16 October, 2021

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Controlling Madrasas: Band-Aid Solution

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

With President MS, Prime Minister RW and leaders of the Joint Opposition, engaged in “revenge politics” (Stephen Long, Asian Tribune, May 2019), and as the term of the present government and that of the president is drawing to a close, there is neither the time nor an inclination for the ruling regime to look for lasting solutions to the nation’s persisting problems. They are busy counting the size of their respective vote banks.  

Already the Minister of Finance is forced to revise downwards the 2019 budget forecasts and the economy is in dire straits. After the Easter Carnage and subsequent communal violence the prognosis does not look good for the economy, which means the majority of people are destined to endure rising cost of living and prolonged misery. Didn’t the President say earlier that the budget “is not important”? Now, with the release of obstreperous Gnanasara who was imprisoned for contempt of court, the President has shown that it is not only the budget and the economy but even the judiciary is not important. All that the yahapalana regime can do therefore, is to look for band aid solutions to problems that require expert diagnosis and lasting remedies. One such band aid solution is the decision to control and bring all madrasas under the Ministry of Education. Not much details are coming out as to how it is going to be done and with what objective/s and outcome?    

Madrasas like the Buddhist Pirivenas are an integral part of a Muslim child’s early development. They impart not only the elementary knowledge about the Quran and the Prophet of Islam, but also the ethics and mortals surrounding good human behaviour. In fact, madrasa education may have its roots in the early Buddhist monasteries or vihara in Central Asia. In Sri Lanka however, its history goes back to the late nineteenth century when, according to the Department of Muslim Affairs, the first madrasa was established in Galle in 1870.  Today, there are 1669 madrasas and 317 Arabic colleges (Daily Mirror, 3 May 2019). In Kattankudy alone there are seven such colleges and 80 madrasas. In the context of Sri Lanka, the term madrasa normally relate to the elementary Quran schools or maktabs attached to all the mosques in all Muslim villages and towns in the country. A child is normally expected to complete this level of education before it reaches the age of ten.  In contrast, the Arabic colleges are the madrasas proper and the ones that train the ulema who graduate as imams and other religious functionaries, and are qualified to teach Islam and Arabic in government schools and deliver sermons in mosques. This level of education takes about seven years or more to complete.   

Is the government going to take over only the 317 proper madrasas and make them government funded Muslim religious educational institutions? If that is the intention why only the madrasas and not religious schools operating in other communities?             

It appears that the main reason why it has picked the madrasas only is because of the general suspicion, arising from the recent Easter massacre, that they have become the incubators for jihadists and extremists like Zahran Hashim. To start with, this particular individual who engineered that infamy was a madrasa drop out who did not finish his education, but an autodidact who acquired his twisted ideas about Islam through contacts with foreign sources.  In an article published earlier, it was pointed out that, “So far, there is absolutely no hard evidence that madrasas in Sri Lanka are teaching jihadism and producing jihadists. What they are producing instead is a community of religious men and women who are ignorant of the cosmopolitan outlook of Islamic civilization and therefore making the madrasa indoctrinated Islam an inward looking and exclusivist religion. How to make Islam cosmopolitan, inclusive and tolerant is the fundamental challenge Muslims are facing in plural societies like Sri Lanka”. It was in that vein another article advocated that madrasa education should be modernised (Colombo Telegraph, 6 Feb. 2019). The existing madrasas are repositories and transmitters of past knowledge and not laboratories producing new knowledge to face modern challenges. They are churning out graduates who are mostly memorisers and summarisers rather than analysers and innovators. nThe latter skills require access to knowledge outside the medieval texts that are being taught in them, an expertise in modern learning techniques and in addition, familiarity with other languages apart from classical Arabic. 

Lately however, and at least since 1990s, several madrasas have fallen under the influence of Wahhabi orthodoxy because of Saudi funding. That orthodoxy is also spreading through faculties and departments of Islamic and Arabic studies in universities.This does not mean that Wahhabism is solely responsible for the emergence of producing jihadists and extremists. A Wahhabi can become a jihadist or extremist just as a secularly educated young man or woman can become one. In fact, among the Easter bombers were upper and upper middle class youngsters who did not go to the madrasas but were educated in Western universities. It all depends on the situation peculiar to each country and society. The post-2009 wave of far right Buddhist nationalism with its anti-Muslim focus and Islamophobia, and the failure of successive governments to check its spread have a lot to answer for the spread of extremism among sections of Muslim youth in this country. To blame the madrasas for this failure is to bark up the wrong tree. 

Today, one doesn’t have to go to a madrasa or any other institution to get radicalised. We are living in an interconnected world and network society. By sitting at your home or in your bedroom with a laptop or television and watching the pictures of wars and bloodshed relayed almost daily from the Middle East and other Muslim countries, any young Muslim man or woman with an inkling of feeling for his umma (super community) could easily get agitated. He or she only needs some spark from somewhere to get into action, an important ingredient in the growth of home grown terrorism in the West.  This fact must be understood by those who are ready to put the entire Muslim community on the dock for the crimes of a few.     

That there is a need to check the spread of Wahhabism by modernising madrasa education is beyond question. In general, Wahhabism is an ultra-orthodox and purist ideology allowed to spread globally by the US and its Western allies to counter the threat of Iranian Shia radicalism in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution. Unlike Shia radicalism, Wahhabi orthodoxy does not advocate rebellion against governments or revolution. These ideologues would even prefer tyranny over anarchy. Saudi monarchy survives on the strength of Wahhabism. Philosophically, this ideology is essentially anti-Shia, anti-Sufi, anti-rational and even anti-science. It is this outlook that is retarding the culture of progress in many Muslim societies.  In countries like Sri Lanka, Wahhabis are creating religious tension and divisions both within and outside the Muslim community. There is also the danger that this ideology prepares a mindset that can be easily swayed by more vicious ideologies preached by groups like the ISIS. Wahhabism is all about iman (faith or belief), and groups like ISIS are all about (umma) belonging. It is the shift from belief to belonging that creates problem for Muslim minorities. The National Thawheed Jamaat is a classic example of this evolution from belief to belonging. The issue therefore is not to control the madrasas but to unlock the Wahhabi mindset to make it scientific and rational. 

Madrasas are only one part of Muslim education. There are, in addition, Muslim schools with Wahhabi-leaning teachers, and university faculties and departments that teach Islam and Islamic studies with a pro-Wahhabi stint. The entire structure of Muslim education therefore needs reforming, and that cannot be done in isolation without reforming the national education structure. Snice independence education in Sri Lanka has become one of the vehicles to create a soft apartheid society. As a result, the standard of education has fallen, partly in response to competing populist demands from communal quarters and partly because of inadequate resources. This is one reason why there are tens of thousands of unemployable graduates in the country ready to be mobilised by leaders to advance chauvinist agendas.  

What is needed now is a thorough overhaul of the national education system, including the madrasas, with a view to build a united Sri Lanka first and then to produce generations of literate, skilled and capable citizens to face a competitive world. This requires nothing short of a White Paper drawn by a team of educationists and experts. Anything less will be band aid solutions. Unfortunately, such an overhaul cannot be initiated by a Prime Minister and President who are about to wish good bye to their respective offices.      

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    Muslims can teach Islam but not Saudi Arabian Culture. Wahhabism is Saudi arabian culture. Mohommadean is the proper Islamic religion. that area because they were covering the whole body an did not get viatmin D in their body, they had a disease condition Kwashi-or-kor.
    Because, the International community wanted to fulfill two objectives out of the Zaharan exploding. That is to sinhala people go against Muslims and corner them. so, that will help creating more Wahhabis. International community had done that in former Yugoslovia and they did among they themselves. The theory is CIA began creating Jihadis and it went out of control. I Sri lanka, they wanted Muslims to go more to extremism (if Sinhala people began attacking muslims) and then implementing R2P and peace keeping forces were ready to land.
    In Sri lanka, they should cancel the 15th amendment. right now because of political greed, none of the three major parties say they would do that. They have to question rishad Bathiuddin and Hisbulla. rishad Bathiuddin is UK educated and that means, he may have exposed to Islamic Extremism in the UK. Hisbullah is India educated and He must also had been exposed to Extremist version of Islam.

  • 4
    0

    Our leaders should have overhauled our education system a long time ago. It serves most politicians well to keep the people divided, and set one agains the other. It was also long overdue that acceptance of other religions, and unity, be a priority in that education. You have to look at other more advanced nations with multi-religious populations, to realize it can be done. It is all up to Sri Lankan leaders, and changing the mentality of the people.

    • 0
      0

      chitra,
      do you seriously think that education is responsible for the present plight of SL. those who went english schools were the people who brought in discriminatory legislation depriving the minorities of their citizenship and language rights. pl. tell us how to overhaul the education to create a saner society? pass it to the national education commission, navala road , nugegoda. in the school system they do not teach pure racism or ethnocentric ideas. only thing is that they learn in linguistically and ethnically divided schools. can you allow visaka school or hindu college to accommodate all children?
      daya

    • 0
      0

      “You have to look at other more advanced nations with multi-religious populations, to realize it can be done”

      IQ can’t be taught

  • 5
    0

    Simple, close them all down.

    • 1
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      Where ever you go in the world Muslims are despised. In UK its the Paki’s and Bangladeshi’s, in France its the Moroccans, Tunisians and Algerians, in Germany its the Turks. The Americans hate anyone brown being unable to distinguish between Indians, Arabs and North Africans.
      The common problem being Muslims drawing attention to themselves with their clothing, fair hair , skull caps and showoffy Mosques.

  • 3
    0

    Dr Amir has nothing to fear.
    Dr Ranil said he will have those Schools ready in Two Years.
    Where kids can learn without any religion and without any language difference .
    How cool?.

    I know Dr Ranil promised to give us a New Buddhism .
    Wonder what Dr Ranil has in place for this no “difference language” in his new Education?…-

    Will Dr Ranil take our Dahampasal and Pirivena students too to his new Schools?.

    • 1
      0

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “I know Dr Ranil promised to give us a New Buddhism .”

      Who wants New Buddhism? Actually we want to have Buddhism liberated from Sinhala/Buddhism as taught by the Awakened One, and not by the public racist Anagarika Homeless Dharmapala.

      You could stuff the New Buddhism and Sinhala/Buddhism inside ……………………. where both belong.

      What is the difference between Pirivenas and Madrassas?
      Don’t some of the Pirivenas and Madrassas are being occupied by Hate Preachers?

  • 3
    0

    The civilizational responsibility of unbelievers, non believers and other non Muslims on whom the Muslims hang like parasites for their existence is to phase out Islam with minimal physical harm to the brainwashed. This latter requirement is a serious constraint that will prolong the operation into a couple of centuries. However it is imperative that non Islamic ethical standards are maintained in this long drawn out process. Therefore the brainwashed should not be hated but looked upon with empathy, while of course safeguarding your life and limb.
    X

  • 4
    0

    A well presented, logical argument. The Muslims of Sri Lanka must make a decision whether they wish to be Muslims of Sri Lanka or Muslims in Sri Lanka. In this case, the former mindset is one of belonging and the other is a belief. This is a reversal of the point made by the author about Wahhabism (is all about iman, faith or belief), and groups like ISIS (are all about umma belonging). We want all Sri Lankans to have a sense of belonging if they wish to live in Sri Lanka and that cannot be achieved by a belief in some foreign orthodoxy. I am in total agreement that two leaders on the eve of their retirement (why on earth has it taken this long??) and proven to be ineffective and visions free, would be able to initiate anything that requires a comprehensive, long term solution. In fact one cannot have confidence that any politician currently in Parliament will have a vision to plan such a long term solution. Sri Lanka has been cursed by two leaders and they are the ones responsible for the state of our economy and our social and societal ills.

    • 0
      0

      “sense of belonging” – Important, but all must understand it’s a 2-way road.

  • 1
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    Dr. Ameer Ali,

    RE: Controlling Madrasas: Band-Aid Solution

    Thanks.

    1. ” Now, with the release of obstreperous Gnanasara who was imprisoned for contempt of court, the President has shown that it is not only the budget and the economy but even the judiciary is not important. “

    Hope, more and more of the populace can comprehend, despite the mean IQ of 79, that Sirisena, is a Traitor.

    2. “It appears that the main reason why it has picked the madrasas only is because of the general suspicion, arising from the recent Easter massacre, that they have become the incubators for jihadists and extremists like Zahran Hashim.”

    “That there is a need to check the spread of Wahhabism by modernising madrasa education is beyond question. In general, Wahhabism is an ultra-orthodox and purist ideology allowed to spread globally by the US and its Western allies to counter the threat of Iranian Shia radicalism in the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution. Unlike Shia radicalism, Wahhabi orthodoxy does not advocate rebellion against governments or revolution. These ideologues would even prefer tyranny over anarchy. Saudi monarchy survives on the strength of Wahhabism. Philosophically, this ideology is essentially anti-Shia, anti-Sufi, anti-rational and even anti-science.”

    Yes. Some of the Madrassa graduates turn out to be terrorists? Didn’t jihadists and extremists like Wahhabi Zahran Hashim go to Wahhabi Madrasas? Why? The syllabus? The teachings? The misunderstood Islamic ideology, or was it that the Wahhabi Satanic ideologies were also taught?

    How come BBS turned out to be terrorists, when Buddhas did not teach them? Wasn’t Ganasara trained in a Temple? Are the Temples producing terrorist “Buddhist’ Monks?

    Religion is the opium the masses. After they become opium addicts, it is easy turn them into terrorists even if they are monks.

    • 0
      0

      Amarasiri aiya
      You always say Sirisena is a traitor, sevalaya, patholaya and malaperethaya. I am looking for some words to describe those who selected and promoted him as the Common Candidate. Grateful if you can help me.

      Soma

      • 1
        0

        Soma Mali/Nangi,

        Have you heard about the Trojan Horse? The Helen of Troy? Talk to Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Sirisena ate Appa, Hoppers, and stabbed in the back, once in 2014, fooled those who wanted him to be the common candidate, and then stabbed Mahinda again in 2018 with the unconstitutional coup.

        Many will agree with the Titles earned by Sirisena, Traitor, Sevelaya(sleaze), Pachaya(liar), Mala-Petethaya(living off the dead) etc.

        • 0
          0

          Amarasiri aiya
          You didn’t oblige my request for some words to describe those who selected and promoted him as Jesus Christ and next Buddha Maitree. (CT won’t print my words) They told the voters that Rajapaksa was devil incarnation but his acolyte was the saint to lead them along the great journey towards Yahapalanaya. They never talked during the campaign that he slavishly promoted the 18th amendment and actively participated in the no-confidence against the lady Chief Justice. In fact they found what they were looking for in Sirisena – a traitor, sevalaya and patholaya but never expected him to be a malaperethaya.


          Soma

  • 2
    0

    The standard of education has fallen, partly in response to competing populist demands from communal quarters and partly because of inadequate resources./////

    Why is that students are rushing to tuition classes private tuition parallel to the formal system of education we have seen years private tutoring emerged as major force as a result of both demand and market mechanisms. having good teaches in the school the support and to overcome school inadequacies. disadvantaged and backward classes.

    It is not only within syllabus tuition all classes explores international standards teaching technique and world fit in to there job description standards. ( digitized)

  • 1
    0

    Dr. Ameer Ali,

    The rise of the Para-Sinhala Buddhist attacks on the Muslims since 2012, 2014 and 2017, and the failure of the Para-Sinhala Buddhist state to maintain law and order, and apprehend the rioters and criminals and to punish them, certainly had given a signal to the Muslim youth, both religious and secular, a different course of action has to be taken, just like the Tamils did with the LTTE, and tap into the global Islamic movements, irrespective of what the religion says about terrorism .

    However, the terrorist history of Wahhabism, and the infiltration of Wahhabism, has made this transition easy for those youth, who followed the Wahhabi ideology. If it was Sufism, it would have been unlikely.

    How many of the Madrasas and Muslim schools bring forth the information on the prescient Hadith if Najd, given in the Islamic Sources, Authentic Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim, and the Wahhabis are hailing from Najd, Riyad, Sufi Arabia? Ask a 100 Muslims. Ask them if the world is flat? Ask them if the Sun goes around the Earth?

    May be these questions should be asked from every Madrassa Graduate. Every Moulavis and Ulama. Their ignorance will become clear. So, they are the people guiding the Muslim masses. Blind leading the Blind.

    • 1
      0

      Correction ,

      The Wahhabis are hailing from Saudi Arabia, Najd, per prescient Hadith of Najd, given in Muslim and Bukhari.

      How many Wahhabies and clones know that? How many Ulama, Imams, Moulavis and Muslims know that? Hardly anybody. Why they choose to ignore Authentic Islamic Sources?

      • 0
        1

        You have mentioned the Ulamas but forgotten the Uguduwas. Amarasiri, just because you are paid by the word, don’t write gibberish. but then with a lower than average IQ what can you write except monkey gibberish.

        • 0
          1

          Edwin ,

          Is your IQ too dropping to the low IQ levels of the Ulama, Imams and the monks? Just read up on the Hadiths of Najd, Google the IQ and GMAT scores Post, and the Jaya Mangala Gatha of the original Pali, where the monks are behaving like Mara.
          They also abuse little boys.

          By the way, Amarasiri is NOT paid by the word. It is all ALTRUISM to help out the low IQ ignorant idiots, who believes in rebirth ? Hell heaven, purgatory etc.

          • 1
            0

            Para Amarasiri, were you also abused by any monk when you were a little boy?
            .
            You say you are not paid by the word. You are perhaps right. No one would, because your words are coming from a stupid brain. Also, don’t forget that you are known as C P P Amarasiri. C P here stands for Copy and Paste and the second P for Para. Perhaps, you are paid by the number of C P you make.
            .
            Surely, I understand your disbelief in rebirth. With such a pathetic birth now, who knows how bad the next would be, especially considering the crime of Copyright violations.

    • 0
      0

      Once you are attacked by Muslims Parayas,you have every rights to counter the attacks with same magnitude or higher magnitude.That has nothing to do with Buddhism. That is the rules of mother nature . Violence started by Islamist not by Sinhalese buddhists. Terrorism should be countered by terrorism No other alternatives.

  • 10
    2

    Another weak apologist article. The so called moderate Mohommedans have failed to control the craziness of the stone age Mohomeddan cult.
    Over the past month we have had the following issues coming from this racist stone age ideology
    -Crazy Mohommedans going Allah Allah and blowing up innocent christians and children praying in church
    -Mohommedan doctor with 400million assets messing possibly around with the reproductive capabilities of sinhala women
    -Another Mohommedan living in a walled house breeding 28 little Mohommedans who are home schooled in the stone age ideology
    -Mohommedan mosques collecting swords in the guise of grass cutting equipment
    -Racist Mohommedan politicians interfering with investigations
    If this writer is saying that the above was not done by Mohommedans, fed by the stone age Mohommedan teachings then who did it wizards? scientologists?
    The so called moderate Mohommedans have failed to control the stone age infection. It is time for the people of this country to bring in outside measures to control this crazy cult and banning Madrasas and mohommedan only schools will be a good start. Time for Gota and Galagoda Aththey Apey Hamuduruwo to get to work.

    • 0
      0

      Saudis,

      What is in the Mohamedan Religion , Islam, that produced peaceful Sufi Muslims, who l
      Claimed to love God, I’m their theology, who do not turn out to be terrorists, whereas the Wahhabis and their clones, become very violent, become terrorists , and their initial attacks were against Sufi Muslims?

      Prescient Hadith of Najd that claims that Wahhabies and clones follow Satan?

      What is in the Buddhism, that makes Para-Sinhala”Buddhists”, to attack Tamils, Christians and Muslims, that is not in the Buddhism? Do the Para-Sinhala “Buddhists” also follow (Satan), Mara, Buddha warned about?

    • 0
      0

      Saugus,

      http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/SUFISM–The-Forgotten-Facet-Of–ISLAM/172-168025

      The Sufis claim they follow God and the love of God, like the core Christian teachings.

      The Wahhabis follow hate, the hatred is Satan, per prescient Hadith of Najd.

      That is why Wahhabis attack the Sufis.

      Satan also believes in Tauheed, the core theology of Unity oh God, the Unitarian principle , per Islamic Theology.

    • 0
      0

      ——————————————
      Time for Gota and Galagoda Aththey Apey Hamuduruwo to get to work.
      ——————————————

      Sadu Saaaaadu Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaadu!!!!!

      I’d say Amen to that. A soldier is the need of the hour. Whenever this country has been in trouble it was always a soldier who came to the rescue.

      Way back in history, Dutugemunu a soldier and king came to the rescue. Then in 2009, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, another soldier turned politician came to the rescue and now another soldier better come forward.

      These napunsakayas in Parliament cannot do it.

    • 0
      0

      Saurus concludes in the comment here, {“Time for Gota and Galagoda Aththey Apey Hamuduruwo to get to work”}.
      We share the Saurus angst over the ‘tragedy’ that was the 2019 Lankan Easter Sunday.
      But the remedy suggested that Gota & Gnanasara ‘get to work’ is bound to make things worse.
      Surely not the path of the anti-Muslim 2014 Aluthgama Pogrom.

      • 1
        0

        @K Pillai
        Desperate times call for desperate measures. As the Rtd Lt says it is time to unleash the dogs of war as the “napunsakayas in Parliament” cannot do it. May be side effects of Mohommedan contraceptive pills introduced into the canteen food?
        Sure we run the risk of a few white vannings, few mob attacks, heightened military presence in the North, a few billions lost down a few pockets, a few flower boys treating Air Lanka as a personal harem but the country is facing a clear and present danger from the racist stone age Mohommedan cult. And let’s face it it is not just the Sinhalese but the tamils who have to face the racist Mohommedan danger (look at how Hindus were treated under majority Mohommedan control), after all just a month ago a Mohommedan went Allah Allah and specifically targetted little tamil children playing outside a church (in “non war time”). Imagine the scenario if the Kattankudy ideology spreads up North or way down South?
        To safeguard the future of the country can we continue to rely on the napunsakayas? This is not a job for cricketers and casino moguls, this specific task requires a particular set of skills -at this point possessed by the two Gs.
        The country was failed by the so called moderate Mohommedans it’s time to bring in outside measures.

  • 0
    0

    Whatever the ism or sects of Islamism that produce suicide Bombers is not nonbelievers concern.Their concern is peaceful society free of brutal ism or brutal sects of brutal Islam. Government immediate duty is to total elimination of causes of those brutalities. Can not wait Islamic priests or Diaspora intervene & correct them. Government immediate actions should be to eliminate causes of these brutalities. If causes of brutalities is Islamism. Government should immediately ban it & remove recognizance given to it by our constitution making nonbelievers vile animals in front of our basic law. Islamism say nonbelievers are vile animals Koran 8:55 That means knowing or unknowing our law makers made nonbelievers or people of the other faiths are vile animals in front of our basic law. Teaching of such a brutal Ism should be banned. That means All Madrasas should be banned. Totally eliminated.

  • 1
    0

    Dear Saurus!

    No body can nicely confirm Dr. Ali’s proposal to modernize our entire education system, including Madrassa , like Saurus. In that way we can save at least Saurus’s children from being radicalised like Ganasara, the Buddhist terrorist, and Gota who had opened BBS Madrasa in Galle, when he was holding a responsible office in the country. If (Muslim) Madrasaa are responsible for producing Jihadists, it is certain that Buddhist Madarsas ( Dhaham Paasala) had produced hundreds upon hundreds terrorist monks and Gota like people in Sri Lanka and Myanmar’s Bin Ladan , Asin Wiraatu of 969 terrorists group.

  • 0
    0

    Racist writer, why dont you write an article white washing the sterilization doctor..?

  • 1
    1

    “Today, one doesn’t have to go to a madrasa or any other institution to get radicalized” Dr. Ali. Radicals need to get into the payroll of the Mara, Sira, Dudley and other right wing terrorists, and then sign up for a bank account in order to draw down funds that are sponsored by the Goat and his Madamulane mullahs. After they instigate and burn the country, they tread on the bodies of the victims and hoodwink the plentiful Sinhala modaya’s that the Raja hivallu and hyenas are the most trusted fire fighters in town to douse the flames they themselves helped to start.

  • 0
    0

    Ameer Ali: Because of Arabic Oil money which bring Wahhabi Maulavis, giving political donations,. because the western democracy wants it that way, should the sinhala people allow Sinhala civilization to be vanished. The west wants Asians go against Wahhabis and Salafis; make way for them and giving them the win.

  • 0
    0

    Ameer Ali again makes a lot of good sense but reading through the article one feels that only controlling the Madrasas does not even provide a band-aid solution because the problem is much deeper, and what is needed is a comprehensive overhaul of the education system. Amir Ali has noted that we cannot expect either the President or the Prime Minister, preoccupied as they are by the impending end to their offices, to initiate any action in that regard. For that matter can we expect any of the country’s politicians to do that? This matter is too serious to be left to them. I feel it is up to gentlemen like Dr Ameer Ali and other sensible people from civil society to start a movement to bring about the necessary change. The terrible consequences of short-sighted educational policies are only too well known. We cannot reverse the harm that has already occurred but we can do something about the future. Strangely enough one thing that has emerged after the Easter Sunday attacks is the display of an enormous fund of goodwill among the communities. The need for quiet introspection has been well articulated. And if that is undertaken with sincere hearts and goodwill – by all communities that make up the nation – only good can result. A start needs to be made. Now.

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