6 December, 2021

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Contextualizing 2021 AI Discrimination Report Sri Lanka On Muslims

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The 2021 Amnesty International Discrimination Report Sri Lanka (AIDRSL), is a damning account of the worsening discrimination against and suffering of Muslims under the present regime. “While anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka is nothing new”, it notes, “the situation has regressed sharply in recent years. Incidents of violence against Muslims committed with the tacit approval of the authorities, have occurred with alarming frequency. This has been accompanied by the adoption by the current government of rhetoric and policies that have been openly hostile to Muslims”. As far as the regime is concerned there is nothing new in this report, because even other organizations such as UNHCR, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and European Union have made similar observations and warned the regime of damaging consequences. Therefore, on the face of it, AIDRSL is just another usual lament and accusations that could be ignored or dismissed by policy makers.

However, that report, as part of a growing family of similar publications, including Shreen Saroor’s Muslims in Post-War Sri Lanka: Repression, Resistance and Reform (2021), has enriched the store of evidence that international organizations have accumulated to bring pressure upon state and non-state establishments to take practical measures to make Rajapaksa regime realize that it needs to change its ways and approach towards minority rights and liberties. Anti-Muslim violence is only one part of the whole history of destroying the political power and economic role of minorities. Given the parlous state of Sri Lanka’s economy in which everyone but the nouveau riche suffers, external pressure through economic measures would certainly send a strong message to the obdurate rulers. A growing multi-ethnic Sri Lankan diaspora would also be working hard to add its own pressure upon the international community for effective action.

Given the weakness of opposition parties and the double game played by some of them in supporting the regime through backdoor while shouting against it in the open, and the deepening militarization of public space to prevent any mass uprising, it is the international community that can effect changes to the prevailing situation. It is in that context AIDRSL makes a contribution and serves a purpose.

It is not only Muslims who are suffering at the moment, although indiscriminate victimization of that community has driven its members live in a state of constant fear and threat, which in turn has crippled their economic activities and contribution to GDP, but also every ordinary family in Sri Lanka is undergoing a life of misery, helplessness and trauma. The regime is conveniently shifting the blame to the pandemic, but it is the rulers’ authoritarianism, corruption, patrimonialism and whimsical policies that lie at the core of this disaster. Two years of gross mismanagement of the economy with policies on the run, arising mostly from President GR’s thought bubbles and sanctioned by his Viyathmaga, had caused so much hardship and misery that even those who brought this regime to power are now coming out in protest, which has forced GR to shout Mea Culpa.

In spite of this disaster, there is no sign of softening the regime’s total commitment to uphold its underlying ideology of Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarianism, an ideology manufactured by a group of Buddhist chauvinists in the past, who, in the wake of decolonization rejected the idea of a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural polity and endeavoured to create in future a homogenous Sinhala Buddhist state. To them therefore every minority in the country was an alien and an enemy to fight against. Their battle started with the disenfranchisement of Plantation Tamils in 1949, and is being continued at present by their current avatars against Muslims. In between of course the Tamil community faced decades of humiliation, discrimination, deprivation and military massacre. That still remains an unfinished business to the majoritarian soldiers. How hard it is for the current regime to relinquish this ideology and opt for a more pragmatic form of politics within a democratic framework could be seen from three instances where President GR had made it clear that he would not compromise his commitment to majoritarian rule.

First was the promise he made to India’s Prime Minister, Modi, when he met him in New Delhi in 2019, to implement the 13th Amendment. As soon as GR returned home, he retracted and said that the majority, by which he actually meant the supremacist minority, would not agree to it. It was in that vein he also declared that what the people in the north wanted was not power devolution but economic development. Second was the invitation GR sent to TNA leaders for a dialogue regarding Tamil issues. That invitation was withdrawn on the very next day, apparently because of revolt from the same minority. There were again rumours floating around later that the dialogue would restart when the SLPP strategist Basil Rajapaksa returned from his trip to US. Nothing eventuated so far. And the third was again a promise, and this time it was made to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres in New York, where he declared his willingness to meet members of the Tamil diaspora to resolve the Tamil issue. His Foreign Minister is now hedging around that promise and maintains that the government would not hold talks with banned Tamil organizations and their leaders. In fact, almost all Tamil diaspora organizations have been banned by this regime. Who does it want to talk with then?

Given this underlying intransigence there is no hope that this regime would change its policy towards Muslims. The community would continue to suffer in the hands of majoritarian supremacists unless outside pressures compel this regime to allow minorities preserve their cultural identity while remaining patriotic. This is not to condemn the Sinhala Buddhists as a community of ethno-centrists and racists. That community is historically known for its compassion and tolerance. The millennium old coexistence of Sri Lankan Muslims is more than enough to vouch for this fact. But unfortunately, this community had been subjected to perennial propaganda by ethno-centrist politicians and their supremacist idealogues that made it believe that Buddhist population and Buddhism are under threat from alien minorities like Muslims. This is the fundamental reason why Muslims are experiencing an existential threat at present. These supremacists by promising the nation, “vistas of prosperity and splendour”, has brought instead nothing but misery, communal discord and international shame.

AIDRSL would certainly add more weight especially to OIC which recently passed a resolution against Rajapaksa regime regarding its treatment of Muslims. “The Sri Lankan authorities must break this alarming trend”, urges the report, “and uphold their duty to protect Muslims from further attacks, hold perpetrators accountable and end to the use of government policies to target, harass and discriminate against the Muslim community”. It is up to OIC to urge its member countries to express their concern by action and not words.

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business & Governance, Murdoch University Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 22
    2

    …. it is the international community that can effect changes to the prevailing situation.
    .
    While endorsing the above statement, I hasten to add that Ameer Ali is catching up with reality.
    .
    The international community is in no hurry to attend to the needs of the minorities in an insignificant country like Sri Lanka. I know this better than Ameer Ali does because I am a Tamil.

    • 3
      1

      I know this better than Ameer Ali does because I am a Tamil.
      ———–
      Ameer Ali is well aware but a two faced opportunist.
      Many of his ilk were telling the rest of the world ‘not to interfere in Sri lankas internal matters’ when the ‘tamil issue’ came up in the past.
      But when his people are on the receiving end of state sponsored racism, all of a sudden he wants outside intervention.
      Mind you i saw this same hypocrisy from many from the majority community also. Telling the international community to ‘mind its own business’ during the war time.
      But when Fonseka was ‘jailed’ the same lot were writing petitions to various western organisations and governments to intervene in SL and have him ‘released’

      • 1
        1

        Dear Humble,
        .
        I’ve read many articles by Dr Ameer Ali.
        I think that this criticism of him is unfair. His articles are popular with non-Muslims not merely because he writes very well. He is also quite objective; I read him because I think it very necessary to see what intelligent and educated Tamils and Muslims are saying. And he’s clean shaven!
        .
        There are quite a few other Muslims writing on Colombo Telegraph. Mohamed Lukman Harees is good (don’t get put off by his incipient beard!) , and there are some ladies: Shreen Saroor is the most persistent. Obviously, they sometimes project a Muslim perspective – what else do you expect? I am perfectly aware that non-Muslims often carry this stereotype in their heads that Muslims are opportunists; I feel that it tells us a good deal about the condemning guy who is so prejudiced that he (YOU!) becomes bigoted and won’t accept it. Sometimes justified: I don’t read what Fahim Knight in his many manifestations and gravatars writes. I know that I’ve just made a harsh comment; well that possibly redeems me in your eyes. I’m not a guy who goes round patting everybody on the back!

      • 1
        1

        Continuing
        .
        Given all the pseudonyms that fly around I cannot say that I have a clear idea of what you are; whether any of your comments are worth reading. Had you been using your own it wouldn’t be so difficult. I appreciate that for a long time it has not been possible for a non-Sinhalese to speak out boldly. The risk is less for me, but it is there; see for yourself the hatred directed at me by two persons in comments here:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/a-childs-guide-to-the-behavioural-pattern-behind-menike-mage-hithe/
        .
        See towards the end of the comments there. After those two guys fled I had a field day, making lots of idiosyncratic comments which the tolerant moderators allowed in.
        .
        chiv
        is a guy whom I occasionally disagree with, but respect immensely. Nathan is another, and here’s an observation on what you’ve said. Afghanistan has taught us all that whilst Americans and Europeans mean well, their leaders are unfeeling opportunists. Please see this:
        .
        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/24/raabs-negligence-over-kabul-is-now-clear-if-he-had-any-honour-hed-quit

  • 16
    1

    [A]
    .
    I am certain that all readers of CT readers will remember the days when Muslim MP’s were elected from Sinhalese-majority electorates with thumping majorities. And the readiness with which Muslim electors supported Sinhalese candidates in other electorates. This was a time when, for political purposes, voters were confident that their choice of candidate will look after their interests in Parliament irrespective of race or religion and they focused on the greater good of the greatest number and not on the narrow bigoted interests of a small group.
    .
    We now have a situation where deep and wide schisms have appeared between the Muslims and the Sinhalese (Buddhist & Christian) communities, primarily due to the actions of the many anti-Muslim groups that crept out of the woodwork since 2012. The AI Report is a mere re-telling of the experiences of the local Muslim Community during the Islamophobic ambience of the past decade. It does not contain any new information of significance.
    .
    The gist of the Report is to ‘prove’ that the GOSL (specifically the Rajapakse-led Governments) is solely responsible for creating Islamophobia in Sri Lanka.

  • 15
    1

    [B]
    .
    Islamophobia was created by the West, which, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, replaced the then ‘Enemy-at-the-gate’ ( Communism) with Islamic Terrorism. The danger posed by the new ‘enemy’ was successfully spread world-wide and was gratefully accepted by many countries with minority Muslim populations. The latent anger of the people of such countries was successfully diverted towards the Muslims and was used to politically unify fragmented groups. A similar situation happened in Sri Lanka, where unscrupulous politicians showcased minority Muslims as an ‘enemy’ and therefore a threat to the well-being of the majority. After 2009, the spectre of ‘Tamil Terrorism’ was replaced by ‘Islamic Expansionism’ in Sri Lanka. This strategy was in harmony with that adopted by the West.
    .
    The situation was exacerbated, unwittingly so, by the heightened religiosity of the local Muslims over the previous decades. The growing ‘Arabization’ of the Muslim community reflected in dress, behaviour and customs only served to confirm the projected threat to the majority community.

    • 5
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      @eklbroom
      A good sumup,

      But Sri Lankan “Muslims” need move further than stopping Arabization of their culture.

      Past it was the Ottaman who used their version of Political Islam to conquere the world, ultimately the swelling of the ego of The Young Turks leading to ultra Turkish nationalism and Hasmities of Ijaz lead by Sheriff ( Great grandfather of today’s Jordon king) for total Arabization of all Islamic nations to be ruled by him ended in total distruction of the Ottaman empire , Arab Muslim mercenaries created by the western Spy Lawarence of Arabia lead by Sheriff’s 2nd Son Faisal from one end and thee other end by Al- Saud , totally wiping out the Ottaman Brigade.

      Sheriff and family were betrayed by the allies , they had to seek refuge in Sheriff’s elderest Son Abdullah’s kingdom of Jordon.

      Al-Saud, grabbed the opportunity to get rid of Sheriif his bitter enemy and take over The Whole of Peninsula Arabia and establish a new Version of Arabia and a new version of political Islam that would allow him to subdue the mass and turn it to a family Kingdom by mulitiplying the population into Al- Sauds through extended marraiges, which is why Saudi has somany Prince and princess today .
      To be cont..

      • 2
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        The Establisment of Neo- Hanbalism The Political Islam of The House of Al-Saud under the disguise of Wahabism.
        ==========================
        Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab( son of Wahab) was from a very poor family and Son of a Simple Imaam known as Imaam Abdul Wahab, Muhamaad son of Wahab born in Uyanah in 1703 lived and died in al Dirriyah 1792( Saudi Arabia Today )
        Saudi Kingdom was formed in 1920 by Al-Saud 1
        To be cont..

        • 2
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          There was no Wahab ideology as such, when ibn Wahab returned after completing his studies from the School of Imaam Hanbali’s in Bagdad, he was
          appalled at the site of his people venerating Tombs, it reminded him of his Ancestors rithuals of pre’Islam , he saw it akin to their practices , but he neither preached a new ideology or established fatwas in written forms , but earged his people to giveup the practice and return to the ways their elders( Salaf) who have adopted the School of Imaam Ibn Hanbal , The exclusive Ahel Sunnah and Hadeedist( people of Prophet’s examples and Oral narrations.)
          He passed away and was not able to convince his people.

          The venerations of Tombs were tradtions introduced by The Ottamans which was a practice in their native central Asia,where many mystic ways were practiced along with other rituals and present todate , which is the main conflict between Northern alliance who central asian ethnics and practice Tomb veneration opposed by Taliban , but today none of these violent or even extremist groups are salafs, the Extremists are the
          propagandists of modern Kawarijs ( Extremist Islamic Terrorists – )

          Most salafs are Purists

        • 1
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          @ekelbroom.
          ,
          Sorry about the typo , it should read as Urged instead of earged.

    • 11
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      Fahim Knight

      “The growing ‘Arabization’ of the Muslim community reflected in dress, behaviour and customs only served to confirm the projected threat to the majority community.”

      If the Muslims wear Arab dress, it becomes a “threat to the majority community” and is bad, If Sri Lankans wear Western dress like Troucer, Skirts, Blouses, in various mini and body-hugging forms, it is No threat to the Majority community and that is okay. Does this make any sense?

      What are the “behaviour and customs” of the Muslims that project a “threat to the majority community”?

      • 8
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        Wearing western dress has now become universal, even in many Arab and Islamic nations. However, wearing an Arab dress is not. Even many other non Arab Muslim nations do not wear Arab dresses, other than a small percentage of Islamic extremists. The women may cover their heads, that is all. Go and visit Bangladesh, Pakistan, Subsaharan Muslim Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia. Very few will wear Arab dresses. Only Islamic nations living close to the Sahara desert will wear similar dresses, as it is their national dress. Even many women amongst orthodox and eastern Christian sects do. Go to Thamizh Nadu/Kerala 90% of the women when they church will cover their head, as a mark of respect. Sri Lankan Muslims are ethnic Thamizh Muslims, who had their own form

        • 7
          12

          of dress that had evolved over the centuries, the saree with the end covering the head and the sarong for men. Now trying to pathetically imitate the Gulf Arabs and wear these Arab forms of dresses that are very uncomfortable to this climate, and does not blend with the local culture only proves one thing. They have become very radicalized and extremist and have been brainwashed to adopt an alien form of dress and culture that is not theirs and not universal, just to make pathetic claims and connections to the western Asians, as their ancestors, which has now been proven to be untrue. This is the reason this brings fear and suspicion. The other people on the island either wear their traditional forms of dress or the western dress that is universal. They do not go around wearing the ethnic dresses of other people, all in the name of a common religion and pathetically try to claim it as part of their heritage. Proves how radicalized you are.

          • 11
            6

            1

            I normally Ignore Pandi Kutty’s venomous. Anti-Muslim comments. Since his venomous comments were directed at my post, I am forced to reply.

            I know, he and some other frustrated Yaalpaanam Tamizh eelamists use CT pages to ridicule the Muslims only because the Muslims turned the eelam dream into a nightmare with their Firm Opposition to the eelam project. Very difficult for Hardcore yaalpaanam eelamists like Pandi to forget that so much so they create opportunities to pour their scorn on the Muslims with Baseless Lies and Wild Imaginations.

            So Western dress is universal for Pandi now because he is Hiding in the West. He has completely thrown away his Tamizh cultural dress. the verti. So, it is alright for him to dump his Tamizh culture and has no qualms about loudly proclaiming that western dress is universal..

            Isn’t Dress a personal choice? Arab Dress is bad but how about Arab Riyals and Dinars?

            • 9
              7

              2

              Frustrated Tamizh eelamists like Pandi and All those who love to hurl abuse at the Muslims use the word ‘Arabisation’ direrogatively, conveniently forgetting the fact that the Arab Riyals and Dinars had been a major component of the Foreign Exchange that has been sustaining Sri Lanka’s Economy for nearly Five Decades from the 1970s. And right now the country desperately needs every Arab Riyal and Dinar it can get. But, Arab dress becomes ‘Arabisation’ which is a dirty word. How ridiculous such Hate-mongers can become.

              If he loves Tamizh so much, this Pandi, comfortably settled in the West with his family, must think of his generations to come in the West who will be so westernized that they would have NO idea about Tamizh. It won’t be a surprise if his grand children asked him what is ‘Pandi’.

              So, if Pandi loves his Tamizh so much, he has plenty to worry about his own blood in a generation or two who will be so westernized that they would have no idea about Tamizh for which he foolishly sacrificed so many lives, and made life Miserable not just for Tamizh but for all Sri Lankans and fled Sri Lanka to save his life.

              • 3
                8

                What can I say? Short and sweet rantings from a pathetic well known Arab wannabe Islamic Wahhabi hardliner, who constantly comes here to lie and misinterpret and run down Thamizh. Even DNA has now proved that the Sri Lankan Muslims or Moors as they love to call themselves to claim a fake Arab origin, never arrived from the Arabian Gulf but from Thamizh South India and are genetically no different to the island’s Chingkallams and Thamizh, proving what the Thamizh always stated, they are South Indian origin Thamizh, largely from the lower castes who converted to Islam, with Itzy bitzy Arab. What made you think I live in the west? You most probably want all the local Mulsim women to be wrapped up in the Burkha, Abaya or Nikkab all in the name of Islam, and boil and sweat in the tropical sun instead of the comfortable saree or a western dress, whilst you will be strutting around in the western Jeans and a polo shirt or a pair of trousers and shirt and running down the west and its liberal secular values. This is what most Islamic men do. You see them everywhere run down the west but run to the west to get asylum.

                • 4
                  8

                  Same here with the local Muslims. Thamizh by ethnicity and heritage, speak Thamizh, however run down Thamizh but want everything from Thamizh, their land, their language, their homes, businesses farms. Even ran to the Thamizh northwest coast when they were chased out of South India and then to the Thamizh east when the Portuguese and Chingkallams started to persecute them. Yes, we know you Thullkans backstabbed us and sided with the Chingkallams from the time of independence, even now waiting for petty benefits and waiting for an opportunity to steal our lands to create some sort of fake Arab Islamic Wahhabi State. This will never happen as you are immigrants who never owned and arrived in Eezham Thamizh lands as refugees, claiming asylum as fellow Thamizh and now claiming our land. Run down the Thamizh but when they run to the west to claim asylum claim to be ethnic Thamizh fleeing Chingkalla persecution and downplay that they are Muslims. Thmaizh when it suits them but at all other times despite being Thamizh, Thamizh haters in the name of Islam.

                  • 3
                    7

                    Yes, I do wear western clothes and hardly wore a Verti. I wear western clothes as it is comfortable and more suited for modern living/.work and has now become universal and it means I am secular and belong to the world. The origin of western clothes is actually from the Middle East or Western Asia and from the Indian subcontinent if you are not aware. The Pantaloons, which later became trousers and shorts, the long skirts, that later became short skirts, the coats, waistcoats and the cummer band which is a Hindi word meaning waistband. However, I do not force impose and advocate others to wear certain types of clothes all in the name of religion or ethnicity like Islamic hardliners do. People can wear what they like, as like as it is their own choice and not imposed on them in the name of religion and medieval outdated ideas.

                • 4
                  2

                  I find it funny
                  When AR Rahman, the world famous music director from Tamil Nadu in India won an award in the USA, he proudly proclaimed his Tamil ethnicity and even said a few words in Tamil.
                  But just a few miles across the sea we have Sri Lankan Muslims, who speak Tamil at home, yet they claim ‘they are not Tamils but Arabs’
                  But when some of them migrate abroad to claim ‘asylum’ all of a sudden they are ‘Tamil refugees’ lol

      • 8
        7

        @Muhandiram
        .
        I think you have inadvertently directed your questions at Brother Fahim Knight.
        Let me explicate my statements.
        .
        Question 1 : Threat of Arab Dress
        I am certain you will agree that perception is stronger then reality.
        This is key to the analysis.
        .
        Western styles of dress have been worn by members of all communities for more than a century and are perceived as symbols of modernity, achievement and socio-economic mobility and are hence not perceived as being a ‘threat’ to any community.
        .
        Thanks mainly to the Western Media, Arabs have emerged as the face of ‘Islamic Terrorism’. Arab styles of dress are therefore perceived as symbols of extremism, intolerance and terrorism.
        .
        Centuries ago, Buddhism held sway from Afghanistan to Indonesia.
        Today many of these countries are Muslim majorities.
        Can you blame the SL Buddhists for harboring deep-seated fears of a Muslim take-over in SL ?
        Can you blame them for becoming apprehensive at the increasing sight of ‘extremist’ local
        Muslims in Arab-dress around the country ?
        .
        Perception is indeed stronger than reality
        Would it not be to everyone’s advantage for the Muslims to strengthen their image as Muslim Sri Lankans rather than as ‘Arab’ Muslims residing in Sri Lanka ?

        • 7
          5

          Question 2 : Behaviours & Customs
          .
          The phrase ‘behaviours and customs’ was used as an all-encompassing term to describe the acts and deeds of the Muslim community, which have undergone significant changes due to increased religiosity among it’s members.
          .
          Obviously, the Muslims themselves to not see such changes as posing any threats to any of the other communities.
          But this does NOT mean that the other communities too do not perceive such changes as being a threat to their well-being.
          .
          SL Muslims are becoming more religious
          = SL Muslims are becoming more ‘Arab’ in their outlook
          = SL Muslims are becoming more extremist & intolerant (traits associated with Arabs)
          = SL Muslims will resort to violence to achieve their goals
          .
          Of the 4 major religious groups in SL, Muslims are the only group which has experienced
          intra-group violence. Have there been any major Buddhist vs Buddhist or Hindu vs Hindu or Christian vs Christian flare-ups since Independence ?
          .
          Any doubts regarding the potential violence within the ‘New Muslims’ in Sri Lanka were effectively destroyed by the Easter Sunday tragedy.
          .
          Can you blame the majority community for perceiving the ‘New Muslims’ as being a threat to their well-being ?

        • 2
          2

          @Ekelbroom.
          Wow bro ,
          You.have left me speachless,
          What a undebatable response totally candid , judicious and no room to dare contradict.
          Thank you bro , admire your writting Skills and the wisdom you have alway shown in most of your comments ✍👍👍👍👍

        • 2
          0

          There were a sizeable amount of Buddhists in these countries but it was Hinduism that held sway in most of these countries and later Buddhism in SE Asia but not in Malaysia or Indonesia. They converted to Islam from Hinduism. This is why Bali is still Hindu or they practise their form of Hinduism. Even in Afghanistan and Pakistan, there were a small minority of Pashtuns who were still Hindus. Most of them have now migrated to India and now identify themselves as Punjabi Hindus. The famous Bollywood Kapoors are actually Pashtun Hindus and not Punjabi, despite calling themselves Punjabi. They had typical Pashtun looks. This is the reason the mountain range in Northern Afghanistan is called the Hindu Kush meaning killer of the slayer of Hindus when it was captured and forcible Islamization took place.

          • 2
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            https://www.arabnews.pk/node/1697086/pakistan

            For your information. I have come across are few Hindu Pashtun families when I was working in the Gulf. They identify themselves as Punjabi Hindus now but are much fairer than an average Punjabi and most have light coloured eyes. When you become friends with them they reveal that they are Pashtun Hindu refugees from Pakistan or Afghanistan now identifying themselves as Punjabi, as many fled from west Punjab during the partition or from Peshawar.

        • 0
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          ekelbroom

          1

          My sincere apologies to you and Fahim Knight for misdirecting my comment.
          Now, as to item 1, ‘Threat of Arab Dress’, I must ask, is there any?

          As to perceptions being stronger than reality, should the right thinking people allow wrong perceptions to continue or should they do everything they can to change those perceptions?

          As to Arab dress being “perceived as symbols of extremism, intolerance and terrorism.”, how can anyone agree with this perception as almost all who carry out terror attacks do so wearing troucers?

          Further, Terror attacks are Not a recent phenomena but are centuries old. The most developed and the most powerful country in the world, the U.S., saw its first Terror Attack more than 200 years ago, in the late 18th century, on March 18, 1782, to be exact, with 96 killed and 2 injured. The attackers were neither Arabs nor wearing Arab dress.
          The first terror attack in the US involving an Arab was the 55th which was almost 200 years later, in June 1968, when a Jordanian Palestinian shot dead Senator Robert Kennedy. Of course, the killer was Not wearing an Arab dress.

    • 3
      1

      All valid points, and from other comments there are plenty of reasons why there is anti Muslim sentiment all over the world, and yes indeed Saudi Arabia has done far too much damage to the Muslims because of their lavish spending on radicalizing naive Muslims into thinking Wahabism is the right path to Heaven.

      The biggest question should be why are the Rajapaksa Brothers being complicit in this anti Muslim campaign, they had the power to put a halt to this, prevent it, stop the terrorist thugs in saffron robes from spreading hate speeches and the violence, and it was THEY who implemented discriminatory policies and laws, that they knew fully well would hurt the Muslims, including preventing the burial of their dead against WHO advice.
      They have arrested Muslim professionals for yet unknown reasons, and their actions have resulted in strong condemnation from international human rights agencies.

      Sri Lanka is following the Modi and Myanmar model, and it was always in the hands of those who deliberately implemented similar policies, to change that. That would be our racist leadership.

    • 0
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      Well said, dear ekelbroom.
      .
      I certainly have the impression that you write sincerely and you write well.
      .
      It’s good to have guys like you around.

  • 13
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    [C]
    .
    Islamophobia will not go away because of one or one thousand reports issued by NGO’s financed by the West. Internationally, Islamophobia is here to stay for a long time, at least until it could be replaced by a new, believable, ‘enemy at the gates’ ( Chinese Colonialism, perhaps ??). It’s effects on Sri Lanka will continue to be felt in the coming years.
    .
    The local Muslim Community must take the necessary measures to ensure that, like in France, it is not subjected to a process of ‘de-Islamization’ under the guise of ‘de-Radicalization’. The only pre-emptive measure they could take in this regard is to initiate, as a first step, the process of de-Arabization of the local Muslim Community so as to minimize the perceived ‘threat’ to the well-being of the country.
    .
    So, go on my Islamic brothers and sisters, start building those bridges across the deep and wide chasms which separate us from the other religious groups, while we wait for Amnesty International to issue similar Reports regarding Islamophobia in other Countries.

    • 1
      0

      Amnesty International is NOT “financed” by the West. Not all international human rights agencies are controlled by Western nations, so let us not always attack the messenger. Let us look inwards instead of constantly acting like the victim here. The Sri Lankan leaders have it in their powers to stop the madness, no one else.

      “Who finances Amnesty International’s work?
      The overwhelming majority of our income comes from individuals the world over.
      These personal and unaffiliated donations allow Amnesty International (AI) to maintain full independence from any and all governments, political ideologies, economic interests or religions.
      We neither seek nor accept any funds for human rights research from governments or political parties and we accept support only from businesses that have been carefully vetted.
      By way of ethical fundraising leading to donations from individuals, we are able to stand firm and unwavering in our defence of universal and indivisible human rights.
      The global Amnesty movement is made up of a network of national sections and the International Secretariat.” Amnesty International

    • 0
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      ekelbroom

      2

      Upto 2020, in the 238 years since the 1st attack, there were 208 attacks of which less than 40 were by Arabs/Muslims which were mostly by Palestinians settled in the US who were angered by US support for Israel. But NONE of the attackers wore the Arab dress. Needless to say, they all wore troucers.
      When all Terror attacks are executed, including the local Easter Terror attack of April 2019, by those wearing troucers, how wrong is it to perceive the Arab dress as “symbols of extremism, intolerance and terrorism”?

      Coming to item 2 “Behaviours & Customs”, you rightly observed earlier, “Thanks mainly to the Western Media, Arabs have emerged as the face of ‘Islamic Terrorism”.

      Seems, in your conclusions, you are being influenced by a section of the local Media, the visual in particular, and catering to the majority community, which is quite anti-Muslim. I Totally disagree with your observations under “SL Muslims are becoming more religious.” which comments are apparently influenced by this local Media.

      Western Media’s Anti-Muslim harangue is left unchallenged by the large world-wide Muslim community. In the same way, the local Anti-Muslim Media is also left unchallenged by the local Muslim Community. Worse, some Muslims seem to agree with this local Media.

      • 0
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        ekelbroom

        3

        Dress is a personal choice. Why can’t anybody wear the Arab Dress if he so wishes? Don’t think I am saying this because I wear the Arab Dress. No. I don’t. I have NEVER worn the Arab Dress though I have worked in the Middle East for 10 years.

        As for “intra-group violence” among Muslims, Only in Kattankudy some violence has taken place a few years back and, to the best of my knowledge, no such violence has taken place anywhere else. Even if there is “intra-group violence” among Muslims, that must be good news to the majority community, who need not worry about the Muslims being a “threat to their wellbeing” because the Muslims will be quite busy fighting among themselves and will have no time to target any others, leave alone the majority. 538

        As for the Easter Attack, the vast majority in the country, very importantly, the Catholics do Not blame the Muslim community. The recent comments by the Arch Bishop quite clearly lay the blame elsewhere.

        • 0
          0

          @ Muhandiram
          .
          Thank you for keeping the discussion at a decent and mutually respectful level instead of indulging in verbal fisticuffs. You have raised many interesting and valid questions. I will try my best to respond.
          .
          Question 1 : Can perceptions be altered ?
          .
          Suppose two individuals are standing opposite each other with a specific Numeral drawn on the ground between them. One person perceives the numeral as a ‘6’, the other perceives it as a ‘9’. Which of these two then is the ‘right-thinking’ person ? Which person’s view represents ‘reality’ ? Each one reads the numeral correctly from his point of view. Is it not the case then that ‘perception is stronger than reality’ ? Is it possible to ‘change the perceptions’ of any one of them ? How ? Both are correct, according to their respective view-points, and will resist change.
          .
          Question 2 : Arab Dress – Symbols of Terrorism ?
          .
          There is not much point in discussing attacks by Muslims prior to the year 2000, since such attacks were never described as ‘acts of terrorism’. For instance, Robert Kennedy’s killing was never labelled as a terror attack, but as an ‘assassination’, because at that time Muslims were not associated with ‘terrorism’. That came much later.

          • 0
            0

            Question 2 (cont : A)
            .
            The War on Terrorism launched by the West commenced after 9/11 and was used to strengthen their claim of countering the growing threat of Islamic Terrorism. Commensurate with the commencement of this ‘War’, the Western media began to build a strong association between ‘Islamic Terrorism’ and the ‘Arabs’ representing the country of origin of Islam. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia with it’s brand of Islam (Wahabism) was almost universally perceived as being the most ‘extreme’ and ‘intolerant’ of all the Muslim nations. Moreover, of the 19 bombers responsible for 9/11, fifteen were Saudis. Al-Qaeda which was active during this period also had strong Saudi connections.
            So indirectly, people around the World were brain-washed into developing the perception that ‘Islamic Terrorism = Saudi Arabia’ and therefore that “Saudi Arabia = Islamic Terrorism”.
            .
            The public face of Saudi Arabia is their style of dress. The White Thobe for males and the Black Burqa/Nikab for females.

            • 0
              0

              Question 2 (cont : B)
              .
              In SL, the increasing sight of Thobes and Black Burqa/Niqabs (“symbols of extremism, intolerance and terrorism”) over the past 4 – 5 decades would have enhanced and strengthened the perceptions of non-Muslims that the local Muslims were becoming highly influenced by Saudi Arabia and were therefore becoming more extreme in their outlook. Another example of when perception is stronger than reality.
              .
              The events in Kattankudy were horrendous to say the least. One group of Muslims actually dug-up the body of a recently-buried Muslim belonging to another group and left it lying by the roadside, which precipitated the violence that ensued. Islamic behaviour ?? Have you forgotten the battle between the members of 2 neighbouring mosques in Beruwela in 2010 which left 2 dead and 9 injured ? Please read the article titled “The Wahhabi Invasion Of Sri Lanka” published in the CT on 27th March 2013.
              .
              I agree with your contention that “Dress is a personal choice”. However, the impression created of that person may be vary widely. A female in a Burqa will be perceived by Muslims as being pious and conservative and by non-Muslims as being an extremist and intransigent by nature.

  • 6
    1

    What I like about Dr. Ameer Ali is that he tells it like it is, without pulling any punches. This is in marked contrast to some other writers to CT who keep hemming and hawing, refuse to call a spade a spade, and try their damnedest not to offend the powers that be. They don’t seem to realize that tact and diplomacy will not work against intransigent bigots.

  • 6
    5

    How many Muslims have been killed by the Sinhalese?
    How many Sinhalese have been killed by the Muslims?
    .
    How many Muslims were killed during the previous Ranil/Sirisena regime?
    How many Muslims have been killed by the present Gotabaya/Mahinda regime?

    Soma

    • 12
      2

      Soma,
      “How many Muslims were killed during the previous Ranil/Sirisena regime?
      How many Muslims have been killed by the present Gotabaya/…”
      It isn’t necessary for someone to be killed to prove discrimination.
      Why was Muslim burial banned on very irrational grounds? Who is affected most by the ban on cattle slaughter? The hilarious reason given is that this will improve milk production. So now, bulls and aged cows will produce milk? Do even you believe this?😆😆😆

      • 5
        3

        soman

        “How many Muslims have been killed by the Sinhalese?”

        If the number is lower than you expected are you going to fill the gap with your own contribution, = expected – actual.

      • 10
        2

        old codger

        “So now, bulls and aged cows will produce milk? ?”

        You are missing the point.
        All such bulls and aged cows will be exported to Bangladesh which will bring in much needed foreign exchange, (forget transport, tax, handling charges, insurance, …..) then Bengali abattoir reexports the meat back to Sri Lanka. Bengali’s benefit from value addition.

        This is saffron economics.

        • 8
          2

          Native,
          “This is saffron economics.”
          That’s also saffron ethics. You may eat meat if someone else killed the cow. You may kill people only if they aren’t Buddhist. But Catholics like Duminda Silva can kill Buddhists and get pardoned. And so on…

          • 2
            1

            old codger

            True.
            How long all these hypocrites going to protect “BUDDHISM” in this island?
            Did Buddha actually ask Sinhala/Buddhists to protect Sinhala/Buddhism?

            We need to convert all these stupid public racists from Sinhala/Buddhism to simply Buddhism.

    • 5
      3

      soman

      “How many Muslims have been killed by the Sinhalese?”

      If the number is lower than you expected are you going to fill the gap with your own contribution, = expected – actual.

    • 2
      0

      Soma,

      Wonder why there is an eerie silence from Tamils about new India-SL closeness brought about by Buddhism. India has bypassed Tamils for the second time in history to reach out to Sinhalese with Buddhism as the common factor.

      It happened in 265BC as well when Emperor Ashoka bypassed Tamils (in Tamil Nadu) and reached out to Sinhalese.

      Good move by Modi. As I said before there aren’t any more Periar, Annadurai, Jeya or Karunanidhi today. India takes Tamils for granted.

      India is also grooming Namal to be the next president of SL which is bad.

      • 3
        1

        The ruling classes of both India and Sri Lanka are the serpent seeds of Cain. They will all be removed from power by the most high very soon.

  • 6
    2

    Thanks and as usual a good article

    • 3
      1

      @Siva Sankaran Sharma
      I really appreciate your unbiased attitude .

    • 0
      2

      SSS
      Are Muslims in Sri Lanka and India treated worse than Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh?

      Soma

      • 2
        0

        soman

        “Are Muslims in Sri Lanka and India treated worse than Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh?”

        The appropriate question is “Are Tamil Speaking people in Sri Lanka treated worse than Tamilnadu”?

  • 10
    4

    Dr Ameer Ali in 1971 Mrs Bandaranicker got elected, Chelvanayakam’s famous words were ” Only God can save the Tamil people now.” Now only God can save the island’s Tamil speakers, the Tamils and Muslims. Everyone else is only mouthing platitudes but nothing is being done. Al giving overt and covert support to the Sri Lankan government. The UN, the west, India, the Islamic nations.

  • 5
    2

    Dr. Ameer essay causes in-agreeable opinion on certain points. First let me see how Wikipedia introduces M/s Saroor. “Shreen Abdul Saroor (b. 1969) is a Sri Lankan peace and women’s rights activist. ” She is a peace & (women) rights activist, not really a political or religious reformer. We don’t agree with Saroor on every point but her care for women’s wellbeing and peaceful existence is uncontested. Our difference arises purely in political nature, where we fought for a separate state after SJV lost in his Gandhian format. Saroor is one who was affected by war first. Then much later, she started to feel the oppression on Muslims, that is long after the war was brought to an end. So, her activism is recognized as for rehabilitating women’s lives. Because the war affected her peaceful life, part of her activism is about local peace, which with some three-quarter of a century of experience, Tamils no longer consider a viable solution. Saroor was not known as Islamic Activist until she released her latest Essays collection book. Saroor basically a believer in unitary government and she was a member of the government propaganda machine known as HRCSL, same as Ambiga Satkunanathan and Dr. Deepika Udugama.

  • 4
    2

    As the commissioner of HRCSL, Dr. Udugama worked hard to clear the name of the Rapist Army and get acceptance to be placed in Peacekeeping, instead of bringing the truth out to the UN, UH & UNHRC.
    So, we accept her part of the life when M/s. Saroor was fully a humanitarian worker, but we do not recognize her works of the HRCSL, whose function is only white washing of Appe Aanduwa. Dr. Ameer Ali frequently teeters to all sides, so his political points are not steady. Unlike M/s Sroor, Dr. Ameer is a quasi-Islamic reformer, with a soft heart to Aanduwa, while M/S Saroor is only an exemplary woman activist, and has no proper political opinion, at least until now. Probably, other than Dr. Ameer and very few others, almost whole male Muslim politicians are, misogynists, opportunists, rarely care about either Muslim community, or the country for which they support unitary constitution. Sinhalese were voting for Muslim Politicians in their constituencies. But recently Sinhala politicians very easily dislodge it, because no Muslim politician has achieved so far anything for the betterment of the country. They were blindly believing that keeping supporting the war against Tamils can keep their plundering wheels rolling. But that has now installed, after the demise of Tamil, their need for government is eliminated.

  • 4
    2

    On the previous election Hakeem said that Tamils are showing their beggar wound and begging. That was a time Muslim community was thriving. Now the community has many problems. But without any concern for those problems, Muslim political parties have placed Nazeer, Mubarak, Harris like people of the step of the Royal rulers’ mansions to stand there and beg places for their parties in the government.
    Though IC is able to muster some support for Muslin on IC level, no specific Muslim activist, including Dr. Ameer, M/s Saroor or even Hafeez Hisbullah are active on UN platform for Muslim’s rights. The reason for this is, Sri Lankan Muslims are the most rigorous anti-West community, though they may have very little connection with Middle East terrorists. Tamils have left with no other option but to go alone. To gain acceptance from IC, Tamils have to bring out the war crime- Genocide case to UN.
    If Dr. Ameer’s essay create any faith within his community, then there will be new activism with in Muslim community to take their grievances to the IC. If the Muslim politicians thinks that they bribe and buy Sinhala government, then why Dr. Ameer is wasting everybody’s resources?

  • 2
    0

    The main reason why Muslims and Tamils are facing discrimination is because people are electing MPs from the Muslim and Tamil communities, like those MPs who voted for 20A while sitting in the opposition and their leaders who allowed them to vote. People like Rauff Hakeem, Badurdeen, and Thondaman have to be kicked out of politics.

  • 7
    2

    As an Atheist I feel so sad that so called educated people still do not realize that all these religions originated thousands of years ago to keep bullies who masquerade as Kings in luxurious comfort by controlling the multitude.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Editor ,
    CT,
    I guess about 3 of my comments and a reply to Muhandiram has still not appeared.
    If they in anyway go against policies of your esteem journal , please do show them as edited out, so I will know it has been atleast screened.

    If I am not mistaken some have now passed almost 3 days.

    I once again want to thank CT for giving simple and amature writters like me with limited knowledge of writting skills but with deep passion in writting the opportunity to participate in your comment column, I appreciate my previlege to be apart of CT readers who engage in comments for past years to date
    Thank you
    Best regards
    Fahim Knight( Aka Fahim Lk- Knight)
    Note:
    I believe CT is thee only online Journal who without bias provides the opportunity to everyone to comment in Sri Lanka.
    Ofcause the only entertainting comment column,no matter how different our opinions are , most of them make your day with unique humour, esp of Native Vedda

    • 3
      0

      F.K,
      CT seems to have difficulty on some days in publishing comments. Generally they show up overnight, or in the afternoon, but sometimes the next day. Probably the moderators have other jobs.

      • 0
        0

        Tks OC

  • 1
    0

    What many ego maniacs never realise is , no matter how high his seat is , he still has to sit on his bottom.
    Be humble ,

  • 0
    0

    A quick Clarification of Ahel- Sunnah Mystics( commonly known today As Sufi Tariqs)

    I am not refering to those who abuse Islam and the names of pious Saints to indulge in dark arts , which is considered blasphemy.

    My reference is to those who practice Tasawwuf , Islamic Inner diamension, the inner journey and those who visit Shrines( Saints Tombs) only to pay homage and not Veneration.

    The ones who Murdered The Young Quranic Scholar Farkhunda Malikzada are not Part of any Ahel Sunnah Islamic Tasawwuf followers .

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