12 December, 2017

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Accusations, Sinhala Kings, History And The Muslims In Sri Lanka

By Rifai Naleemi –

Dr. Rifai Naleemi

Patriotism, Allegiance And Loyalty Of Sri Lankan Muslims To Mother Lanka – Part – 2

Historical origins of Srilankan Muslims:

It is pathetic that some extremist Buddhist people are protesting against Muslims in Sri Lanka today for no reason. Muslim people have been accused of many social issues. They have done nothing wrong in Sri Lankan history and they have been accusing of spreading fundamentalism in Sir Lanka . They have been accused of supporting al-Qaida. They have been accused of supporting Taliban. They have been accusing of building more mosques in Sri Lanka. They have been accused of marrying Sinhalese girls. They have been accused of increasing their population. They have been accused of accumulating money by selling Halal food. They have been accused of forcing Buddhist people to eat halal food. They have been accused of being disloyal to Sri Lanka. This list of accusations could go on countless. But the entire Muslim community is innocent from all these allegations and accusations. There may have been some misunderstanding in some of these issues and yet, such misunderstanding should be clarified: We all need some clarity of thought on these issues: some of these issues are exaggerated and inflated very much by the some extreme people.

Muslim community is free from all these deliberate allegations and fabrication. All these accusations are baseless and deplorable denunciations. Despite these unfounded allegations Muslim people have been maintaining patience and indeed they have been praying for peace and calm to prevail in this beautiful Island. It is undeniable fact that the majority people in this country are Buddhists people and this is indeed a factual reality and others are minority communities: These two factual realities and Muslim people precisely appreciate and acknowledge this fact: We have been respecting Sinhalese people and their way of life and we never intended to inflict harm or hurt their religious feeling at all any time in Sir Lankan history. Historically speaking we have been defenders of this Island. There is no need to accuse Muslim people with all these unsubstantiated allegations for no reason.

Jewelers - Galle 1870's

It is pathetic to note that historical origins and antiquities of Muslim people have been badly questioned today by these extremist people. Moreover, mere existence of Muslim people has been threatened by this handful of people. Some deliberate attempts have been made to create doubt and suspicion about historical origin of Muslim people. What more surprising is that these so called guardians of Buddhism do not have any historical knowledge to speak about Muslim history? The historical origin and antiquity of Muslim people have been well recorded in Sri Lankan history books and I shall recall some of these records to demarcate Muslim loyalty, allegiance and patriotism to this nation.

Muslim people have been loyal citizens of this country for many centuries and we have hope and optimism that Muslim people will be loyal citizens of this country for ever as long as they live on this Island. We have one thousand years of proven history to say that we had been loyal citizens of this Island. Sri Lankan History itself testifies this. It is not my objective in this article to respond to all these unfounded accusations but rather I would like to narrate some historical events to exhibit Muslim loyalty to this country. I think that such historical narrations would encourage people to think objectively at this time without any prejudice or discriminations Sri Lankan people should think positively away from all types of racial discriminations and bias prejudices.

It is unfortunate that children in Sri Lankan schools do not have historical lessons to learn and understand the historical roots of minority communities in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan Muslim history has not been taught in Sri Lankan schools, institutes and universities. Consequently, the majority of people in Sri Lanka have no any clue about Muslim peoples’ historical origin: It is duty of Sri Lankan educational establishments to educate students on this subject so that they would appreciate and acknowledge Muslim contributions in Sri Lanka. Such projects should be initiated by Sri Lankan government to foster peace and social harmony in Sri Lanka. Yet, historical contributions of minority groups have been deliberately ignored in Sri Lanka. We shall try here to trace historical origins of Muslims in Sri Lanka so that we people could appreciate their loyalty to this nation.

It has been often said that Sri Lankan Muslim people are not loyal to Sri Lanka but their loyalty rather lies somewhere in some Muslim countries: It is said that Sri Lankan Muslim has his one leg in Sri Lanka and other one somewhere else in a Muslim country: This allegation is a baseless allegation and historical and practical examples of Muslim people tell us that they have been loyal citizens of this country ever since they settled in the Island. There is no doubt about it. Did Muslim people take wealth of this nation out of this country as colonial powers did? Did they take destroy the natural resources of this country? Did they conspire to destabilize this nation at any time in the history?

A historical account of Muslim and Sinhalese relationship testifies an intimate communal bond between these communities. indeed, Arab traders got married Sinhalese ladies in early period of Muslim settlements in Sri Lanka: This happened with the consent of Sri Lankan kings: Why did Sinhalese kings allow Muslim people to settle in the Island. There were some socio-historical and economic reasons for such privilege offered to Muslim in the early period of Muslim history in Sri Lanka.

Early Muslim settlement in Ceylon:

Historical records tell us that in the pre-colonial historical times Arab people were sole traders in South East Asian countries. They were experts in the sea navigation and they engaged in sea trade in pre-colonial times. According to SG Perera. “The initial settlement of Arab took place in Sri Lanka during the reign of the King Pandukabhaya. It was reported that the King allocated lands for the Yonas (Muslims) at Anuradhapura. This historical account was recorded in (Mahavansa). (S.G Perera. P.16, the Portuguese and Dutch Period 1505-1796). This is what historical chronicle of Sri Lanka says about early Muslim settlement in Sri Lanka. It was argued that with the defeat and disintegration of Roman Empire in the 3rd A.D their trade domination was also gradually crumbled and disappeared. Historians argued that this trade vacuum was duly filled by Arab and Persians sea traders in the South eastern Asian countries. This was the time when Islamic Empire was rapidly expanding in the East and West. Historians are amazed at the rapid progress of Islamic empire in a short of period of time. During the Umayyad dynasty Islam spread so quickly in the west and East: It was reported that after the conquest of Persia (Iran) Syria and Egypt Arabs were able to control all important ports and trading centers between East and West It was reported that by about the 8th century A.D the Arabs had formed colonies at the important ports of Indian and Ceylon coastal areas. It was reported that presence of Arabs at the ports of Ceylon was confirmed by the discoveries of some inscriptions in Colombo, Trincomalee and Puliantivu. ((Kamalika Pieris. P.8 )

Sri Lankan Muslim history was recorded by Ibn Batuta in his travelogue. According to him at the end of the 7th century a colony of Muslim traders had settled and established in Ceylon. Arab people were attracted to Ceylon because of its beautiful natural splendour. Moreover, Adam Peak might have attracted them as well: In addition to this people in Ceylon in those days were so friendly and kind. This might have paved the way for the permanent settlement: Moreover, history attests that early settlers were well received by the kings on those days. Most of them lived in the coastal areas in peace and harmony with local people and they did maintain trade and cultural contacts with Islam Empire in Baghdad and other Islamic cities. Kamilika Pieris. P. 8 )

The historical origin of Sri Lankan Muslim has also been traced back to the House of Hashemite as well. According to Tikiri Abeyasinghale in his Portuguese Rule in Ceylon 1594-1612 the first Mohammadans of Ceylon were a portion of those Arabs of the House of Hashim, who were driven from Arabia in the early part of the 8th century by the tyranny of the Caliph Abdel Malik bin Marwan, and who proceeding from the Euphrates Southwards made settlements in the concan in the southern parts of the Peninsula of India, on the Island of Ceylon and Malacca. The divine of them which came to Ceylon formed eight considerable settlements along the North-East, North and Western cost of that Island, viz one at Trincomalee, one at Jaffna. One at Colombo, one at barbareen, and one at point de Galle. (T.Abeyasinghe. p. 192). As we noted earlier socio-political and religious historical circumstances and factors contributed to Muslim settlements in Ceylon: Kamilika Peiris identifies the following religious and economic factors for the growth of Muslim settlements in Sri Lanka.

It is true that Muslim do not have historical chronicles as Sinhalese and Tamil have and yet, Arab trade history could be traced from Silk route trade history. It is true that we Muslim have failed to do any systematic and scientific research about the historical origin of Muslim in Sri Lanka. Works of Arab historians may be useful in this regard to rewrite Muslim history in Sri Lanka: It is a monumental task for Muslim intellectuals and academics to peruse such academic studies rather than referring to recent historical works. We should go classical historical works to understand our own history.

1) Economic interests of Sinhalese kings:

During those days Sinhalese people were only interested in farming and cultivation and they rarely dared to venture out of Island for fear of their lives. The Muslim people dominated trade on the sea and lands. Thus, Sinhalese kings encouraged and favoured Muslim settlements in Ceylon for economic and trade interests: Because Muslim people had overseas contact in trade and politics: Muslim made Ceylon a famous place in the Middle East by this trade expansion and their contacts with Muslim world. This seems that Sinhalese kings permitted Muslim settlements because they brought wealth, incomes and prosperity to the Island:

2) Religious tolerance of local Sinhalese people is another main factor that contributed to the growth of Muslim settlements in Ceylon. (Kamilika Peiris. P. 9)

It was unthinkable that Muslim people would have settled in Ceylon those days without official invitation of Sinhalese kings and people. Those were days of piracies in the sea and lands. How could Muslims people settle in a stage land without official reception? How could they would have survived for the last 10 centuries had they not been welcomed in this Island? Sinhalese people were kinds and compassionate by nature that might have encouraged Muslim settlements. It was mutual interests of both communities that made Muslim settlement possible in Sri Lanka. The pattern of early Muslim settlements testify that Muslim came to Sri Lanka as traders and businessmen: Most of early settlements were wet up around the surrounding of posts and coastal areas on trade routes. It was unthinkable that early Arab traders would have accompanied with wives to Ceylon in those precarious long sea journey to Ceylon: Hence, it could be assumed that they would have married local women (Kamilika Peiris. P. 9). This would not have taken place without approval of Sinhalese kings. Religiously speaking such assumption was not unviable those days. Marrying more than one wife is traditional and religiously sanctioned in Islam.

Lorna Dewaraja in her book “ The Muslims of Sri Lankan: 1000 years of ethnic harmony: 900 A.D 1915AD argues that Muslims have got one thousand years of peaceful history in Sri Lankan soil and they managed to get on well with Sinhalese throughout this long period of history: She maintains that Muslim people have some traditional Sinhalese family names which clearly allude to their ancestral family roots of Muslim people today: while Muslim people maintain their original family trees they preserved their religious identity as well in their Islamic names: Sinhala names were used in profession and legal documents to testify their origin and ownership o properties and lands: (Dewaraja.pp12-13) This shows that Sri Lankan Muslims have been maintaining their cultural and religious identity while recognising their ancestral and family trees in the Island:

Lorna Dewaraja further contends that Muslim people and Sinhalese kings had amicable relationship from ancient time right thorough Kandyan epoch. The kings of Sri Lankan reckoned that Muslim traders were economically and politically an asset and for that reason Kings not only gave permission for Muslim people to settle in Sri Lanka but also guaranteed their safety and security (Dewaraja. P.4) otherwise, how could Muslim people survive throughout long period in Sri Lnaka and she further notes that “ Right through from the Anuradhapura period to Kandyan times there was a Muslim lobby operating in the Sri Lankan court. It advised the king on overseas trade policy. They also kept the king informed of development abroad. The Muslim trader with his navigational skills and overseas contacts become the secret channel of communication between the court and the outside world” (Dewaraja.P.8).

What a shrewd diplomacy of Sri Lankan kings was this? It is unfortunate that in our modern time some politicians and some extremist Sinhalese people are short-sighted in their assessment of such broader diplomacy today. Those days Sri Lankan kings were cleaver enough to know the importance of international relationship for the prosperity of the nation. They knew well that such cordial relationship was beneficial to all. Some kings sent some Muslim people as ambassadors to some Muslim nations: It was recorded that “in the 13th century Al-Haj Aby Uthman was sent by the Sri Lankan kings Buvanekabahu 1 to the Mamluk court of Egypt to negotiate direct trade (Dewaraja. PP.8-16). They were cleaver enough to use skills and experience of Muslims for the greater benefits of countries. Muslims served in the courtyard of kings as security personals and officials because those days Kandiyan kings had faith and confidence in Muslims. Kings knew well that Muslims would not betray them in all circumstance. Some Muslims served as chefs and cooks in the courtyard of kings because Kings had faith in them that they would not harm them at all. Some Muslim people provided supervision during the great Buddhist religious functions and festivals.

To be continued next week.

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Latest comments

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    I would question whether Islam, as practiced in the Far East, is the same as Islam that is practiced say in the Middle East. I say this because it seems like Muslims in the Far East are more enlightened and modern in the same way that maybe you would see in Turkey. I simply cannot picture Sri Lankan Muslims acting out similarly to the Taliban in Afghanistan. One thing that really caught my attention as an American was when the Grand Mufti of Australia told his Muslim followers that it was okay to wish others a Merry Christmas even though that was not their faith because it showed that one respects the faith of another. That simple gesture really impressed me because as a Christian I would not have an issue wishing someone a Happy Ramadan if I knew they were celebrating it. My fear is more people who have no faith at all as I think the greatest atrocities have been committed by regimes in which the leaders have no faith and could engage in murder on a mass scale because they are accountable to no higher ethic or law. That being said, I do think that the issue in Sri Lanka, as an outsider looking in, is a weak rule of law. The rule of law makes people respect one another while at the same time keeping government small and limited. Also, I think there has to be a national identity in the sense that people have to be united by basic things like respect for family and the need to lift themselves from poverty. We share much in common as people. My Muslim friend from Sri Lanka also, like me, has a picture of his mother in his wallet. I do think there has to be respect for faith, but also that religion cannot be entangled with government. Another issue for Sri Lanka is that as the magazine “The Economist” notes, it is becoming increasingly military oriented. I hope that policies of reconciliation will be enacted that will allow Sri Lanka to unify and begin to scale back its military and focus on the private sector. I hope M. A. Sumanthiran will continue to be active as I think he presents the best hope to unify Sri Lanka and get its wounds healed to move forward. I think as a lawyer he will be able to encourage the restoration of the rule of law and a government that governs on behalf of all Sri Lankans. So, people like that give me some hope for better days ahead. When I see his speeches, I can have some hope that Sri Lanka will get the peace and harmony it deserves. Sumanthiran is one of many very intelligent people in Sri Lanka. I hope he leads it out of the darkness….

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      Islam teaches to respect all religions. If one is insulting another religion, he is not a true muslim. Mulims believe all are sons and gaughters of Adam! In several occations prophet Mohamed (PBUH) has addressed the people as ” O CHILDREN OF ADAM!”

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        Yes. He addressed ” O CHILDREN OF ADAM!” for people in middle east who had their history and religions originated from same source. Will he say that to other religions from far east if he had known that those religions had different faith system like believe in many gods or no god. They are not children of Adam.

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      THIS ‘SOLE TRADERS’ IS RUBBISH
      ISLAM IS ONLY 1400 YEARS OLD
      NEITHER WE, THE CHINESE OR GREEKS CAME HERE BY AEROPLANE.

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        Islam is not just 1400years. islam starts when human started to this world. GOD never divided religions…god he sent messengers to guide…also he sent many testaments when required to that period. The quran is a final testament of god which should follow all the human beings.We that humen divided us for different religions….

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          IT IS NOT FINAL TO ME
          NO MOHOMAD; NO ISLAM !!

          Otherwise you would be a Jew or Christian.

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            yes jesus and mooses were also muslim.

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            Go and check the bible,old testament as well as new, Thourah…Muhammed name was there(Ask your church where is the original copy of bible). Muslims believe in original bible, thourah etc….for your information there are 124000 messengers have come to this world…it has been believed by muslims. then who are these messengers??????? there 25 names mentioned in quran….moses, davit, jesus,,abraham…etc….
            If you belive in God…Got never divided us…that human we misunderstood and divided our self.

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    Just a few additional comments to my post above. When I watch M.A. Sumanthiran’s speeches, it seems as if I am watching a modern version of a Sri Lankan Abraham Lincoln. I say this because he talks of larger issues such as the rule of law. It also seems that he speaks much of healing and what is needed for Sri Lanka to heal its past wounds so it can move on with providing prosperity to all its people. I don’t see him as a divider, but rather a unifier. I am persuaded that there has to be international involvement in looking into war crimes on both sides. How can different peoples have faith and trust in the outcome of a purely internal Sri Lankan investigation? They need an investigation in which the results are those they can trust. If this happens, then there will truly be healing and a restoration of trust. I hope Sumanthiran considers looking at different historical examples of rebuilding divided peoples. Lincoln would have done it better in the US South after the Civil War, but he was assassinated. I think he would have been more charitable with the South than what occurred in Reconstruction. Also, there is Germany after World War II and Japan as well. In all cases, there were Constitutional changes such as the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments in the US and the new Constitutions in Germany and Japan. I think someone like Sumanthiran would probably encourage this needed reform. In fact, I think Sri Lanka can even do it better since there are so many decent people there. It takes forward looking leadership that focuses in on the larger issues. This is what makes me so impressed with M.A. Sumanthiran who is no doubt Sri Lanka’s own Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King. I hope the people put him into the presidency there as he seems to have the qualities needed to rise to the occasion for ALL Sri Lankans. Please post more of his speeches soon….

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      Yes, Sumanthiran shows unique qualities of a possible national leader unless the growth of Sinhala Buddhist communalism in Sri Lanka obstructs him.

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        Sumanthiran has proved himself as a national leader not only for the Tamils but also for the Muslims. Asswer was interrupting Sumanthiran’s eloquent speech in parliament! Why, Oh Why??? Asswer has become Rajapassa’s Assman!

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          Asswer is the minister of clowning. a purchased product past its use by date

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    Wyatt K

    You think you are being elusive and subtle in your promotion of TNA in the eyes of U.S. and in bashing Sri Lanka. Only a stupid person will believe your claim that you are an American and a Christian. Because most Americans don’t know who their congressman is let alone the name of a TNA MP in Sri Lanka. And they usually don’t make a big deal about their Christian religion. The funny thing is the “American” is telling everything the TNA and especially Sumanthiran would like the Americans to hear – and in Sri Lankan English too. And you seem to be also overly concerned that the Americans may be taken in by the false propaganda of the BBS against the Muslims and develop a soft corner for the Rajapaksa regime. You Jaffna panagkottai, now you think the Americans are also modayas?

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      I know little of the TNA. All I know is that I watched his speeches and I see something there. Is that so wrong?

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      By the way, please don’t say I am not an American or Christian. Who else other than an American has a name like Wyatt? I am named for Wyatt Earp of Tombstone, Arizona. I know about Sri Lanka because I studied at Eastern Connecticut State University and we had several Sri Lankans in our class. I found them to be intelligent and nice. One of whom is a Muslim that I remain friends with all these years later. I care about my friend and I want his country to be at peace, to heal and for people there to live in harmony. They had enough of violence in Sri Lanka to last generations. It is simply time for peace. I never regarded the people I met from Sri Lanka as Sri Lankans. Honestly, they seemed just as American as me. And, they loved their families as I do and they want peace and prosperity for everyone like I do as well…

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        So Wyatt, are you the Wyatt Kopp I once knew and whose present circumstances are as per news article below.

        If so, how YOU doin’? Have you found a new job? Hope you are doing well.

        The Day, Connectucut
        01/27/2013

        A Gales Ferry man who once worked in the clerk’s office in New London Superior Court is proposing a law that he says would make people whose court fees are routinely waived think twice about filing frivolous lawsuits.

        Wyatt W. Kopp thinks the state could save millions of dollars if it requires people seeking monetary damages in civil lawsuits to perform community service if they cannot afford the $300 filing fees. He also proposes that litigants reimburse the court if they win money in their cases.

        Kopp, a law school graduate who is currently unemployed, describes himself as a conservative. He worked as a temporary employee in the civil clerk’s office at the courthouse on Huntington Street from May 2009 to August 2010.

        Locally, Kopp cited the case of Sylvester Traylor of Quaker Hill, who waged a protracted legal battle against his wife’s psychiatrist, Waterford police and several other parties after Roberta Mae Traylor committed suicide in 2004.

        Traylor, who said he has health problems and is unemployed, routinely receives fee waivers. Kopp estimated Traylor’s litigation has cost the Connecticut $5,300 in waived costs and notes that Traylor has also received fee waivers in several federal cases.

        Traylor, reached by phone, said Kopp’s proposal is discriminatory.

        Kopp, a law school graduate who is currently unemployed, describes himself as a conservative. He worked as a temporary employee in the civil clerk’s office at the courthouse on Huntington Street from May 2009 to August 2010.

        The bill died in committee. It was later added to another bill but faced opposition and did not pass.

        In a phone interview, Traylor suggested that Kopp’s fee waiver proposal was retaliatory, since Traylor had filed a complaint against Kopp while Kopp was working at the clerk’s office. Traylor suggested also that his November 2009 complaint against Kopp was responsible for Kopp being fired in August 2010.

        Kopp said he was asked to resign or be fired from the clerk’s office after being told he was “not a good fit” for the job. Pursuant to a Freedom of Information request for Kopp’s letter of termination, the Judicial Branch provided a letter that says Kopp was terminated “due to issues with his work product, timeliness and follow-through with tasks.”

        Kopp later went to work for a Groton law firm and was laid off.

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          Indeed, that is me. I am friends with Iqbal if you remember him as well. If you knew me from ECSU, I am honored. Looking back on it, it was quite a privilege to attend college with so many fine persons from Sri Lanka. You may find me on Facebook via my yahoo mail which is WYATTKOPP@yahoo.com My present profile picture is of Thatcher.

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      I think this is a Mahinda acolyte testing the waters for the nature of the responses.

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      Jaffna panakoddai never said Americans are Modayas. they have said Sri Lankan are

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    Wyatt.K an American follows what happens in Australia have knowledge & observes M.A.Sumaitharan’s speeches and finally equate him to Abraham Linclon & Martin Luther King.

    Vow !! what observation… Unfortunately, a part of the tail is visible & potruding from beneath his American overcoat.

    Apparently, Wyatt suppose to have never heard of people like Late M/s. Kadiragama and Neelan Thiruchelvam and the likes who were streaks ahead of this Sumanthiran but his tribe never appreciated and pretend not have heard of their speeches and works.

    Mr. Wyatt, you are another name sake a Paul Newman, Ryal O’neill, marlon Brando era guy in sheeps clothing with poisonous ideas.
    Such proposal should have been submitted prior to MAY 2009 and then may be a era could have been given to what you have said.

    A statement made a couple of years too late. Many a waters have flowed.

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      Many waters have flowed, but it is not too late to heal. I pray to God, Allah, Buddha and any other deity that might bring healing to Sri Lanka…

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    How do Muslims win back the confidence of the Buddhists if they are falsely accused by the members of BBS/JHU/SR? How do the Muslims overcome a witch hunt? The undesirable elements with the blessing of the Ruling family; having plans to destroy the historical ties built over a few centuries.

    Sri Lanka is a country with plenty of natural resources enough to go around for every community that have lived for centuries. Petty squabble among them keeps the country away from prosperity.

    The ingredients for peaceful co-existence is RESPECT to each others opinions and beliefs which we all hold sacred. Wealth may not always be the root of all evils, however it could be a blessing if they are directed towards progress and development of Humanity. The obstacles are Greed, Arrogance, disrespect, etc. Luckily there is only a very small percentage of people in Sri Lanka that sow the seeds of Hatred and Disrespect and they are consumed with the objective to destroy communal harmony. These undesirables will eradicate themselves in time. The real wealth of a nation is its people and how they are treated. None of us can claim a perfect system but we could all join hands to work towards it.

    Allah has created Angels with reason but having no desires; animals with desires but no reason, & man with both reason and desires. Therefore, if one’s reason is stronger than his desires, he is like an Angel… while if his desires are stronger than his reason, he is like an animal.

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    Lets not beat about the bush…. the complaints were simple.

    1. Muslims putting up mosques everywhere – Is this true or false

    2. Muslims segregating themselves by adopting black garments and men too changing clothing (mostly amongst poor and middle class Muslims – Is this true or false

    3. Muslim extortion through halal – Is this true or false

    4. Purposely playing Azan through loudspeakers – Is this true or false…

    All that needs is for Muslims to answer this… without going round the mulberry bush

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      Is there anything called true in Sri Lanka

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        No all from bengal and south India. But the origins were still there.

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      Shiva,
      Is that problem if muslims put masjidh everywhere. i hope you know muslims must pray 5 times a day in the masjidh…not like christians weekly once…Buddhist/hindus once in a while…
      Yes muslim women wear black garments. bcos others forgot their culture and tradition and they forced to follow the western naked dress, which is prohibited in Islam..so they wear Black cloth to protect them self..and it is mandatory in islam as per quran and teachings of Prophert muhammed.
      Muslims must eat halal….it is not a new in islam.
      Calling for prayer is mandatory in islam…loudspeaker is not mandatory. When you talk about noice pollution you should bring the law for all noice pollution to control in sri lanka..not only for adhan.There are many noice pollution in sri lanka everywhere normally you will find this. there is no system in sri lanka to control this as far as i know.

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    The muslims came to Sri Lanka as traders not as conquerers. They were welcomed by the ancient Sinhala Kings who protected them. As written by Dr Mahinda Deegalle

    ‘Two examples can be drawn here, where two Sri Lankan kings proactively reacted to aggressive religious persecutions that they witnessed in their territories and rectified the situation by providing safe abode for the victims. When the Dutch began to persecute the Catholics, the Kandyan king gave abode to them in the Kandyan kingdom. When Islam was threatened, the king settled Muslims in Batticoloa. These two events provide evidence to prove that Buddhists have not been prejudiced towards non-Buddhists. When non-Buddhists were persecuted in Sri Lanka by foreign authorities, Sri Lankan kings had taken an active role to shelter them and help them to re-establish their religious communities.’

    ‘In the name of the Buddha, Buddhists are obligated not to disturb, ridicule or harass another religious practitioner or a secular person. As inheritors of a peace-loving religion, we have an obligation to minimize immense pains of humanity. Underprivileged, marginalized, disadvantaged, and ethnic and religious minorities should be celebrated in the hope of making their lives happier, healthier, and more wholesome. Over two and a half millennia ago, the Buddha recognized the importance of living, working, and cooperating with all human beings around the Buddhist practitioner. Compassionate attitudes extended towards others and non-violent values translated into positive mental, physical, and social actions are extremely important for religious harmony and social progress.’

    Even today the arab and muslim countries are major trading partners of Sri Lanka. It is a win win situation. So far the incidents have been minor in nature and by minority of extremist. Let us hope that this will not develop into a major conflagaration and jeapordise the harmony and good realtions between these two major religons and people.

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    DEAR DR.RIFAI,
    YOUR RESEARCH ARTICLE ON 1000 YEARS HISTORY OF SRI LANKAN MUSLIMS IS WORTH READING BY ALL STUDENTS OF HISTORY
    MY BEST WISHES
    YOURS SINCERELY
    M.Y.M.MEEADH
    DUMBULUWAWA

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    Without any disrespect to the writer, the ideas expressed, or the people in the picture, I have a question that has been bugging me since I came across this post. How come in the 1870s 3 guys are wearing headphones, one guy has a laptop, the next guy has a tablet and the last guy is checking his cellphone? I’m confused. Somebody please enlighten me.

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    Of course yes. They were far ahead of the rest of the local Yakkas.

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    Ok ;you want to deprive the rights of the muslims go ahead;but diplomacy and amicably are more appreciated;why black as in islam its to be equal;between rich and poor;whats so threatening about the black garb is a dress to avoid temptations;the shortest short is looked upto;that funny;the word modesty must be deleted from the dictionary;halal scrap it from kfc;pizza hut and mcdonald too;azan the decision is from the governmennt ;yet we will do our prayers;whatever circumstances our faith is so strong we can forgo any hardship you decide to put us through;but the low way eg;spitting;jeering;mocking;insultin;harming;raping;enticin are the norms in this beautiful island which many muslims love

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    I would humbly suggest that anyone making harsh comments, exhibiting rabid racialism and speaking illogically, using abusive language,discarding historical facts be not responded by decent commentators in these columns for it is a futile attempt to convince an arrogant one.

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    The kings of every lands accommodated traders of various nationalities. Some of them settled down and became citizens. That does not make them special. The problem with Muslims is they want to be treated as special people. Don’t you know when educational standardization was introduced Muslims were considered as comming from a special district called Muslims district. Badiudeen hoodwinked the then government. Same trick Rauff Hak R Buddy are trying to do. But the people have understood all the Muslim tricks. Muslims should live like all people mingle with all eat like all dress like all talk like all and respect all. Dont say we are special we have special laws and and ways. We belong to a special group. Just be equal that is all. Trdae is now every bodies you don’t have to be a Muslim to do that.

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      Muslims are not asking anythingspecial. All they ask is equality, in employment opportunities, serving in armed forces, government departments, recognition in sports activities representing the country, and many such like levels of Muslim representation. When opportunities are deprived to them, they turn to self employment and trade, and they turn out to be extremely good at it. Why? Because they are prepared to take calculated risks, and push the boundaries.

      If the majority people and government are not willing to share resources with minority, then what is the alternate choice? Muslim representation in Parliament of course, and those elected will certainly help to uplift their own community in education, economic advancement and general welfare. What is wrong with that? Are you saying that they should remain sub servient to the majority community? Pls think again.

      Yes, Muslims consider themselves very special, as they follow the religion of Islam (submit to the will of God). If you too would try to understand what is it that makes a Muslim tick, you will realize a lot. Youtube alone is enough to gather all the material you require.

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    So you say that the Sinhalease kings bought god from Muslim jewelers. I wonder what they would have got

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      You comment that ‘Muslims should live like all people mingle with all eat like all dress like all talk like all and respect all. Dont say we are special we have special laws and ways’. Muslims do live like all normal people. It is only after BBS screamed nasty things against them, that now you dont see them as normal, since your mind has got injected with the drugs prejudice and jealousy, which has no cure, unless it is self healed. Eating habits of Muslims can never be reconciled, not only in SL but in the rest of the entire world. Halal and Haram does play a major part on the minds of all Muslims wherever they may be. Dress code – no chance of any change, as this was how it was revealed in Holy Quran, which was a divine message from God Himself. In terms of talking, the Muslims have the advantage of speaking an extra language – Tamil, and therefore cannot be equated with the rest. All in all, Muslims only ask for peace to practice their religion, and due recognition when it is deserved.

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    hey pls look at the picture properly,there r no laptops or head phone.Two of them have covered their head with a peace of clothe or handkerchief.It is a usual habit of muslim men

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    hey pls look at the picture properly,there r no laptops or head phone.Two of them have covered their head with a piece of clothe or handkerchief.It is a usual habit of muslim men

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    I have a word for all the Muslims who talking about freedom of religion in Sri Lanka. I think they better get Muslim countries to get involved first. Why not they ask Saudi Arabia to let Christians to build their churches, Buddhist to build temples like they wants build Mosque everywhere in the world, why they granted rights for Muslim woman. I think Sri Lanka Muslims not bad people ,but what they are doing slowly building up Muslim empire in Sri Lanka like they did past in Afghanistan , Indonesia like countries, When some Christians slotted in Christmas day in Egypt where were you people for the rights of those people. Majority have rights to protect there rights in peaceful way.

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    MUSLIMS TODAY ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE BECOMING MILITANT. CHECK WHAT IS HAPPENING IN BELGIUM, ANTWERP, AMSTERDAM, PARIS,AND MANY OTHER EUROPEAN CITIES.
    THEY ARE BREEDING LIKE ANTS AND PROPOGATING SHARIAH LAW IN PLACES WHERE THEY ARE NOW A SIGNIFICANT MINORATY LIKE SOME OF THE PLACES MENTIONED ABOVE. LONDON IS ALSO A HUGE BREEDING GROUND FOR THE MUSLIMS. THE AUSSIE PM HAS ISSUED TWO PROCLAMATIONS ON THE MUSLIMS IN AUSTRALIA; SHE WARNS THEM NOT TO TRY TO INFILTRATE AND CHANGE THE CULTURE OF THEIR COUNTRY. SHE SAYS RESPECT AUSTRALIA FOR WHAT AUSTRALIA IS OTHERWISE GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM.I DONT WANT TO SOUND LIKE A RACIST BECAUSE I AM NOT. BUT THEN WHEN I SEE WHAT THE MUSLIMS ARE DOING AROUND OUR PLANET I THINK IT IS TIME TO TAKE NOTE OF THEIR MILITANCY AND WHERE THEY ARE MOVING THIS WORLD TO.

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      Has You written.. that you looks like an early migrant in Red-Planet ‘Mars’.. If you were in this Planet just before half century you will know where was this terrorism, let me brief when the Anglo-Saxon (European) who planted the Devil Seed – Zionist in the middle east encroach the Land of Palestine and till today hindrance and Anarchy had never stopped..So called Zionist lobby in USA provocation of all kind atrocity in the Arab World and looting there wealth. Extremism is not the Muslims, is the seed of Zionist…

      You mention about PM -Australia ..can’t you question her from where her ancestor’s came from..think if the Aborigines give proclamation will she get in the same boat of Muslim back in Ancestral Home land in UK…Any country Allies of Zionist powered regime they will pay a price..

      Mr. Elmo don’t Portrait your self in a Muppet show..just without finger towards Muslims world..think from the grass-root.

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    At a time we celebrate Sinhala and Tamil new year, it is a time to explore other areas too, I am sure like we learn Sinhala kings in Sri Lanka we had Tamil Kings as we know from books , and may be we had Muslim Kings.Can we learn more works of them through Television discussions.Further I like to learn(see) the Tamil way of celebrating the new year in Sri Lanka.Can some one take up this in mass media

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    BUDDAH DHARMAYADA ? CHINTANAYADA ?
    BUDDIST CHINTANAYA FROM INDIA OK
    MAHINDA CHINTANAYA FROM SRILANKA

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    we need to settle this matter best interest of all community.really Muslim people did nothing wrong for this small nation.we also must appreciate all Muslim nation help us UN resolution even they had better relationship with USA.we have to treated all people equal and dignity and respect.this is the time all educated people of the country must secure all the community and live together.we should keep all our religion separate and live community together.religion is the freedom of our life and no one should advice us what to do what to follow.every man and women have right to practice what ever they believe and like.I follow lord buddha but totally against any discrimination of our people based on religion. Muslim people of our nation are really great and best in the world out of Muslim community.they are well educated,well manner and respect.we all must proud about them and live like one family.

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    KATURU MURUNGA,
    YOU SEEM TO BE WRITING WITH YOUR BLINKERS ON. IN TODAYS WORLD THE EXTREMIST MUSLIMS ARE CREATING MAYHEM AND CHAOS IN ALL COUNTRIES. THE WHOLE OF EUROPE IS IN TURMOIL TODAY BECAUSE OF THEIR FANATICISM. BELGIAN IS CALLED “BELGISTAN” BECAUSE OF THESE FANATICS WHO HAVE VOWED TO TAKE OVER THE COUNTRY BY 2010, HAVING INITIALLY GONE THERE AS REFUGEES ON BENDED KNEES. THEY THEN MUTIPLIED AND PRODUCED LIKE MICE AND ARE TODAY BITING THE HANDS THAT FED THEM. FRANCE, AND ENGLAND ARE IN THE SAME BOAT AS ARE MANY OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. IN ASIA, PHILLIPINES, INDIA, INDONESIA, AND SRI LANKA HAVE HAD FUNDEMENTALISTS AND TERRORIST MUSLIM GROUPS CREATING AGRESSION AGAINST LAWFULLY ELECTED GOVTS. JAPAN HAS PROHIBITED ANY MUSLIMS FROM RESIDING IN THEIR COUNTRY. LIKE I SAID GILLARD FROM AUSTRALIA HAS WARNED MUSLIMS IN THEIR COUNTRY TO ABIDE BY THE LAW OF THE LAND OR GO BACK TO WHERE THEY CAME FROM.
    ALL THIS BECAUSE OF THE RABID NATURE OF THE DIFFERENT MILITANT MUSLIM GROUPS WHO ONE WAY OR THE OTHER ARE OUT TO CAUSE DESTRUCTION TO THE COUNTRY OF ADOPTION. THEY TALK OF “JIHAD”, THEY BELIEVE THAT TO DIE IN THE CAUSE OF THEIR RELIGION WILL TAKE THEM TO HEAVEN AND SO BECOME “SUICIDE” BRIGADES CAUSING AGRESSION IN THE COUNTRIES THAT THEY HAVE CREPT INTO. TALIBAN, AL QAEDA, HEZBOLLAH,HAMAS,LASHKAR-E-TAIBA, SALAFIST, FATAH-AL INTIFADA,ABU SAYYAF,AL QUDS, ARE SOME OF THESE MILITANT GROUPS THAT COME TO MY MIND, AND ARE OUT TO DESTROY AND DESTRUCT IN THE NAME OF “JIHAD”.
    THEIRS IS A PLANNED ATTACK ON THE COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD AND THEY ARE BREEDING AND WORKING TOWARDS THIS PLAN. THEY WILL TAKE OVER EUROPE WITHIN THE NEXT 25 YEARS. BUT THE OTHER COUNTRIES(OTHER THAN THE MIDLLE EAST) ARE WISE TO THEIR PLAN AND THEY WILL FIND IT MORE DIFFICULT.
    SO KATHURU MURUNGA, IF YOU ARE A RABID, EXTREMIST, TERRORIST, MUSLIM BE AWARE THAT THERE ARE GOVTS AND COUNTRIES THAT HAVE FALLEN WISE TO YOUR DIABOLIC PLAN. IF NOT , THEN BE LIKE YOUR NORMAL BROTHERS AND SISYERS A GOOD MOSQUE GOING MUSLIM AND LIVE PEACEFULLY WITH THE REST OF THE CITIZENS OF THE WORLD.

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      Bro ELMO,
      If islam is terrorism nor promoting terrorism…why western world is converting to islam? In europe and america fast groving religion is Islam…where they control the media showing that islam is terrorism. for your information women are converting to islam than men in western. So, islam disgrade the women????
      killing and suicide is prohibeted in islam…about these groups which you have mentioned, you should do deep study unless following the zionist control medias…..
      Spain was a muslim country ruled by muslims for 800y…also philippine was a muslim country before ispanish rule.Just check the history of the world before 19cent. The terrorism and bombings started by non-muslims basically by jews in 1940-1948. there were many groups run by them still they are the people who create violence all over the world but in the different form. The media is controlled by them so the truth are being hided.
      Taliban,Al qaeda were created by them (CIA, MOSAT)
      islam never allow terrorism..killing innocent human being is prohibited in islam.

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    Sri Lanka needs to reform and enter civilization instead being stuck on the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinistic Mentality, that was the curse of Lanka ever since Monk Mahanama demonized the other religions and races in the 5th century AD due to the self-interest of the monks.

    Janism and Hindusam were in Lanka before the introduction of Buddhism, and its gradual replacement by Buddhism.

    http://www.slideshare.net/balpatil/evolution-of-sramanic-jain-culture

    Even in Sri Lanka Buddhists did that to Jains and to Jainism, even before the arrival of Vijaya.

    Sri Lanka was Jain and Hindu before the Introduction of Buddhism.

    http://www.jainworld.com/jainbooks/asceticism/ch24.asp

    http://www.slideshare.net/balpatil/evolution-of-sramanic-jain-culture

    Jainism crossed India from South India at about eighth century B.C., if not earlier, and become one of the most important religions of Ceylon, which was known in those days by the name of Lanka, Ratnadvipa or Simhala. The Mahavamsa (10.65-70; 33. 43-79) refers to the existence of Jainism in Ceylon even before the arrival of Buddhism. According to it, Pandukabhaya built a house at Anuradhapur for the Nigantha Jotiya and Giri and some more Niganthas, Jain tradition takes the history of Jainism in Ceylon even prior to its Aryanization, or the Arrival of the Aryans. Ravana, a king of Lanka long ago is said to have erected a Jain temple there at Trikutagiri. Another statue of Parsvanatha, the 23rd Jina found in the caves of Terapur is also said to be from Srilanka. Jainism was a living religion of Srilanka up to the 10th A.D.

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