2 December, 2021

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Justice To Catholics & Muslims Inseparable

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

An epistle from the Holy Father to the Archbishop of Colombo seems to have opened a new chapter in the struggle for justice to the Sri Lankan Catholic community, which lost hundreds of innocent worshipers, three churches and continues to endure unbearable pain and trauma. Although that horror act was executed by a bunch of Muslim lunatics, authorities have scapegoated the entire Muslim community in a cynical attempt to hide the truth and protect the mastermind that engineered the massacre. Consequently, security forces had indiscriminately arrested hundreds of Muslims including the human rights lawyer Hejaz Hezbollah, a young poet Ahnaf Jazeem, two Islamic preachers Hajjul Akbar and Naufar Moulavi, a former Provincial governor Azath Salley and parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act. The case of Hejaaz Hizbullah has received attention from the UN Human Rights Commission. And bizarrely, the Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekera, a man who is spearheading a crusade against Muslims in the parliament had already declared Naufar Moulavi as the mastermind.

Yet, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith who had access at least to parts of the 22 volumes Presidential Commission of Investigation (PCoI) report has been persistent in maintaining that the government and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in particular are involved in a massive cover up of the truth. The archbishop has also gone a step further and revealed that the report recommended prosecution of a few top police and intelligence officers and GR has backed away from implementing it. According to the prelate, the regime is not willing to implement PCoI’s recommendations in full, because its political damage to the regime would be disastrous. However, the cardinal’s call for justice to his flock has now reached the corridors of Vatican and one may have to wait to see how Vatican diplomacy would unfold in the future. The archbishop has also threatened to take his case to the world court as last resort. It is becoming increasingly clear that the regime is not going to allow the Church to continue its agitation.

The reaction has come from the State Intelligence Service. The head of that service Major General Suresh Sallay, whose name, according to another Catholic priest Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, appears to have been tossed around in the communication messages among the members of Zahran Hashim’s National Tawhid Jamaat, has made an official complaint to the CID demanding criminal proceedings against Fr. Fernando and few other members of the clergy. It looks that these intelligence service officers are becoming desperate to stop their names getting implicated with the massacre, and have decided to go on the attack against the church as the best form of defence.

Compared to the Catholics the plight of Muslims is far more harrowing. The entire community is virtually under siege and is being collectively punished for the crime committed by a few. But while the Catholic religious leadership is fearlessly leading the fight for justice, Muslims have been orphaned without any leadership. Neither their so-called apex religious body, All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulema, which is a men-only organization whose only remedy for all human problems is prayer and supplication to Allah, nor their political leadership that is prepared to do a bargain even with the devil if that could bring the leaders personal gains and privileges, are prepared to rally behind the Christians in a united struggle for justice. Muslim leadership fails to understand that justice to Christians would also bring justice to Muslims. The two are inseparable.

Muslim politicians are a pathetic lot. It was among them that Rajapaksa regime was able to buy the crucial votes to get the 20th Amendment passed in the parliament, which has now made President GR a virtual dictator and is taking his revenge on the community for not voting him at the 2019 election. GR’s latest act to appoint the irascible BBS Secretary Ven. Gnanasara as the head of a task force to explore and advice the president how to translate the One Country One Law (OCOL) mantra into reality, is nothing more than deliberate provocation to draw the battle lines for a future encounter with Muslims. It was this monk and his BBS that directed every major anti-Muslim riot since 2014, and even the PCoI report recommended that BBS should be proscribed. Instead, GR has elevated its secretary to a position that requires at least a modicum of legal knowledge. This was done without even consulting the Minister of Justice, who happens to be a leading Muslim and a leading attorney in the country. This racist monk would still be in prison had it not been for the politically motivated pardon and release by the former president Maithripala Sirisena who, in spite of all credible intelligence made available to his office took no action to prevent that massacre. It was his dereliction of duty that led to that infamy. Prisoner Gnanasara is now the head of a task force to deal with legal matters. It was this monk while addressing a public rally in Kandy on 7 June 2019 extended OCOL to bring one race into it and made OCOLOR. He did it by claiming that Sri Lanka belongs only to the Sinhalese and that other communities are long term tenants in the Sinhalese home. What is even more shocking and insulting to the Muslim community is the inclusion in that task force four Muslims who apparently belong to some obscure Sufi groups that do not represent even one percent of believers in Islam in the country. There is no doubt that these four are planted there to say, yes sir yes sir to the Venerable chief who thinks only Sufism represents true Islam. Anyhow, the sole motive of this cynical exercise is to get rid of the controversial MMDA and along with it the Qazi courts. If a monk is needed to do this why have an expert in law as the Minister of Justice?

Sri Lankan Muslims have to find solutions to their problems and seek justice to their grievances from within the country. There is no Pope in Islam to plead for them, and the only world organization Muslims have is OIC whose influence internationally is very limited. True OIC passed a resolution against the Sri Lankan government, which gave additional weight to UNHCR resolution and EU’s threat regarding GSP+ trade concessions. Whether OIC would continue to act further is doubtful. Yet, there is no harm in trying to appeal to that body to do more. But the long-term solution has to be worked out domestically and with cooperation from other communities and organizations. It is time Muslims give up their identity politics and look for a leadership outside their community. That leadership need not be Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, agnostic or a coalition of some or all of them. As long as that leadership is prepared to treat the Muslims as equal partners in the national struggle for democracy, freedom, and progress that leadership should be supported. The entire country is looking for such a leadership at the moment. Will Muslims join the search? Meanwhile, the Christian struggle for justice deserves support of all Muslims.

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

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  • 1
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  • 8
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    “Although that horror act was executed by a bunch of Muslim lunatics,…”
    —-
    How about those who imported about 3000 swords? Mullahs who stockpiled those swords in their Mosques saying that they wanted those swords to cut grass in Mosques? Those who invited foreign Wahhabi Muslim preachers to come on Tourist Visa and radicalize Muslim youths? Muslim politicians who turned a blind eye to what was going on in their community and in Madrasahs?

    • 6
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      Eagle,
      “How about those who imported about 3000 swords? Mullahs who stockpiled those swords in their Mosques “
      Some communities might be stupid enough to import swords to commit massacres, the same way they believe in throwing pots into rivers as a Covid cure. But I know for sure Muslims aren’t THAT stupid.

  • 8
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    The Catholic Malaccan Rajapaksas are deceiving the Sinhalese AGAIN. Why? To set the stage for a massive ethnic riot between the Sinhalese and the Muslims.
    It is no secret that online hate speech against Muslims and the Sinhalese Buddhists both originated from the SAME social media outlets maintained by the Rajapaksas. I can see that it is happening again.
    Not only that, the Rajapaksas were behind all attacks against Muslim businesses and mosques.
    Since 2012, riots against the Muslims have been an annual occurrence to pave the way for the Rajapaksas to please the Muslims with government compensation. In return, they received support from Muslim politicians and campaign funds from Muslim businesssmen.
    I am sure the Rajapaksas are not happy about two consecutive years of MISSING ethnic riots due to Covid-19. Hence the abrupt joint mobilization against Muslims. While Mahinda mobilizes the Catholic community, Gotabhaya mobilizes the Sinhalese Buddhist community.
    Any fool can see that their COLLECTIVE EFFORT is to incite the Sinhalese against the Muslims and vice versa.

    • 6
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      Gorabhaya’s One Country, One Law Presidential Task Force headed by Ven. Gnanasara Thero undermines the Constitution, therefore, is illegal.
      I would be very surprised if Gotabhaya’s “one-stop-legal reform-shop” didn’t come up with a recommendation to abolish or amend Buddhist Vihara Devalagam (Temporalities) Ordinance.

      • 5
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        Fake patriots are in town again to deceive people, but their script is poor.
        I understand government Ministers have been offered millions to resign from their posts. How much could the offer be?
        When not in power, Basil had offered Rs. 250 million per MP. For a Minister, it could be Rs. 500 million. Not bad, hey? Cheers to Ali Sabry to be the first!

  • 4
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    Justice is required for everyone, especially the Thamizh Hindus and Christians( Protestants and Catholics), they are the most discriminated and marginalized on the island and still are. The Chingkalla Catholics and the Sri Lankan Muslims, who are ethically Thamizh but pretend to be everything else other than Thamizh helped the Chingkalla Buddhists and many ruling Chingkalla Protestant families to marginalize the island’s Thamizh and now crying for justice after they also have become victims. Where were all these people when thousands of innocent Thamizh civilians many of them Catholics were deliberately killed and war crimes were committed on them? They were celebrating, dancing and holding parades and street parties, with the very same people whom they cry are now oppressing them.

  • 3
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    I agree that the attack was executed by some Muslim lunatics, and that the Srilankan Muslim community as a whole didn’t have anything to do with it. But people like you, Mr. Ameer and the hateful articles you write with your anti-Sinhalese propaganda and hate speech against the Sinhalese can set even the most sympathetic and down to earth Sinhalese against the Muslims and also make the Sinhalese believe that the Srilankan Muslims support the actions of the few Muslim lunatics who did this, besides radicalizing the Muslim youth by your anti-Sinhalese propaganda.
     
    Its totally idiotic to even imply that the Srilankan authorities had anything to do with the attacks. That would mean that SL authorities had got some 10-12 Muslims to blow themselves up. How is that even possible? Now the leaders of this Muslim group behind the suicide bombings are extremely rich, so they cannot have been paid to execute suicide bombings. How in the world is Tuan Suresh Sallay or any other person from the SL government going to get Muslim men to execute suicide bombings?

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      Fr. Gamini has been reported to the CID bu Tuan Suresh Sallay, not for fighting for justice for the victims of Easter bombings, but for falsely making claims about our intelligence services being involved in the bombings. Besides Sallay himself being a Muslim, this kind of accusations, could have a very negative consequences for him, both in his personal and professional life. The Catholic priest has also told that Majour General Tuan Suresh Sallay had been financing the leader of the Islamic group! Now Fr. Gamini is not alone to make such allegations, there are some other Sinhalese politicians (eg. Nalin Bandara) who had also made such allegations. Maybe because Sallay is a Muslim, it is seen as an easy entry point into launching full scale allegations and attacks on the government and the anti-Sinhalese gangs then ultimately use these false allegations against the innocent Sinhalese people, to demonize the Sinhalese Buddhists? Whatever said and done, now Fr. Gamini will have to show proof of what he has been babbling about.

    • 5
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      PP,
      “Now the leaders of this Muslim group behind the suicide bombings are extremely rich, “
      Oh, so now you know who they are? Why not go to the CID with your amazing info?
      Don’t you know that Sinhala Buddhist Somarama was extremely rich too at the time he shot SWRD?

    • 2
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      Punchi Point,
      .
      Part 1 of 2
      .
      Since you write as though you don’t understand
      the trend of thought that runs through the articles and comments that are now appearing, may I interpret them for you? If those whose ideas I presume to explicate think that I’m distorting them, they will (without doubt) say so.
      .
      The Easter bombers were wealthy Jihadists who would not have acted had they realised that they were being manipulated by “infidels”. They must have been convinced that they were carrying out the will of Allah. What they did was horrible, and they were mistaken.
      .
      However, we needn’t further insult them with having dreams of 72 virgins as reward, etc, as many of us do.

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      Part 2 of 2
      .
      What is now being said is that the “Master Minds” were cleverer than them, and manipulated conditions in various ways (which I don’t understand) so that the bombers went about their business unaware that they were merely “cat’s paws”. On that reading of events, even the intelligence services may not have been aware of the depth of the plot.
      .
      It has further been Part 2 of 2
      .
      What is now being said is that the “Master Minds” were cleverer than them, and manipulated conditions in various ways (which I don’t understand) so that the bombers went about their business unaware that they were merely “cat’s paws”. On that reading of events, even the intelligence services may not have been aware of the depth of the plot.
      .
      It has further been explicitly claimed that the “Master Minds” were those who went on to reap the benefits in the elections that were held later.
      .
      So, it is that argument that you have to counter; things have come to such a pass that most Sinhalese Buddhists also believe so, and the World is now aware of it. Nobody has come up with proof, but the suspicion is there; average humans find this abhorrent, Afghanistan has demonstrated that even western politicians cannot be trusted. The only way to silence those saying all this is to convince them, through credible investigations, that they are mistaken.

      • 1
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        I have no intention of entertaining or discussing any conspiracy theories.

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          Do you even know how dumb you sound, SM? What you say would involve the ISIS being either fooled or knowingly helping Rajapaksha win elections in a far away small island!! What did Rajapakshas offer in return? That Srilanka will be part of the Islamic caliphate? Get real. Now don’t come back and say that its not the ISIS but a local Muslim group, because then you will firmly place the blame on the Srilankan Muslims. There’s no way this attack is any different from other ISIS and Alqueda attacks in Europe/West, where the attacks are executed through terrorist cells.
           
          FYI the Rajapakshas didn’t need any help from anyone to win the elections, as things were going with Sirisena-Ranil government from its very inception in 2015, leading upto the 2018 “coup” . I do not think the Sinhalese and Tamil conspiracy theorist have the slightest idea what the ISIS is even, for that matter, you moronic conspiracy theorists do not even have the slightest idea about anything else either. No wonder we are stuck with vicious corrupt politicians, who people like you vote in and out and they just keep exchanging power between them with different labels.

          • 0
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            PP,
            “No wonder we are stuck with vicious corrupt politicians, who people like you vote in and out “
            So , didn’t you vote for Gota to save the country? Are you suggesting you’ll vote for Glyphosate Ratana and Venereal Gandasara next time?

  • 3
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    Ameer Ali: “…..president Maithripala Sirisena who, in spite of all credible intelligence made available to his office took no action to prevent that massacre. It was his dereliction of duty that led to that infamy”.
     
    No it was not. It was the attack on President Sirisena, the Srilankan authorities and intelligence services by the Tamils and Muslims, and the undue criticism of terrorism prevention intelligence actions including the PTA by the UNHRC, that prevented taking proper action – proper action would include mass arrests and detention of Muslims and that would have intensified the attack on Srilanka by UNHRC and other international agencies. Mass arrests and detention and questioning and even surveillence needed to prevent terrorist attacks of this nature can only be done using the PTA, which was been attacked at the UNHRC meeting just a few days prior to the Easter bombings. So, how in the world could the government have prevented the Easter bombings and future terrorist attacks if they cannot use the PTA, make arrests and detain terrorist suspects?

    • 8
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      Dr Ameer Ali does not write hateful articles, about anyone. In fact, his articles are very moderate and informative. I may not agree with all that he states but to call him hateful and extremist really takes the cake. If you cannot agree and have a dialogue with him then with which Muslim are you going to agree? The shameful politicians who sell their community for their personal gain?

      • 1
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        Dear Pandi Kutti,
        .
        In a comment above you were whining that nobody seems to understand how much Tamils have suffered. Not constructive, but no problem.
        .
        However, thanks for springing to the defence of Dr Ameer Ali. Lankans have to learn that individuals will always have different perspectives, especially when language and religion are different. We cannot brush those differences under the carpet.
        .
        Unfortunately, we’re all conscious of two other differences. Ethnicity and caste. I do try to brush those aside in the hope that younger people will not be aware of them. Yes, I acknowledge that I have an agenda there. I feel that too many accept these differences. It’s upto us to consciously counter these fissiporous tendencies.
        .
        Does that make me a villain or a hypocrite?

  • 6
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    Sri Lanka has become a strange country where those who massacred innocent civilians carrying out terrorist attacks seeking justice.

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    I think that the forces that the Muslims need to combat are not the same as those that the Catholics have to.
    Anti-Muslim sentiment cuts across all political borders of Sinhala Buddhist nationalists. The roots run deep.
    The Catholic community had problems with Sinhala Buddhism early on, partly because of the rightist politics of the Church which the Church managed to get over. In fact the Catholic Church is still divided on ethnic lines.
    *
    We are talking of two different categories of injustice; and what is the common denominator?

    • 5
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      Well said SJ you are referring to the Catholic Action Movement of the Sixties, the BJB, Mettananda etc. I don’t suppose many people know about these things. The anti- Muslim sentiments of the Sinhalese are something completely different.

    • 4
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      Dear SJ & Paul,
      .
      You are sharp.
      The Catholic-Buddhist problems in the sixties were different . At that time there was Catholic Action, inequality of educational opportunity, and persecution of Buddhists by the corrupt and Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem regime.
      .
      By now, disenchantment with post-1960s education has led to a feeling that rejection of Catholic contributions to education was unfortunate. There is little understanding of the differences among Christian denominations. Cardinal Ranjith has recently stopped being regarded as a polarising figure.
      .
      Regrettably, suspicions about Muslims run deeper; it is complicated by many Sinhalese who worked in Arab countries being unwilling to be frank about their status there. I was fortunate to have worked in Oman which had the wonderful Sultan Qaboos.
      .
      Dr Ali recognises the differences, and rightly finds the plight of Muslims more harrowing. He is right in blaming most of the Muslim politicians, although we are fortunate to still have the likes of Bakeer Markar and Kabir Hussain, to follow the likes of Aboosally who represented Balangoda which had only a handful of Muslims.
      .
      Back on track – the three politicians I mentioned are exceptions. Most Sinhalese have deep suspicions of Muslims.

  • 0
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    A Kothmali, Tamil Police sergeant was missing from Kampala Hospital where he was taking treatment for Covid -19. In Lankawe only extremely severe cases are admitted to hospital. Hospitals need to be accountable for the care of these cases. In another case a Tamil was working in a mansion renovation project, later, where a Minister moved in. A bomb was found in another hospital. CCTV Video Cameras showed a Tamil man was planting it. It was traced as that it was the man who worked in the minister’s future home. It was established that the man found the bomb planted in the minister’s renovated house and took it and re-planted it in the hospital. Now it is not-explained how the Kampala hospital cameras missed the Sub-inspector missing from the hospital and reappearing in the hospital drinking water Tank, one and half month later. Lankawe is a country, which refused to bury Muslims’ bodies fearing the corpses contaminating the water. Will Kothmali hospital explain 1). Why did the CCTV cameras not locate the missing police sergeant? 2). How the hospital is going to locate the patients and visitors who drank the contaminated water. 3). What is the redress for the affected parties by this extremely despicable act?

  • 1
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    I have stated earlier that these ‘arrest’ stories of high profile individuals (freemasons) in SL is staged
    drama to scare the general public into not defying the rulers.

    • 1
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      Humble,
      .
      I’m sorry;
      a few days ago I said somewhere that I couldn’t remember what you stood for.
      .
      I’m so sorry that I had forgotten that you are the comedian obsessed with “Freemasonry”.
      .
      My apologies; I appreciate how galling it must be for a clown not to be remembered. That lapse of memory on my part was quite inadvertent. It will not be repeated.

  • 4
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    Mr Ameer Ali
    There is no one between Zaharan and Allah but a lot more below Zaharan who attended his radicalisation and weapons training classes who are still at large.
    Muslim politicos with whom Zahran had dealings or donated money for his Islamic projects have nothing to do with this attack on Christians. They themselves are caught dumfounded by this turn of events I am certain.
    BUT THEY ARE WHOLY RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING THIS DARK ENVIRONMENT OF BURKA/BEARD/ROBE VISIBLE TO ANY VISITOR TO KATTANKUDI AND DHAGA TOWN.
    .
    MR AMEER ALI, PLEASE PAY A VISIT TO KATTANKUDI AND ASK YOUSELF WHO CREATED ZAHARAN. YOU WILL GET THE ANSWER IN YOUR SLEEP.
    Abondon this lame attempt to get some Sinhala politicos involved in this horrendous act “executed by a bunch of Muslim lunatics” in your own words.
    (We know post event one set of heyenas made full political capital out of it and now the other set of heyenas are trying to make political capital of it.)

    Muslim wrters are busy 24/7 in diverting attention. BUT MR.AMEER ALI. THE DAMAGE IS IRREPARABLE.

    Once again Mr Ali you cannot absolve youself of your share of the responsibility of creating that environment that ceated Zahran.

    Soma

    .

  • 3
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    Thank you, Dr Ameer Ali, for this cogent appeal for the country to recognise the peril that we are all in.
    .
    Let us not underestimate the resources that we have among the Buddhist Clergy.
    .
    Earlier today, I came across this remarkable speech by a youngish University-lecturer-monk.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLC7IAvI7R0
    .
    This has come out just yesterday.
    .
    Those who cannot follow his speech in Sinhala would do well to look at the comments submitted to Youtube that appear below the 12 minute speech in which racism is denounced. Many Muslims have applauded the speech, a number of them in English.

    • 0
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      I’d like to add more from a few Buddhist monks. This, by the same Ven. Suddassana.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E1BzGVmR-c
      .
      This is 18 minutes; it really is the same address, with a six minute introduction which speaks of certain events leading up to the end of the civil war. I’ve made the first two comments; perhaps I should do a translation into English. I’m sure that I have the competence to do it, although one has to be careful doing this sort of thing.
      .
      Now here’s something that doesn’t need translation:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0PTDNjovBc
      .
      Ven. Bogawanthalawa Rahula’s first language had been Tamil, and he had been a Hindu Swamy. In a real sense he has not turned back on Hinduism, although he is now a full-fledged Buddhist monk. There are other bilingual Youtube sermons by him. However, since they are of a general nature, I will post other sermons after the other articles.

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