20 November, 2018

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A Plea To Our Muslim Brethren; Please Look In The Mirror

By Sarath Gamini De Silva

Dr. Sarath Gamini De Silva

Yet another episode of violence against a group of citizens of this land, the lost paradise, has come to pass. No dictates or other forms of explanation can justify the violence imposed on a group of unarmed civilians that we have been witnessing sporadically in the recent past. An incident best labeled as road rage or one where the absurd suspicion of a pill to sterilize the majority community has been cleverly manipulated by a group of people waiting to create chaos. This was possible because of the background of suspicion perpetuated among the Sinhalese majority over the years. After bringing the offenders to book, all efforts should be taken to prevent such irrational harmful behaviour in the future.

World over in any communal conflict, the majority community is routinely blamed for injustices to the minority who are universally considered the underdogs. However, it is time to stop and see the ground situation that is conducive to such violent behaviour of one community against the other.

Should the majority community bear the full burden of responsibility for such conflict?

Isn’t the minority community at least partly responsible for this unfortunate situation?

The World Scenario

We are inundated with news regarding violence caused in the name of Islam everywhere. From public beheadings of non Muslims by the IS in conflict areas, Jihads and Fatwas declared by religious authorities to kill those blamed for blasphemy, suicide bombings and large scale murders in many parts of the world, and enforced conversions to Islam appear to be commonplace. Hardly a day goes by without some news of such violent acts somewhere in the world reaching us. It is reported that many are trained in schools (Madrasses) for instigating such violence, all in the name of Islam.

We see pictures of refugee immigrants from Muslim countries arriving in the West forcefully demanding special treatment. They even ask for implementation of their own Sharia law in areas where they are in large numbers. They strive to keep a separate identity in keeping with their faith while all others are happy to visibly integrate with the rest of the population in the host country.

This should be seen in the background of several leading Muslim countries where our migrant workers go, refusing even to allow artifacts depicting Lord Buddha or Hindu gods to be brought in.

The news reaching us indicates the adverse impact on the established social fabric in Western European countries like Belgium and UK due to the activities of the Islamic movement. Laws have been passed recently in several countries like France and Australia banning the Islamic dress covering the face in public places, and to promote better integration of Muslims with the rest of the society. Countries like Japan and China have long established ways of restricting the adverse influence of fundamentalist Islam.

We recall in history how countries like Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Iran and Maldives have had their Buddhist heritage all but decimated by the enforced advance of Islam. How the Bahmian Buddha statues, a world heritage site of much historical value, were summarily blasted by the Islamists brought horror to non Muslims world wide, is etched indelibly in our recent memory.

In the modern day we do not know of any other faith showing such a degree of intolerance to non believers.

One may argue that all this is done by a small minority of extremists while the vast majority of Muslims in Sri Lanka and elsewhere do not condone same. We are told that the Quran (I confess I have not read this holy document) teaches compassion and love for fellow human beings but we see little evidence of that in practice. Unfortunately none of the so called moderate Muslims amongst us have publicly condemned such violence and other forms of intimidating behaviour in the name of Islam. Their silence is naturally interpreted as collusion by others as well as by the extremists. Compliance with their intention of creating an Islamic state in the entire world is thus accepted by default.

The Situation in Sri Lanka.

Muslims have been living peacefully as equal, amiable and much loved citizens of Sri Lanka over many centuries. Society in general, specially those of other ethnicities, have accepted Muslims as our own brethren and defended and patronized them in politics, legal and business matters without any discrimination. Even though they tended to be concentrated in some areas, there was no suggestion of any sinister territorial ambitions.

The dress of women with no indecent exposure, discipline in strictly adhering to religious practices like daily prayers and fasting, looking after their elderly with the extended family without dumping them in homes for the aged and the burial of the dead within 24 hours are features to be admired by all. The Buddhists and those of other faiths will do well to emulate them.

Many of their leaders played an important role in the independence movement as well. In post independent Sri Lanka Muslim leaders enjoyed important positions in the political life of the country. Even now they hold leading positions in the national political parties. To ensure that they were adequately represented in parliament, multi- member electorates like Colombo Central, Beruwala and Akurana were created. Even after the sweeping political changes of 1956, Muslims were in charge of important cabinet portfolios like education, foreign affairs. trade and commerce, home affairs, local government, justice and  post and telecommunications,

Introduced in the early seventies, the system of standardization for university admissions to help the students from educationally disadvantaged areas, benefited the Muslim students to a large extent.

However we have observed with much dismay a negative trend in the attitudes, behaviour and appearance of our Muslim brethren in the past decade or two. Along with the rise of Middle Eastern countries with their petrodollars, there has been a global resurgence of Islam with fundamentalist groups gradually taking the upper hand. It appears that the Muslims returning from employment in the Middle East brought in a new set of Islamist ideals. In parallel with the global changes, the exclusively Muslim political parties like the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) made their appearance, initiating the divergence of Muslims from the main stream of political life of the country.

Now we see many women folk covered from head to toe in the black dress. Quite a number have only their eyes exposed. These appearances, however religious they claim to be, are alien to the culture we are accustomed to for many centuries. Even among our Muslim colleagues and acquaintances we see a noticeable change in their appearance, more visible in the younger generation.

We could not identify separately a Sinhalese, Tamil or a Burgher, a Buddhist, Hindu or a Christian if we met them anywhere. However, it is not the case with Muslims anymore.

While claiming to be just one people of Sri Lanka, Muslims are doing their best to show that they are different to those of all other races or faiths.

The places of worship (mosques) mushrooming everywhere in the country, quite out of proportion to the number of people patronising them, is another focus of attention. Simply because one has enough land and resources to build, this kind of action is not justifiable. Even small dwellings are functioning as prayer centers. (Please see the article on “Spread of Wahhabism in Sri Lanka” by Padma Rao, The Island on 19.3.2018). We have seen how even a small Buddha statue placed under a Bo tree in areas where Buddhists are not the majority evoke a hostile response from non Buddhists.

The loudspeaker calls from mosques for prayers several times a day has been a constant source of irritation for many. (I do not deny the occasional disturbance caused to non Buddhists and some Buddhists as well by all night pirith chanting over loud speakers).

With arguably an abundant supply of resources coming from rich Muslim countries, they are establishing their own technical colleges, universities, overtly Muslim primary schools segregating themselves from a tender age and creating their own enclaves of residence. These are not open to any other community in the country. There are no such institutions managed by other communities which are closed to Muslims. Thus the Muslims are gradually isolating themselves from the rest of the society. It should be noted that throughout the history of independent Sri Lanka, all institutions managed by Sinhalese and Tamils have been open to all communities irrespective of their ethnic or religious identity.

What is happening in Wilpattu and Dighavapi areas is another case in point. Vast extents of land in a forest reserve area are being illegally cleared, at the behest of a Muslim minister, against all the laws of the land. Apparently these areas are earmarked for Muslim settlements. Sacred areas around Dighavapi and some other sites of historical value to Buddhists are being haphazardly bulldozed. These illegal activities are being used by some extremist groups to bolster their claim that the Muslims are working to a secret plan to carve out an exclusive enclave in that part of the country. It is hilarious how date palms are being planted along the roads in some areas!

Non Muslims feel helpless and insecure as their political masters keep playing political games without enforcing the rule of law in these instances.

Yet another recent phenomenon is unsettling the majority community. There appears to be a gradual “invasion” by Maldivians in Colombo and the suburbs. With fears of their country getting submerged by the sea in the foreseeable future, there appears to be a conscious effort to relocate to Sri Lanka adding to the Muslim population here. They are acquiring property on a significant scale reportedly aided by the local Muslim community.

Let us not be ashamed to declare that the Sinhalese and other non Muslims appear to have become a threatened majority. Hence the demand for protective action, as done in other countries referred to above, to be taken here.

The Buddhists and other non Muslims in Sri Lanka have shown tolerance to all these worrisome developments. Unfortunately their tolerance is being interpreted as a sign of weakness by others. They have been doing their best to live in peace with their Muslim neighbours realizing the anxieties of the latter being a minority living and outnumbered by the majority. The history of racial violence in this country is not helping in this situation.

Laws have been enacted to ban speeches and other activities promoting racial tensions. The vast majority of Buddhist monks are preaching and practicing non violence. Some were even guarding the mosques during Friday prayers to ensure security. It is natural that at least some of them have decided to face the perceived threat upfront and warn the public of impending dangers. A few organizations have appeared that aim to protect the Buddhist heritage in Sri Lanka, one of only a handful of countries where they are still a majority. They may appear violent at times (not to be condoned) mainly because the authorities seem to ignore their concerns.

There is no purpose to be achieved by others trying to remind the Buddhists about love and compassion preached by Lord Buddha.

Thus in this background of suspicion and insecurity among non Muslims, it is understandable why even an otherwise trivial incident due to road rage or a most irrational thought of pills causing sterility (“Wanda pethi”) leads to violence instigated by those waiting for a chance to create chaos.

The good intentions of the majority community to maintain peace and racial harmony were amply demonstrated by the urgent action taken by the medical professionals to educate the public about the absurdity of the notion of a pill causing sterility. It is high time that our Muslim brethren took similar action to allay the fears and anxieties of all communities.

My dear Muslim Brethren,

Recent changes visible in your appearance, attitudes and behaviour are contributing to the current racial disharmony to a significant extent. As such, a long lasting solution to ensure peaceful coexistence depends to a great extent on your ability to look inwards and make amends.

As a practicing clinician and a medical teacher for nearly fifty years, I am continuing to have a cordial relationship with mutual respect with hundreds of medical colleagues, medical students, patients and others in the Muslim community. I sincerely hope that this message will be received with the same spirit of reconciliation that I had in penning it!

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Latest comments

  • 5
    7

    John Gnasara,

    I am sure you must be gnasara’s ill gotten son, since you both have the same characteristics. – lying- for gnasara, lying is a virtue and his favourite pass time.

    Gnasara of course is working on an agenda and is well funded, but you stupid gullible idiots are just paraphrasing him without knowing the facts.

  • 10
    10

    Islam is not a religion of peace,it is a religion of violence.Sura 29.9,ask the muslims to kill the non believers in allah.The messenser,Mohamed,killed 900jews in medina. He attacked the caravans which went from Mecca to Medina.Can anyone cite any prophets or religions demand their followers to kill?The koran teaches violence to muslims,there are many verses in the koran.Recently,in Pakistan,six members of a christian family is killed because of their faith.If the radical muslims are wiped out from the face of the earth,then the world will be in peace.Twenty five percent of muslims in the world are radicals.( answering muslims.com)

    • 3
      1

      @ SingingFish..
      First get a Copy of the Quran, Read it completely, and then comment/copy paste.
      Muslims are attacked/ being attacked for NOT following the other peoples/religions irrational?? illogical?? dogmas/customs.. Muslims left the Makkah to Madina, still they were not allowed live/practice their religion, so the Verses to defend them by force was revealed.
      If it’s wrong??
      Then when this country was in war with the LTTE, What did the PEACEFUL buddhism do?? sit tight an do pirith???
      and you say other people /countries/religions was peaceful???
      They killed each other as well as any/every one they could throughout the history. and when the Europeans conquered the rest of the world .
native americans – genocide.
aboriginals – genocide.
maoris – genocide.
hawaiians – less than 5,000 left out of 400,000 people,
Chamorros – ethnic and cultural genocide.
Vietnam – More than 2 million civilians died, and millions more from the wars in
Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Philipines, China, india, russia,
      the list goes on and on and on and on…. installing military dictators or religious fanatics, establishing/supporting the most radical groups they can find if not they created, funded, trained and armed one.
      All the wars/news happening right now mentioned by the “Good Doctor”
is a result of Western Imperial Ambition/Propaganda – to control the Natural Resources/Strategic lands of the world, which is Abundant/most of the locations are Muslim Lands. And oh yes, Sri Lanka.. is becoming a prey for it’s strategic location/resources too… which is why all these noises..
      so any/all pretext for war and the disinformation campaign against the subjugated (at this stage it’s muslims) to justify their barbarity/plunder for which This Country is Accustomed to for a very long time from Portugese to British is at play very well cordinated/planned/funded.

    • 0
      1

      @ SingingFish @Dr. Sarath Gamini De Silva

      First get a Copy of the Quran, Read it completely, and then comment/copy paste.

      Muslims are attacked/ being attacked for NOT following the other peoples/religions irrational?? illogical?? dogmas/customs.. Muslims left the Makkah to Madina, still they were not allowed live/practice their religion, so the Verses to defend them by force was revealed.

    • 1
      1

      If it’s wrong??

      Then when this country was in war with the LTTE, What did the PEACEFUL buddhism do?? sit tight an do pirith???

      and you say other people /countries/religions was peaceful???

      They killed each other as well as any/every one they could throughout the history. and when the Europeans conquered the rest of the world .
      native americans – genocide.
      aboriginals – genocide.
      maoris – genocide.
      hawaiians – less than 5,000 left out of 400,000 people,
      Chamorros – ethnic and cultural genocide.
      Vietnam – More than 2 million civilians died, and millions more from the wars in
      Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Philipines, China, india, russia,

    • 1
      1

      the list goes on and on and on and on…. installing military dictators or religious fanatics, establishing/supporting the most radical groups they can find if not they created, funded, trained and armed one.

      All the wars/news happening right now mentioned by the “Good Doctor”
      is a result of Western Imperial Ambition/Propaganda – to control the Natural Resources/Strategic lands of the world, which is Abundant/most of the locations are Muslim Lands. And oh yes, Sri Lanka.. is becoming a prey for it’s strategic location/resources too… which is why all these noises..

      so any/all pretext for war and the disinformation campaign against the subjugated (at this stage it’s muslims) to justify their barbarity/plunder for which This Country is Accustomed to for a very long time from Portugese to British is at play very well cordinated/planned/funded.

    • 1
      1

      The most death in recorded history that i know of.. is World War 2 – started buy BUDDHIST JAPAN.

      For those with an open mind..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdWGTQZRQug

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8POmJ46jqk

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_by_death_toll

    • 0
      1

      singing fish,
      Before you talk about the Quran, why not read your Mahavamsa?
      (http://mahavamsa.org/mahavamsa/original-version/25-victory-duttha-gamani/)
      “And thereon the king said again to them: `How shall there be any comfort for me, O venerable sirs, since by me was caused the slaughter of a great host numbering millions?’

      `From this deed arises no hindrance in thy way to heaven. Only one and a half human beings have been slain here by thee, O lord of men. The one had come unto the (three) refuges, the other had taken on himself the five precepts.[30] Unbelievers and men of evil life were the rest, not more to be esteemed than beasts.”
      ALL religions have things to hide, not only Islam.

  • 10
    4

    Dr. Sarath Silva

    Seems you have preferred assumptions for facts leading you to wrong conclusions.

    1. You referred to a “ negative trend in the attitudes, behaviour and appearance of our Muslim brethren in the past decade or two” and attributed the formation of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress – SLMC – as part or proof of this “negative trend”.

    To say that the SLMC which was formed almost 4 decades back in Sep. 1981 is part of the so-called “negative trend in the past decade or two” is simply self-contradicting. Anyway SLMC is all but dead since the death of its founder, M.H.M. Ashraff in Sept. 2000..Having splintered into so many factions, it has little or no credibility among the Muslims. So, there is Nothing to worry about the fractured SLMC

    2. It is hard to understand why the dress of some Muslim women should create any problem for anybody. Do you want women to dress provocatively to attract attention? And you talk about “ the culture we are accustomed to for many centuries”.. Can you explain what this culture is? Is it entirely Sri Lankan or borrowed from India and the West?

    3 Regarding your claim “they are establishing their own technical colleges, universities, overtly Muslim primary schools”, can you name the technical colleges and universities established in Sri Lanka for Muslims and their location? I am sure you can’t because there aren’t any.

    As for Primary schools, I believe you are referring to Fee levying Private schools necessitated by the difficulty Muslim parents face in admitting their children to Govt. schools. Being purely business ventures, it is highly unlikely admission will be refused to any non-Muslim children seeking admission there. I am sure non-Muslim parents have neither the need nor the inclination to admit their children to such schools. You have got it wrong and are creating needless confusion..

  • 7
    3

    Dr. Sarath Silva

    Your comment “Along with the rise of Middle Eastern countries with their petrodollars, there has been a global resurgence of Islam with fundamentalist groups gradually taking the upper hand” is not borne out by facts on the ground. The oil boom began in 1973 but far from there being any “global resurgence of Islam”, the Muslim world has suffered tremendous ignominy undergoing brutal invasion and destabilization.

    Afghanistan was the first to suffer with the Soviet intervention in 1979 which drew the US and Allies in opposition to the Soviets. Thanks to the support provided by the US and Allies, to the rebels – Taleban and Alqaida – the Soviets were forced to withdraw in 1989. The Taleban and Alqaida, once supported and favoured by the West, are now Terrorists! But, by the time the Soviets withdrew in 1989, Afghanistan was in a mess which was made worse by the subsequent invasion in 2001 by the US and Allies. Iraq was invaded in 2003 by the US and Allies and both countries have been bombed to Stone Age. Libya and Syria became the next targets in 2011. These invasions and destabilisations have claimed the lives of millions with many more wounded and maimed with tens of millions forced out of their homes to a life of misery in squalid refugee camps. The carnage and blood bath in these countries continue to this day. By what stretch of imagination can you call this “global resurgence of Islam”?

    As if that is not enough, there is an all-out Media campaign spreading Islamophobia with Lies, Distortion and Deception. I am sure you have seen this Media campaign. Instead of blaming the vicious invaders and killers, you are blaming the victims. Seems, you have been fooled by this Media campaign.

  • 6
    2

    Dr. Sarath Silva

    Now to Wilpattu and Deeghawapi. Facts seem to be blurred about Wilpattu with claims that the cleared land belong to the Muslims who were forcibly evicted by the LTTE in 1990 while the counter claim is that it is not so. Unless there is some honest fact-finding, we will not know the truth.

    As for Deeghawapi, this was debated in TNL TV by the late Ashraff and late Rev. Soma Thera where Ashraff conclusively proved that there was NO encroachment. While some Sinhalese claimed that the temple owned 12000 acres, it was established by Ashraff that the temple owned only 500 acres. Dr. Sarath, do you prefer unsubstantiated claim made by interested parties, over evidence of ownership?

    Your claim that Muslims are illegally taking over lands in Dheeghavapi is baseless. It is actually the other way round. A few years back, some Muslim farmers from Ampara district, went to cultivate their paddy fields near Deeghawapi and were stopped from cultivating their paddy fields near Deeghawapi. by a Sinhala mob claiming that the land belonged to the temple. The farmers filed legal action and the Court ruled in favour of the farmers. Thereafter, they cultivated the lands and at harvest time, when they went to harvest the crops, the mob appeared again led by monks and refused to permit the farmers to harvest their crops. Police was summoned and when the farmers produced the court judgment, the monks said that they cannot accept a judgment given by a Muslim judge! The Police merely watched without making any attempt to enforce the judgment of the court and the farmers were forced to leave without harvesting their crops with the hard labour of 3 or 4 months and monies spent being a complete waste. Dr. Sarath, how would you like it if this were to happen to you?

  • 8
    4

    Dr. Gamini Sarath,

    Doctors are merely technicians in the human anatomy, though traditionally masses in SL give these doctors unwarranted respect and status just because they cure their sickness.

    In return, having comfortably forgotten the state sponsored free education, these greedy anatomy technicians take these poor people who supported their free edu for a ride and put their health at risk to win their personal goals like salary increase, car permit, good school admission for their kids and to close down SAITM.

    This racist doctor, Sarath Gamini De Silva is just a long serving committee member of GMOA as himself puts it this way in another CT article: “I have been in the fore front of many GMOA trade union activities, occasional strikes, and was a part of the public face of the GMOA in TV discussions”

    Now the guy seems to be too old, and changing the tracks and trying to show his fake concern on SL and Sinhalese – Ask him what he has done to the poor Sinhalese during his high-flying days, other than initiating doctor strikes at Govt hospitals.

    I am sure in his capacity as senior medical professional, he could do much more to uplift human lives in Sri Lanka, not sure why he sought a complete opposite route.

    Probably these days it is easier to become a hero among gullible section among Sinhalese by bashing Muslims.

  • 5
    1

    “Their silence is naturally interpreted as collusion by others as well as by the extremists.” — can I put the same justification for you for colluding with arsonists and looters for the carnage done one month ago. Did Tamils wear Abaya and built institutions from PetroDollars??? for being targeted for more than 6 decades. You guys have minority phobia. Petrol not even discovered during 1915 riots against Muslims. Even a learned person like you think and write like this what can we expect from others???

    • 0
      0

      >Petrol not even discovered during 1915 riots against Muslims.

      Do you mean Petrol had not been discovered.
      Or do you mean Petrol was not used for Arson in 1915 Muslim/Sinhala riots.

  • 2
    2

    AT LAST ….. A MAN WITH A BACKBONE TO SAY THE…. BITTER TRUTH…. !!!

  • 2
    3

    I implore the Sinhalese to be careful and realise that every Moslem writer in this forum is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I have carefully read every single Moslem writer and also read between the lines. Dr. Silva is another naïve Sinhalese imbecile who thought he could talk sense to these vile, Moslem fanatics. He deserves everything that is now hurled at him by the Moslems for his stupidity. Silva should be the best example to all Sinhalese pansies who is still imagine that these hordes of long bearded, menacing barbarians and the ghosts wearing head to toe black dress are anything but the first omen of destruction of the beautiful Sinhalese Buddhist civilization.

    They have sent their sons in the hundreds to fight for ISIS in Syria and the Lankan bureaucrats hide the statistics, and when finally discovered, the family of the dead “shahid”(martyr in Arabic, barbaric retard to all civilised people) are sent to Pakistan. Lankans leaders also hide the real numbers of Moslems and the projections that show the Moslems will be the majority by as early as 2030.
    Lankans must realise that Moslems have declared war on the kaffir unbeliever, whether Buddhist, Christian or Hindu. The Jihadi attack that killed the innocent driver in Kandy will soon be something that will happen on a regular basis all over the country.

    Dear Sinhalese, throw out the pansies like Dr. Silva and Wickremasingh, and rally around a leader who can save you. Otherwise your days in your land where your ancestors shed blood, sweat and tears to save your civilisation are numbered!

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