26 November, 2020

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Are You One Of Them Or One Of Us?

By Alavi Sheriffdeen

Dr. Seyed Alavi Sheriffdeen

I was disturbed by a phone call today. Someone called me in the morning and was talking about the Sri Lankan situation with lots of concern. I was very sympathetic and was appreciating his concern about our country of origin. However, while he was talking to me he mentioned the term “your people…” I stopped him and sought explanation as to what he meant by that. He told me “Muslim people”.

I told him the following in very clear and simple language:

My friend, listen very carefully to what I’m going to say to you. I’m a person who believes in the multiple identities of any modern man. I am a human universally, multilingual, religiously Muslim, ethnically south Asian and onwards. My identity may not be static and it could be volatile as days pass by. Please do not judge me from what you see externally as I may have possess something else within my mind.

I categorise people in Sri Lanka Into three categories: 1) those who are peace loving people who want to do their daily routines in their lives and who want to continue to live in their peaceful country. 2) those who want to create violence by creating suspicions and planting conspiracy theories in the heart of innocent young generations about other religious communities. 3) those opportunists who want to use current situations to manipulate and to gain short term benefit them.

My friend, listen carefully… I continued further.

You will find all these types of people from all communities including Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. So, my friend, wrong doers do not just belong to one race or religion. Out of the above three categories there, two groups are formed: Peace lovers and Trouble makers. None of the religions preaches terror, violence or hatred. If anyone does this, they cannot be religious people as most of the religions attempt to solve the problems humans face on earth, not the opposite. The problem we find is there are people who misinterpret religious text or act contrary to the teaching of their own religion. This is exactly what is happening in Sri Lanka. In the past few days we have seen some young people involved with violent riots and hate campaigns.

It is unfortunate there were a few racist Buddhist monks among those people who were damaging the properties of innocent civilians, attacking Muslim places of worship, and harming Muslim civilians for no reason other than the fact that they are followers of the Islamic faith. This is nothing other than pure racism. He cannot claim to be a Buddhist while he is committing these crimes against other human being. That was not what Buddha taught. If a Muslim does the same I would say the same thing as he is a racist and he cannot be a Muslim while he is doing it.

So, my friend, accept my statement in very clear language. I as a human, do care about the well-being and security of each and every human being on earth I do not care what religion or race they come from. They could be rich or poor, they could be from a village or from a big city. My concern is that every human being has dignity which must be respected by everyone. His honour, wealth and family must be valued and protected from any harm. No one has the right over anybody to harm them by any means.

So, out of these two categories of people, I would call those people causing trouble, inciting violence and hatred the terrorists of 2018. These evils do not belong to any religion other than the religion of evilness and terrorism, they must be wiped out from the earth so the world can live peacefully for the next generations. Please do not tell me “your people”.

My people are not terrorists as I have many of my people in the name of Dharmapala, Rajmohan, Muhammad and David’s name. They are religious and peace-loving people who will NOT terrorise any fellow human being. Those who are terrorising others by any names, whatever the religion they claim to be, are nothing other than from the religion of terror and hate.

As someone said if your religion requires you to hate someone, you need a new religion.

Are you one of them or one of us? There was no response.

*Dr Seyed Sheriffdeen teachers VCE subjects Religion and Society and Text and traditions in Australia.

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Latest comments

  • 13
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    One of best replies for all extremists who distort religious teahcig if Buddhsiism to suite their political agenda..I would argue that Sri Lanka problem today more politics than religious issue…over 1000 years Muslim and sinahslese lived in peace side by side..
    How on earth this studded racism come out from blue Sky..
    90% of accusation and allegations made against Muslim community are baseless and unfounded .
    These are made by some radical Buddhists.
    When extremism is done by Buddhists or Hindus or Christian community it is not considered as extremism why all pick up only Muslim people…for what reason is this ?
    So bias and so injust accusation.
    Inhuman accusation and 99% Buddhists are good people and yet 1% create all this

  • 5
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    This was a superb article. It is very true that we can’t categorise people in an unfair manner by starting the us vs them phenomena. There is no religion for hatred, and it is our responsibility as human beings to condemn any injustice imposed oj any of our brothers and sisters.

  • 2
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    With your rhetoric, you should have given some description of your friend, who talked this “your people”. that would have made the life of the reader easier. Again, You di dnot investigate the recent SO-CALLED ANTI-MUSLIM VIOLENCE in depth. contribution of religious fanatic muslim thugs in killings. There was one photo of a young driver witgh two children died. YOu can deny that. Other than all other photos are from other incidents. Besides, you blaming buddhist bhikkus are pathetic. HAve you seen how muslim politicians are behaving. Why bhikkus do not have rights to talk about what is happening to their country. there is a recent article which says on bhikku had to go to Japan to talk his country’s president. IF that bhikky can not reach to the president to expose any of his grivences. Simply that president and the govt is useless and should be defeated. IT is true the president came with the votes. but he came msotly with sinhala buddhist votes and not other votes. So, he should notice that.

    • 10
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      Jim softy, no point posting our view against your comments. You are a born modaya, nothing will make your mind to reason out and think intelligently. Any one say this is a good neutral article but your gona brain always have something to say true or lie. May be that is because you are a racist modaya.

    • 1
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      Now a new name is announced for those who are sin kele terrorist , is ‘WANDAPITHIYA’
      Jim will loose his KUDU business soon.

  • 2
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    It is no point of expressing your nationalistic emotions. You need to be honest and talk about a minority of muslims being Extremists ans supporting Awabi views and ISIS views. when you blame just one side becae they talked or they keep silent, that shows your same Islmaic views odf blame the other kill the other and protect you. Remembe rIslam did not begin in Sri lanka.

    • 3
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      Nor did buddism

    • 2
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      oh my friend, the biggest problem i see in sinhala community is that most of them were not ready to accept any kind of criticisms from outside, they always try to justify their self. please work on this within your community. no harms will occur other than the positives if you accept the reality.

      most of the blames on sri lankan muslim community are based on rumours and falsehood. please try to study the scenario deeply and completely without jumping to wrong pre conclusions.
      example you take wandha pethi.. what a big lie it is…..

      one more important attitude we have to build on sri lankan people is ” get Justifying the truthfulness of messages we receive before we believing it or spreading it’. our people use to believe everything they receive without checking the truth. this is a major factor behind creating misunderstandings and gaps between communities here.

      you says to writer ‘ you have to talk about minority muslims being extremists and supporting awabi and ISIS view”. Yes we do…..
      by the way i’m asking can you explain me what is “awabi view” and do you have any proof about that minority extremists muslims in SL. If so please share with me…

      my friend! some propagandas spoiled many people’s mind with lot of rumours and lies. i don’t understand how we going to face this situation as a country.

      in your last line you says “Remember Islam did not begin in Sri Lanka” Yes of course. Can you tell me Which religion began in Sri lanka. people in Extreme ideas won’t understand they were extreme.

      Until the point every religious and ethnic identity to be accepted as 100% sri lankan how can we expected Co-existence and mutual understanding here……

  • 4
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    The many canards espoused against Muslims to create hatred and suspicion, is purely based on their own falsified sense of insecurity and perceived decline in their majority numbers. I wouldn’t attribute this to all Buddhists but to all those behind the recent skirmishes. A lot has been said and written on the pros and cons that led to this situation, but no one is focusing on the root causes that creates this toxicity which creates this mind-set, and thus leaves this situation intact, only to get worse for our future generations to come. These aberrations have been going on for years with no end in sight. Our elected politicians are unwilling to address any of the root causes and put things right, fearing their own survivability in the next cycle of elections. The entire education system must be overhauled, with changes starting from school admission. We must do away with religion and ethno based schools including such selection for admission. The only permissible criteria being gender based – boys or girls school. The school curriculum must include equal exposure to all religious texts and practices by which it greatly helps to build amity, respect and understanding of each others beliefs. This is the only way to build up a society that will be mindful of each others sensitivities, and guard against falling victim to such falsehood, including getting carried away by pumped up emotions. The quality of those elected to rule over us must be from the cream of society. We must not mix religion with State administration, but may afforded protected status, whilst the clergy must be kept in their place O will we ever learn from our mistakes. At the present rate with no radical changes in policy, our country may be heading into the pits with no minority support and goodwill. It may become the worst of the worst of any Buddhist country out there..

  • 3
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    What are the reasons behind these after LTTE war? Extremists ?, politicians ? racism ?
    * Some Muslim leaders illegally acquired forest lands belongs to National parks and gave to Muslim people and built Muslim colonies.
    * Build Mosques in very close proximity ,in between temples .
    * When Muslim country beats Sri lanka , cheers to Muslim country and not share with SL .
    * When law and police does not act same way for Sinhalese and minorities. when general Sinhalese people are more harassed and law is strict (not for politicians) , sympathy and politically biased to minorities to protect reconciliation .
    * When people were faced to recent flood and land slides , some Muslim politicians search and protected only Muslims while Majority Sinhalese collect clothes ,food and accessories and distribute without selecting people.
    *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L0c8oCDd4k&t=1s
    See this too and you decide what is happening .

    • 1
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      ‘Some Muslim leaders illegally acquired forest lands belongs to National parks and gave to Muslim people and built Muslim colonies’ – time and time again this has been proven wrong by so much physical evidence provided, such as deeds dating back to King George’s time. All of which submitted to Courts for adjudication, an old and disused Mosque in the shrubs which has its old plaque dating back over 30 years, and so on and so forth. But the canard continues.

      Muslims build Mosques for purpose of worship and worship only. This is exercising their Constitutional right and is an integral part of their rennet. If they are sufficient residents in numbers they will need a place to congregate and pray as is called for in their Faith. It happens throughout the world and not unique to our country only. If you imply Muslims build Mosques close to Temples without any justification, simply to spite them, this is just another canard with no basis.

      Why do SL Muslims cheer Muslim countries when they win, is because there are no Muslims to support in our own national team. Just like all Tamils will support India and India will always support Tamils when it comes to the big shove and push. Muslims are the same. The affinity of religion, feeling of being part of one big family and a greater empathy for those in distress, is much more stronger amongst Muslim Ummath (brotherhood) than in other faiths. Is this a good or a bad thing? Your choice.

      In times of calamity, Muslims in privileged positions have always been in the forefront helping those affected irrespective of religion. Go and ask the people of Kollonnawa how they were taken care of by Muslims after the last floods. People forget very easily. Very much unlike Minister Champika who went and gave dry rations and an envelope Rs. 10,000/- to selected crowd of Sinhalese people after the Aluthgama racist attack on Muslims and televising it. By the way, this video is still available on Youtube.

      Usuallu, no one attempts to rebut your false claims, since they consider it a waste of time. But that is where you take it beyond the realm of reality to another world of falsehood and fantasy. These are done just to satiate your thirst for vengeance and hatred of Muslims for no justifiable reason, but ill informed, biased and poisoned mind.

      • 1
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        “Muslims build mosques for purpose of worship and worship only”. How sure are you when in foreign countries, using recordings have caught hate preaching being done in mosques. Even in eastern province it has been well documented that loud speakers were used to call Muslims to come out to attack Tamils. In other parts of Sri Lanka, political demonstrations are done outside mosques after Friday prayers. In Muslim countries fighting Islamic terror, weapons have been discovered inside mosques. There is a well known saying that when people of other religions go to their places of worship, they come out with purity in their hearts and sanity in their mind, while when Muslims go to mosques, they come out with hatred in their hearts and animosity in their minds. So much for your innocence about mosques.

  • 1
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    Dr Alavi, well said. Hats off. The pathetic situ is that majority of the people irrespective of their religion and ethnicity find it too difficult to come out of narrow worlds to the wider worlds.

  • 1
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    Sorry Seyed Alavi Sheriffdeen.
    We were ‘One Of Them’ for seventy odd years.
    May change to ‘One Of Us’ in a thousand years.

  • 1
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    Mohomaad and ALAVI:
    what I heard, Two groups of Muslims, Phillipine Catholics (Veritias), Kanimoshi and Modrn Gemini Ganeshan – they all supported cleaning th muslims meance. don’t say you all are peaceful people. muslims know some muslims are ISIS, JIHADI, SUNNI etc., Who created rohingya violence. It was Muslims. Dr. alavi is from South India and he does not know tht Maradana Muslims say the thugs were upset that they were not enrolled in Army secret service Against Tamils or something like that.

    • 1
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      Jim softy modaya just don’t write without an iota of truth. Philippine problems going on for the last 40 years, if ISIS and Jihadi had come means the Philippine government responsible for that. If ISIS ever come to Sri Lanka your government and racist will be responsible for that. Rohingya violence was created by racist monk Wiranto and the racist juntas is an undeniable fact known all over the world. Dr Alavi Sherifdeen is a teacher in Australia. So racist modaya keep your mouth shut.

  • 1
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    Non Reversible Processes: The author says, ’As someone said if your religion requires you to hate someone, you need a new religion’. Nicely put. But the reality is different.
    Let me explain. I have been working in the Middle East for the past 25 years and I have found that Islam is a highly practical religion in many ways. My Muslim friends have been urging me to become a Muslim all this time. I would have become one, at least to try it out, had it not been for one problem. Becoming a Muslim is not a reversible process. Once you enter the fold you cannot come out. It is a one way street. I could easily be punished by death if I tried that.
    The author at one point says, ’No one has the right over anybody to harm them by any means’. That may apply in most cases in Islam. But definitely not in all cases. A Muslim has the right to punish another under a number of conditions, including the one I referred to. The punishment could even be death.
    That is one of the worst aspects of Islam, and one which keeps an atheist me from becoming a Muslim.

    • 1
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      edwin rodrigo, world’s well educated people converting to Islam in the western world and other places like that even few Muslim had converted to other religions. Everybody has the right to punish if any harms come out of that action.

      • 0
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        Sharia Law: That could be the tiny minority and perhaps it is because this has happened in the Western countries where it would be very difficult to punish Apostasy and escape the consequences.

        Please elaborate more on the following comment of yours: Everybody has the right to punish if any harms come out of that action. I interpret it as a justification of mob justice on a person who is perceived as harmful to others by other Muslims. Supposing a Muslim leaves Islam and preaches against the basic principles of Islam such as belief in a creator, would you consider it be harmful to others? By others do you mean the rest of the Muslim community? If so, I close my case. This is directly against the freedom of belief and freedom of thought and speech- the very things we value so much. In any case, if someone breaks the law, mob justice is not the answer. The matter should be dealt with using the Law of the land and after a proper trial.

      • 0
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        Apostasy in Islam (from Wikipedia) is commonly defined as the conscious abandonment of Islam by a Muslim in word or through deed. It includes the act of converting to another religion or rejection of faith to be irreligious, by a person who was born in a Muslim family or who had previously accepted Islam. The definition of apostasy from Islam, and whether and how it should be punished are matters of controversy – Islamic scholars differ in their opinions on these questions. Apostasy in Islam includes within its scope not only the willful renunciation of Islam by a Muslim through a declaration of renunciation of the Islamic faith (whether for another religion or irreligiosity), or (in the absence of a declaration) by specific deed of undergoing the rites of conversion into another religion, but also even denying, or merely questioning, any “fundamental tenet or creed” of Islam, such as the divinity of God, prophethood of Muhammad, or mocking God, or worshipping one or more idols.[8][9] Different Muslim denominations and schools of thought may hold different additional views of what each considers a fundamental tenet of the faith.
        Penalty for Apostacy (from Wikipedia) Until the late 19th century, the vast majority of Islamic scholars in Madh’hab (Sunni) and Imamah (Shia) schools of jurisprudence held that for adult men, apostasy from Islam was a crime as well as a sin, an act of treason punishable with the death penalty.

      • 0
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        The only freedom of belief in Islam is the freedom to become Muslim – Period. As far as I am concerned, a sound philosophy never requires violence or threats to retain believers. Some contemporary Muslims may find it embarrassing that their religion – and theirs alone – endorses killing someone over a mere change in opinion. (as critic Geert Wilders puts it, “Any religion that invites you in but then will not let you out is no longer a religion”)

        A respected Sunni scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, says, “If we had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today”. In other words, the followers would be leaving Islam in droves.

        Quran (4:89) – “But if they turn back (from Islam), kill them wherever you find them” Many other verses that support the death sentence for apostates can be found in the Holy Quran.

      • 1
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        Madmokka, this is why Buddhists in Sri Lanka are punishing Muslim converts from Buddhism, as harm has come out to Buddhists by that action of Islamisation.

  • 0
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    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/

  • 0
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    Dear Edwin , please read who are Non denominational Muslims (Islamcity). Peace be to you

  • 1
    1

    An atheist is not a kafir , a kafir is someone who is a dirty liar .

    Kaf means to cover ,and kafir is generally meant to those liars who cover the truth with lies .

    They ate not atheists ..

    It is always the case with bigots to take verses out of context and quote . Sura 4:: verse 89 can never be adopted as a general rule for apostasy ,you need to read from verse 88 ,89 to 90 to understand the the whole thing in a context . It is referring to a particular time where everything was happening on the streets ,no organized government no organized courts ,just like the time of moses &the twelve tribes. This verse is about the hypocrite playing underhand , and is connected to that particular people ,time &situation and has nothing connected to the Islamic law of punishment for leaving Islam . Saudi law is A the Jewish law incorporated into the country law with the help of the Zionists and their western masters to keep them in power so that Zionist state and the west can continue to suck out all the oil.
    No for too long. Once the Fall of Saudi happens ,it has already started ,with it many will become beggars. Saudi royals and the likes who earn and curse it wont have a place to run.it will worst blood shed ever on earth

    • 0
      1

      Interpretations: Kamuludeen Ismail, Oh my, my, aren’t we angry and excited! And I am shaking like a leaf in the wind for fear of being beheaded the way Jihadi John beheaded an infidel on U tube. My wife is afraid of being killed like the mother of the Jihadi who gunned down his own mother in front of hundreds of people because she advised him to stay away from ISIS.

      On which interpretation did he kill his own mother? That brings up a nice hypothetical case. If my son has converted to Islam and I am an atheist and I say things about Allah that may be taken as insults (okay okay, not may be but are insults) is my son expected to kill me? Oh my, my, I am shaking more violently.

      But then, logically speaking, I cannot blame my son even if he beheads me. (That is silly! I cannot even move a finger if I am beheaded, leave alone blame him). But hypothetically (I think even a beheaded man can think hypothetically), let us consider the context in which this should be taken according to Holy Quran.

      I bring up my son with so much love and care and finally make him a man. He crosses over to Islam because he wants to have a second wife. I don’t like it and every evening I have a tot and start criticizing, U no hoo. Sura -92, -93 and -95, not forgetting -94 says even your mother must be executed if she insults Islam.

      Guys, here is the punch line. If anyone tries to teach you about Islam – Beware. It is a trap. If you learn about Islam and do not convert – then you are a nice candidate for beheading.

      • 1
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        Muslims must accept the truth about barbarity of Islam and be ashamed of that fact, instead of defending these stupid practices arising from Koran, and look like fools.

    • 1
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      “Kafir is generally meant to those liars who cover the truth with lies”. Going by this definition, Muslims who strictly interpret Koran are Kafirs. Firstly stating that Allah is the only God is a lie, because when people put forward the concept of a God, the creator and protector of the world 5000 years ago there was no Allah. When there was a God in existence for such a long time, how can Allah who sprang up 1600 years ago claim to be the sole God. Secondly claiming Jerusalem by quoting an unbelievable story that Mohamed went to heaven in a chariot from there, when Jews have proved scientifically by doing archaeological studies excavating the ancient kingdom of David not only encompassing the whole of west bank but also parts of Jordan and Syria. Please stop disseminating falsehoods to cover up truth.

      • 1
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        Al-faqurlah, you seem to be a sane guy with whom one can conduct a serious dialog. Regarding who Allah is, I was under the impression, the God of Abraham, God of Moses, God of Jesus and Allah is one and the same. Only the Prophets have changed. Is this incorrect?

  • 0
    0

    Thank you for the article. I think we as a country have been very unfortunate not to have had some “breathing space” free from “poverty and violence” since independence to have a healthy discussions on all issues affecting us as a country/citizens for a very focused collective future. It is a very much of a “chicken and egg” situation/muddle we got our self into affecting all of us………and for the past 70 years we are only reaping the ever so accumulating “tit for tat” actions/conversations/responses as a nation. It is further fuelled by the “internal and external”forces we can not see too. Having generations of us conditioned to this kind of negative things/trauma we need to work out a way to break/stop this vicious cycles and find the space for reflection??? I think this “pause” required to solve problems as and when in our nations journey to “freedom” is “only possible” if the “security appratus” can take ownership of the law and order aspect and uphold the constitution on behalf of all the citizens equally.
    Then our focus should be how we talk to our children- “after all the security forces are all our children” – to do the patriotic thing to assist the nation by providing safe environment for healthy dialogues/communications to build “trust”……..it is a step by step process………may be we could have certain expertise in peace building/community building to be part of this “trust building” activity too may go a long way. The author spoke about personal clarity/strength in being a great/conscious citizen is wonderful and mot of Lankans are just that too but the ground reality/environment is not conducive to practice this great strength we all have is due to fear………..this “fear” can only be removed by effective law and order mechanism/enforcement so all the civic and responsible citizens can help “others” to fall in line with the “majority of us” ??

  • 0
    0

    Edwin Rodrgo LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL

    BANG BANG .EXPOSED……………..
    lol lol lol

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