mother).

      • 12
        1

        EE,
        .
        To me, you the kind would not change your mind, even if your own mother and the rest of the family would have been raped and murdered. To that level, you the kind of slaves have been made eternally fools….. it is all for their poltiical survival. I really dont know if we should respect you the kind of stupid sinhalayas anymore.

  • 8
    0

    The suggestion to organise an agressive Muslim diaspora overseas mimicking the Tamil diaspora is ill advised. Newton’s third law is likely to come into play.
    A better strategy is to forge unity between Hindu Christian Tamils and Islamic Tamils which was seriously dented during Thalaivar for demanding a separate Homeland for all Tamil speaking people.

    Soma

    • 7
      1

      soman

      I just came to know about Zimbabwe issuing 100-Trillion-Dollar Notes
      https://indianexpress.com/article/world/middle-east-africa/100-trillion-old-zimbabwean-dollars-will-fetch-only-40-us-cents/

      Can you not tell Cabral/Basil to print high denomination Rupee notes to solve our economic problems?
      Can’t they mint dollars to pay for all those imports and deposit any surpluses in their foreign bank accounts?

      The above advice is given free of charge. No fees.

      • 2
        1

        NN
        Tell me how to beat Zimbabwe.
        We don’t want to be second.

        Soma

        • 3
          0

          soman

          “Tell me how to beat Zimbabwe.”

          It should come natural to you.

          “We don’t want to be second.”

          Hang in there for a few months.
          Don’t attempt to change regime.
          This proud Sinhala/Buddhist nation should avoid/ignore all kind of IMF, WB, ADB, …. conspiracies, conditionalities, threats, …..

          You can make it..
          Trust me I am right behind you, ….

          You should advise Gota to appoint an Army General preferably Kamala as the Governor of Central Bank, Ampitiye Sumanarathana as his deputy, ….. Gevindu, Wimal, Udaya, ……as members of the Monetary Board, ….on order to speed up the process to reach your target.

          If you need more advice please don’t hesitate to ask me. I am available 24/7/52.
          If you need efficient team to manage the bank, you should recruit only Pali Graduate as (SJ’s) Siri Mao did in the 1970s.

  • 5
    1

    ‘…. payback for services rendered by a trusted friend who happened to be a Muslim’.
    .
    .
    Ameer Ali, I know that you have inside information, I can only crave for.
    I am thirsting to find out the ‘services rendered’ that deserved the payback earned.
    Please share it with me. I will not start gossiping. Promise.

    • 4
      0

      Nathan,
      He was Gota’s personal lawyer, and got him off the hook in many cases. He also produced the famous US passport with “CANCEL” stamped on it. I wouldn’t vouch for his English skills.

  • 7
    0

    “Although the history of anti-Muslim violence goes back to the years immediately following the end of the civil war…”
    The anti-Muslim violence in Mawanella did not wait for the civil war to end.
    *
    The hatred has been simmering all along and none of the leaders were willing to face the challenge. The ballot box has priorities cut out for parliamentary parties.

  • 10
    1

    Dear Dr. Amir Ali
    .
    This is a government of impunity.
    If they could kill the Tamil people taken as human shields by the LTTE in 2009, and summarily execute those who surrendered, including under-aged children, what kind of discipline from such a savage military?
    .
    Let me remind you that the Sri Lanka Army has been accused on numerous occasions of raping the same people they were deployed to protect, a good example would be in Haiti.
    If they could use “Billo” to point at suspected JVPers between 1987 to 1989 and summarily execute them without any kind of trial, what did you expect?
    .
    If the soldiers who were found guilty of murdering Tamil Women, Children, and unarmed men and dumping them in a septic tank could be freed with full benefits, then what did you expect.
    .
    Since we are addressing these issues, I must also point out a certain attribute I found very disturbing about the relationship between the Muslims and the Mara bastards. I though it was very unfair that the muslims totally supported Mara and his actions in 2009. We Sinhalese didn’t support him as much as the muslims did.
    .
    The repercussions came very soon, Mara and Gota started thanking the Muslims by turning around and starting pogroms against the muslims soon after the war. One could interpret this as retribution aka Karma biting the arse.

  • 10
    1

    Continued…
    I think there is a big lesson to be learned from this for the Muslims; in the future please try to stand on the principle rather than throwing away your scruples and supporting the winning side.
    .
    I am not condoning the actions of the military in any way, I condemn any kind of aggression or violence against women of every race or religion in the strongest terms.
    .
    However, for future reference, I must speak my mind and point out mistakes, so there will be caution when associating unholy people.
    .
    This reminds me of another example of another idiot who got his hands badly burnt after romancing and idolizing the Mara clan: Cardinal Malcolm Rangith, what a stupid loser. He was a sycophant of Mara even after seeing the injustice and crookedness of Mara clan.
    .
    Mara and Gota turned around and blew up churches and hotels to cause mass hysteria in a bid to win the 2019 election, they succeeded. The same people who were victims of the bombing “Catholics” voted against Sajith to give Gota the master architect the win. At the same time quite a significant part of the Muslim population too voted for the beast.

  • 3
    2

    MR.ALI-It is hurting you because forces are ill treating and misbehaving with muslim ladies arrested in connection with APRIL EATER ATTACK.Why not you speak to your people with inside inside information and find out as to WHAT MR.RISHARD BADURDEEN DID TO TAMIL GIRLS WHO WERE REMOVED FROM MANIK FARM AND OTHER DETENTION CENTERS JOINED HANDS TO HANDS WITH HIGH RANKING ARMY OFFICERS AT THAT TIME HE(RISHARD)WAS THE MINISTER IN CHARGE OF REHABILITATION OF DISPLACE PEOPLE.If you dig in to this matter in detail you will come across lot of news now all have erased from their memories.

  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 3
    1

    “During the last two years the community’s political and religious leadership proved utterly impotent in persuading the regime to relax its hardline policy.”
    The past two Covid years have revealed the utter impotence of not just the ‘political and religious leadership’ but of the Muslim community as a whole when confronted by existential threats. The simple fact of the matter is that if it was not for Geneva 2021 and Geneva 2022, the members of the local Islamic community who die of Covid would as yet be cremated.
    Every attempt by the Muslims to ‘put pressure’ on the GOSL in a bid to get them to rescind the cremation order was met with a sense of indifference by the decision-makers.
    The Muslims ended up by hitting their collective heads against the wall again and again …. and again.

    • 5
      0

      ” ….Muslims should give up the idea that as members of a so-called universal ummah, Islamic countries would come to their aid in times of danger..”
      This is a false narrative that has been crafted over a long period of time by local Muslim political and religious opinion-makers, who thereby created the impression that they are the ‘links’ between the local and foreign Muslims.
      Strengthening the religious bonds between the local Muslims and their foreign co-religionists has resulted in the weakening of the national bonds between the Muslims and the other communities.
      Ask any member of the local Islamic community : Do you perceive yourself as a Sri Lankan Muslim (Religious Identity) or as a Muslim Sri Lankan (National Identity) ? You will find that 99.9999% opting for the former description.

      • 4
        1

        “All this are totally unnecessary however, if the country could return to normalcy under a democratic regime free of any ethno-religious bias.
        AA is indulging in a flight of fancy – a pipe dream.
        What does he mean by ‘normalcy’ ?
        What does he mean by ‘democratic regime’ ?
        And (most hilarious of all) what does he mean by ‘free of any ethno-religious bias’ ? Hasn’t AA realized even now that the extent to which the various ethno-religious groups have polarized makes it inevitable that ethno-religious biases will not be eradicated for a very long time ?

        • 4
          3

          AA identifies the single-most important lesson that Covid has taught to Muslims as being
          “the need for the Muslims to work hand in hand with other communities to bring about such a regime change”. He continues to press the case for the involvement of the Muslim Sri Lankan Diaspora in this process.
          As a member of the Muslim Sri Lankan Diaspora in Australia, does AA perceive himself as playing a key role in the next regime-change operation in Sri Lanka ?
          “This the lesson that Covid has taught to Muslims” . Sorry, Old Chap, if there is one lesson that the Muslims should have learnt from their ‘Covid experience’, it is that when all the citizens of their Motherland are faced with a common, deadly enemy it is time to put aside your religious differences and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all Sri Lankans when developing measures to protect everyone. If this involves suspending your ‘religious rights’ temporarily, then so be it.
          But sadly, the Muslims did not learn this important lesson. So the community now waits for the next wave of Islamophobia.

          • 3
            0

            e
            “… it is that when all the citizens of their Motherland are faced with a common, deadly enemy it is time to put aside your religious differences and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all Sri Lankans when developing measures to protect everyone.”
            *
            Was the enemy so deadly that it could penetrate the soil and sprout far away to kill people?
            There was no scientific evidence for:
            1) that the virus was a killer on its own. (If at all it risked the fragile including people with serious underlying conditions.)
            2) that the COVID virus spreads through soil from a carcass. (Such risk is more likely for bacteria. No scientist worth his salt would claim this argument designed to hurt Muslim sentiments.)
            There was more contrived than real threat from the virus, and that has been used to intimidate whole populations.
            *
            Why should a people of one faith unwittingly fall for an unscientific fib designed to hurt people of that faith.
            Had it been a cholera or plague and the Muslims violated health warnings, there is a case to argue.
            Worse than any virus is racist prejudice.

            • 2
              2

              SJ
              Covid-19 began it’s reign of terror in the first quarter of 2020. You will recall as to how rapidly it developed from an endemic (in China) to a (world-wide) pandemic over the next 6 – 8 months. The first vaccinations were at least 12 months away (or so we were told at that time).
              With over 450 million cases and 6 million deaths during the past 2 years, the virus is definitely a ‘killer’, not only of older persons with co-morbidities. but also of the young and of infants. It is up to each person to decide as to how deadly the Covid-19 virus was/is.
              Faced with the prospect of having to deal with this ‘uncontrollable’ deadly disease, and given the limited resources at it’s command and the limited knowledge of the virus, the GOSL had to make certain critical quick decisions in the first quarter of 2020 in the best interests of all of it’s people. We should not forget that the mental make-up of some of the key decision-makers and influencers was reflected in their belief in the efficacy of ‘Wanda Pethis’ and ‘Pots of Blessed Water’ thrown into rivers.

              • 2
                1

                The decision was taken to cremate all victims of Covid-19 who succumb to the disease. This may have been yet another knee-jerk reaction on the part of the GOSL. Or, a deliberate attempt to take advantage of the situation to humiliate the Muslim community.
                A shocked Islamic community protested against the violation of one of their ‘rights’. They appealed to the GOSL, they submitted petitions, they appealed to international bodies, they tied white ribbons on the gates near the Kanatte crematorium, they produced voice-cuts from various local and foreign health professionals and they wrote articles condemning this decision.
                All to no avail.
                The Islamic community should even now engage in some in-depth soul-searching and ask themselves as to whether they could have responded differently rather than adopting a zero-sum approach to this problem..
                Could it have been the case that in the early days of Covid-19, the GOSL were led to believe that the absence of evidence of ill-effects in the short-term should not be misconstrued as evidence of the absence of long-term effects ? For instance, bear in mind that the deadly Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) didn’t emerge overnight in our Country.

      • 1
        0

        “You will find that 99.9999% opting for the former description.”
        Where was data collected from to be so sure?
        I can name many Muslims who served this country’s interests far batter than leaders who are celebrated as great patriots. but line their own pockets.

        • 2
          1

          SJ
          The figure ‘99.9999%’ was used to merely emphasize the point that an overwhelming proportion of Muslims perceive themselves as ‘Sri Lankan Muslims’ and not as ‘Muslim Sri Lankans’ . The two terms have no bearing on the degree of patriotism of the individual. The differentiating description ‘Sri Lankan Muslims’ refer to Muslims who have a Sri Lankan NIC, while the unifying description ‘Muslim Sri Lankans’ refer to Sri Lankans who belong to the Islamic faith. In general, the Noun unifies while the Adjective differentiates.
          As a matter of curiosity, why don’t you ask a few Muslims in your circle of acquaintances whether they perceive themselves as Sri Lankan Muslims or Muslim Sri Lankans ?
          For the record, I perceive myself as a proud Muslim Sri Lankan.

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    ekelbroom, everything you say seems to make sense EXCEPT the last sentence “suspending your religious rights” ???. Didn’t you the one mention about 44 chapters and how much Taliban believes so much so, they continue harming their own people. How come no other sensible country in the world thought of similar unscientific protective measures ?? When government had a public farewell for Thondaman were they following protective measures ??, When SB were having their public religious rituals, were they following protective measures “??

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      chiv
      When a multi-ethnic group acting in unison is called upon by circumstances beyond their control to make critical decisions affecting their entire membership, individual members may find that their ability to be an integral part of that decision-making process is directly in conflict with their religious beliefs.
      What are the options available to such individuals ?
      Abstain from being a member of this multi-ethnic group which is focused on finding measures to overcome the short and long-term effects of a common, life-threatening enemy ?
      Or, suspend their religious rights temporarily and continue being a vital cog in the process of finding solutions which will benefit all people, including their own community ?
      Islam has provided all the safeguards to it’s followers, through the Holy Quran and the Prophetic Traditions, which will enable and empower them to face any situation which compels them to commit a forbidden act. This is referred to as the Doctrine of Necessity (‘Necessity overrules Prohibition’) in Islamic Jurisprudence.

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    ekelbroom, if you are telling “suspending religious rights” as a strategy, my answer is yes and no. The reason I say, Islamophobia by government and majority SB will continue unabated regardless of your cooperation. As a Lankan you should have realized this truth by now. Initially Muslims stood by governments, but that did not change the course of their future. More you suspend your rights they take that as a sign of weakness and not cooperation. Anyway, definitely it was not a protective measure nor a critical decision, made to save the nation. We are well aware of their decisions in turning this nation bankrupt. I can empathize with you , if you’re voicing helplessness/hopelessness/worthlessness.

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      On 16th Nov 2021, in response to the following article in CT

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/one-country-which-law/

      I made the following comment :

      “It’s time for the Muslim community to face reality. It is time for the Muslim Community to accept the inevitable, however unpalatable it may be. Islamophobia is here to stay – for a long time. And like any avalanche / landslide / earthslip, it cannot be stopped. So, rather than making ineffectual efforts at trying to prevent or stop perceived Islamophobic acts, the local Muslims will have to learn how to pre-empt and cope with it’s adverse effects. This is the challenge the Muslim Community should address today.”

      I am a strong advocate of ‘building bridges’ with other religious communities rather than ‘building walls’ as a coping strategy. I realized nearly a decade ago with the surfacing of anti-Muslim bigotry in Sri Lanka that the local Muslim community was in for a long, hard time.

      The only way to neutralize and minimize the force of anti-Muslim acts against the community is to take the ‘wind off their sails’. Offering verbal or physical resistance only rewards the perpetrators of such bigoted acts.

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        ekelbroom, I guess you like to follow the Gandhian /Mandela’s nonviolent resistance. I am not against it, but do you think Rajapaksas and SB racist like Ganasara are same as British or colonial South Africans?? You need two to Tango, sorry built bridges and not walls, but one is good enough to destroy it. Didn’t Tamils try the same for years before LTTE??. I wonder why Taliban , Hamas, Zaharan and the rest decided to go the other way.

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