19 August, 2019

Blog

Abaya’s Victory At The Wrong Court

By Ameer Ali

Ameer Ali

Four Muslim teachers from a Hindu majority Government School in Trincomalee suddenly realised one day that their Islamic religiosity appeared devalued because of the saree they were wearing and therefore decided to revalue their piety by switching to the black coloured abaya, which is a recently adopted Arab cultural dress and spreading no doubt in many parts of the Muslim world. That there is a correlation between the spread of this dress and a religious ideology that supports it is never in doubt. However, the school authorities, forgetting the fact that theirs is a government school, reacted by reminding those teachers that they were breaking the traditional norms of the school and insisted that either they switch back to the saree or leave the school. Had that school been a private institution its authorities would have been on a stronger wicket. This incident, as expected, got mixed up with the relevant ideology and led to public protest from sections of the Muslim community. In the end, the teachers took their case before the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and won a decision in their favour. Congratulations!

This victory over a piece of dress raises a number of other issues that will continue to fester inter-religious and inter communal-relations in plural Sri Lanka, although HRCSL urges the government and its educational establishment to encourage tolerance of cultural and religious diversity. 

On the question of a dress, the basic or primary criterion that should decide its acceptability or suitability is the climatic condition in which that dress is worn. Sri Lankan is a hot and humid country in which the dress one wears should be loose enough to allow air to penetrate and cool the body while adhering to the cultural values and norms of the society in which the wearer lives. There is a difference of opinion about whether black or lighter colour dress suits hot and humid climate.  However, it appears that ‘floaty, breezy, delicate fabrics of the lighter colours allow all the solar heat fighting its way to our skin to just reflect away instead’. Even if black is acceptable the tightly fitted head cover of abaya will be extremely uncomfortable on humid days. The sweat it produces is bound to create health problems. The saree instead avoids these discomforts. This is why it became indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. Let the scientists and medical experts and not All Ceylon Jamiyyatul Ulema (ACJU) have the final word on this.

The second issue is the relative religiosity of abaya. This assumed Islamicity automatically downgrades saree wearers as less Islamic. This means millions of Sri Lankan Muslim women, both alive and dead, are and were condemned as imperfect Muslims, if not non-Muslims. This is the absurdity of the conclusion to which the Islamicity argument drives one. Thirdly, even if one goes along with the Islamicity criteria there are two other conditions that need to be justified according to Islamic jurisprudence. One is dharurat or necessity, and the other is maslaha or welfare. It abaya a necessary attire for a woman to be a pious Muslim? A corollary to that question is does cloth make a Muslim? To answer these questions in the affirmative would devalue the entire faith of Islam. The second condition is more important than the first, especially in a multicultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic society like Sri Lanka. Does abaya enhances or disturbs public welfare? Welfare in this context would mean public peace, cultural acceptability and national integration. In short, shouldn’t the promoters of this attire and the teachers who took their case before HRCSL also care for a verdict from the court of public opinion? This court is more important than the court of HRCSL. In deriving the rules of fiqh in Islam ijma or public opinion is one of the sources. Does this ijma include only Muslim opinion or even non-Muslim opinion in a society where Muslims live as a minority? Any dress that appears confronting in the eyes of the majority will make the wearers increasingly isolated.  

Above all, there is an element of hypocrisy in the fight for abaya in terms of Human Rights. It can cut both ways. If it is a human right to wear that dress then it is equally a human right if a Muslim girl wants to get out of it and wear something different. This freedom is denied in several Arab countries.  In Sri Lanka, the democratic ethos that prevails in this country has allowed those teachers to fight for and win their human right. Will these heroes and heroines be brave enough and dedicated enough to fight for human rights demonstrate in front of the embassies of such countries in Colombo demanding those rights be extended to their sisters in the Middle East?                

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Latest comments

  • 25
    10

    If they actually wear those colourful threads as in your picture they should be allowed it. Unfortunately they will surely wear that black horrible thing which is ghastly to the eye and should be banned.

    • 22
      6

      Ameer Ali,

      “On the question of a dress, the basic or primary criterion that should decide its acceptability or suitability is the climatic condition”

      The primary criterion that should decide whether acceptable or suitable to one wearing it and the society is linked to one’s fundamental rights. As per Sri Lankan constitution no one has the right to stop someone wearing what they like to wear. Once that side is clear, let the women decided on its suitability based on climatic condition.

      Why are your close relatives in the East are on Abaya and Niqab? “urukuthan upadesam, unakkaladi penney”?

      • 0
        0

        This writer started writing in support of Muslims and then in an article he also blamed Sanga and got from left, right, top, bottom and every possible angle. Since he could not gain Muslim readership blaming Sinhalese/Tamils and Sanga, he changed the direction. Now he resorted to blame Muslims and gained non-Muslim and anti-Islamic readership – This seems to work well. Divide and rule works in article writing also :-)

        Shhh…what you expect from a Muslim after all?

    • 2
      0

      Tungsan Yuwear

      1. Those colourful threads causing attraction

      2. Horrible thing which is ghastly no attraction Safey no body language

    • 8
      2

      On the subject of Srilankan female dresscode.
      It was not very long ago that we stoped seeing women topless. A majority were topless untill 400+ years.
      Muslim women who lived over 1000 years were never topless.
      The muslim trader was a great influence in introducing different dresses to the locals.
      The christian invasions too contributed towards civilizing the locals.
      Muslims had a history of influence in civilizing the local womens dress.

  • 17
    2

    In parliament why some are wearing the national dress white and the western dress Black Specially in courts /School ) is that not adopting western cultured dress code.
    Choosing garments that are comfortable & readily available is the motive.

    • 2
      0

      Go into our courts and see our judges wearing abaya with a white WIG.

      Most of the shark lawyers also wear an abaya.

      Weird or what!

  • 15
    13

    “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”

    I salute these teachers who took their case to the HRCSL and prevailed.
    The way I see it – these Muslim teachers are exercising they constitutionally protected right to wear a garb of their choice.

    The discomfort and the irritation seems to come from three quarters:

    One, the Hindu School Administrators – who apparently in their fervor of racism and bigotry cast aside the true teachings of Hindu doctrine of tolerance for other religions and their respective beliefs.

    Two, the radical Buddhist clergy who have been waging war against the Muslim community spreading falsehood igniting racial and religious hatred campaigning for boycotting Muslim owned businesses and inciting masses to attack mosques and Muslim owned property.

    Three, the ignorant masses of Sri Lanka who have no clue of what a Constitutionally protected right means. This is the court of public opinion the article speaks of. These masses come from all sectors of society. They are Buddhists, Christians, Tamils, Sinhalese, educated, uneducated, blue collar workers, professionals, business owners, academics etc.

    These ladies stood up for their right – as they should have!

    By taking this action against the Hindu School and prevailing, they rubbed it in the faces of those ignorant groups of people. That is the only way to send a message to these low-lives who trample on the rights of others – in the name of preserving and protecting their own religious rights and beliefs.

    On a side note- go to Saudi Arabia and see all women, Western, Phillipina, and from the Indian Sub-continent in Abaya!. Guess what – you will see quite a lot of Sinhala Buddhist as well as Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu and Christian women in the mix.

    • 6
      2

      Hallow Ugly American
      “Beauty belongs to who can appreciate it” von Waldheim in Film ‘The Train’ 1965 by John Frankenheimer

      The discomfort and the irritation seems to come from three quarters”
      The forth quarter!!!!!
      The discomfort of the above three is due to the discomfort of the fundamental and extra religious Muslims trying to follow and implement and implant medieval Arabic way of life which is barbaric to modern standards.
      The moderate folk feel the discomfort and the irritation from the above four quarters and others evils.

  • 20
    4

    Choosing a garment to wear, is purely the right of the one who wears it. Let women decide what they want to wear or be naked. If you can avoid dictating them what to wear and what not to wear by looking after your own bloody business that would be great.

    • 15
      9

      Sithy, you advocate that “Let women decide what they want to wear or be naked.” OK, then go to Saudi Arabia and be naked, and you will get the guillotine. You talk of human rights when you are in a non-Muslim country. You must be thankful the freedom you enjoy here. Is not Saudi Arabia dictating what to wear and what not to wear. I, as a person who lived in the Arab world, know the suffering of women there as they cannot exercise there freedom.
      In the Sri Lankan context, it is wiser to identify yourself as a Sri Lankan, and not as an Arab. During my young days I never saw a Muslim woman wearing the abaya, they wore a head calf which is beautiful. It is better in the interest of social integration to stick to the same ethos as the majority.

      • 13
        6

        John Silva, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries are not the only Muslim countries. There are too many Muslim countries that have even better HR records than SL.
        .
        “During my young days I never saw a Muslim woman wearing the abaya” – It is normal in the world that cultures change. That is what is happening in SL. And one does not have to wear like Sinhalese or Tamil or Muslim to be a Sri Lankan or feel Sri Lankan. That feeling has to come from your hearts, not just in dresses.
        .
        How many Tamils and Muslims (Say, Sinhalese naturally have that feeling) we had who are more patriotic than some Sinhalese also? Those patriotic people also wore dresses according to and identifying their religions, but when it comes nationalism, they are/were next to none. At the same time, during war time, we even had Sinhalese who worked for LTTE and on Tiger pay list.

        • 6
          4

          This is the ugly face of Moslem fundamentalism. Before long these guys will promte FMG as well. I have seen how the Moslems cheer the Pakisthan cricket team when they used to play in SL, …….talk about their patriotism… BS.

          • 5
            0

            “I have seen how the Moslems cheer the Pakisthan cricket team when they used to play in SL”

            If so, there is no nationalism has been created among those individuals. Question should be asked why? It could be their parents, teachers, religious leaders etc, why even some Sinhalese themselves might be reason when they sidelined a non-Sinhalese Sri Lankan?

            In my experience I have seen all Sri Lankans including Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims getting always together to support SL team when playing in Sharjah even SL/Pakistan matches. If we can be together out of Sri Lanka, why not inside SL? There is a psychological reason that we need to find. When there is a simple road rage, and a Sinhalese comes and says “Thambiya, meka ape rate”, it is easy for a simple minded guy to get hurt and continue to see himself an alien.

      • 4
        1

        John Silva, your writing shows you had never lived in Arab world. If you go to Jeddah and walk on the street you can see women wearing their cultural dress or western dress except those exposing the body. Just don’t talk like a nut.

        • 1
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          Ralli hamid, I have talked about the Arab world with 30 years of experience having lived there. Certain Arab countries are tolerant, but not all. Saudi is the worst. Do they tolerate any other religion being practised.?
          As regards the dress code The Holy Quaran does not prescribe covering of the face. In the past in Sri Lanka Muslim women wore a dress which was very decent and and one did not feel that they are alien to this country. But with fundamentalism creeping into sections of the Muslim society, today there is a vast gap they being portrayed as an alien community in the country. This does not bode well for social integration. Even fair thinking Muslims agree on this.

          • 0
            0

            John Silva you had never lived in Arab world for 30 years and you cannot just answer what you saw in Jeddah street. Holy Quran is a revelation of universe and mankind and about dress code. It stress women should cover her modesty and different cultures doing it different way. In the past Sri Lankan unmarried women never go out without wearing a Burqa which is worst comparing to Hijab. I still remember when I was a kid my sisters complain to mother it is very heavy. I think you belong to a family who migrated to another country looking for green pastures when you was a baby. What is social integration for you? Is it like in west getting into dance in clubs and get into bed with strangers. Otherwise there is enough social integration among Muslim and non-Muslims in Sri Lanka. Dress has nothing to do with modest social integration. What you are writing is burrowed from anti-Muslim comments in western media. Like slaves of Jews and westerners you just copy that without going for real truth.

      • 0
        0

        Hey John
        Sri Lanka is democratic country unlike Saudi Arabia. Why do you bring Saudi here. I am a Sri Lanka and I have every right what to wear as the constitution has given that freedom. I encourage you to read Sri Lankan constitution and act according rather than talking nonsense.

    • 5
      0

      Absolutely correct. Only recently it was reported that 90% of women have experienced sexual harassment in public transport in Sri Lanka. Sure, most, if not all, Abaya clad women would have been spared this torture.

  • 14
    21

    This person who writes this article should rethink if he is actually a Muslim or not. All his articles regarding Islam are causing a lot of embarrassment to the Muslims. It’s best if he refrains from commenting on subjects he is ignorant of.

    • 0
      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

    • 10
      13

      Well said brother Lahir. Born in Kattankudy, becoming a Professor, and settling down in Australia, this guy wants to be seen and heard at his old age. The only way he can be seen and heard is by writing articles critical of Islam and Muslims.

      He thinks he is a know-all and is beyond correction. He certainly has an audience and they are ALL Anti-Muslim and Anti-Islam. But , that matters little to him. Here is hoping that he will realise his Folly sooner than later and seek Repentance.

      • 8
        9

        Muhandiram,
        .
        ” this guy wants to be seen and heard at his old age”
        .
        I thought the same about this writer. This is a tactic I guess introduced by Salman Rushdie that anyone wants to achieve quick popularity, blame your own religion or the religion you were born into. Fortunately seems like time nears to crave closeness with his loved ones :-)

    • 10
      9

      Yes.I think the mullahs and moulavis should get together on Friday and pass a Fathwa on the writer. How dare he goes against Islamic principles being a Muslim himself? We are trying to convert the entire country into a Islamic state which will be realized in the next ten years although we may encounter some competition from the marauding Chinese. That is why we are building mosques in every nook and corner of Srilanka and in that pretext we colonize entire areas with the aid of Saudi arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and other Islamic countries. Ministers Hakkim, Rishad Badiudeen, Masthan, Hizbullah et al are hard at work in promoting this mission grabbing private and state lands mainly in northern and Eastern provinces. Already Wilpattu forest is captured and denuded for this purpose. Therefore in this context the author is out of tune with our mission and should be dealt with in the most serious manner according to the Arabic Sharia law.

    • 12
      0

      H. L.
      There is no Islamic attire as such; as long as it is “respectable” as has been the case mostly in SL.
      Arab Bedouin cultural is not necessarily Islamic.
      The problem here is political.

    • 7
      3

      H Lahir,

      “This person (Dr. Ameer Ali) writing a lot of Articles is causing a lot of embarrassment to Muslims”

      Correction: To Stupid Muslims, who can’t think for themselves using the evolved , or God given brains.

      Example: Due to the influence of the Devil, Satan, Iblis following Wahhabi Salafies from Saudi Arabia, the brainwashed and stupid Ulama say that, those women who wear the saree will go to Hell and those who wear the Black Abaya will go to Heaven.

      For the Ulama, the Earth is spread out like a carpet ( meaning flat), face Jerusalem and later Mecca as the direction of prayer (requires a Flat Earth), and the Fasting from Sunrise to Sunset, requires a Flat Earth, because those within the Arctic and Antarctic circles are not covered, per Quran and the Hadith.

      Was that the 7 Arabian Tribal Worldview?

      • 4
        0

        H Lahir,,

        Correction:

        Was that the 7 the Century Arabian Penniusula Tribal Worldview?

  • 11
    8

    Are you serious… saree which is 6 yards of cloth wrapped around, suits better in humid conditions and avoids discomfort??. I see what you mean about allowing breeze to cool the body…. maybe thats why the saree doesn’t cover the belly area… the more the open space the cooler it gets…. there are better clothes for this….

    • 0
      0

      Tuan

      To paraphrase a famous man who once said that “a good speech should be like a woman’s dress; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.”

      I suspect that the foreigners on our beach have the best idea as to how to dress for our weather. All Sri Lankan women could copy them, but then they will have to live on the beach.

  • 17
    0

    What a load of bullshit. There are millions suffering without a square meal all over the world. Abaya is the problem? Wearing Abaya, does not give any visa to go to heaven. Only good deeds are counted.

    • 10
      2

      Ad,

      Agree wearing the Black Abaya will not get a ticket to heaven, but it keeps the Wahhabi-Salafi Ulama happy and content because , the Satan following Wahhabi Salafies, per Hadith of Najd, will be happy.

      Those wearing the Black Abaya in the tropics , will sweat more and stink more, and in addition do not get sufficient sunlight, and suffers from Vit D deficiency.

      Meslims certainly suffer from the stupidity is a virtue disease . Thus combined with the low mean IQ and the theology taught by the Ulama

      • 1
        0

        Amarasiri,
        Don’t look at Islam in that manner. There are some issues that prompt extremism which I too disagree with. How ever, the goodside it brings to the followers are monumental. It gives them some order and discipline as happen in all the religions. i have witnessed many incidents where a Muslim does a Samaritans work which other religious dignitary does not do. So for many reasons in addition, I dont see Muslims are not a threat to humainty, however, extremists are, whether a Muslim or not. Islam is a friendly religion when practiced among humane population. However, there are extremists, not only among Muslims, even among other denominations. Bless the poor and innocent.

        • 1
          0

          Ad,

          If you want to know Islam and it’s interpretation, you need to read works of Mohamed Ibn Rushd, Judge, Jurist, and Philosopher. The stupid Ulama, as usual used political influence with the ruler, Caliph, to burn his philosophy works as well other philosophy works in the 12th Century.

          There is Islam, and Muslims of various sects and hues who call themselves, Islamic and Muslim.

          Then, there is the Mecca Islam, peaceful, like the New Testament, and the Medina verses, violent, for survival, like the Old Testament.
          Examples: Those who follow the Devil, per Hadith of Najd:
          Wahhabi-Salafis, Saudi Wahhabis, the ISIS that made it.
          ISIS: Islamic or Iblisic?
          Taliban: Islamic or Iblisic
          Biko Haram and others: Islamic or Iblisic?

          Since the majority of the Ulama and their flock are ignorant of what the message of Islam is about, they have mixed up the tribal traditions of 7th Century and later Arabia and world view to Islam.

          So, the world is flat and spread out like a carpet. They cannot digest the truth of human evolution, because they put revelation above reason.

          How do you know that there are no transcription errors in the revelations?

          • 0
            0

            Amarasiri can point out ans prove any of the Jurist, Philosophers you mention did not pray five times a day and followed other precepts of Islam. But according to my reading life styles of those Jurist and Philosophers much better than those whom we consider as strict Muslims. Architect of ISIS was Jews and Westerners. Don’t you think BBS brought disrepute and disrespect to Sinhalese Buddhist? The same way these devils brought conflicts among Muslims and others with the power of media in their hands. Earth is flat and spread like carpet to those who walk on earth. May be your abode is space so you always see it as round. All the scientist accept evolution cannot be proved, can you prove? Don’t be a mania and come out of all you read as truth.

  • 11
    10

    MR Lafir. What is wrong in what this writer says, tell me. You live in a stone age. that is why you can not read him. What he says is not against Islam at all. You salafi want to please Sauid wahabism.

    • 9
      8

      “You salafi want to please Sauid wahabism” – What is the link between Saudi Wahabism and Abaya? Wearing Abaya is not Wahabism. Abaya was worn much before Wahabism created.

  • 0
    0

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  • 0
    0

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  • 11
    8

    In Sri Lanka, we wear suits and tie. No problem. It’s not a English Cultural Thing!

    The author speaks and writes English, No problem. It’s not a English Cultural Thing!

    You wear black, OH MY GOD! How dare they.

    Ameer Ali, what a hypocrite!

  • 0
    0

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  • 5
    1

    There were mistakes made here. The ban of Abaya in a national school was puerile. That the ban will be overturned should have been expected.
    {“In the end, the teachers took their case before the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and won a decision in their favour”}.
    HRC SL is wrong here. Abaya should have been made a dress to be worn by anyone who chooses to.
    Much to the joy of ACJU, the HRC SL has made Abaya a Muslim identity
    Several female non-Muslim world leaders have been seen in Abaya.
    .
    HRC SL must reconsider.
    As it stands, a Muslim man is allowed to wear Abaya?
    How about the Burka version?
    PS: The all male ACJU and Muslim leaders are interested in segregating the flock.
    The flock must sabotage this misogynistic plan.

  • 10
    11

    Dear Dr Ameer Ali,

    You are not only antagonizing Muslims in Sri Lanka but also Buddhists and Hindus as well when you write “Sri Lanka is a hot and humid country in which the dress one wears should be loose enough to allow air to penetrate and cool the body while adhering to the cultural values and norms of the society in which the wearer lives”. You ridicule those who wear neck tie, coat and suit which is considered as the business attire in this country. You are no exception in your dress code when you lived in Sri Lanka.
    Your preference for saree instead of Abaya to uphold the so called cultural values of this country is your choice for your women not the choice of the Muslims in this country. May Allah give enlightenment in your knowledge of Islam.

  • 9
    3

    If you look at old photos of Sri Lanka, most women were naked. We have progressed, and our ladies are more well dressed up.

    Australians on the other hand, where Ameer lives, loves to shed their clothes. It’s a women’s right to do that. We might not agree, but we respect their rights.

    So, what is Ameer’s problem?

    • 3
      6

      ” So, what is Ameer’s problem? “

      Goraka , Ameer has already said his problem. You don’t want to read it. Please, at least read it now:

      ” If it is a human right to wear that dress then it is equally a human right if a Muslim girl wants to get out of it and wear something different. This freedom is denied in several Arab countries. ”

      Please read my line appearing below:
      ” It’s a women’s right to do that. We might not agree, but we respect their rights.

      After reading my line, please call all women in your neighborhood and tell them, they can marry any man, they can follow any religion, they need not to go Quasi Court, but go to government court to deal with their matrimonial matters.

      (Just don’t attempt to fool the entire world!)

      • 3
        0

        Arab countries suppressing human rights is not an excuse to suppress human rights in Sri Lanka. Women folk in neighborhood would fight for their human rights if they need to after seeing this verdict.

        I wonder if Ameer Ali wears ‘floaty, breezy”, light color dresses in April in Sri Lanka outside his bed room.

      • 1
        0

        ” If it is a human right to wear that dress then it is equally a human right if a Muslim girl wants to get out of it and wear something different. This freedom is denied in several Arab countries”

        Arab women don’t have the right – so you cry for their right being violated in dressing is understood. Then why are you forcing local Muslim women not to wear what they want to wear despite them having freedom here to choose? Why double standard between Arab women and SL women? This clearly says you got different agenda not just cry for rights of women

    • 5
      0

      Goraka
      If you look at old photos of Sri Lanka, most women were naked

      Thats why buddha and the many prophets arrived to teach people how to live to different parts of the world to remind & share a common set of fundamental beliefs.

      • 0
        5

        Why do you think Eskimos should be living under Arabian tents, not in Igloos? Only American wants the Arabian Oil, how many wants Arabian tents too? Anyway it is the Chinese Abaya everybody wears! Isn’t it? What about Arabian start to build Igloos in the deserts? Won’t that be “sharing of common set of fundamental beliefs.” You well understand that they are only believes, not backed up with scientific evidence. Ameer Ali’s point is Man is here to live comfortably, with his beliefs, taking care of the nature so others too can live. Mohamad of Ganz shared anything or stole everything before spread Islam into India? What is meaning to the word “share”? How about Arabians sharing Nirvana Buddha’s values. His yoke is lighter than all others. (He might have been walking as a nude Sanyasi in Wild North Indian jungles during his revived Hinduism preaching. ) What has to be shared as international common value is put forward as UN Charter. Better all Arabian countries start to share those values. Lankawe reverse the MMDA. That is our point.

  • 0
    0

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  • 0
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  • 4
    1

    In hot and humid Sri Lanka, we should dress environmentally appropriately (friendlily) so as to reduce or remove the effects of unnecessary high energy usage in fans and air-conditioning. When environment is disregarded, global warming occurs. But if is cold days in up-country, then dressing in closed clothes is not unfriendly towards the fate of the earth.

    • 5
      0

      ramona therese fernando,

      “In hot and humid Sri Lanka, we should dress environmentally appropriately” – Companies have cultures and they decide the dress code in accordance with the culture, not giving priority to the climatic conditions. You respect that and never say a word. When it comes to an individual, why not respect his/her preference in dressing, whether it is in line with his/her religion or as per the climate?

      Don’t you and Ameer Ali know that it is an insult to remind someone that SL has a hot & humid weather conditions so wear accordingly? Advising someone on what to wear is generally indecent.

      • 1
        0

        I was thinking almost entirely on the global warming factor Mohd. I was also thinking of the culture-index. And I thought that cultures came/come about in accordance with the climate and environment, e.g. desert climes cause people to cover up from the heat in the daytime, and cold of the night-time. So carrying on such a culture in hot and humid Sri Lanka is a fixation/fetish on a culture of another place. Once humans beings do things in oddity to nature, the good earth suffers. Checking such an anomaly is a noble thing.

        • 0
          0

          “And I thought that cultures came/come about in accordance with the climate and environment” – Not always. India, and the colonizers (countries) have more influence on SL culture than climatic conditions. Where did we get the Saree? Sarong? Then the men wearing Shorts, Suits, Ties? Even today we see the company top management, ministers, PM all wear Suits – where did it come from? Did someone designed that according to climatic condition of SL?

          • 0
            0

            I agree. The sari is meant for the cooler North Indian climes. In Sri Lanka, the rolls of fabric is so hot that the jacket back and stomach areas get wider and lower respectively. It looks quite vulgar and ugly at times. It’s ok for an occasion, but not for work attire. The salwah khamiz likewise, is a North Indian costume closing the body up. Strange to see many Tamils in the south donning it.
            _
            But the colonizers had some comfort-intelligence, and brought in the cool billowy cotton dress. The men’s suit is an anomaly, to keep up to the business attire in Western lands. Yet it is only for those at the top, who hardly do any physical work (quite unlike a teacher who has to run around in a hot classroom with many energetic children around). Also, the suit jacket design is of the lighter cotton fabric, and not the wool fabric that Westerners wear in winter. The sarong is a cooling thing, and if it was copied from other places, its suits the Lankan climate well (trousers being too closed up).The main element is that the head is not covered up, and disperses the heat.

      • 1
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        Ok….fetish is the wrong synonym for fixation (was trying to get another word support the argument, but used it in the wrong sense). So, Ma’af. The abaya is used to remove unwonted desires and is quite the opposite of fetish, although it is still a fixation because it venerates other environmental cultures. “Prepossession” is a better word.

  • 1
    9

    Wearing Abhaya in Sri Lanka is a swollen headed show off. This democracy allows that. Hindu colleagues in the school should boycott them in social interactions (they are asking for it) This democracy allows that.

    Soma

    • 0
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      Soma

      Wearing Abhaya in Sri Lanka is a swollen headed show off.

      What you think of those who dress half clothed. also one of the pillar of Democracy is freedom

    • 0
      0

      soma,

      Whatever the intention maybe when you wrote the comment, but you put it in the right words, “Wearing Abhaya in Sri Lanka is a swollen headed show off. This democracy allows that”

      Long live, SL democracy, freedom. With the same setup, if the little-minded ones grow up, how powerful our nation could be?

  • 5
    5

    Ameer is from old school…

    He does not like Muslim women wearing Abaya because its hot, but would insult the ladies in a round about way if you wear 6 meters of sarees.

    He disagree with Muslim ladies if you cover for modesty, but wouldn’t raise a voice if you wear swimsuit or walk half-naked.

    He is for women’s rights as long as it’s not for Muslims.

    Male chauvinism is alive and well…

  • 9
    6

    This hypocrite wants Muslim women to show more flesh to satisfy his lust. The Australian women are not enough for him I guess.

    • 1
      1

      H. Lahir.

      All except Muslim women exhibit a lust for freedom.

      Who or what has grabbed it?

      Make it available to them as well.

    • 0
      0

      Lahir,

      Can you ask your “esteemed” Ulama, if the Earth is spread out like a carpet, figuring out the direction of prayer in different parts of the world requires a Flat Earth, Fasting Start and fast break times, require a Flat Earth, and wearing the Black Abaya also requires a Flat Earth?

      Are the Ulama hypocrites?

  • 3
    10

    If the ultimate muslim Goal (Jihad ) is to convert ALL the non muslims to ISLAM
    , Islamophobia is justified because it is a threat to the very existence of all the religions that respect all the fundamental human rights.! ! !

  • 5
    5

    One of the underrated articles i have ever read

  • 2
    0

    After all whats in a dress. Let them wear what they wish. Follow USA. They wear anything. Nobody is bothered.

  • 1
    0

    The author has taken the trouble to highlight all types of claims done in the name of “human rights”. What is relevant most in Sri Lanka is fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution and “equality” is one of them. As decided in our own courts equality refers to equality among equals. At the expense of repetition may I say that all teachers who dress in a manner that does not affect the process of teaching are equal. What exactly is an “Abaya” or “Nikab” is not clear. As I said before, if the dress seemingly to signify the Islamic faith is the one that widely used in Bangladesh, Malaysia etc where only the sides of the face is covered and not the eyes then the teaching process is not affected as eye contact with the student is essential in teaching especially students in a primary or secondary school. Hence the school authorities have no legitimate cause to complain over the dress of the aforesaid type and prohibition of that type especially citing cultural background of the area can be interpreted as a violation of fundamental rights. True, the HRC pronouncements are not SC judgements but if it shoots to the top court then HRC pronouncements can be helpful. On the other hands if the dress as the author now implies is a black one covers the person totally except the two slits at eye level, then it does affect the teaching process and the education authorities can say that wearing such a dress inhibits the capacity of teaching. Citing local cultural opposition is a danger signal to entire Sri Lanka as the Muslims in the North and the East were “ethnically cleansed” by the LTTE on same grounds.

    • 0
      1

      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

    • 1
      5

      Muslims in the north were chased off by the LTTE.,, as they were caught spying for the Sinhalese armed forces and storing arms and I do not condone this act but it never happened in the east . In fact in the east it was the opposite Muslim home guards who were heavily armed by the Sri Lankan STF were killing raping and ethnically cleansing Hindu Tamil villages in the Amparai and parts of the Batticaloa districts. This is a fact and I can give you references. However will not as this discussion is about the Abaya. Far more Tamils were ethnically cleansed by Muslim home guards and the Sri Lankan armed forces from the north and east than Muslims in the north, whose overall number was 60000-64000 the most. More than a million Tamils have been chased out and many in the east have not been allowed to return to their villages and claim their homes and lands. These once Tamil Hindu villages have now been converted to 100% Muslim villages and have become a no go zone for Tamils. Please stick to the facts. Dr. Amir Ali a very good and balanced article. Congratulations and I wish we had more Muslim intellectuals and leaders like you and your calibre. Please do not get disheartened by these abusive comments from these Wahhabis and Salafists , who are trying to introduce an alien intolerant form of Islam, culture and dress codes from Western Asian to replace the extremely tolerant rich vibrant 1000 year old Tamil Sufi Islam culture and dress modes that is native to the island.

      • 4
        0

        This crow SSS come out with bull shit stories from his fancy imagination.

  • 3
    4

    Thanks very much, Dr Ameer Ali, for trying to bring sanity into this discussion, but, of course you get too many people writing rot in the comments (my view!).
    .
    I’d say that the following have talked sense: (30 comments on display now):
    .

    Tungsan Yu, Fathima, rbh, Ugly American, Sithy, John Silva, sarrij, critical thinking, K.Pillai, and Grandma RTF.
    .
    Discussion of the saree. It looks horrendous to me, but once somebody has got used to it, I’m sure that it’s O.K.
    .

    Soma, as usual, says one thing, but with a different import.
    .
    I really said all that I had to on the earlier that 208 comments, until the good news about Ahimsa Wickrematunga’s action against Gotabaya Rajapaksa, took centre stage.
    .
    For me, as a retired teacher, the articles about Royal Institute hold great interest, and I’m writing those comments carefully. Dr Ameer Ali has written a very necessary article, which doesn’t require such careful reading.

  • 0
    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

  • 2
    0

    We have many girls who dont want to wear the Saree.
    But due to peer pressure they are.
    Like to see an article on the Saree mafia.

    • 1
      1

      Wearing saree is cumbersome job. Even majority of women nowadays go for pants and shirts or skirts. So saree going to be outmoded dress soon.

  • 0
    5

    Value in abaya?

    Oh, boy

    In that discriminative clothe that wraps some innocent women to deprive of their freedom?

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