18 June, 2018

Blog

Iftar & Infitah: Essence Of Muslim Politics And Economy

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Before JR’s open economy (JR’s version of Anwar Sadat’s infitah or open door policy in Egypt) was ushered in, two issues preoccupied the attention of Muslim Ministers in the country: availability of dates for iftar, a solemn occasion for breaking the fast during Ramadhan, and availability of foreign exchange to travel to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage. Because these two issues consumed the country’s precious foreign reserves, governments of that time had to be economical. Rarely a Muslim Minister spoke or discussed in public about any other issue concerning the Muslim community in those days. Perhaps, Badiuddin Mahmud in Mrs. B’s cabinet was an exception, because he always talked about Muslim education and on one occasion in 1972 he called a special meeting at his residence to which he invited Muslim leaders and spoke to them about the need to change the community’s economic direction from business to other pursuits in the light of his government’s socialist agenda. However, with JR’s open economy dates and foreign exchange are not the issues for ministers to worry about. Post-JR infitah has taken care of them.   

To the current generation of Muslim Ministers and politicians therefore there is absolutely no populist cause, whether social, economic or political to fight for and win the confidence of the community. The formation of the SLMC was a political stunt which achieved nothing and brought communal disaster. They should thank the militant Buddhist ultra-nationalists for the violence they have unleashed against Muslims because that at least has given these policy bankrupt leaders a photo opportunity in visiting those sites and then to declare over the media that they had taken up the matter with the President and the Prime Minster – end of the story.

Rising unemployment among educated Muslim youth, unbearable family indebtedness due to high cost of living, landlessness and homelessness, family violence, a misogynist marriage and divorce act, substandard education in Muslim schools, the communal and social impact of ultraconservative religious ideologies and so on, are issues that need concerted policies and coordinated strategies to tackle. None of these problems seem to have caught the attention of Muslim politicians. Has any of them taken up any of these issues and spoken in the parliament? Issues like cost of living, unemployment, landlessness and homelessness are common in other communities as well. By championing these causes and suggesting policy measures to tackle them won’t these leaders win the affection of other communities also? At least pne of these ministers seem to have appointed his own think-tank of retired diplomats, educationists and professionals. What has this think-tank done so far?   

What is now happening in the Muslim quarter of local politics is to resort to the old game of betting on the winning horse. The iftar has become an organised ritual tamasha for sitting Muslim parliamentarians and aspiring parliamentarians to hobnob with government and opposition party leaders to prepare the ground for winning positions and favour when the opportunity arrives at the election. They are testing the waters. Muslims started this tamasha and other political leaders are continuing with it with additional fanfare. Actually iftar functions have become mini-festivals to end in the grand festival at the end of the fasting month of Ramadhan.

Time has come for the country to look for a third way instead of choosing between the existing two. The existing ones are corrupt, both are prisoners of IMF and foreign capital and both have no independent solution to the economic and ethnic issues facing the nation. There need to be another route to achieve individual freedom with social justice and equality of opportunity, all without sacrificing the sovereignty of the country. Being the third community in number Muslims should be in the forefront of looking for this third way. There are level headed Buddhists, Hindus and Christians with compassion and foresight to work with Muslims and everyone else in the country to build up that third way.  This is the only long run solution to Sri Lanka’s malaise. At the moment iftar and infitah seem to the essence of Muslim politics and economy. 

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    The extent to which Ifthar has been debased by some members of the Muslim community is best exemplified by the ‘Ifthar Party’ held on 04th June 2018 for selected Muslim Journalists by non other than the ACJU.
    http://www.acju.lk/news-ta/acju-news-ta/item/1341-2018-06-05-11-21-21
    .

    It is extremely deplorable that the concept of feeding the poor during the Holy Month has been subverted by some Muslims to achieve other ends. There seems to be some kind of competitive spirit developing among some Muslims groups to organize such feeding frenzies. The ACJU too appears to have been caught up in this competition. Using Ifthar as a cover to achieve their goals speaks volumes for the lack of true piety on the part of such organizers. All it takes are 3 dates, a glass of Faluda and a single Chinese Roll to entice some foolish, non-poor Muslims to participate in such ‘Parties’.

    • 1
      0

      Dr. Ameer Ali,

      RE: Iftar & Infitah: Essence Of Muslim Politics And Economy

      Thanks for the insightful article.

      “Before JR’s open economy (JR’s version of Anwar Sadat’s infitah or open door policy in Egypt) was ushered in, two issues preoccupied the attention of Muslim Ministers in the country: availability of dates for iftar, a solemn occasion for breaking the fast during Ramadhan, and availability of foreign exchange to travel to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage.”

      Go back a thousand years. What issues preoccupied the Ulama and the Rulers (politicians)? The Ulama were against reason, advanced by the Greeko-Islamic Philosophy, and the Ulama controlled the ignorant masses, and indirectly controlled the Rulers( politicians), as is happening today with the ACJU. It is about Ulama, Imam, Moulavi hegemony. Their tools? Scripture, Tradition and Hadith, and it is always Scripture above Reason, whether or not the data and observations ( demonstration) conflict with the Scripture, Tradition and Hadith. So they castigated the Greeko-Islamic Philosophers, exiled and burned their works, and called it innovation (bida) and called the Philosophers Kuffa( unbelievers), despite the fact that the scriptures have multiple meanings and should be taken allegorically.

      The Egyptians got the shock when Napoleon invaded, and realized how backward they were.

      Rise and decline of science in Islam

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60JboffOhaw

      With about 1.6 billion adherents, Islam is the second largest religion on Earth. Yet, its followers represent less than one percent of the world’s scientists. Only a handful of people from Muslim-majority countries have won Nobel Prizes in science.

      In comparison with the past, the modern disparity is staggering. Thus, to understand the present-day lack of scientific accomplishments, we must explore the past. In this instalment of a new series, we will go over the rise and decline of Islamic attitudes towards science.

    • 0
      0

      EKELBROOM: Rishad Bathiuddin had gone to Kalpitiya at the time of the LTTE war just with a SIlli-Silli bag full of Stuff. Now he and his family is a multi billionaire, and owner. Mahinda Rajapkse supportd him and Maithripala sirisena is continuing they becomiing a force here in Sri lanka. Risahd Bathiuddin is the cheif in Wilpatthu upto Kiinchchi and he has settled and expanding even Batticaloa region. the most important thing is risahd bathiudding and five of his ministerial guards and rauf hakeem have for bond scam profits. THEY BOTH ARE NATIONAL LIST MPs AND THERE WERE NO ELELCTIONS AT THE TIME THEY GOT THIS POLITICAL DONATION.

    • 1
      0

      Kothapaya while joining Ifthar shoots Buddhist monks for revealing about his Kataragama palace.

      Muslims are not fools but Singhalese?

  • 7
    5

    Yes Badudeen Mohamed talked about Muslim education at the expense of the island’s Tamils by denying them higher education , so that Sinhalese and Muslim idiots with far lower marks even from rich privileged background and from good schools were able to enter were able to enter universities, even at the expense of poor Tamil students from disadvantaged schools. This during his and Srimavo’s time that actual and real marginalisation of Tamils in the east began. He may be a hero to you backstabbing, selfish, untrustworthy . opportunistic. fake Arab largely low caste Tamil Dravidian converts from South India but we Tamils consider him a curse. His daughter scrapped through her A level and entered the Colombo Medical College , whilst thousands of Tamil students with As and Bs were denied entrance. Yet you and the rest of the Muslims praise this nasty evil backstabber. Typical Muslims . Shows your values. Then wonder why we Tamils hate you immigrant fake Arab South Indians.

    • 5
      0

      MHM Fowzie when minister, secretly obtained THIRTY full scholarships to study medicine in Cuba, for Muslim children exclusively.
      His ‘excuse’ was that they were from very poor families.

    • 2
      3

      Real Siva Sankaran Sharma,

      “This during his and Srimavo’s time that actual and real marginalisation of Tamils in the east began. “

      Actually, the Tamils back stabbed themselves by voting with DS Senanayaka in 1948 to disenfranchise the Up Country Tamils. and prevent the socialist parties in getting more members to the Parliament. Things got worse after 1956 and 1960 with the Sinhala Only act and the Mahawamsa mentality of the Para-Sinhala Buddhist cultists against the Para-Tamils( Para-Demala). This is the main cause.

      Whether Baduidin or not, the Para-Sinhala always despise the Para-Tamils throughout history. Just read the Mahawamsa and see what they were teaching in Sinhala Schools, especially Sinhala Buddhist Schools.

      So, Real Siva Sankaran Sharma, you have got the wrong target and get Real!

      • 4
        0

        No they did not only opportunistic GG Ponambalam did against the wishes of the vast majority of the Tamils and after this he and his matter never mattered to the Tamils. He became a minor player and Chelvanayagam who opposed this became the major player. Yes Para Sinhalayas always despised the Tamils but the opportunistic Sri Lankan Muslims who are in reality Tamils themselves , aided and abetted all Sinhalese governments from the time of independence to discriminate and commit violence on the island’s Tamils, in the name of a fake Arab origin and a few crumbs from the Sinhalese table. If they had sided with their fellow non Muslim Tamils , that Sinhalese would have backed off and would not have become so powerful. Baduidin Mohammed standardisation takes the cake. His place is now taken by the Shaithan from Mannar and another from the East. The Sinhalese definitely know that the Sri Lankan Muslims are not of Arab descent but a Dravidian South Indian immigrants but like the British before them, in order to divide and rule the Tamils , pander to this lies and myth and encourage the Muslim elite and politicians to spread this lies and myth , as it suits their agenda. They use these Muslims to contain the non Muslim Tamils and once they achieve it are now dealing with them. During the war they and certain other parties actively encouraged Islamic fundamentalism and Arabisation of the island’s Muslims , especially in the east to remove them further away from their native Tamil Sufi Islam and culture and further widen the rift between the Hindu/Christian and Muslim Tamils. Now it also coming to bite them.

    • 1
      4

      rsss: you STUPID fake brahmin. aNYWAY BOTH MUSLIMS AND SINHALA PEOPLE ARE FORMER TAMILS. So, why you are jealous that they are doing well. There are no brahimins once you move ovr the ocean to another country. You are jsut another HIndian speaking Tamil.

      • 2
        3

        Jim softy,

        ” There are no brahimins once you move ovr the ocean to another country”

        Yes. When Brahmins cross the Ocean, they lose their “Brahmin-ship”.

        When they land in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, illegally, by Kalla-Thonis, they become Paras.

        So all the so-called Brahmins in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, are fake Brahmins. They certainly did not walk line the Native Veddah Aethho did, millennia ago.

        • 3
          1

          Little knowledge is dangerous. Sea travels that took more than 3 days without a port of call in between were banned.
          The reason is Brahmins are required to perform Trikala Sandhyaavandhanam and you can only do it on land. Not in sea. You can skip Sandhyaavandhanam for 3 days and do a Praayaschittam on the 4th day. So Brahmins did travel by sea to places they’d reach under 3 days of voyage like Srilanka, Malaysia, Burma, Arabia and Indonesia.
          Blind interpretation of the rules has led to the thinking that Brahmins must not cross the ocean today. If they can do it under 3 days and do a Praayaschittam, they can.
          These days, you can do your Morning Sandhyaavandhanam in Chennai and the evening one in London. Brahmins travelled from India to the shores of Sri Lanka in ancient times and most of the Jaffna Brahmins arrived during the 10Th century Chola invasions from the Chola country and some even much earlier. Even in ancient times how long would it have taken to travel the less than 20 miles shallow sea between Mannar and Danushkodi by boat. Just a few hours not even a day.
          So it did not matter and no one lost caste. Please read before posting garbage.

          • 1
            3

            Real Siva Sankaran Sharma,

            So the 3-day exemption rule applies.

            So, they are still Para-Brahmins in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, just like the other Paras.

    • 4
      4

      RSSS:

      Why are you angry with Dr. Badiuddin Mahmoud? Because he warned Muslims about a fact “The adoption of the Tamil Language has not benefited the Muslims. On the contrary it has proved a disadvantage to them”? Or, to support along with Sinhalese to hoist the Sri Lankan national flag on the soil, while your opportunist GGP was demanding 50/50?

      As the gap between 2 minorities is thinning in everything like population, economics and education, you can’t bear it anymore and overflowing here like a mad-man.

      • 0
        0

        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
        0

        Muslims in Sri Lanka did not adopt the Tamil language, they speak and use Tamil because they are ethnically Tamil. Understood. It was not a disadvantage only in his and in your opportunistic mind. So far it looks like discarding Tamil and adopting Sinhalese has not provided any advantage to ordinary Muslims. Events unfolding now proves this. They are now alienated both from the Tamils and Sinhalese. He was doing all this only to feather his own nest.. The so called gap reducing is because of the large scale genocide and ethnic cleansing of the island’s Tamils by all successive Sinhalese Sri Lankan governments from the time of independence , that had reduced a population that was around 28% at the time of independence and very economically vibrant to a population of 16% and poverty stricken , within 60 years of independence. The Muslims actively participated and gave overt and covert support to this genocide . This was your support and now the Sinhalese are showing their gratitude to you. therefore do not complain. You reap what you sow, GGP was a Sinhalese mole and puppet , this is why he was making silly demands and the Tamils soon discarded him. Remember Sri Lankan Muslims are a recent immigrant community from South India. but the Sri Lankan Tamils are an ancient indigenous community that had lived in the island for more than 2300 years and owned and ruled their land. This is the vast difference between you and us. We are like the Scots and Welsh in the UK. Where as you are like the Caribbean and South Asian immigrant community in the UK. It does not matter whether we are 1% or 20% this our land and our birth right, this is why we fight for it , whereas you like a typical immigrant community are opportunistically trying to get as much as you can , using the situation to your advantage, even if you have to forsake your language and culture.

    • 0
      0

      You are right Australoid crow RSSS. Muslim were the least educated until recently but they did not bother about white man’s education because they were traders and knows how to make money. This cunning Britishers gave education only to converts so all the educated people were Sinhalese Christians and Tamil Christians. You tree climber were in queue to get converted and become educated slaves to them. Every post were held by you Tamil converts and Sinhalese converts. Sinhalese Christians have more than 50 best schools through which they can get into universities. Tamil Christian too had more than 50 best schools in north. So in every university entrance results around 50% were Tamils, 40% Sinhalese Christians, 8% Buddhist and mere 1% Muslims. Badudeen Mohamed brought this standardization to give equal chances for Buddhist and Muslims even from villages. Now everybody have equal chances. So you tree climbers are angry about it. How come Muslims were rich and prosperous traders 100 of years before colonialist set foot on this Island. If we were low caste Tamil converts we too should be tree climbers like you. We were rich so we bought more Tamil women than Sinhalese and that is why we speak Moorish Tamil mixed dialect. Why Portuguese killed and chased only Moors? Because no harm can come to them from you tree climbers instead of being their slaves. My fingers are paining otherwise I can write pages after pages of you tree climbers history.

  • 3
    0

    Amir Ali, the only option left for the Muslims is to jump ship like you did, get educated at the expense of the people and migrate to a western country let someone else enjoy the benefits.

    This has become a fad in Sri Lanka, they use the free education system to get educated and then jump ship leaving the poor stupid souls pocket the expenses

  • 3
    1

    What is the use of criticizing Muslim politicians when they are just puppets, and they know they are puppets and have no say. Appointed Muslim politicians are just brokers of votes into main-stream politics. Muslims voting for UNP or UPFA are retail sales, Muslim Congress is a wholesale for a major party in alliance.

  • 3
    0

    Ameer Ali ~ “……Badiuddin Mahmud in Mrs. B’s cabinet was an exception, because he always talked about Muslim education……….”.
    Yes he did – but for the diversification of jobs in commerce to blue collar. He never ever talked about the insularity of 1950MMDA.
    Yes, Iftar is gathering ‘commercial’ momentum. But so has X’mas, Easter, Diwali and Vessak.
    Religions are commercialised versions of the original Teachings.

  • 2
    0

    Who’s responsible for this .? Public should be .
    Why they vote for these idiots..?
    50% Mps do not have GCSE?.what you expect?.
    Dr Badi..
    Lalth…JR .
    All good ones are gone??.

    • 2
      1

      Lankan one,

      “50% Mps do not have GCSE?.what you expect?.”

      Give them some IQ test. Anybody scoring over 79, give an Honorary GCE OL Certificate for getting to Parliament, It will make those scoring less than 79, feel they are stupider.

      Wimal Buruwansa says 2/2 = 0. Others don’t even have a clue!

  • 6
    1

    Even in the next millennium, the Muslims, rather the minorities, would vote for the Rajapaksas. Gota is the God father of BBS and all the other anti Muslim forces. Last time they lost due to the minorities’ votes. That’s what they are shading crocodile tears now to get to power. In any multi communities country the majority votes splits into, and the one who gets the minorities votes, takes it all. This what happened in the recent Malaysian elections too, Chinese and Tamils, left the BN in enmass, and ensured the victory of Mahathir’s party. This is the only reason the Tamil diaspora in the west has such big weight for all the parties in those countries’ need their votes to come to power. All Muslims running behind them would learn a bitter lessons for this is only a trick to get to power, once they reach it, they would resort to their old tactics, no two words about it, all should take extreme care when dealing with them, and should measure and judge them from their past behaviours and actions.

    • 0
      1

      Muslims going for Gota’s Iftars or giving Gota Iftars do not mean they like Gota or will vote for him. I guess they are just showing they have no issues if the worst happens.

      Otherwise, do you really think Muslims really care about beautification of Colombo? Or national security? Or even improving country image and economy? Priority for Muslims is peaceful living and religion. And I think this govt gives that to them better than previous.

  • 3
    0

    Amarasri..
    Why you hide the truth..
    Today; western civilization achieved this peak in its development with sincere works of Muslim in medieval Islamic period of Spain Muslim..
    Greek translation work into Arabic opened up this ..
    If you do not read Beanrd Lewis book on Islamic civilization..
    Ok..
    We know we are now in back foots..
    But soon Muslim world will take over the entire world…
    Not because of Muslims today but ..
    West has done so injustice for its people …
    Each year in UK alone 50…0000 houses are repossessed.
    In your countires ..two famous people made suicide last week..
    People are mentally depressed in western world ..
    1/ 5 got this depression in this part of world ..
    If only these rulers know what enjoyment pious Muslims have during this month of fasting; and during the morning prayers at 3am ….
    If only these people could taste the spiritual enjoyment of Muslims people these poltiicans would fight with Muslim people not for their oil.and gas but to share the rleguosu experience of Muslims…

    • 1
      0

      Why with so much enlightenment are muslims blowing up each other and other people as well.?

  • 0
    0

    There is another kind of Politics going on in Srilanka. that is ARgentina has Sri lankan money of Rs 100 million. The story is Ranil or Mahinda Rajapakse has given that money to keep it for what ?. Malaysia is the other country. what is happeniong. the rumour is there may be other countries.

  • 1
    0

    Wikipedia gives the meaning of Iftar as “the meal eaten by Muslims after sunset during Ramadan”. This is an act of worship and is related to the muslims and Non-Muslims have no part in this act of worship.

    If these non-muslims are hosting iftar parties, i wounder if they would also participate in the five daily prayers of the muslims at the masjids!

    What a shame to note that the muslim politicans abusing an act of worship.

  • 3
    1

    Muslims have a reputation for being turncoats. Thopi Piratti is what Tamils call them. They have Ifthar parties for Gottapukka. How low can one go? Guy gets the poor Muslims killed and then gets invited to ifthar parties at fancy hotels. Is there no shame in this community? Is money the be all and end all of life? Get real and stop becoming a despised lot as the people who “back the winning horse” as Ali puts it, without knowing the consequences it has for the country as a whole.

  • 0
    0

    Last year Hakeem only saw the crescent moon to stop Fasting & Ifthar. This year there are more witnesses. This year Abrass, Talha, Shah Jahan & Hana have seen it. I don’t understand the gimmick behind this game.
    But, in the name of religion, the educated should not fool the innocents in these lower levels. To all’s knowledge, moon is visible in all days, but not at the eclipse time. In that time the sun light doesn’t fall on moon and it is not visible. In the normal day time, the blue sky is too bright the moon to be seen, without additional lime lighting on it. In the night time, if the part of the moon which is receiving sun light is too narrow, naked eyes cannot see the silver crescent. But in any circumstances, the half a day’s time, the moon is in the visible angle of all countries. Like Sun, the moon also cannot be seen at the same time by China and America, because the view angle is not available for them both at the same time. They both get the view back after losing 12 hours. The moon is present is sky on 14th. But the shiny crescent is not recognizable to naked eye.
    Hakeem can say anything, he is unfixable politician, but teaching innocents to lie on witness stand for what the educated crooks want is really a sin in any religion. So I would request some eye doctors to test these kids eyes.

    • 0
      0

      Yes, now they told the Muslim mass to fast on Friday too. They changed their word, they asked Muslims to fast on Friday too, see the moon Friday evening and stop fasting Saturday. We really had nothing to tell Muslim mass. Up to when fasting is an agreement between the God and the devote. We are a not godly man that is the truth. But those claim that they are godly men and orders Muslim mass are liars.

      We did not insist that Muslim should fast on Friday. Our stand was if Muslims believes they need to fast on Friday, the learned crook should not lie that they had seen the moon so the Muslims need not to fast. They should tell the people the truth that no one had seen the moon so if they wish to fast they should continue. What they did was they listed couple names and ordered to believe them and stop fasting. It sounded like in the MMDA, where if man declares a woman is infidel then whatever Paththini life was she lived doesn’t matter, he gets the divorce approval. There is no space to the truth to prevail. They use the mass mind controlling techniques to herd the people.

  • 0
    0

    Dr. Ali points to some problems in the Muslim community that average Sri Lankan does not see in general.., What they see and hear about are stories on rich Muslims such as traders who keep expanding businesses and buying land etc.e.g. in Kandy province.This article shows how much different ethnic communities have in common but when they are divided along ethnic lines through (communally oriented) politics, such similarities disappear.

    The suggestion for a third option is a good one but no one has so far come up with a third option except people like Nagananda Kodituwakku and another businessman. Smaller political parties that could work as a third option unfortunately align with one of the two major parties during elections and join the gravy train after the elections.

    We all know the problem/s. We know how to criticise politicians.., We know how to argue with each other and show who is right and who is wrong.., What we don’t know is who(and how) will stop the march toward collective self destruction by mortgaging the country to foreign interests and becoming a banana republic? I think we all should spend more time on this idea of a third option/alternative and exhibit our collective wisdom so that political activists can take some leads for a better LANKA.

    There is an interesting opinion piece in today’s Island (online version) on the same subject including what the author claims is a manifesto for a third force.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.

leave a comment