14 December, 2018

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From The Safest To An Insecure Sri Lanka For Muslims – II

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Yet, a question should be asked whether the Muslims themselves did contribute in some ways to become a target for attack. There are two elements that provided sustenance to the nationalists’ poisonous propaganda against Muslims. One is political and the other religious. Politically, the formation of an ethnic political party for Muslims, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, was a historic blunder committed out of parochial interest. At no time did the SLMC represent the entire Sri Lankan Muslim community contrary to its claim otherwise.  Yet, by hiding behind the support it had in the Eastern Province and by arrogantly claiming to representation at a national level SLMC jeopardised the security of Muslims in all other provinces, especially at a time when Sinhalese and Tamil sub-nationalisms were clashing violently. Also, while the Sinhalese and Tamil firebrands had their respective languages to rouse the masses to act, SLMC, without a language to claim its own, had to resort to religion to move its supporters to act. This unfortunately drew Islam into the ethnic cauldron. This is a new and dangerous phenomenon in Muslim politics of Sri Lanka. Before the birth of SLMC, Muslim leaders were shrewd enough to rally behind one or the other of national parties to gain access to political power, and indeed they achieved a lot to the community. SLMC on the other hand singlehandedly managed to make the Muslims a target for attack not only by the Sinhalese politicians but also by their Tamil counterparts. It is time to dissolve this party and stop forming any other of its type if Muslims were to win back the confidence and trust of the other communities.

Islam as a religion was never a problem in Sri Lanka until the last quarter of the previous century. How did it become one after that? The answer to this question will lengthen this piece beyond limit. However, a few points need elaboration in the interest of clearing certain myths about Islam in this country. Firstly, the religious awakening amongst Muslims in the wake of the sudden influx of petrodollars into the coffers of OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) resulted in a frenzy of activities in the Muslim world with the ultimate goal of Islamising the ruling World Order, both in its economic and political dimensions. What gave the impetus to this frenzy was the fact that for the first time since the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate Muslim nations, at least its petrodollar quarters, had the financial capacity to design their Islamization programs without depending on Western powers for any economic aid or policy advice. The newly acquired wealth also gave the Muslims in general a false sense of pride in that they felt that the Muslim countries have become a power to be reckoned with in the international arena. Sri Lanka had a glimpse of the size of this rising Muslim power when the Non Aligned Movement’s conference convened in Colombo in 1976, which brought a galaxy of Muslim leaders with their entourage travelling through the city in glittering cavalcades.  Naturally, the local Muslim community was elated. However, a few Sinhala nationalists looked at this event through their warped lens and feared the early signs of a distant Muslim invasion.

Secondly, even before the 1970s, the religious activities of the Tabligh Jamaat (TJ), a peaceful missionary movement whose foot soldiers, contrary to many false propaganda, devoted their time and energy solely to make many nominal Muslims become real Muslims. This they did by preaching to them to regularise their prayers and other obligatory religious rituals, and adopt the simplicity of the Prophet, as the governing moto of their life. Without the TJ many mosques would have remained to this day empty of worshipers. However, as the number of worshippers increased mosques had to be enlarged to accommodate them. Mosque renovation works therefore became a common sight in the 1970s. After the 1980s however, in consequence of the new religious awakening, foreign funds flowed generously through state and private sources to supplement local collections and new mosques started springing up, some of them appearing very ostentatious with an architecture not entirely alien to Sri Lanka. How many of the mosque-haters and mosque-lovers in Sri Lanka would know that the dome that crowns many mosques here and all over the world has a Buddhist origin from Central Asia? (Incidentally, the city of Bukhara in Uzbekistan, where the famous collector of Hadiths or traditions of the Prophet, Imam Bukhari was born derives its name from vihara, another Buddhist connection to Islam.)     

Sri Lankan Muslims are mostly an urban community and therefore the proliferation of mosques in crowded cities and towns became an eyesore to the Sinhala nationalists. The situation made worse by the irresponsible use of loudspeakers to call for prayers, five times daily, starting from before dawn until late in the evening. When several mosques in a small area started calling through loudspeakers simultaneously the cacophony naturally became a nuisance to non-Muslims. Hence the frequent complaints against mosques from the Sinhalese and others. In this era of technology, when there are countless other means available to inform the worshippers know of their prayer times, why choose loudspeakers? This shows the failure of effective leadership among Muslims.

Thirdly, and this is the most contentious of the issues regarding Islam in Sri Lanka, is the rising influence of an ultra-conservative wave of the religion called Wahhabism.  This is a religious sect, which claims purity in belief but remained largely confined to the Arabian Peninsula until the 1970s. It became global in its spread in the wake of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. This needs some explanation. When Ayatollah Khomeini kicked out the Americans from Iran and threatened to export his hijacked Islamic revolution especially to the Sunni Arab world, US administration panicked.  The Iranian fever at that time was infecting the minds of Muslim youth everywhere. If for example, the regimes in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt were to be toppled by a religiously inspired revolution mixed with anti-Americanism, US dominance in the Middle East would have been in serious jeopardy. The challenge that confronted the super power therefore, was to find some way of stopping the Iranian virus from infecting. It was in that context it discovered that the safest way was to allow a counter force to influence the Muslim mindset. The ultra-conservative Wahhabi puritanism backed by Saudi riyals came quite handy and was licenced to capture the Muslim mind.  Through funds to build mosques and educational institutions, by offering scholarships to young Muslims to study in Saudi Arabia and Saudi nominated colleges and universities, by sponsoring conferences and colloquiums to which imams and Islamic religious functionaries from all over the world were invited and entertained and by offering free air tickets to Muslim leaders and members of their organizations to go on pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, Wahhabi influence spread far and wide. In addition, the expatriate Muslim labour force in the kingdom after been indoctrinated by the singular teachings of Wahhabi imams became a cheap conduit to spread the sect’s doctrine in their own countries when they returned home.

Whereas the preaching of TJ drew Muslims, particularly the males, in large numbers to the mosques and beseeched them to adopt simplicity as the way of life, which is also a goal of Buddhist teachings, Wahhabism on the other hand added a new dimension to this preaching by defining even the external appearance of Muslims, both males and females. In Sri Lanka too the attire of Muslims underwent radical changes after the 1980s. To Muslim women in particular, the traditional sari and the salwar went out of fashion and in their place came the Arabian long black abaya and jilbab with covered faces. Likewise, to Muslim men the traditional sarong, shirt and coat gave way to the long Arab gown or jibba with white cap and long beards. The criti cism that this attire provoked both within the official circles and among common people in plural societies was countered by the justification that it was the attire of the Prophet and his wives and that Muslims are only following the sunna or practice of the Prophet and his family.  Why do Muslims pick and choose only certain practices of the Prophet and not the others, like for example, why do they not use a camel to travel instead of a car. Such questions are not encouraged and never answered.  It is the failure to contextualise the teachings and practices of Islam that has led Muslims face the criticism that their religion is irrational. It is unfortunate that the spread of ultra-conservatism has frozen the history of Islam with the seventh century.    

One should also understand why many nations feel jittery, to put it mildly, with Wahhabism, because it was from its womb that the children of Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Jama’a Islamiyya, Boko Haram, ISIS and of several other Islamist groups were born. The fact that these are all, to borrow Arundathi Roy’s apt description of ISIS in plural form, “macabre progenies” of US invasion of Iraq is no reason to condone their bloodthirsty horror unleashed on thousands of innocents. Did the Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, which is claiming to be the apex Islamic organization ever condemned their actions by naming them? To say that “we don’t support their actions”, and then to go on repeating the hackneyed phrase “Islam is Peace” is not enough. That type of response leaves many questions unanswered. It is this ambivalence, which makes others feel suspicious of the Muslim religious hierarchy.                                       

In short, there are a number of contentious elements in the way Islam is practiced, which in a religiously and culturally plural environment, can and do create tensions, and which, on closer scrutiny may prove frivolous and non-essential for a Muslim to be faithful to his/her religion. Such elements, held passionately by religious orthodoxy and failed to be highlighted and questioned by pussyfooted reformers, are now picked up by Islamophobes to propagate anti-Muslim venom. Regretfully, when issues like these are raised by progress minded individuals within the Muslim community, the hierocracy has a habit of shooting the messenger rather than reading the message. Since the 1980s therefore, complaints by others against some of the practices of Muslims in the name of Islam began to snowball and added sustenance to the vicious campaign of the anti-Muslim ignoramus. Thus, Muslims have at least indirectly contributed to the current crisis. The question we face  is what should be done. I will submit my thoughts on this question in the concluding section.  

To be continued….

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

Part one – From The Safest To An Insecure Sri Lanka For Muslims

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  • 14
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    A A
    As usual a very good analytical write up.

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      RE: From The Safest To An Insecure Sri Lanka For Muslims – II

      Why?

      Religion is the opium of the masses- Karl Marx.

      Now you combine Para-Sinhala Racism of Mahawamsa with Para-Buddhism as practiced in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, it becomes worse. So Para-Sinhala Buddhism is f****** Up, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

      What is Buddhism? An Alternative View.

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 1

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOfTGSADdY

      Buddhism The Great Evil — Part 2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

    • 3
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      Yes, well said by Dr. Ameer Ali.

    • 4
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      Dr. Ameer Ali,

      RE: From The Safest To An Insecure Sri Lanka For Muslims – II

      Excellent witting and synopsis.

      Do any of the current Islamic leaders and Imams know about Ibn Rushd, aka Latinized, Averroes, his writings and thoughts? Saudi Arabian graduates who take the GMAT has the lowest GMAT scores in the world, courtesy of Wahhabi-Salafism.

      Quick Post: L&V’s National IQs predict GMAT scores across 173 nations

      http://humanvarieties.org/2014/02/02/quick-post-lvs-national-iqs-predicts-gmat-scores-across-173-nations/

      “Islam as a religion was never a problem in Sri Lanka until the last quarter of the previous century.”

      Then came the Wahhabies, Salafies and their clones, who follow the Devil, Satan, Iblis, originating from Saudi Arabia, and enticed the Sinhala Buddhists to follow Mara, the Buddhist counterpart of the Devil.

      References:
      Al Azhar Scholar: ‘Wahhabism/Salafism is a Satanic Faith, the Horns of Satan’

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZOA3Ho9AUk

      Hadith of Najd

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith_of_Najd

    • 1
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      Dr. Ameer Ali,
      RE: From The Safest To An Insecure Sri Lanka For Muslims – II

      “Wahhabism on the other hand added a new dimension to this preaching by defining even the external appearance of Muslims, both males and females. In Sri Lanka too the attire of Muslims underwent radical changes after the 1980s. To Muslim women in particular, the traditional sari and the salwar went out of fashion and in their place came the Arabian long black abaya and jilbab with covered faces. Likewise, to Muslim men the traditional sarong, shirt and coat gave way to the long Arab gown or jibba with white cap and long beards.”

      What are the Sri Lankan Muslims who followed the Wahhabi-Salafi ideology and attire to when the Saudi Cleric says that the Abayas is not necessary for the women!

      Saudi women need not wear abaya robes: Senior cleric

      http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/528092/SAUDI-ARABIA/Saudi-women-need-not-wear-abaya-robes-Senior-cleric

      Riyadh — Saudi women should not have to wear the loose-fitting abaya robe, a senior cleric, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mutlaq said.

      “More than 90 percent of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas,” said Sheikh Abdullah Al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, the Kingdom’s highest religious body.

      “So we should not force women to wear abayas,” he told a radio program broadcast on Friday.

      Sheikh Al-Mutlaq was answering a question by a Saudi woman on the ruling for wearing “the abaya. “

  • 3
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    A load of twaddle. What has this got to do with the recent violence? Trying to explain and intellectualise attacks on Muslims only gives credence to organisations like BBS. What people wear does not matter. What matters is what people do.

    • 13
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      Najib Yusuf prey to God for a brain. You are too stupid to understand what Dr Ameen is saying.

    • 4
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      Najib Yusuf,

      What is your IQ? Just curious!

      The average IQ of the Paras id 79.You likely have a Z score that is quite negative.

      National IQ Scores – Country Rankings

      https://photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

      The intelligence scores came from work carried out earlier this decade by Richard Lynn, a British psychologist, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish political scientist, who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries, and from subsequent work by Jelte Wicherts, a Dutch psychologist.

      Countries are ranked highest to lowest national IQ score.

  • 5
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    Certain specific facts about this possible root causes you haven’t discussed. I think most of the muslims that moved to middle east are from this part. Do you know the begining of this. the death of the 41 year old innocent Truck driver who had to die because he did not give the way to three muslim thugs came in a three wheller. One muslim has died one who was trying to loot but he had asphyxiiation and died.

    • 2
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      A very weak effort to blame the Muslims. The murder of the poor truck driver was terrible, and the drunken men involved behind bars.

      It is disgusting that Jim Harshly takes this opportunity to accuse the young Muslims man who had died inside a burning building as a looter.
      It is a shame that comments like only adds to the hate, spreading of lies, and chaos, that prevents the country from progressing.
      Jim must be a supporter of Pamela Geller, the Islamaphobic witch of the East.

    • 7
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      Very true. For all those who think Muslims are not bigots, I can only tell them they are sadly mistaken. It was nothing but racism that killed that Sinhalese truck driver.

      Where are those 4 thugs now? Are the Sinhalese prisoners going to take action that the government cannot take?

      If anyone wants to their own research, they can google the Muslim atrocities in Bangladesh, Indonesia etc. The Muslims are ultimate invaders. For thousands of years they have been doing this. Now they are 10% of the population. Once they become 20% of SLs population, being a majority is going to be very quick. Don’t ever think it’s going to take them another 100 years to get to that. The Muslim blueprint of Invasions is much more sophisticated than you can imagine.

      • 6
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        Perera,

        .Having said all that, still you are O.K. with sending your wives, mothers, sisters and daughters to service the same Muslim men, and have them returned violated, raped and murdered.

        You shed crocodile tears for one man killed by four Muslims – Where are your tears and protests for all the hundreds or thousands of Sinhala women — your own mothers, sisters, wives and daughters you still continue to send to the Middle-east to be murdered, raped and abused by Muslims?

        Are you not just a bigoted loud mouth?

  • 4
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    Extremists in Sinhala, Demala and Muslim communities are digging the graves for the masses who are keen to live peacefully. Politicians in all three communities who turn a blind eye or keep on pampering these extremist elements should be held responsible for the situation country is facing. As this incident happened just before the UNHRC session on Sri Lanka, it is worth investigating whether any INGOs who are interested in putting the Sri Lankan Government into an awkward situation are behind these incidences.

  • 2
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    Its time that Muslims in Sri Lanka get arms on to themselves and protect from this vandalism.
    Do not expect the police and armed forces will help much as they all are rascists and this is a well planned attack fueled by recent SLPP victories..

    Rajapaksas want to come into power with dead bodies.

    • 5
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      Ariyasena,

      Have you forgotten what happened to Demalu who took arms? As JRJ said ‘If they want peace they can have peace. If they want war they can have war”. Sinhalayo have a very good track record of dealing with South Indian invaders. As Dr. Ali has rightly pointed out Muslims should not annoy Sinhalayo. Same goes for Demalu.

  • 8
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    “Thus, Muslims have at least indirectly contributed to the current crisis”
    .

    Finally, realization has dawned upon at least one other member of the Muslim intelligentsia that the Muslim Sri Lankans are partially responsible for creating the space for the emergence of anti-Muslim sentiment in our Motherland.
    .

    In an article titled ‘Identifying the Muslim Problem’, posted in my blog in May 2015, I concluded that :
    “The cause of the ‘Muslim Problem’ are the changes that have occurred and are occurring to the Islamic Lifestyles of the Muslims of Sri Lanka since around the late 70’s. For a very long time the Lifestyles of Muslims were influenced by the cultural practices and rituals of other religious communities. However, with the growing awareness that some aspects of their lifestyles were not quite compatible with the tenets of Islam, the members of the Muslim Community began to effect the necessary changes, which drew the attention of the Non-Muslims, many of whom experienced such changes while attending Muslim Weddings (separation of genders) and Funerals (non-Muslims being prevented from ‘seeing the body’). A serious lapse on the part of the Muslim Community was their failure to educate other Sri Lankans of the pressing need to rectify existing Islamic practices which until then may have been performed incorrectly. Not being aware of the reasons that lead to such changes in lifestyles, almost all Non-Muslims attributed it to the influence of an external source – ‘Muslim Fundamentalism / Extremism’.

    The Symptom or Effect of the ‘Muslim Problem’ was the emergence of anti-Muslim Groups.”
    .

    It is incumbent upon the Muslim Community to initially identify as to what exactly is the ‘Muslim Problem’. The formulation of effective solutions thereafter must be directed at neutralizing the apprehensions and concerns of the Majority community based on empathy and understanding as mentioned previously by my fellow-analyst, ekelbroom.

    • 2
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      Bisthan Batcha Bitch if you are a woman. You tell me here, are the Muslims do not have their independent to improve their religion by giving up burrowed alien rituals and wear the dresses that they think suitable for them fearing what non-Muslims might think? In Islamic weddings male and women always sit separately which was practiced for hundreds of years and this is not something new. So do you expect non-Muslims and Muslims to get together and have dancing party? It was an outright lie you bitch saying non-Muslims not allowed see the body (deceased). So what is the point of them going to a Muslim funeral. Ask those who went to see Muslim politicians funerals whether were not allowed to see the body. Non-Muslim not only can see the body but can even touch if they wants to. But after bath and kaffan was put women were not allowed to touch the body except the daughters, sons and sister. Even the wife not allowed to touch. If the deceased was a women, only her sons, daughters and brothers allowed to touch. Her husband too cannot touch. So according to you we Muslims in Sri Lanka do not have any independent to follow what we like. The same way rotten Dr. Amir Ali writes. You devils copy from western media Islamic bashing writing and copy here and there from it to justify your opinions. Muslim bashing Sinhalese and Tamils do the same thing.

    • 1
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      Bisthan Batcha,

      “The cause of the ‘Muslim Problem’ are the changes that have occurred and are occurring to the Islamic Lifestyles of the Muslims of Sri Lanka since around the late 70’s”

      Yes.

      While this is one of the reasons, not the only reason,(core reason given below) because the Muslims alienated themselves from the rest of the Sri Lankans, in the dress code and in the education. They essentially demonstrated that they are Aliens in Sri Lanka, an alien culture. Now one hears that the Imams, Moulavis tell the Muslim women that if they wear the saree, they will end up in hell.

      The CORE Reason is that the Para-Sinhala believe that based on Mahawamsa Chronicles, that all non-Sinhala Buddhists in Lanka are Aliens, Paradeshis, Paras, Foreigners, Strangers,. who have come to pollute the pristine Sinhala Buddhist Land Dhamma Deeepaya, Faith Land, that will continue with Buddhism for 5,000 years, when Buddhism was facing the threat of extinction from Hinduism in the 5th Century in India.

      The core grievance the Sinhala Buddhist have with the Tamils ( Aliens) is extinction, by the Tamil Hindus. This is extinction of Sinhala and extinction of Buddhism. This is the background to the 30-year civil war. However, history supports this view, as the invasions came from India.

      There were Sinhala-Muslim riots in 1915, before the advent of Wahhabism-Salafism, Abayas. and skull caps.

      The Para-Sinhala Buddhist racists have magnified the existential threat to Sinhala Buddhism, and used it to initiate and justify attacks, against Muslims, which cannot be justified, as they have never asked for a separate state like the Tamils. However, there is a conversion treat, like from born again Christian fundamentalists to the Buddhists. They will cite as to what happened to South Korean Buddhists from Christianity.

    • 2
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      Bisthan Batcha ,

      “Finally, realization has dawned upon at least one other member of the Muslim intelligentsia that the Muslim Sri Lankans are partially responsible for creating the space for the emergence of anti-Muslim sentiment in our Motherland.”

      This was an added catalyst, but not the core reason.

      “Violence against Muslim in the so-called post-war Sri Lanka surprised many Muslims because Muslims expected peace and harmony in the island when Tamil Tigers silenced their guns in May 2009.But careful observers of Sri Lanka should know that recent wave of violence against Muslims didn’t occur in vacuum. There’s an ideology and there’s a political program behind this stage of violence. This article would attempt to provide some thoughts on Sri Lanka symbols.”

      Why Violence In Sri Lanka: Some Critical Notes On Sinhala-Buddhist Symbols

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/why-violence-in-sri-lanka-some-critical-notes-on-sinhala-buddhist-symbols/

      Sri lanka state’s central ideology rooted in Buddhism and the interests of Sinhala-Buddhists. Though Buddhism is not a state religion in Sri Lanka, Buddhism is accorded foremost position while allowing people of other faiths to practice.

  • 4
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    A good attempt. At the same time there is an islamophobic wave which is harming the country. It is
    an imported thing from west. The Sinhala and Muslim leaders should solve that as well.

    • 1
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      such,

      Why should the Sinhala buy into that inlamaphobia? Why are the Sinhala so weak and feeble? They have phobia against the Tamils, Muslims and the Christians; why?

      Stop prevaricating and deal with your inner demons!

  • 3
    0

    Why this haste to ingratiate with Buddhism trying to find out connections including Bukhari and Vihara are related terms. This appeasement is not necessary. Stand up and claim your rights. That is okay. The Muslims were a fifth column for the Tamils. Now they are reaping what they sowed from a majority people who have gone mad. They have to come to their senses if this country is to progress. If they think that lumps of white flour are drugs, then, their mindset is the one that has to be cured. Muslims can help if they stop being offensive by taking on arab habits when they are simply not arabs.

  • 1
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    I couldn’t stop laughing when this writer mentioned why they can’t travel on camels instead of car. He should have also mentioned that they should live in tents instead of marble floored air conditioned palaces. 😂😂😂

  • 1
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    Dr. A. ALI has mentioned three points, personally I give three ticks affirmatively, however, I cannot buy the following statement of the DR.
    “,…Thus, Muslims have at least indirectly contributed to the current crisis.” And my question to the DR is ; was the altercation between three drunken Muslims and one innocent Sinhalese, which caused the death, allegedly by poisoning after recovery, right reasons for the rowdy mobs to attack Mosques, businesses, dwelling houses, vehicles and kill an innocent boy by arson attack? Why was not it a private matter, which warrants police investigation?

    I’m not a Dr. like the Dr. but I think that rightly thinking exercise to be a balanced thinking exercise. Law and Order should not be allowed to be at the hands of unauthorized persons. Otherwise the state creates Singhala ISIS like gangs.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
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    There is an important dimension that AA has forgotten to mention.
    The middle class Muslim, once largely confined to small business, started to succeed in unforeseen ways.
    The gem trade in the 1970s, the slight edge over others in Middle East jobs and related business, the remarkable success of Muslims in education in the past few decades are among causes of envy, to many Tamils and Sinhalese– not necessarily racists.
    There is a serious weakness among the affluent Muslims, namely to show off their affluence in the form of massive buildings including some mosques, which stick out like a sore thumb, especially amid a less affluent non-Muslim neighbourhood.
    It is not that the elite of other communities are any humble, but it helps to be a little modest especially when eyes are focussed on you.
    Being an oppressed minority creates certain reactions like asserting one’s identity.
    Everything becomes an issue in a climate of politics of communal hatred.
    *
    I wish that there will be some serious soul searching on the part of those who are critical of the Muslims.

  • 2
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    Sri Lanka indeed is in a bad state going from best of Ceylon to worst of Sri Lanka from the 19th to the 21st century. So where will it be going in the 22nd century. Dr. Ameer Ali’s reasoning seems good information how and why Sri Lankan Muslims metamorphosed along with the Muslim world. It is also noteworthy to see how the Muslims living among different religious communities behave as if they are living only in a Muslim world. There should be no restriction for Muslims to pray just like for other religions. The problem is making the Muslim prayer to be heard by all other religious communities aggravates a dislike among others. Moreover when this praying is repeated several times in a day the dislike aggravates into a hatred.
    Sri Lanka majority Buddhists are famous for delivering violence when dealing with minority domination in any field. This is a well known weakness that plunged the Country from the most envied to the most pitied Country in the region. The Language bond that held the Sri Lankan Muslims with Tamils got destroyed from the 19th Century soon after Tamils were marginalized by the majority Sinhalese after independence from the British. Besides the metamorphosing of Sri Lankan Muslims with the Muslim world also made them separate from the Language bond.
    Main thing the rulers, the executives, the Journalists and all responsible law makers must make Legislation / Constitution for a peaceful existence. Giving perks for Muslim and Tamil leaders only to make them go along with Colombo disregarding the International Community and Human rights of victims is also another catalyst for the majority to disregard crimes and fraud. Crime and Fraud has become an integral part of Sri Lankan politics today. In todays Sri Lanka there is no way for progress.

    • 3
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      In UK and European countries, Mosques are not permitted to use loud speakers or even shout out calling for prayers. But this law applies to all other religions as well including Christianity, the religion of the majority. Sri Lanka can implement it to prevent Mosques using loud speakers to call for prayers, but will they apply the same rule to Buddhist temples using loud speakers to chant Bana. Secondly building of religious places of worship should be in proportion to the number of adherents living in the area. There is news that Police is giving protection to four Mosques in Kilinochchi, where there are less than 250 Muslim families. If the government is to impose this clause, they must stop building Buddhist temples in north and east where there is not a single Buddhist resident. Will they have the courage to comply when both UNP and SLFP in their manifesto for LG elections said that they intend to build 1000 Buddhist temples in north and east.

      • 2
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        Sakkara
        You say there is not a single Buddhist resident in the North and the East. Very true. What happened to the Buddhist residents there living for centuries? Yes they have been driven out and ethnically cleansed. Remember there were many vihares in the North and East to cater to the Buddhist population including Naga Vihare and Seruwila.
        The Tamils too should be driven out of Sinhalese area so they can settle in their traditional homelands in the Northand East. Would you Agree.?
        .

        • 0
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          Percy, do you not agree that during the course of time, Tamils have become Sinhalese, Sinhalese have become Tamils, Buddhists have become Hindus and Hindus have become Buddhists. Therefore presence of ancient Buddhist temples in north and east does not men the presence of Sinhalese and vice versa. Where have I said that there is no Buddhist resident in north and east. Go through census details available since 1821 and see for yourself who had committed the most ethnic cleansing. During the conflict, some Sinhalese left on their own and others on orders of LTTE. Now most of them are back and even there are several who never lived in the north before have been deliberately settled to alter the demographic pattern. This is happening when several thousand Tamils have not been settled in their original places. It is now clear to international community that it is the Sinhalese who are not willing for a fair settlement. Most of Ceylon Tamils (not Indian Tamils) will translocate on their own, if Tamil homelands are granted independence, which will save you from committing this atrocity. Are the Sinhalese prepared for this peaceful transfer of power and territory.

  • 4
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    Wahabbism/Salafism is a threat wherever it establishes a foothold, and should be dealt with extreme prejudice. I would suggest that those preachers of this hateful ideology be monitored closely, especially their sources of funding and appropriate action taken. It is an unfortunate consequence of the governments lack of action towards this movement, and the seeming tacit acceptance of Wahabbism by our Muslim community (no Muslim leaders have condemned it publicly to my knowledge) that the very legitimate fear of Wahabbism/salafism has become more generally attributed to all lankan Muslims, regardless of their particular denomination of faith.
    Let us hope we stop this at its infancy, for all our sakes.

  • 2
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    Dr Ameer Ali has very correctly analyzed the changes that were taking place among the Sri Lankan Muslims in the way they dressed and practiced their religion.

    Muslim men discarded their traditional sarongs and started wearing Arab gown and Muslim women who previously covered only the top part of their heads with “Mukkadu” now cover their full faces and wear Arabian long black angle-length dress. If you go to Kattankudy you can clearly see these changes.

    Muslims prospered at the expense of Tamils in the thirty year Eelam struggle. In fact as rightly pointed out in a recent press conference by a Navy Admiral, many Muslims served as the fifth column in the North East against the LTTE and helped the SL armed forces to defeat LTTE. No wonder Pirapaharan realized this and decided to expel the Muslims from Jaffna.

    Sri Lankan Muslims do not speak Arab language at home. They are Tamil speakers but unlike the Muslims in Tamil Nadu they do not call themselves Islamic Tamils but carved out an entirely separate identity as Muslims.

    Ameer Ali is again right when he points out the folly of Muslims forming their own Sri Lanka Muslim Congress party. Previously Muslim political leaders either belonged to UNP or to SLFP and a few even aligned with Tamil Arasu Katchi. During those days there were no Tamil-Muslim or Muslim-Sinhalese riots.

    Muslim leaders such as Hisbullah, Risad Bathiudeen and Ameer Ali have long been engaged in expanding the interests of Muslims at the expense of the Tamils and this has led to the growing animosity of the Tamils against the Muslims especially in the East.

    Now rightly or wrongly Sinhalese fear Muslim expansion and threat and the Ampara and Kandy incidents are the outward reflection of this fear.

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      Naga,

      Why most of the comments in CT dictate what Muslims should wear? And why are you expecting Muslims to be part of Tamils just because majority of Muslims speak Tamil language? For the God’s sake leave Muslims alone to decide what they want to wear.

      It is funny that people who advocate for fundamental rights, human rights, women right, animal right and possible possible rights, and the same people can’t understand that every Muslim has the right to wear what they wanted to wear?

      Did we ever come on your way to say don’t keep pottus or wear vermilion or decorate your hair with jasmines? Traditions do change. It is time that Muslims have realized that they are following Hindu traditions all these times, and they are getting rid of them, for example “Thali”, sort of necklace, a groom ties around the bride’s neck during the wedding. It is not only for religious reasons, but also getting rid of lots of superstitions contained in Hindu / Tamil traditions.

      If the change is for the good, it has to happen at any cost, even if that frightens certain segments and attracts violence. What we all should understand is, it is not the dress we wear, or the culture we follow or the language we speak that decides our peaceful co-existence, but our own minds, understandings and how we respect each other.

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        Fathima

        I agree with you. People have the right to wear whatever they want to wear. There is no problem in that.

        But Dr Ameer Ali who himself is an Eastern Muslim in his analysis says what makes the other communities jittery are these recent changes. I too had observed these changes and hence my comments in agreement with Dr Ameer Ali .

        To me it appears as if the Muslims want to show to other communities that they are different from them and that where they live is part of Saudi Arabia. For instance, the fact that they planted date trees on the streets of Kattankudy is an outward manifestation of their desire to be identified as Arabs and as part of the Arab world and not as part of Sri Lanka.

        The other thing I have observed in Kattankudy is that in those days Tamils were invited by their Muslim friends to their homes. This does not happen any more and if it happens it happens very rarely.

        Tamils and Muslims in the East in the early days freely mixed and attended each other’s social functions. This helped to build up unity and fraternity but this is not the case any more. Being a man from the East I have observed the distancing of the Muslims and the Tamils there in recent times. The actions of the Muslim leaders in the East had further widened this gulf.

        I have heard of recent Muslim-Tamil disturbances in small scale. I will not be surprised if major Muslim-Tamil disturbances flare up unless something is done to bring together the two communities in the East.

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          Naga
          Part of the problem, as you rightly observe, is the change in Dress Code for Muslim Women!
          Don’t they protest against covering themselves from head to toe in Anonymous Black, under orders from Chauvinistic Men? Do Muslim Men feel so Insecure?

          Sixty Years ago we used to celebrate with our Muslim friends and their families, whose Womenfolk dressed like other Women, except that they wore trousers under their dresses, or Punjabi Suits!

          Nowadays, Busloads of Women in this Garb descending of an Evening, on Galle Face Green sends shivers down our Spines! Could they be Terrorists in Disguise? What are they trying to Hide?

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    M.H.M.Ashraff the leader of the SLMC did realise,in his latter years that his creation of an exclusive political party for the Muslims would prove to be counterproductive. This is the reason why he formed the National Unity Alliance[NUA]. But, it turned out to be like putting the cart before the horse for the Muslims in the Eastern Province!
    The next round of anti Muslim pogrom is not far away. What was witnessed in the Kandyan regions recently is only the tip of of the ice-berg!

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    Ameer Ali,

    “In addition, the expatriate Muslim labour force in the kingdom after been indoctrinated by the singular teachings of Wahhabi imams became a cheap conduit to spread the sect’s doctrine in their own countries when they returned home” – NOT TRUE, at least in SL.

    “Thus, Muslims have at least indirectly contributed to the current crisis” – VERY TRUE. Even now, these dumb fellows did not realize using loud-speakers in loudest possible, is a nuisance to non-Muslims. Can one drive a vehicle through crowded Muslim areas? And mostly misbehaving men in public are Muslims in SL. Reason? Muslim mothers who got nothing but to cook, gossip, watch TV and sleep, while other community women the know realities of difficulties of lives.

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