By Latheef Farook –
The government has appointed a committee to consider reforms to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act though there are many burning issues which needs immediate attention.
This new committee was appointed despite the fact that an earlier committee chaired by former Supreme Court Judge Saleem Marsoof has been involved in deliberating amendments for last 7 years. The delay being due to the controversial and sensitive nature of the issues involved and the need to consider very carefully any changes to shariat law which is divine law, and cannot be deviated at any costs.
According to cabinet co-spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka “some provisions in the Muslim Law, including the minimum age of marriage, were not in conformity to the norms stipulated in international conventions, which Sri Lanka was holding membership, and thus it has become necessary to amend those provisions.
It is difficult to understand on what basis he compared divine Sharia laws to the norms of manmade international conventions enacted to suit western imperial powers’ agendas.
Justifying the move, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake who knows nothing about Sharia law, told media briefing that “the country had to obey the international conventions to get the GSP+. Amending of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act is also a part of international protocol, which is a requirement to obtain GSP +”.
Earlier Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa proposed to appoint a cabinet Sub-committee to make proposals regarding suitable amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act.
This new committee was formed following Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s recent visit to Belgium where he discussed the island’s efforts to regain the GSP+ facility with the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. In response the European Union, EU, demanded Sri Lanka amends the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act to grant GSP+.
Importance attached by EU to this demand is such that a four-member delegation from the European Parliament visited Sri Lanka and the Maldives from October 31 to November 3 to assess the ground situation as a precursor for a successful GSP Plus application
Now the question is what is the need for EU to demand changes in Islamic Sharia law? In fact GSP+ facility was cancelled due to the short sighted policies of Mahinda Rajapaksa racist regime which antagonized the EU without realizing the serious impact on the island’s economy.
GSP+ facility and Sharia law are two entirely different subjects.
For example the GSP, Generalized System of Preferences, is a preferential tariff system which provides for a formal system of exemption from the more general rules of the World Trade Organization- WTO. It’s a system of exemption from the most favored nation principle (MFN) that obliges WTO member countries to treat the imports of all other WTO member countries no worse than they treat the imports of their “most favored” trading partner. In essence, MFN requires WTO member countries to treat imports coming from all other WTO member countries equally, that is, by imposing equal tariffs on them, etc.
GSP exempts WTO member countries from MFN for the purpose of lowering tariffs for the least developed countries, without also lowering tariffs for rich countries.
On the other hand Muslim Marriage and Divorce law is based on the teachings of Holy Quran which is the divine law clearly specifying every aspect of marriage and divorce.
Muslim Marriage and Divorce law, revealed 1430 years ago, provides the right for a woman to choose her husband and to divorce in the event of incompatibility or other factors which prevent them from living in harmony together. Long before today’s man made laws even thought of women’s rights, Islam has given all rights including on how divorced woman should be treated.
Islam also has given women the right to property and evidence though being maligned, distorted and demonized today by United States, British, European, Russian and Israeli war mongers joined by anti-Muslim RSS racist regime in New Delhi.
Customs, traditions and culture of Muslims differ from country to country and society to society, yet Sharia laws were observed by all Muslims alike. Here in Sri Lankan child marriage is not a major issue as most Muslim girls marry in their late teens or early twenties.
Under such circumstance European Union demanding Sri Lanka to reform Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act to provide GSP + can only be described as ridiculous.
Sri Lanka’s foreign policy under this government has been blindly following US led western war mongers anti Muslim agendas dismissing the feelings of the island’s Muslims who played a crucial role in bringing this government to power.
Muslims suspect this as part of the overall global anti Muslim campaign unleashed by US led Europe which destroyed Muslim countries in the Middle East and turned them into killing fields and graveyards. They not only destroyed modern Muslim countries but also massacred millions of innocent Muslims who lived peacefully with all prosperity in their homes besides throwing millions of Muslims into refugee camps to suffer in abject poverty.
This is the very same Europe demanding Sri Lanka to change Sharia law to grant GSP+.
This is the reason why the government’s committee to temper with the Muslim marriage and divorce act is viewed with suspicion and likely to provoke Muslims. Already there were demonstrations near mosques in Colombo and other places after Friday noon prayers calling the government to dissolve this committee.
Is changing Muslim marriage and divorce act the top priority of the country which is passing through one of its worst political and economic crisis.
The government which came with the slogan of eliminating crime and corruption has become the defender of crime and corruption. People are angry and disillusioned. Under such circumstance need of the hour is to deal with burning issues and not to antagonize the Muslim community to please European war mongers.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, architect of Genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in February 2002, is also hell bent on changing Muslim personal law. Not because he likes Muslims but because he wanted to eliminate Islamic identity of the Indian Muslims.
BJP’s Cow Vigilante thugs subject Indian Muslims to medieval style persecutions. They rape and gang rape, kill and force feed Muslims with cocktails of cow dung and urine with police connivance.
Just five months after Burmese leader Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took over power Muslim villages in Northern Rakhine State were attacked on October 9 by government security forces. The U.N.’s special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, said serious violations, including torture, summary executions, arbitrary arrests and destruction of mosques and homes, threaten the country’s fledgling democracy.
“The big picture is that the government does not seem to have any influence over the military,” said Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, an advocacy group that focuses on the Rohingya.
On 20 October Aung san Suu Kyi visited New Delhi and signed several agreements with violent anti Muslim BJP government. Thus hostile forces are ganging up and violence against Muslims spreading towards South Asia.
Sri Lankan is not short of racist elements Myanmar’s Wirathu type racist elements. Under such environment, Sri Lankan government needs to reconsider tempering with Muslim Marriage and divorce Act as no one wants to bring EU’s war against Muslims to Sri Lanka.