21 April, 2018

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Historic Obligation Of Muslims In This Local Government Poll

By Salithamby Abdul Rauff

Dr. Salithamby Abdul Rauff

Muslim politics of today in Sri Lanka has virtually totally spoiled. A politics that emerged in the of Muslim politics in late 1980s with the slogans of uniting all Muslims in the country under one political outfit, preserving their unique political identity and winning their political rights and aspirations has been acting today against what it had vowed.

What has our Muslim Politics delivered for us over the past two decades? This is the question that needs to be asked simply by every Muslim as the polls for their local bodies are approaching them. So-called Muslim politics has done nothing to addressing Muslims’ grievances, preserving their interests, representing their aspirations and winning their rights.

Muslim politics has brought dozens of political parties and dozens of “National Leaders” to its community. It has produced politicians who are known notoriously for their ill and anti-social behaviours as local/national leaders for Muslim people. This politics has supplied its community with politicians who are greedy to use Muslims’ grievances, aspirations and rights as a tool to fill their pockets. The same Muslim politics has polarised Muslim people too into dozens of politically rival groups who are today blindly following their respective “National Leaders” and are treating each other as arch enemy. 

In this post-war context today, tens of thousands of Muslims who were driven out of their homes in 1990s at gunpoint by Tamil Tigers tried to return to their homes after a 30 years of armed conflict of the country terminated, Muslim politics hardly did anything for the return of these helpless peoples suffering from years of displaced life. The “National Leaders” of Muslim politics did nothing in getting successive governments to send them back to their homes despite these “National Leaders” still having various powerful ministries in those governments. Even though it was their legitimate right, today the return of these people was being explicitly blocked by reportedly Tamil political forces. Yet, their “National Leaders” looked impotent to persuade such Tamil forces to allow their return even though these “National Leaders” professed they were mollycoddling to come up with a political settlement for Tamil-Muslim question.

In many places of the country, mosques of Muslims were attacked, they desecrated with pig blood forbidden in their religion Muslim politics and they even closed from praying. When all this was happening, these “National Leaders” remained muted and toothless to voice for this. When a senior minister of the government at the time apparently lied in Parliament that no mosque in the country was harmed, these “National Leaders”, also ministers, speechlessly nodded at that lie of their fellow cabinet member.

In Aluthgama, innocent Muslim people were assaulted, their houses burned and their economies looted. During this, these “National Leaders” who were enjoying a variety of ministries and other patronages from government could not use their sway to thwart this unpopular campaign against their people. They could not throw their portfolios away for their people. They could not boycott at least a cabinet meeting to show their protest against this unjustifiable violent attacks directed at their people and their interests.  Shame, at the time when this anti-Muslim riot occurred, it was one of these “National Leaders” who was the Minister of Justice of the country. This “National Leader” and justice minister could not do a justice to his affected people who deserved this. These people are still waiting for justice despite almost all of their “National Leaders” still being different ministers in today’s government too.

Buddha statue was planted in Muslim land overnight and the land was declared as an archaeological site without any compelling evidence. This development stirred a fear among Muslims that their lands would be encroached further in the pretext of archaeological sites and that they would be targeted by another communal violence. These “National Leaders” rather than promptly acting on reaching a viable solution to the problem came to people on plane with a false promise to remove the statue within next a couple of weeks to placate people. But, the statue still remained so without being removed and the lands still remained so without being returned to their owners even though a couple of weeks promised by “National Leaders” became months today. When Muslim people who were deeply concerned by this went to these leaders seeking a solution, leaders’ solution was thus: “this is a Buddhist country where statues can be placed anywhere and no one can question about this.”

Recently, this Maithri-Ranil government presented a new electoral amendment bill in Parliament to reform the existing electoral systems in the country. The draft bill was unquestionably to target political representations of the Muslims if it came into force. Muslim people were gravely worried and afraid by this proposed amendment and they therefore asked their “National Leaders” not to support the bill in the parliament. These “National Leaders” raised hands for the bill to pass in the parliament simply disregarding their people’s legitimate fears and concerns. Later, these leaders shed crocodile tears in a live discussion on TV as if they found themselves guilty for what they got the bill enacted. These “National Leaders” will act on everything in the same manner in future also against their people because they have succumbed to a variety of government patronages.

Muslim masses need to appreciate the fact that this Muslim politics and these “National Leaders” they have accepted today have done nothing for them. They have not fought for your rights. They have not addressed your grievances. They have not protected your interests. They have not represented your aspirations. They have not brought anything for you to harmonize with other communities in the country. Rather, your “National Leaders” have surrendered your blood, your dignity, your grievances, your rights, your aspirations, your rights and totally your existence to local and foreign powers. They have made them money and filled their pockets. Your “National Leaders” have turned Muslim politics into a lucrative industry to offer a better future not to your children but to their kin and kith.

Your “National Leaders,” Muslim people should unequivocally understand, are united in disuniting you. They are united in auctioning you. They are united in different parties, different colours and different symbols to rob your ballots and sell you again to their domestic and global bosses and paying masters. What your “National Leaders” need is: you should be divided. Your mosques should be attacked. Your land should become Buddha statues. Your economies should be targeted. Your life should be threatened. North and East should be shown to be merged. There should be BBS, Hela Urumaya, Ravana Balaya and Sinhala Ravaya, so that your “National Leaders” can fool you and continue their political survival.

We, Muslim people should unambiguously understand, are no herd of sheep to nod at these betrayers (“national Leaders”) or to go behind them blindly. We should dare to reject this Muslim politics and these “National Leaders”. We should offer to bring a radical reform in our Muslim politics. We should come forward to create a new political culture with fresh blood. Muslims should take this local poll as an opportunity to disqualify this Muslim politics and send these “National Leaders” home. We should use our ballots as a vehicle to open such a new political culture. This culture should put Muslims in right place in national politics as a community who aspires to cohabit with other communities in peace and harmony in this united Sri Lanka as its citizens. 

*Dr. Salithamby Abdul Rauff, Assistant Professor, teaches at Dhofar University, Sultanate of Oman

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Latest comments

  • 4
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    Well whats the guarantee any leader appointed hereafter will do them good, given the past on people elected on their goodwill, then after turning as corrupted, as far as i am concerned this democratic system needs a change, basically this whole system is a pure Lie.

    • 2
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      It is a lie to state that Tamils are obstructing the settlement of displaced Muslims. It is on record that northern provincial council has resolved that all displaced must be settled back in their original places. Does writer blame Tamils for what happened in Musali. The person who is blocking re-settlement is Rishard Badurdeen, who wants to take credit for re-settlement and is not allowing others to do it. Also writer is conveniently omitting the settlement of Muslims from other provinces in Mullaitivu and Vavuniya done by Rishard Badurdeen with Qatari funds. There are complains from Sinhalese that their lands and shops in Valaichenai and Eravur have been appropriated by Muslims. For building Vihares in any par of the country, no Muslim can find fault as in a Muslim country the state puts up mosques wherever they want.

  • 3
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    This whole system is a lie, even if we appoint good fresh politicians, its not going to work out, whats the guarantee they will not turn corrupt, as for me this system needs to be changed.

    • 1
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      N
      For “the system to change”people’s thinking has to change.
      “Democratic system of electing governments” is good but the constitution needs changing limiting the term of all elected members to “four year terms”; thereby guaranteeing fresh ‘hopefully young blood” fairly periodically.

  • 1
    3

    The writer is a professor, but he only knows to point fingers at all Muslim politicians. His comments are just condemning the politicians. Is he expecting Muslim politicians to parade with swords and shield like in good old days? There is no room for any form of an uprising in Sri Lanka. Muslims over the years learn to live in harmony with the other communities in Sri Lanka. It is not a good idea to rock the boat at this juncture. With regard to Beruwela incident, it is the duty of the Muslim ministers to attend cabinet meeting to raise their voice which is the right thing. Dr Salitambi, do you have any intention to enter Sri Lankan politics? If so, writing comments on Colombo Telegraph alone won’t do.

  • 3
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    Evcellent article that in a nutshell portrays Muslim politicians of today and the horrendous plight of Muslims.At a deeper level the plight of Muslims is symptomatic of a larger problem that engulfs all communities in Sri Lanka, namely voter apathy or more appropriately voter idiocy..

    We the voters keep complaining about politicians.Who puts them in office to rob pillage and murder?Its we the voters.Who keeps reelecting these buffoons?Its we the voters.

    So we the voters should caste our votes wisely.Dont complain eternally.Its time to act come February.

    .Dr.Rauff’s well written article should be taken as yet another wake up call by not just the Muslims but by all Sri Lankan voters

  • 1
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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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    Well said Mr Robertson.This situation is indeed a national malaise that requires immediate correction by voters.

    .Incidentally, what is Paramanathan K. trying to convey in his rambling comment above?He must have written it after getting high on some dangerous substance!

  • 2
    2

    Lankan Muslims are perceived as blind followers of the Friday sermons of Mufthi Rizwe, Chairman All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulema (ACJU). Rizwi in turn is puppeteered by a few whose loyalty is to regimes overseas which violate human rights in the name of Islam.
    This must change Salithamby Abdul Rauff.
    The ‘other side’ must abandon this language/religion-divide.

    • 1
      1

      What are you writing here K. Pillai? The article about corrupt, selfish Muslim politicians and you are writing about ACJU. Is ACJU a political party and Mufthi Rizwe is party leader? What do you mean by loyalty regimes overseas? His loyalty is to Islam. Are our politicians were fielded by overseas regimes?

  • 1
    1

    “…..Buddha statue was planted in Muslim land overnight and the land was declared as an Archaeological site ……..”


    this happens in the NE almost everyday and even worse the owners of the land are forcibly chased away or if the land belongs to a Temple/Church /Mosque the site is destroyed by explosives and to build Buddhist temples.
    These events are taking place while Colombo Govt talks about reconciliation and the Leader of the opposition is enjoying the trappings that comes with it.

    • 1
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      Rajesh,

      Then who is bulldozing the Archaeological sites the Sinhalese? I haven’t heard any such thing as Sinhalese putting Buddha statues on lands of other people just to build temples. Do you even know how would a temple without a laymen base could survive? The only struggle Sinhalese buddhist priest are having is to protect the only remaining archaeological sites being occupied and destroyed such as Muhudu maha vihara and Deehavapi. Do you even know about these things?

      • 1
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        oh dear?
        where do you live?
        let me know your email address and i will send you video clips …as CT does not allow uploading video clips

      • 1
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        Shenali the stupid

        “Do you even know how would a temple without a laymen base could survive? “

        Are you still wake.? When grown ups are discussing about silly things children have no place there.
        Go to bed. Its too late, you have to get up early in the morning. Go, go go go

        • 2
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          Native Veddha,

          It’s revolting to see people like you are selectively choosing parts of the story to bolster your own opinion disregarding the actual ground situation. I found no Tamil sympathizer in CT even mentioning about what happened in Sampur. Why is that? Don’t you feel that those ancient ruins are something worth saving for? Or do you people are happy that these ruins get destroyed so your own stories could be validated over real historical facts?

          I believe that what ever left of the past should be protected so that our future generations could know where are they coming from and what kind of historical weight they are carrying on their shoulders as Sri Lankans. It is rather pity that some elements in our society do not think like that and want the history to be forgotten entirely.

          • 0
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            Shenali the very stupid

            “It’s revolting to see people like you are selectively choosing parts of the story to bolster your own opinion disregarding the actual ground situation. “

            I was trying make precisely that point. Hence you will make every effort to learn more about a particular issue then come back and say things that is relevant, true, …..

            Your childish behaviour is noted hence go back to your bed have a good night sleep then get up and go to school. Don’t forget to do your morning duty.

  • 1
    1

    “…In Aluthgama innocent Muslims were assaulted their houses burnt ( I prefer burnt to burned – which is more American English) and economiew looted…”
    —-
    Again this happens in the NE all the time.

  • 0
    1

    Yea agree with the comments of the writer. It is time to teach these seudo leaders a lesson. Muslims should refrain from voting for the UNP and teach these parasites lesson! I sincerely hope the muslims will refrain from voting for the UNP and vote for any other part excepting the Mahinda flower bud party. Your choice vote for beetle leaf or JVP or spoil your vote in protest!

  • 1
    0

    You have no history in Sri Lanka man.

  • 1
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    Many articles have been written by various Muslim Intellectuals/Professionals on the debilitating effects that the ACJU and the Muslim Political Parties have had on the community. Both groups share the same objective of enhancing and perpetuating the ‘Muslim-ness’ (Global Identity) at the expense of the ‘Sri Lankan-ness’ (National identity) of the Muslim Sri Lankan Community. This is why we witness the ignominious sight of members of the Muslim Community in their misplaced belief cheering Pakistan when they play cricket in Sri Lanka.

    It would seem that the minds of the local Muslims have atrophied, resulting in the community being reduced to sheep, continually looking at the ACJU and the Muslim Politicians to be their shepherds. Quite naturally, this has deluded the ACJU and the Politicians into believing themselves as being the ‘Leaders’ of the community. While the Holy Prophet (sal) was a true ‘Shepherd’ who gathered a flock around him, the local Muslim sheep have given life to ‘Shepherds’ of dubious reputation.

    If the minority Muslim Community is to regain the standing and respectability it enjoyed many decades ago as a vibrant and equal member of Sri Lankan society, then it must take the necessary steps to remove or circumvent the factors that are blocking it’s progress and ability to keep pace with the changing times. Even Saudi Arabia one of the most conservative of Islamic countries has begun to relax it’s rules.

    The time is therefore opportune for the Muslim Intellectuals/Professionals to start focusing on ways and means of obviating and bypassing the structures that are hindering the progress of the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka. Let us hope that future articles by this band of writers will reflect this urgent need rather than continuing to tell us what we are already and painfully aware of.

  • 1
    1

    Rauff, Stop lying!!!!!!

    Aluthgama riot was started by Muslims, by assaulting a Buddhist monk, harassing a kid in a Muslim shop and throwing stones at some Sinhalese. Ginthota riot was also started by local MUSLIM politician. There was another incident 3 months or so ago in Gampola, Kandy where some MUSLIMS threw stones at the “Katina perahera”, far thinking -clever Buddhist monks in the area managed to defuse the dangerous situation and MUSLIM culprits apologized.

    Muslims have also invaded Digawapiya, Dewanagala, Kuragala, Muhudu maha Viharaya, Anuradhapura holy city, Somawathiya, Dabulla holy city, Wilpattuwa, etc. Muslims should know that their so called properties and mosques in Kandy are built on the land which are belong to Dalada Maligawa.

    Some Kallathonies bulldozed a ‘Sthupa’ in Somapura (wrongly called Sampur). Muslims have invaded the Buddhist archaeological sites, bulldozed them and made fraudulent land deeds for them.

    Rauff, so how many Buddhist temples are in your country- Oman? If there isn’t any, why is that?

    • 1
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      There is no Omani Buddhist Citizens in Oman you donkey, only expatriate workers. It is easy to write rubbish here but can you prove? If you can give details with dates, archaeological reports, government’s statistic of Muslim settlements (invasion) then you are writing the truth, otherwise you belongs to racist devils.

  • 1
    0

    Dr S A F.
    Forget the Muslim Politicians. They are no different from politicians from other different denominations; basically “Politicians”, Period.
    Sri Lankan Politicians in most cases get into politics for one reason; it is a power grab to enrich themselves and also enjoy the perks after being elected and to make sure that the retirement pensions are more than satisfactory.
    Religion and Race plays a major role in Sri Lankan political affairs; the country’s constitution guaranties religious preference; this gives rise to social conflicts. This anomaly deprives the feeling of “togetherness” and needs urgent correction;
    separation of state and religion is a sine quo non in a democracy.
    The Muslims are a minority in the country and there is also infighting in the various groups causing political disunity; this does not help either.
    It is a tall order to solve these problems; but healthy that it be discussed.

  • 0
    2

    Muslim politics! what’s the meaning of it?

    As far as you do racial politics you’ll never succeed.

    There’re no Muslim/Tamil/Sinhala land in Sri Lanka & law provides equal access for everybody for resources.

    Vast majority in the country are Buddhists so erecting statutes in any part is a right for them. Muslims came here as friends & must be able to maintain that friendship, resorting to extremist ideas will undoubtedly perish them.

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