11 August, 2020

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Increasing Muslim Law Students Becomes An ‘Invasion’! In A Land Like No Other!

By Mohamed Harees –

Lukman Harees

Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” ~ Abraham Heschel

Will Rogers once said “everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke”. Judging by what former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena said at a recent hearing at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on Easter Attacks, it appears that the entire administration and law enforcement mechanism has become a joke, making Sri Lanka a laughing stock yet again in the eyes of the international community. Or is it Systemic racism, so entrenched that it has become the new normal? When the fence fails to protect all the crop, to whom shall we complaint? goes the adage. Unintelligible ‘Intelligence’ in a Land like no other!

The Daily Mirror, reported that in a report made on July 20, 2015, Jayawardena said that out of 203 students, there were only five Muslim students at the Law college in 2003. However, in 2012, 78 Muslim students were admitted to Law College and as a percentage it was 25.24% of the overall students. Explaining his opinion Jayawardena said that this was part of an attempt to invade key positions by minorities. “I can only warn the relevant institutions. The Ministry of Justice and Law College should investigate the matter,” witness said, responding to a question raised by the Commissioners. Witness further said that the LTTE also assured many students in areas under their control and they also passed their university entrance exams. This is one approach minorities can take. This kind of invasion happens in France and some other countries. At SIS we observed the trend and its up to the relevant officials to take the necessary measures”.

Not a fiction but a fact in our motherland! Not quite sure whether to laugh or to cry! In a way, coming at a time when the nation is about to face another Parliamentary polls,  Jayawardene may be another ‘cog in the machine’ used by his political masters to create another Muslim bogeyman as part of the well-orchestrated demonization campaign directed at the community, to win elections. These days, the nation is being already treated to a liberal dose of anti-Muslim hatred by demonising the community, thanks to the likes of Ratanas, Gnanasaras, Madu Maadawas, Wimals and Gammanpilas, Ranawakas to name a few. In fact, Basil wanted SLPP to be like BJP- an admirable role model indeed! It also can be a case of Media sensationalism. As the link between voters and candidates, media is an essential part of politics. News publications do sacrifice journalistic integrity for the sake of more exciting stories, especially in the run up to an election. 

However, shoving aside this witness as a scapegoat and his ‘breaking news’ revelation at the Commission of Inquiry as mere humour or media sensationalism may miss the wood for the trees. What Jayawardene said appears to show how deep the racist rabbit hole goes. What he said thus aptly reflects the bigger picture and the thinking within the political establishment and its administrative machinery, seeing Muslim ghosts in every corner in Post war period. If it is not reflective of systemic or institutionalised racism, then what is? 

One of the principal attributes of a good intelligence analyst is the ability to set aside one’s prior information, experience, and prejudices and only use designated information sources to make judgments, decisions, and recommendations. This may sound simple but it isn’t and many people are not capable of setting aside acquired attributes in analyzing information and data. And also there is the the ability to see both sides. Probably the most important of all of the attributes, but also the most difficult to maintain are integrity and courage.  In the case of the likes of the senior officers like Jayawardene, these attributes seems lacking. In fact, if  the breakdown of the intelligence system led to the Easter Sunday disaster, then those at the top like him  should be held to account for failing in their duty.  

On the basis of his representations, any reasonable person with an iota of common sense will realise the stupidity and baseless nature of his fears. On the one hand, Muslims are no different to the Sinhalese or Tamils and being equal citizens can pursue any profession or vocation of their choosing. Why should minorities  going into legal field in greater numbers be viewed as a threat which prompts SIS to suggest action at the highest levels? Thus, to conclude or cast suspicions that they are on a secret conspiracy plan to hold crucial posts in the government when their numbers are increasing in the legal field reflects the low level, the once elitist Intelligence services of Sri Lanka has now stooped to. On the other hand, it is not the proper representation of the facts as well. According to a legal professional, if the statistics are properly analysed in the said period, the gradual increase was in the number of Tamil medium students as a whole; not just Muslims. But Jayawardene has however failed to highlight in the same breadth, the actual reason behind the increasing numbers – the surge in Tamil medium law entrance classes and also an increase in their quality, which resulted in more students entering Law College in the Tamil medium. However, this is an entrenched and chronic problem which is beyond this narrow concern about ‘increased Muslim intake to the field of law’. 

It is a tragicomedy of our times that Sri Lankan political parties are seeking a fresh mandate when they represent a bankrupt political system which has taken Sri Lanka aback to the point of a failed state. Sri Lanka’s social integrity and economic stature have been compromised beyond repair under the Post-Independence rulers. They have turned Sri Lanka into a divided nation. Frustration with the corruption, divisive/racist politics, loss of confidence in politics and rule of law, and the lack of orientation of the country’s elites to the common good and the interests of young voters in particular, have led to a generation no longer using their right to vote and withdrawing from political life. The polarisation of society and political culture has made it more difficult for young people to become politically-active. Sri Lanka’s rulers have thus repeatedly disregarded the country’s best interests for personal gain. 

One of the biggest tragedies of our time is the emergence of intolerance and raw racism in the social and political fabric of this country, especially in the last few decades. Once upon a time, we Sri Lankans prided ourselves on our tolerance of difference. According to the story we told ourselves, we forged “one” people out of “many” in our schools, neighbourhoods, social interactions and political for a, as the US motto ‘E pluribus unum’ projects, tolerating a wider range of religious beliefs. We won our independence on a united platform. Seven decades later , racist thinking in State craft and institutionalization of racism has taken Sri Lanka down the precipice. However, no lessons are learnt yet. 

Racism of this kind, racism that infects the very structure of our society, is called systemic racism. And at first glance, it may be difficult to detect. Since the end of war, hate speech and crimes have been on the rise. Sinhala Supremacists have been emboldened. Anti-Muslim  rhetoric has intensified. We condemn these awful examples of prejudice and bias and hate, but systemic racism is something different. It’s less about violence or burning symbols than it is about everyday decisions made by people who may not even think of themselves as racist. The main problem nowadays may not be the street thugs armed with knives and guns but the folks dressed in national suits in the Parliament, government offices, service uniforms and saffron clothes. Systemic racism persists in our schools, offices, court system, police departments, and even in Intelligence as we discussed. When those from among the minority people do not occupy most positions of decision-making power, those people have a difficult time getting a fair shake, let alone getting ahead.

If racism, racial discrimination, and all related forms of intolerance still persist in daily life, it follows that they will inevitably be reproduced in a country’s legal, law enforcement  and judicial systems. It is a shocking fact that discrimination – the manifestation of racism, and intolerance – exists and persists in the administration of justice and law enforcement. It is in this context that the racist attitudes of the Sri Lankan Intelligence. There is systemic racism existing in policing and law enforcement. How could the fence be trusted to protect the crops and also show impartiality when the law enforcement and its attendant arms are partial, racist and discriminatory in their approaches?

Identifying the role of race in someone’s decision-making process is a complicated task, and determining the motive(s) behind another person’s observable action is even more complicated. Sometimes the term “systemic racism,” often wrongly interpreted as an accusation that everyone in the system is racist. Not all racial profiling is based on the individual actions of a few “bad apples.” Even courts have recognized that racial profiling is a systemic problem. In fact, systemic racism means almost the opposite. It means that a country has systems and institutions that produce racially disparate outcomes, regardless of the intentions of the people who work within them. The term racial disparity denotes outcomes that differ by race or ethnicity. Racially biased behaviours may arise from racial animus, statistical prediction, or features of situations that facilitate differential treatment based on group membership.

Racial profiling undermines trust in public institutions. There is clear link between public confidence in law enforcement and public safety. People are less likely to cooperate with investigations and provide testimony in court if they have negative perceptions of law enforcement. Racial profiling can happen at any stage of decision-making by law enforcement authorities. It may result from an individual’s explicit or implicit bias based on conscious or unconscious stereotypes, personal prejudice or hostility toward particular communities. The impacts of racial profiling are devastating for communities, like what the Muslims experience in Post war Sri Lanka in the face of demonization. Law enforcement organizations must therefore take steps to prevent, identify and respond to racial profiling, racial discrimination, harassment and other violations of their code of conduct. 

People should not consider racism as a partisan issue, and they need to stop making it a partisan issue. It’s a question of morality. First and foremost ,in addressing systemic racism, it is important to acknowledge that racism actually exists, get involved with organizations that are fighting it, and finally elect leaders and policy makers who won’t reinforce or support structurally racist policies. Individuals doing personal work to understand systemic racism is necessary, yet it’s so not sufficient. Those wanting to enact change need to agitate to demand fundamental change from institutions in their own lives. It requires all of us to move beyond reform. We need to articulate clearly that the current system is not working. “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”  Mahatma Gandhi

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Latest comments

  • 6
    3

    “Witness further said that the LTTE also assured many students in areas under their control and they also passed their university entrance exams”

    Before LTTE time .in the 1950s and 60s and 70s Tamil Students entered Universities in large numbers.

    • 2
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      Because of LTTE!!!!!!!!!

      • 4
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        umberto : you think of LTTE to help you go to the toilet.
        Umberto goes to the toilet Because of LTTE!!!!!!!!!

      • 7
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        What an idiot of an “intelligence” officer. This jackass is a good example of why police officers should be promoted only on merit and not seniority.
        What should be investigated, really, is why there were only 5 Muslim students out of 203 in 2003. That (2.5%)is far below the proportion of Muslims in the population, and indicates systematic discrimination against them.

    • 7
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      Rajash,
      At the time Sinhale gained independence, in Medical Faculty about 70%, in Engineering Faculty about 65% and in Science Faculty about 60% were Vellala Tamils because during colonial rule they developed education facilities in Yapanaya that benefitted only Vellala Tamils as a favor done by them to oppress Native Sinhalayo.
      Standardization was introduced as a solution to address this anomaly by giving more opportunities to Sinhala, Demala and others from areas where education facilities were poor. This measure benefited Tamils who lived outside Yapanaya but Vellala Tamils told the International Community that Majority Sinhala Buddhists are discriminating against Tamils and they bought that lie.
      The bitter truth is, Vellala Tamils in Yapanaya who looked down upon Tamils from other areas did not want them to rise in the social ladder through higher education.

      “in the 1950s and 60s and 70s Tamil Students entered Universities in large numbers.”

      • 2
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        Eagle,
        “Standardization was introduced as a solution to address this anomaly by giving more opportunities to Sinhala, Demala and others from areas where education facilities were poor. “
        As a result, a dumbass like Nilantha Jayawardena could become SIS Director. In any other country, he would have been fired on the spot.

        • 2
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          Eagle,
          “about 65% and in Science Faculty about 60% were Vellala Tamils because during colonial rule they developed education facilities in Yapanaya that benefitted only Vellala Tamils “
          Why do you keep repeating this easily disproved lie?
          Were there no missionary schools in the South? What do you call places like St. Thomas’s, Royal, St.Joseph’s, St.Benedicts, Trinity, etc ? Who ran down schools like St. Aloysius’ Galle and St. Anthony’s Katugastota?
          Why couldn’t your Native Sinhalayo use these places to fill even 50% of University places? The answer is obvious.

  • 6
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    SRI Lanka does not use intelligence for state security. Their brand of state Security is Simply said Genocide like that started in 1956 in Gal pay and peaked 2009 on Tamils and still continuing. That is the former intelligence officer reflected
    He wants that on Muslims now

  • 1
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    “Racism of this kind, racism that infects the very structure of our society, is called systemic racism.” Kindly rewrite your article. There is no racial issues in Sri Lanka. Sinhalese people society is NOT a racial group but an ethnicity; same for Tamils. Muslim is a religious group; no different from Christians but they part and parcel of the affinity groups.

    The discrimination felt by Muslims is based on their religion only and in accelerated form is a very recent phenomenon, though 1926 Sinhala-Muslim riot in Kandy was the only communal riot during the colonial period.

    If it is strictly merit based, it is so much for the better, and IS wouldn’t be there to convert Sri Lanka into an IS province as the Easter terrorist had foolishly worked on, thus transforming their community into a pariah society within Sri Lanka for no reason whatsoever.

    If Saudi and other M.E. money is destroying our country then it is imperative to take effective measures. Previous governments used the Muslim community as a bulwark against LTTE, and with LTTE gone, they are being used to encroach into the Tamil community using the same language advantage.

    If Muslims students are excelling in studies, all must encourage them; good for the country.

    • 5
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      You are correct. There are no different races in Sri Lanka , as I have been always stating . They all belong to same race , South Indian , with minor inputs from other people. This Aryan and Arab origins are rubbish. They are very minor inputs , that are now being deliberately highlighted by certain interested and self centered parties to create chaos for their own benefit. We are all basically a South Indian Dravidian people. There are only ethnicities in the island and only two Sinhalese and Tamil , there is no such thing called a Muslim ethnicity , it is a religious identity and not an ethnic identity. Just like the Christians, Hindus or Buddhists in the island who either belong to the Sinhalese or Tamil ethnicity. Ethnic Tamil Muslims in Sri Lanka are called Moors and the word Moor only denotes to their religion and not any North African Berber or Arab origin. These people have been trying their best to use the word Moor that was incorrectly given to them by the Portuguese , as a basis to claim Arab heritage and a different ethnicity from the Tamils and are still desperately trying to do so. This author and many others are also trying their best to continue this lie.

      • 5
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        SSS thank you for a very clear explanation. It is only recently that Muslims have started wearing Arab dress. They are really Tamils who converted to Islam, probably to escape the caste system. If they were mainly of Arab origin this would show in their features, language, music, food and so on but there is no sign of that.
        .
        Apart from South India I think there is also some input into our race from Bihar and Bengal.

    • 6
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      Fairmindedone,
      Rubbish! Muslims had no other choice other than to work with the Government because LTTE had an anti-Muslim stance. LTTE kicked out Muslims from Yapanaya giving 48 hour notice. They were allowed to take bare minimum of things. LTTE massacred Muslims praying in a mosque. The target of LTTE Tamil terrorists was to chase both Sinhalayo and Muslims from North and East and convert Elam into a mono-ethnic ghetto.

      “Previous governments used the Muslim community as a bulwark against LTTE”

  • 3
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    ” “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.””
    When did Mahatma Gandhi visit Kattankudi in Sri Lanka?

    Soma

    • 2
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      somass

      “When did Mahatma Gandhi visit Kattankudi in Sri Lanka?”

      When Gandhi visited this island there was no Islamic Republic of Kattankudy.
      Islamic Republic of Kattankudy was founded in the mid or late 1980s with the funds and perverted ideology of Saudi and logistical support from your state (un)intelligence agencies.

      Why don’t you go by facts and not by your hatred for “OTHERS”. It was not a clever witty riposte. If you are a bigoted racist you cannot be clever therefore you qualify as a member of lumpen public.

    • 0
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      Somu
      Gandhi begged and begged let them to live together, but Jinnah’s Pakistani Muslims promised and implemented Hindus Blood bath. This fake Ahimsawathi now doesn’t remember anything to quote from Jinnah, but finding lot to quote from Gandhi. Dragging Gandhi into their Blood Bath games of Harees and Hezbollah is not the only smart act here, but the whole essay is brain washing attempt, not ready to talk open heartedly about the past.
      He is explaining, while Hakeem being the Justice Minister, all Muslim gave up other studies and switch over to law. Then how did so many Muslim pass? He says Tamils students have improved passing only in Law that is why that many Muslims passed. Tamils are 2 times higher than Muslims; if it were the Tamil media did 150 Tamils passed in those exams. When they wanted implement standardization, they separated Muslims from Tamils, now adding Tamils in this to hide the Muslims’ passed out number.
      In reality, for those exams frauds, Hakeem must have been put in prison, but dirty Sinhala ministers fearing their Arabian commission may dry out, were not willing to do that.
      While Hakeem capturing Eastern professional Jobs, Rishard was capturing the Northern lands, chasing Tamils living there. Even Old King was surprised by Rishard’s action.

  • 0
    3

    Racism of this kind, racism that infects the very structure of our society, is called systemic racism. And at first glance, it may be difficult to detect. Since the end of war, hate speech and crimes have been on the rise. Sinhala Supremacists have been emboldened.
    …………..
    People should not consider racism as a partisan issue, and they need to stop making it a partisan issue. It’s a question of morality.

    The guy is writing anything he things a philosophy, principle and theory.
    The Parliament decided in 1970 that Tamils have advantage in studying so they were entering in all fields in higher number. So Muslim minister passed a law in Tamils sits in Tamil, they have to take higher marks but that needed not be the case for Muslims and Sinhalese. The Muslim minister didn’t wanted to argue with anybody that Tamils like university education instead of Pana coat trading, so the problem there. But the minister made it a law and enjoyed the benefits. When Tamils complained about it in IC another Muslim minister said Tamils are showing beggar wound and begging. Then Hakeem was negotiating with Ranil for separate Unit. Now this comedian is writing “People should not consider racism as a partisan issue “. That is idea propagated in Hakeem’s new book.

  • 2
    3

    These are guy resigned all 22 members as group when Aanduwa wanted to investigate Rishard & Hezbollah’s involvement in 4/21. Then the minister who said Tamils are showing beggar wounds to IC went to ME and had warned government on Hezbollah’s Saria University issue. Hezbollah said if North East is merged he will make Tamils blood bath would take place. Our comedian friend is writing here “People should not consider racism as a partisan issue”. Though he says this, still he never condemned Hezbollah opposing North East. Now the author is bring these from Hakeem’s new Book. But Hakeem said Rajiv joining the North Was the whole problem of Muslims. Did the Author ever asked a question are the people considering racism as partitions issue, if it not Muslims. What a gimmick the entire essay is! Author appears to have read Hakeem books. (we didn’t). Why couldn’t he have corrected Hakeem “ No Brother, You are wrong; our problem started only after the war, not at the time North-East merged”.

  • 3
    1

    Lukman Harees,
    It is not loud enough. Scream little bit louder ‘Systemic Racism in Sri Lanka’ to convince the International community that Sinhala Buddhists are racists who discriminate against minorities. In the International Community there are people who like to buy such things in the same way they bought Tamil Diaspora anti-Sri Lanka, anti-Sinhala Buddhist propaganda based on blatant lies.
    The Presidential Committee investigating Easter Terrorist attack is exposing lot of interesting things that the Parliamentary Select Committee which was a Media Circus did not do. So Muslims are getting jittery about that and looking for ways to divert attention playing the ‘Race Card’.

    “Or is it Systemic racism, so entrenched that it has become the new normal?”

  • 4
    1

    So a minority educating itself, despite barriers before it, has drawn the suspicion of former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena. Such petty trifles must have given him troubled sleep. Now a Presidential Commission must have sleepless nights over the phenomena. What to do? Declare educated minorities a national threat and lock them away? Shoot them? Weaponised the acquiring of intelligence?

  • 5
    1

    So a minority educating itself, despite barriers before it, has drawn the suspicion of former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Nilantha Jayawardena. Such petty trifles must have given him troubled sleep. Now a Presidential Commission must have sleepless nights over the phenomena. What to do? Declare educated minorities a national threat and lock them away? Shoot them? Weaponize the acquiring of intelligence?

  • 4
    0

    If a Former Director of the SIS believed that about 25% of those admitted to the Law College in 2012 is a Security threat needing Investigation, because they were Muslims, it speaks volumes about the capacity of the SIS itself.

    Importantly, this happened during the Presidency of MR with his younger brother GR as Defence Secretary, both of whom are hailed as War Heroes. If this SIS Director is Right, how does it reflect on the War Heroes and the widely held belief that Only the Rajapakse brothers can Ensure the Security if Sri Lanka? If not, does it mean the SIS was always led by nincompoops and that is why it failed Miserably in preventing the Easter Terror of 2019 in spite of enough Intelligence Warnings prior to the terror attacks?

    • 0
      0

      Sorry, Typo.

      3rd line from the bottom “…Ensure the Security if Sri Lanka”, please read “of” i/o “if”.

  • 0
    0

    “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”– Mahatma Gandhi
    Gandhi said this to Jinnah. That is OK, that is past; but why, Harees, Hakeem, Rishard, Hezbollah, Mubarak et al are resisting changes? What happened to MMDA?

    Yesterday I saw a video clip in net, guided by a Tamil News piece. An Indian village people beating up a woman & forcing her to carry her husband on her shoulders over the road. What happened was husband complained he suspected his wife had friendship with another man. How many essays the crook Muslim preachers wrote quoting Gandhi on this. Gandhi is not just Ashimsawathi, most popular leader of that time’s women liberation.

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