By Mass L. Usuf –
The motivation to write this column arises from the recent attacks damaging several statues of Buddha in the Mawanella area. Is this country ready for another streak of communal violence, death, destruction of properties and international opprobrium?
Just last week it was reported that the Prime Minister met foreign diplomats in Colombo seeking to revoke travel advisories. “Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has held discussions with heads of missions from EU countries to inform them that the country’s political situation was returning to normalcy. The meeting comes in the wake of travel advisories issued by several countries cautioning their citizens about visiting Sri Lanka following the outbreak of the recent political crisis.” (Colombo Telegraph, 23.12.2018). In the backdrop of this meeting visualise another ‘Aluthgama’ or ‘Digana’ triggered from what is considered a hotspot ‘Mawanella’.
It is a strange coincidence to note that yesterday (26/12/2018), Ash Sheikh A.C.M. Sadakathullah passed away. He was a victim of the Digana riots that took place in March 2018. The attack by the Sinhalese youth, on this innocent elderly person, who looks a grandfather to anyone was simply unimaginable. The bus in which he was travelling was stopped to identify any Muslims travelling in it. Since Mr. Sadakathullah was easily identified from his dress, he was reportedly dragged out of the bus and had been clubbed with iron bars by a gang of marauding youth. This had happened in Ambatenna while this elderly gentleman was returning from Akurana during the Digana riots.
He was critically injured as a result of being repeatedly hit on the head and was in hospital for almost eight months in a state of coma. He was in an immobile state due to the head injuries. After enduring several months of trauma, he succumbed to his injuries. His family has been facing untold hardship since they were financially underprivileged. He was the former Vice President of City Jammiyathul Ulama and Senior Aalim (Cleric). Sadakathullah Moulavi was former Teacher at St. Sylvester College and popularly known among all communities for his religious sermons in the Sinhala Language.
What is and what is not
The government’s investigative and intelligence arms are served by well experienced personnel. In the absence of political interference and peer pressure from within, these officers are capable of digging out the truth. What is a common refrain in the aftermath of these occurrences is the haste to condemn with hackneyed rhetoric. What is not done effectively is to get to the bottom of these plots. It is important to investigate into the driving force behind these dastardly acts, the tacticians if any, behind these attacks and the reason for such an exploit.
It is not rocket science to understand the objectives of this criminal act. Some of the familiar pointers are to instigate a riot between the Sinhalese and Muslims communities, to destabilise the country politically and economically or at least to create hatred between the Sinhalese and the Muslim societies. Considering all these three scenarios, what benefit can the Muslim community achieve from any of these? Logical and rational thinking dictates that there is absolutely nothing for the Muslims to gain by damaging buddha statues in some urban area of this country. Therefore, there is no sensible reason that Muslims would have planned and executed this attack. Yet, one may not rule out the remote possibility that it could have been planned by a Muslim or a group of Muslims. In this case, if the perpetrator is only an individual, he has to be subjected to mandatory psychiatric treatment.
Do Not Revile
If incontrovertible evidence points to a group of Muslims, this opens up another front for the investigators. They should expect to look at more complex scenarios namely, the possible involvement of foreign elements who may have used these persons offering them financial or other incentives or, the existence of some form of radicalisation. The latter is highly improbable because the Muslim community will never encourage such radicalism within. In fact, at the height of ISIS activities in the middle east, it was the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (ACJU) which was among the first to condemn the un-Islamic actions of the ISIS. The Muslim community was also put on alert at that time to ensure that our youth are not indoctrinated by the false ideologies of the ISIS. Community leaders and religious institutions were careful in protecting the Muslim youth from falling prey to those ISIS criminals who were masquerading under the banner of Islam.
Assuming that there is some form of radicalism, such people on no occasion will get the sympathy of the Muslim community. They will be subjected to severe censuring and, will undoubtedly, be condemned wholesale. The community’s wrath will befall on them not as a result of emotional or sentimental outpouring but, as a matter of religious principle. If they claim to have vandalised the statues for the sake of Islam, their claim will be considered only as heinous crime committed in the name of Islam. The Quran in no uncertain terms has stated as follows:
“And abuse (tasubbū) not those whom they worship apart from Allah, or they will abuse Allah in enmity without knowledge.” [Chapter 6 Verse 108]
The Arabic word, ‘tasubbū’ can mean to revile, to abuse, to insult, to condemn, to vilify or to defame. Any Muslim who abuses what others worship have violated this admonition given in the Quran by Allah Himself. No Muslim would want to associate himself with such violators of the Quranic injunctions. On the other hand, would expose them to the public and to the law.
Attack Buddhist Temples
What should not be ruled out is the possibility of false flag operation. Those who would seek greater benefit out of a riot situation or by destabilising the country are anyone other than the Muslims. I am reminded of an instance in June 2017, when several civil society organisations met with the Inspector General of Police. They wanted to express their deep concern on the increasing number of attacks on Muslims during that time.
It was around the same period that the arsonist who attacked a Muslim owned leather Store in Wijerama Junction, Maharagama on 22nd May 2017 had been arrested. The IGP, Mr. Pujith Jayasundara had said in this meeting that he was horrified at a confession made by this arsonist. The suspect had said that he planned to attack two Buddhist temples in order to trigger a backlash on the Muslim community. This gives an idea as to the extent of radicalisation of the Sinhalese youth through misinformation and misperception about another community. The Police investigations had established that he is a member of the Bodu Bala Sena organisation.
Media And Sick Mentality
Colm Campbell has proposed, after studying the empirical data and sequence of events during communal violence in (many countries) ….. , that communal violence typically follows when there is degradation of Rule of Law, the state fails to or is widely seen as unable to provide order, security and equal justice ……. Targeted mass violence by a few from one community against innocent members of other community, suppression of complaints, refusal to prosecute, …… , imprisonment of people of a single community while refusal to arrest members of other community in conflict, …. , are often the greatest mobilizers of communal violence. (Beyond Radicalization: Towards an Integrated Anti-Violence Rule of Law Strategy, Colm Campbell, 2011).
As per the Rule of Law, the Police must arrest the suspect for the crime they have committed and not on the basis of racial or religious identity. The media should take the responsibility to cast their news on the same basis and not to refer to race or religion of the suspect. The media which does so is only displaying its utter narrow-mindedness, racism and bigotry. There is then the sick mentality of attacking innocent people for the wrong of one or a few people belonging to a particular ethnic or religious community. This, attitude too, has to change. It is obvious that these are acts that cannot be condoned under any circumstances. There is simply no excuse for such barbarities. It is this state of mind that can be exploited by the unscrupulous, the conspirers, the schemers, who wish to destabilise this country, the communities and peaceful co-existence. The miscreants at the root can be local politicians, extremist groups, Sinhala Buddhist racists, foreign agents who make use of their local pawns, pay them and initiate such actions through which they want to destabilise Sri Lanka.
T. Devendra / December 28, 2018
This item is outrageous. It is highly selfish and unethical to concern yourself only with the ‘communal riots’ issue after such an awful bastard act like the defilement of the Buddha statutes.
You talk about rule of law in relation to your own protection but not for the protection of rights of others.
Without being racially minded, it needs to be pointed out that Muslim thinking the world over is similarly selfish. They commit terrorist acts and complain when America and others retaliate.
They only look at their own safety after committing unspeakably vile violent acts. They are not a civilised religion. They cling only to other Muslims (not that we are desperate to cling to them!) and they do business with only Muslims and they have turned good residential areas of Colombo (Kollupitiya, Bambalapitya, Wellawatta) in to ghettos like Maradana, Panchikawatta and Maradana.
Al-faqurlah / December 28, 2018
These are damage controlling measures by portraying that Islam is a peaceful religion. In an interview to BBC, Pakistani Christian victim of religious intolerance in Pakistan gave details of the number of churches damaged by Muslim racists and the ethnic cleansing of Christians that is going on which in a cunning manner. In Sri Lanka as Muslims are in a minority, they are preaching fair play, but by chance if they become majority they will resort to the same murder and ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims. See what is happening in eastern province where Muslims have destroyed Hindu temples and built mosques over it, converted Tamil schools to Muslim schools and have resorted to racial discrimination in employment and allocation of lands. One day this will befall on Sinhalese if they are not diligent.
Amarasiri / December 28, 2018
Mass L. Usuf,
RE: “And Abuse Not Those Whom They Worship Apart From Allah”
“The motivation to write this column arises from the recent attacks damaging several statues of Buddha in the Mawanella area”
“95% of the solution is identifying the problem”-Bertrand Russel, Philosopher ( Lover of Wisdom).
( The Ulama do not like Philosophers. They make Ulama think, and they can’t think. So, they burn their books Read up on Ibn Rushd, aka Averroes).
Q. Who stands to gain, materially, politically and ideologically?
So, what is the problem or where is the Problem? Possible suspects are:
1. The failed illegal constitutional conspirators, their cronies and agents.
2. There are over 72 sects in Islam, and some especially the Wahhanis, Salafis, Tauhidis and their clones ( ISIS etc. )are violent and intolerant , not only for other Muslims, but to others, non-Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, who have states as well as Christians.
We have several examples of the Devil , Satan following Wahhab-Salafies and their clones destroying Sufi Mosques etc. The Hadith of Najd presciently predicted that the Horn of Satan will rise from the East, Najd. Indeed, that is where the Wahhabis Satan arose in the 18th century.
So, unless the Muslim community is prepared to clean up the Devil, Satan following Wahaabi-Salafis, the whole community is doomed
Hadith of Najd
Scholar from al-Azhar: Wahhabism is a Satanic Faith, the Horn of the Devil that Muhammad Predicted
How to debate with the so called Wahhabi-Salafiyyah.
Hamlet / December 29, 2018
Really, T Devendra!
The Buddha said:-
“He was angry with me, he attacked me, he defeated me”
– Those who dwell on such Thoughts will never be free from hatred!
Hard Truth / December 28, 2018
It is dangerous to quote verses from Quran to strengthen calls for religious tolerance. The case for religious tolerance should be made on the sole basis that we live in a secular society and therefore are not at liberty to act as our religion teaches in our interactions with people who believe in other religions. No matter what the Quran, the Bible, the Tripidaka or the Vedas and Agamas say, citizens of a country are required to abide by the law of the land particularly in inter-religious interactions, because that is the one common law people from different religions can be expected to uphold and follow. If you start quoting Quran, some other radical might quote some other passage in Quran where it is stated all infidels must be killed. Ultimately, in any religious text there are inconsistencies – that is the very reason people who claim to follow the same religion do diametrically opposite things. This is particularly true for Islam. People of other religions or those who follow none are not interested in the debate between you and some other cleric about what Quran says. You are expected to treat other religionists well, NOT because the Quran says so, but because the law of the country where you live in, as well as the basic norms of human society, including fairness, decency, co-existence and equality, demand this from you.
Sarrij / December 29, 2018
Remember what Marx said; religion is the “OPIUM of “THE PEOPLE””
Remember past religious “doings” in history a) the ” The Inquisition” b) Crusaders.
Answer:- In a “Socialist Democratic Country” No religious preference should be given to any religion. Period.
soma / December 29, 2018
Raj-UK / December 28, 2018
Very sad to hear an innocent person, Sheikh A.C.M. Sadakathullah, has passed away from the injuries received from a bunch of thugs, just for being of a difference faith. Obviously these misguided & misinformed yobs are being exploited by political thugs for their own selfish reasons but it clearly indicates that in this 21st Century, the SL education system, whether at schools or religious institutions which are supposed to teach religion to make us better citizens, have & is, failing.
Not only it was barbaric to drag a person out to be clubbed to death but it indicates how little these village thugs know about Buddhism and the general feeling of intolerance in our society. There is no rational reason for any Muslim to desecrate Buddhist statues, therefore, I can only assume that this is instigated by desperate politicians to create chaos in the country. I only hope the people are wiser now after the recent shameful incidents at the Parliament & see through these religious ‘patriots’ who are actually criminals with an excuse for inciting violence & possibly looting in the event of a racial uprising.
jehan / December 28, 2018
if the statue can do anything, it would have protected itself. people who worship idols learn, if the statue cannot protect itself. what benefit can any human derive. i think this is an eye opener for all idol worshipers . how can a man made object be worshiped. made of clay/stone and wood. if man made the object, how could it be worshiped as a superior being , does the object make the man?. large sums of money being spent on statues could have fed thousands of families with food/heath care and houses. waste of resources will lead only to poverty. that’s the reason all idol worshiping countries are poor and shit-holes. It will be Sri Lanka/India/Cambodia/Myanmar/Haiti etc…..
Barus / December 28, 2018
Jehan, let the idol worshipper worship their idols and you can worship your Lord. Lakum dheenukum waliyadeen. So kindly do not pass unnecessary comments or judgement.
Be grateful to the Lord for having the liberty to follow your faith in a Buddhist country without the harassments faced by the muslims in Burma.
Shit hole and Poor are terms that require validation. Please, for the sake of Allah and for the sake of Unity and harmony in this country, I request you to stop passing fatwas and move on with life. There is so much more to do and many more peaks to conquer.
JD / December 29, 2018
Good Comment BARUS: YUSUF says that one Shiek died but no one mentioned it until now until the Wahabis thrash some buddha Statues. There are several Muslims write Thrash here assuming the Readers are Dome Idiots. UYSUF you are an idiot. Don’t thin others are idiots even though you have swine (Dirty ) Brain..
Amarasiri / December 29, 2018
“if the statue can do anything, it would have protected itself. people who worship idols learn, if the statue cannot protect itself. what benefit can any human derive. i think this is an eye opener for all idol worshipers”
Yes, idols can’t do anything, as it a stone, wood or a tree.
It is tradition that makes, the idol worshipers to worship idol.Buddha did not want to worship an idol or a tree.
Now the Muslim tradition of Haj Pilgrimage and Umra, worships a cubic structure containing a black stone, an idol.. The black stone can’t do anything, just like he statutes.. It is just tradition and part of the pilgrimage tradition. Do you have evidence to the contrary, other than fattening the Saudis, who as result die of diabetes and cardio vascular diseases early?
Why are the pilgrims going around the Cube, Kabba seven times? Nit 3, not 5 , not 4,6 or 8? Tradition? From where did this tradition come from? The Unbelievers, the Kuffar? From where did the Kuffar pick it up? The Mesopotamians? The 7 Gods? The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, that appear to revolve around the Earth ? The 7 days of the Week for the same Gods as well?
Sarrij / December 30, 2018
Unfortunately, tradition becomes religious beliefs; a very common occurrence in most religions- a human failing?.
Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam / December 30, 2018
Amarasiri, the black stone in Kabba is nothing but Shivalingam which prophet Mohamed brought to Mecca from India. They go round Kabba seven times because it is the practice of Hindus to circumnavigate altar seven times. Do you see a close similarity between Hindu customs and what Muslims do in Haj Pilgrimage. Where do Muslims go to pray wearing white and bear bodied similar to what Hindus do. Where do they daub holy ash, drink holy water (Theertham), circumnavigate in any of the mosques, all of which following Hindu tradition. This makes those Muslims who run down religious practices of others, hypocrites.
Rationalist / December 29, 2018
Statues/Idols are the Resource of the People who cannot Understand the Lessons of the Teacher! Be it Jesus, Mohammed, or the Buddha!
They taught us a Way to Follow, but we are taking the easy Way out and Handing over the Job to a Statue!
Hard Truth / December 29, 2018
Quite true, Jehan. If the idol can do anything, it would have protected itself.
Oh, by the way, today, I stayed at home, and abused your non-idol God in absolute filth. Believe me, I did. I would do it right here in the comments section, if CT comments policy allowed it.
I wonder why your non-idol God did not protect himself and strike me down.
Now, kindly do not give me lame excuses that he will do it in his own time. Because then all these idol worshipers can also argue their idols also will punish the perpetrators in their own time, no?
Oh, by the way, while I was abusing your non-idol God some beggars knocked at the door. They said they are from Syria, and they just could not live in their non-idol worshiping non-shithole country any longer. They are quite happy to go live anywhere in the world, including the countries you mention above. Anywhere but Syria. They assured me there are no idol worshipers in Syria.
Think about it all, will you?
Al-faqurlah / December 30, 2018
Jehan the Islamic infidel, it is better to worship a man made object than a non entity called Allah which is powerless. When Allah cannot protect himself from all abuses that are hurled at him, how can he protect those who worship him. Look at the Allah worshiping poor shit holes like Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, Indonesia, Albania, Egypt, Somalia and now Yemen.
Sampath / December 28, 2018
This ia an opportunity to take these media organization to court in addition to those who attack on the statue as both are kind of inciting violence and tension in the country.
The question is whether Yahapalana prosecutor is ready to take media to court for their reporting and demanding the media organizations to respect the rule of law.
Most probably such action will never happen as this will cost to owners of media who are politicians either sitting in parliaments or their proxies.
soma / December 29, 2018
Please give us example of a Muslim majority country to follow.
Socretes / December 29, 2018
According to your religion I have the right to practise my religion. According to my religion I have the right to kill you. Therefore according to your own religion I have the right to kill you.
Amarasiri / December 30, 2018
That is what Christianity did in the New World, to the Natives . Crusades, Christian pogams against the Jews, the Inquisition, the Nazis, who were inspire by Catholic Christianity,
Shajahan / December 29, 2018
We as sri Lankan condemn all forms of violence especially against any religion.I just cannot understand why the authorities just cannot arrest the individual who plan these events,for example the digana ,aluthgama,beruwala and now the Mawanella incidents,never have the individual or organisation given strict punishment,so they keep repeating these acts surely knowing they won’t be arrested,but the game goes on simply because it’s political.
A.Hameed / December 31, 2018
Sinhala Buddhists are upset about vandalism of Buddha statues It is understandable.. Acts of vandalism should be definitely condemned. But so many lives of minority religious groups were lost by the thuggery of Sinhala Buddhists including monks. Buses were stopped and Muslims were assaulted, churches were burnt down, army and police abetted ethnic pogroms led by Buddhist monks. But the administration of this country hardly took adequate measures to punish the culprits.