By Latheef Farook –
On Tuesday 11 September 2018, the Cabinet endorsed the “Counter-Terrorism Bill” (CTL) to be enacted by the Sri Lankan Parliament repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act, PTA, applied during the wartime in dealing with the LTTE.
The draft bill was presented to the Cabinet by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana with Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Minister Champika Ranawaka, both known for their hostile mindset towards Muslims reportedly grumbling at the Cabinet meeting that the law was not tough enough!
President Maithripala Sirisena, known for his indifference towards Muslims had agreed to the amendments proposed by Mr. Rajapaksa.
I do not want to go into details of the draft Bill. However it is proper to ask why now this bill, as Ministers Champika Ranawaka and Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe possibly believe that this law if enacted can be used against the minorities and keep the communities divided to achieve their political objective, though it has already been pointed out that in Sri Lanka CTL must necessarily be enforced against Sinhala Buddhist extremists. It is well known that Muslims were subjected to frequent extremist attacks both under the previous and also under the present government.
Ever since the LTTE was militarily defeated in May 2009, terrorism was crushed. Right now there is no terrorism in the country and there is no sign of LTTE raising its head. The only terrorism is the organized Sinhala racist attacks on Muslims involving some elements from the police and Special Task Force-STF- while the government turned a blind eye.
The question is under such circumstance what is the need for CTA? This is because the country passing through a period of worst political and economic crisis while numerous burning issues which deserve urgent attention and solution remain ignored.
Muslims were subjected to violent upheavals under former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Muslims island wide trusted and voted for President Maithripala Sirisena after he assured the restoration of law and order, justice, security, peace and harmony to all. However within months, Muslims, to their shock, began to realize that the two governments were the same.
For example dismissing the sentiments of Muslim here and abroad and peace loving people worldwide, President Sirisena visited the Jewish holocaust museum, during his official tour to Germany, at a time when the real holocaust world- wide were against the Muslims! The visit means rewarding Israel’s barbarity towards Palestinians who have the support of peace loving people everywhere.
Srilankan Muslims were shocked and deeply disappointed. Adding insult to injury the government invited as guest of honor the war criminal former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who, together with US President George Bush, invaded under false pretext and destroyed the ancient country of Iraq, killed millions of innocent Iraqis and destroyed the entire infrastructure besides looting the country from its oil resources to museum.
Of course Muslims have not forgotten that pro-western Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was perhaps the only third world prime minister who refused to condemn the US-UK invasion of Iraq. He has even reported to have told Muslim parliamentarians who wanted to condemn the invasion to leave the government and do so.
During the visit, Blair also met President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the darling of US led UK, European and Israeli war mongers
Shameless state of affair was such that Blair was even given the honor of addressing the Lakshman Kadirgamar International Centre demonstrating that the country has no care for human values. It is no more the fearless respected country with a fiercely independent foreign policy of the 1960s and early 1970s.
In the midst there began sporadic violent attacks on Muslims. When these attacks intensified, a joint delegation from the Sinhala and Muslim civil society led by Prof Sarath Wijesuriya met President Sirisena, during latter part of Ramadan in June 2017, and appealed to him to stop these attacks. President Sirisena dismissed their plea saying these attacks were the works of Mahinda Rajapaksa to topple the government.
However months later in March 2018 Sinhalese Buddhist mob descended by the hundreds, screaming at the top of their lungs and carrying sticks, stones and petrol bombs, on the hill town of Ambatenna in central before spreading to Ampara,Teldeniya,Digana and Akurana.
Many columnists said violence against Muslims did not occur in a vacuum, but backed by an ideology and a political program. Some even went to the extent of exaggerating that it was a deliberate act of the government to create turmoil to divert people’s attention from the prevailing political and economic instabilities.
Dr. Deepika Udagama, Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka said: “These sporadic incidents of violence are occurring in the backdrop of sustained hate campaigning against certain religious groups on social media. Hence, we call to take decisive action under the law to bring to book elements which are responsible for instigating religious hatred and violence in the Kandy District and also in other areas. We emphasize the need to take action not only against those who directly participated in such violence, but in particular, against those who instigated and provided organizational strength for such violence.”
The Commission is firmly of the view that if swift and decisive action is not taken against those responsible for sectarian violence, such incidents will not only continue but will escalate. There is a growing feeling within the Muslim community that the government, despite all promises of good governance giving hopes of a peaceful future, had allowed racist forces to attack them.
A number of persons were arrested, however no one was prosecuted, found guilty or sentenced. This was the disgusting state of affairs. President Sirisena did not find it fit to visit the victims, but rushed to New Delhi to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This hostility continues up to date while racist elements were creating tension in the Ampara district due to government decision to build a temple in the Irakkamam Mayakkal area.
Almost three and half years later today the government has miserably refused to fulfil its pledges and failed in all fields.
The repeated attacks on Muslims have made them realize that to them there is no difference between Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government and the Maithri-Ranil government as racist attacks continued.
On the other hand in one of the most disastrous foreign policy decisions the government failed to condemn the genocide of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s military which is the real power there.
The government has also been hostile to Muslims in all Muslim related issue worldwide. For example all international anti- Muslim forces, from America and Israel, who together with Britain, France and Russia, bombed and destroyed nine Muslim countries, killed more than eleven million Muslims and rendered more than 50 million Muslims refugees, are here in the island with their own anti-Muslim agenda as part of their global conspiracy against Muslims. The government is trying to arm these elements with the Counter Terrorism Law.
They enjoy government support. Many suspect that they have penetrated the mainstream media and knowledgeable Muslims fear that these evil forces certainly plot and conspire against the island’s Muslims.
This fear is further buttressed by the government being absorbed into the Washington-Tel Aviv-New Delhi anti-Muslim axis with its agenda of extreme hatred and violence towards Muslims.
This axis of evil emerged in the aftermath of the collapse of former Soviet Union which brought the three strange bed fellows together in keeping with the age old saying that “in international relations there are no permanent friends but only permanent interest”.
During their recent visit to India, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strong Evangelical Christian and extremely anti-Muslim war monger, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and rabid pro Zionist John Bolton, the new National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, sealed this growing alliance.
It is an alliance involving evangelical Christians, Zionist Jews and Hindu terrorist Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh-RSS-with a common anti-Muslim agenda.
The three have one common agenda against Islam and Muslims. The island’s government has thrown open the doors to all these forces and their local mercenaries in the island.
Unless responsible elements among the Sinhalese community rise up and take measures to deal with these global destructive forces the country turning into a killing field again to the detriment of all may be inevitable.
However, it appears, that there is some silver line of hope following President Sirisena’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly when he said no need of foreign interference in the island and his support to the just struggle of Palestinian suffering under Israeli barbarity.
Omar Shariff / September 28, 2018
Brilliant piece of writing Mr Farook.
A U.S. government investigation last month found Myanmar’s military waged a “well-planned and coordinated” campaign of mass killings, gang rapes, looting and other atrocities against the muslims.
This can happen in Srilanka if action is not taken against this rogue state.
Burt / September 28, 2018
It already happened in Sri Lanka but it was against the Tamils and Muslims were part of the oppressors.
Dinuk / September 29, 2018
This Act is to both distract attention and silence dissent as the economic debacle in Lanka unfolds in coming months.
Minorities will be targetted as Scapegoats– to distract from the Corruption of Bondscam Ranil-Sira Govt. also as elections loom and to delay them
Remember that the worst attacks on Tamils and Muslims in 1983 and 2018 happened on UNP watch when the Neoliberal economic agenda was being pushed.
Attacks on Muslims in April 2018 were timed to distract from release for PCOI Bondscam Report and need for Ranil’s impeachment.
Now that ethnic conflict is exhausted, religion is being weaponized by corrupt politicians in Sri Lanka and by external parties.
This is to distract from the real problems which are corruption and crashing economy.
Steve / September 28, 2018
“The repeated attacks on Muslims have made them realize that to them there is no difference between Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government and the Maithri-Ranil government as racist attacks continued. “
Mr. Farook – any outcome from the numerous Ifthar dinners served a few months ago to the previous Secretary of Defence ?
Mallaiyuran / September 29, 2018
This year, just before election, Hezbollah warned in election speech that if North East is merged Blood River will flow in Tamils’ home land.
Hezbollah earlier brought Saudi Prince to East and made to present a check for Rizana’s (the 17 years old teenage babysitter decapitated by Saudi) father, but it was NSF (Who should have been arrested on that? Saudi Prince or Hezbollah)
Recently a Tamil Rebel, who now works with Government told they (LTTE) handed over their 5000 + weapons to Muslims leaders like Hezbollah, Rishard….
Hezbollah brought money from Saudi Under the name of building a Muslim University and transferred the machinery to his own projects. Media, I didn’t see, reporting where those heavy machinery were moved and what projects Hezbollah is on.
Minister Hezbollah was arrested but some other Muslim minsters got involved and he was released on the same day by a Muslim judge.
That is why Latheef is here suddenly. You can see well he didn’t have a topic to write an Essay.
chiv / September 28, 2018
I hear the Lankan kid in Australia has been released on bail. People who made a lot of hue and cry, please take note that Lanka just passed a law where the same kid will not be that fortunate. So next time please look in the mirror before you criticize other countries of their system. In Lanka the outcome would have been murder in police custody, lock him up and throw the keys, come up with frivolous charges to divert the public from national issues, keep him in prison for a longer time without charges and worse will be charge him with crimes which were committed by the government. This kid is fortunate this mishap took place in a foreign land and not in Lanka. I hear a Indian tourist on transit in BIA was about to be charged for wearing a dress with Buddhas resemblance (supposedly a new trend /line of clothing called Kalamkari and nothing to do with Buddhism ). The “fresh pair of eyes” did not go well in UN and the same will be the new PTA. Lankans never give up on “trying to fool the world”.
JD / September 29, 2018
wAHABI dEVOTEE – CHIV: What happens if some one brings a CROSS or bible to Saudi AraBIA OR EVEN YOUR wAHABI cHURCH. WHAT HAPPENS IF SOME ONE DRAWS hOHOMMAD PORTRAIT OR RIDICULE THE QURAN. who believes in a cult ?
Fathima / September 29, 2018
Whoever goes to Saudi Arabia, it is to earn money or seek a business opportunity or for pilgrimage reasons only – Beneficiaries have to abide by the host country law.
In the case of Sri Lanka, we earn from tourists. In the case of business, we must respect the investors to select SL among other better south Asian countries.
In the case of few very high profile jobs Europeans holding, we must nurture them since we do not have the right talents to replace with – Look what happened to SriLankan trying with a local CEO?
Have you heard “some” got no choices but to accept things?
justice / September 28, 2018
You appear to have forgotten the Mawanella Riots of 2001.
The more recent Aluthgama Riots were worse.
“Right now there is no terrorism in the country………………………………………….”
Have you not heard of State Terrorism ?
Go north and inquire from Tamils and Muslims.
Karachchal / September 28, 2018
It is necessary to face the Thambi terrorism that is brewing in Pothuvil and Kalmunai and Kandy and Colombo. We need to be ready.
K.Pillai / September 28, 2018
Recently the Cabinet endorsed conditionally repealing the draconian 1978 PTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) to be replaced with what is envisaged in the Counter Terrorism Bill. PTA was not used on the goons in Black July 1983 but applied with gay abandon in dealing with the Tamil Liberation Fronts.
PTA never defined terrorism and the Counter Terrorism Bill is not expected to. The sponsors of the Bill, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Minister Champika Ranawaka never criticised BBS .
Do the trio know who harboured fugitive Gnanasara. .
The Counter Terrorism Bill can be used selectively as was the PTA.
JD / September 29, 2018
Wahabi Friend Mossad and CIA are active in Sri Lanka. So Wahabis, AL Nusra aka HTS, ISIL in Sri lanka may try to screw up things. So any Home security act must face those problems.
JD / September 29, 2018
Religious Bigot muslim – LAtheff Farook is supporting Saudi Arabia. there is no ROHINGYA STATe. IT At is Arkhin State and Arakhin buddhists. IT is Sau di Arabia Trained Pakisthani terrorists that created all the problems in Mynamar and their army solved it. Now, as they did in Nicaragua like countries they want to send CIA element of the UN Panel to Myanmar to investigate that and they will write Myanmar goavt Myanmar Army killed I fested terrorists but UN Panel will say they were rohingya patriots. As in Sri lanka, things will not work for the Ronhingya from Bangla desh.
Lamkan / September 29, 2018
Sri Lanka is going to see more and more unwanted trouble and tension..
Who will benefit out it .
Not any Sri Lanka ..
We will lose tourists arrival..
Our economy will suffer
Our people will suffer .
Our country will.suffer..
Not anyone from outside
Harry / September 29, 2018
Mr.Farook, Jerusalem legally belongs to Israel, just read the bible for evidence. It is the capital of Israel for more than 2500 years. So how can the Palestinian thieves who recently came from nowhere demand a legal belonging that exists for thousands of years? And why do you call the Israelis “barbarians”? You and the whole world may support Palestine, but we will always be on Israel’s side.
Muhandiram / September 29, 2018
Does the Bible determine International Law? Since when?
You and your likes are most likely to be Evangelists. No wonder you support the Brutal zionist Savages who mercilessly kill even children in Palestine. They have imposed a Blockade on Gaza in 2008 making it the largest Open Air Prison in the World with close to 2 million inhabitants 800,000 of whom are children below 14 years.
Do you Evangelists have hearts?
Herbert Thambiyah / September 29, 2018
There is NO difference between MS Or MR or any Sinkhala leaders.
All are the same. Minorities will be prosecuted forever in this island.
Its high time hybrid International Courts are set up here with International Judges.
Pissu Hutan / October 2, 2018
There is absolutely no difference between TNA and LTTE. Lying about a fake non existent Tamil history and is all they are doing. They all are “victims” too.
Pissu Hutan / October 2, 2018
These whining Tamils and also Muslims have no problem with living in the west as 3rd or 4th class citizens. In fact that’s how they are treated there. They won’t question the Christianity and it’s special place. There are no religious holidays except for christian holidays. No Taipongal day for Tamils LOL………… They will burn Koran in public and call that a right. They even allow newspapers to depict Muhammad as a pedophile. But still all minorities accept their PLACE in the west without any complains. Yet here in SL they moan that they are treated like 2nd class citizens.