19 September, 2020

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Letting Another War! Let Our Collective Conscience Speak!

By Lukman Harees 

Lukman Harees

When the War ended in 2009, the people of Sri Lanka irrespective of racial and religious differences heaved a sigh of relief. The reason was obvious. All communities suffered in various degrees when the Tigers wreaked havoc, including their own kind- the Tamils, as the Tigers only tolerated one way traffic. When the Tiger problem was in full swing, Tamils and Muslims equally felt, along with the Sinhalese, a high sense of insecurity over 30 long years, with the country being compartmentalized into Tiger controlled and government controlled areas. Muslims were driven out from their lands in the North and became IDPs,  while hundreds of worshippers were shot in cold blood inside their places of worship in the East. Scores of Buddhist monks were killed and Sri Maha Bodhi too was attacked. Suicide bombers caused disaster after disaster . All communities lost many of their illustrious political leaders too to the Tiger bullet and bombs. People of all races longed for a day where the bombs and suicide bombers will be things of the past. In May 2009, thankfully, they all woke up to a peaceful Sri Lanka brimming with hope and excitement. President MR then emphasized that there will be no further talk of majority and minority communities in the future; there will only  be those who love their country and who do not. A common ‘Sri Lankan identity’ was then seen to be in the making and flowers of peace and harmony were showing signs of blooming! At least, so they seemed! 

Almost four years after the end of the War, the dream of peace and unity , has still seems  unattainable while we, as a nation feel being badly let down. Sri Lanka, the land like no other ,appear to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We are sadly letting a historical opportunity to slip through our fingers. On top of many ills already besetting this nation,-over bloated political establishment , crises haunting the Judiciary in recent times, and an international UNHR ‘Sword of Damocles’ hanging over the country over the non- implementation of LLRC recommendations-, we are about to add another major one : an unwanted war – a religious war. Certain extremist elements  sporting Sinhala Buddhist labels and name-boards , have come out of hibernation after the ‘ethnic’ Tiger war , to set fire to the cherished Sri Lankan dream- a peaceful united nation marching towards progress. These warped minds chose to fully open a Pandora’s box, thereby letting vicious racist, hatred laden extremist elements of various hues to  pop out . Our country ,already reeling under crisis after crisis in the economic/political fronts have now got atop a social volcano as well. Thus, our nation is today facing a double whammy – being gored by the bull, after falling off the tree . Are we on a point of no return? Let’s hope not , for Mother Lanka deserves a good turn , after pitiful three decades of war and destruction.

Extremism in any form is detestable, whichever quarter it springs from whether race or religion. The teachings of all religions stresses on moderation and tolerance giving space to the ‘other’ to freely practice their faith, if only one studies them in earnest. The children of  Mother Lanka belong to all religious traditions, which underlines ‘unity in diversity’. It is therefore no wonder that the extremist line adopted by these extremist elements have already earned the wrath of the people of Sri Lanka, including the Sinhala Buddhist population , as it is  evidently opposed to the tenets of all religions.  Sinhala race ,imbibed with the teachings of Lord Buddha who taught ‘hatred ceases not by hatred but by compassion’ has always been tolerant of  other religions. These ‘rogue’ elements among the Maha Sangha, who are spearheading this hatred campaign in full throttle, should therefore disown their links to Buddhism, which preaches love and compassion. Lord Buddha did not expect his followers to be tolerant to the non- Buddhists only under certain conditions. Political Buddhism espoused by these groups are thus antithetical to Buddhist teachings, emphasizing politics over Buddhist values, and disregarding Sri Lanka’s poly-ethnic heritage and seeking to institutionalize a Buddhist ethos for the whole country.

Accepting the multi ethnic and multi lingual character of Sri Lanka,will be  ‘sine quo non’   for national progress and development, in a vibrant democracy like ours. What all Sri Lankans of all faiths and races should therefore realize is that Sri Lanka is the land for all, irrespective of racial and religious differences. Besides, dignity is a birth-right of all human beings , and denying a human of what is due to him on grounds of race for example  is the perhaps one of the worse insults to our own human identity. In the modern world which we live in, all human beings are therefore guaranteed  basic rights, which includes the right to uphold one’s culture and the right of worship . Both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1978 SL Constitution , stresses this basic truth. Devious attempts by any group- be it Sinhalese, Tamil ,Muslim , Burgher as a race, or Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Islamic as a religion , to be insensitive towards the religious susceptibilities of others and impose their  way over others’ , should not be condoned at any cost. We saw the inherent dangers of extremism when the Tigers had their own way, decimating their opponents. We can also take lessons from Singapore regarding the need to nip these tendencies off the bud.

On the other hand , no race or community  can be denied the right to stand up for their rights, as it is a basic tenet of a democratic system of governance. All parties, including race based political parties like the Sihala Urumaya , Muslim Congress and Tamil national Alliance have the right to lobby the government of the day, to fight injustice and oppression, in a peaceful manner. There are many mass movements as well , which protest and lobby for their rights peacefully and in non-violent ways After all,  ‘jaw-jaw’ is much better than ‘war-war’. . Standing up for rights is clearly different to standing up for rights at others’ expense. No group  should be allowed to rock the boat , raising narrow parochial racial and religious slogans, when our nation is trying to build our prosperity based on national concord and peaceful co-existence. The type of racist, hate-filled, conflict craving slogans , which we saw recently  in the streets of Sri Lanka can only destroy that dream which every Sri Lankan of all nationalities are aspiring to, after suffering for more than 3 decades in an ‘ethnic’ war which got precipitated due to the short sighted policies of our political leadership in the past. Repetition of that type of history is the last thing our future generation will ask for. The government bears the responsibility to take timely, iron handed approach to prevent extremist groups taking the law into their own hands. A stitch in time saves nine.

What happened in 1983 should be a lesson for all of us. Of course the Sinhala People were unfairly tarred with the racist brush. It was  only a minority group of goons and racist elements , mouthing ‘Jathi-aalaya slogans which instigated and did the damage not only in terms of material and human costs, but also in tarnishing our international reputation. It was a fact that although the government of the day was virtually seen to connive with these elements because of their indifference and failure to nip the riots in the bud, Sinhala people as a whole totally condemned this tragedy and even gave refuge to thousands who were affected. However, due to the actions of a few, the whole community had to bear the brunt of international outcry and shame. It is therefore foolhardy and extreme stupidity to allow another set of goons to wreak havoc on this nation and tarnish its’ international image , this time along religious lines. The country certainly wish to avoid ‘few drops of  cow-dung polluting the glass of milk’ for the second time. The world will not forgive a repetition  at any cost, in line with the adage: ‘getting pregnant for the second time through ignorance is not acceptable’ . 

The vile attempts made by these elements to claim that only Sinhala Buddhists are the true ‘sons of the soil’ and the rights of other communities are only subservient to theirs, virtually makes others look alien in their own country,and disjointed from being equal partners of progress. This distorted view about the subservient position of other communities in the body public has been amplified by some prominent political and religious personages in recent times such as references to ‘the tree and the vines which can get entangled in it and grow’ made by Late Mr. D.B. Wijetunge and ‘ Crows may fly over our heads, but they cannot be allowed to make their nests on them’ quipped by Ven Inamaluwe Sumangala .This fanatical views are unrealistic and virtually rules out religious diversity and multi ethnicity.

In recent times, the people have been watching aghast, when radical groups like BBS and Sihala Raavaya have been virtually taking the law into their own hands, by launching  hate filled campaigns against other non- Buddhist religious communities in organized form with threatening overtones against the non-Buddhist communities, specially the Muslims. Several hatred laden messages used in their campaigns were observed to be borrowed from the global ‘Islamaphobia’ media. Several other splinter groups have since emerged, outwitting the rest with greater degrees of hatred and animosity. They appear to portray the defeat of the Tigers in the hands of the SL army , as the victory of the Sinhala nation’ over the Tamils , and the campaign against the Muslims , in their view, is the next logical step to  ensure the super-ordination of the Sinhalese, as the rightful owners of the country. This distorted view is unfair by the other communities which sacrificed in various forms to ensure the ultimate defeat of the Tiger struggle. Even when the UN resolution was taken up last year, we saw the entire nation standing together, to defend its’ image.

The worst catastrophe was that two communities which traditionally lived side by side for centuries as good neighbours unexpectedly found themselves in a predicament . Muslims were suddenly made to feel like strangers in the land of their birth by the short sighted actions of these forces. The bond of brotherhood and friendship prevalent between the Sinhala and Muslim communities for centuries thankfully, still acts as a strong barrier for these extremist elements in achieving  their unrealistic dream of creating a monolithic society. Besides ,Muslims as a race, historically has never had any intentions of invasion and being traditionally a trading community have opted always for peaceful co-existence. Muslims have been diplomats , ambassadors to Sinhala Kings and in their armies as well.  During the State Council debate on the Dominion bill, the patriotic stand taken by the Muslim leaders of that time such as T.B. Jayah, Sir Razik Fareed, and Dr Kaleel were deeply appreciated by fellow Sinhala politicians. Even during the Tiger War, the patriotic stand taken up by the Muslims is widely known. In this context, the conspiracy theory of misinterpreting census statistics and random incidents to show that Muslims as a community has devious intentions of causing harm to this country of their birth or plotting against it are accusations which are unfair and untenable, to say the least and should be viewed as merely ruses to cause undue concern . If there are concerns about the activities of some Muslims, it should be taken to the relevant forums, without stereotyping or tarring the whole community with the same brush.

One of the more positive aspects amongst these developments , has been the reiteration of the resolve of the majority Sinhala people in opposing the tactics of these minority elements to drive wedges within the Sri Lankan nation, along parochial narrow religious and racist lines. It shows the admirable maturity of the Sinhala Buddhist people who have shown friendship , magnanimity and goodwill to other communities living besides them for centuries . By and large, the lay and religious leaders among the Sinhala Buddhist and Muslim communities have been sending positive signals to their people regarding the need to avoid being provoked by these extremist elements, which once again is a progressive  development . Restraint has still been the norm rather than the exception .  However, the situation can change if the society at large continue to be bystanders and do not actively intervene. Historical examples  abound.

However, two worrying developments have been the involvement of some sections of the Maha Sangha in leading these extremist groups in violation of Buddhist ‘Vinaya’ precepts principles  and also the co-opting the younger sections of the  society in their vicious hate campaigns. Firstly ,the unfortunate involvement of these elements among the Maha Sangha , may give the distorted impression, that breeding hatred and animosity among people in this manner is condoned in Buddhism, although the reality is otherwise. Most members of the Maha Sangha stood up and resisted the racist agenda of these unruly elements among them. In fact, Ven. Sanghanayakes of the most Nikayes and other leading personages like Ven. Vajira . Ven. Amila, Ven Baddegama Samitha, Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha, among many others have been vociferous in stressing national unity as an imperative need to achieve national progress and to create a common Sri Lankan identity in a post war Sri Lanka.

Secondly, our young and our children are our future. If  these short sighted ‘rogue’ elements of the Maha Sangha uses them for these evil purposes using the good name of Buddhism and portraying Muslims as their enemy, then this menace of racism and hatred is bound to be carried forward to the next generation as well. This does not augur well for Sri Lanka, when our younger generation of all communities are looking forward to build their future  on the basis of a united Sri Lanka offering opportunities without any racial and religious discrimination. When the psyche of our young minds are corrupted by these poisonous warped minds, what fate lies for Sri Lanka  in the years ahead? ‘When the fence and the bund are eating the crops, to whom shall we complain?’.

Every community has their share of grievances ,and will have reasonable grouses against others . Sinhala people will have theirs too. After the disastrous War ,we have the duty to heal the wound of war and get on board all sections of our society . Tamils should not be made to feel lost after the War ,while the Muslims should not be made a forgotten community after the war.  The majority Sinhalese , as the older brother in the family, has the main responsibility to take the lead in these efforts. The worse way to resolve the issues will be take the explosive path of extremism and hate mongering and drive out some children of Mother Lanka out of the family. It is suicidal to condone a policy of ‘All are Equal ;but some are more equal’  as described in the ‘Animal Farm’, an allegorical novella by George Orwell. In a civilized society, more effective mechanisms are there to resolve these issues , rather than fighting it out in the streets and transforming good neighbourhoods into potential battlegrounds. Races are there to identify each other and religions are there to show the way to ‘live and let live’ . They should not be areas to humiliate each other.  As Mahatma Gandhi said : ‘It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings’.  After the war, apart from many common challenges to surmount such as poverty, inequality, social evils and  corruption, the scourge of racism is also on the priority list.

How do we, as a nation, act in these challenging times , when the ramifications of the actions of a minority are felt even beyond our shores? It is imperative that intellectuals among all communities stand up and show the ‘red card’ to these extremist elements and send out a clear message to all Sri Lankans ,that arousing racist and religious emotions and whipping up hatred among the populace is not acceptable. This irresponsible course of action, if left to fester, will only take  Sri Lanka towards oblivion and a point of no return. Our collective indifference will only be suicidal in the medium to long term.

Some of the actions we could take includes : banning of hatred websites, formation of a joint Peace Council with representatives from all religions both clergy and laity which will intervene in these matters , undertaking a constructive program to raise awareness in schools and universities  regarding the need to ‘live and let live’ and respect each others’ cultures and religions, forming grass root level neighbourhood peace committees under the auspices of local government bodies to build confidence and a sense of security among communities and also the need for the intellectuals lead the way for people’s attention to be  focussed on common issues which affect the entire society as a whole .The law enforcement authorities should also take a sterner and impartial stand when dealing with the offenders. There is also a duty cast particularly on the intellectuals of all communities by the future generations, to act  together . Divisive approaches will only spell disaster, as German Theologian Martin Niemoller during Hitler’s time, said in a poem which he wrote while being in the prison.

First they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out because I was not a Jew

Then they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

They came for me

And there was no one left to speak out for me

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Latest comments

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    The promotion of inter faith dialogue, banning of racist and hate speech is neccesary for cementing the unity and bonds of friendship between the different communities and religons of the country.

    Such steps will help dissipate the clouds of racism that have gathered and allay the fears of the minorities. A united country where all citizens are equal is syne qua non for the development of the nation.

    The sangha council should enforce the vinaya code to prevent the degradation of buddhism by false priests.

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    Hatred-instigating sections of school textbooks must be removed first.
    If the state becomes secular and leaves the religions to the society, depoliticisation of govt institutions can be easily started. The Police must be transferred from the Ministry of Defence to Ministry of Justice or so and expected to hold the law. …..

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    You are absolutely right. Its a problem of some(a negligible minority) misunderstanding the victory of the nation over the LTTE for a victory of a single race or a religion over another minority.
    Its both sad and unfortunate that Sri Lanka as a nation is still stagnant in all frontiers well after the war has ended.

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    Mr. Harees,

    I’m a Sri Lankan with many friends and relatives by marriage of multi ethnic groups and religions. Ours could be described as a model family of ethnic and religious harmony. The Muslims we have associated over a long period of time are no different to the rest of us in their attire and remain so.

    However over the recent years we find many Muslim women in Sri Lanka starting to wear the abaya and the men unshaven in thobes. This makes them appear very different from other Sri Lankan ethnic groups as well as foreboding, unapproachable and as religious extremists.

    This attire would be perfect in a country where the entire population is Muslim but in a multi ethnic and multi religious country it raises psychological issues. In the mind it forms a barrier between the Muslims and others. The educated people of other faiths will accept it as a part of the Islamic religion but not the uneducated as witnessed recently.

    Is it really necessary for Muslims to wear their religion on their sleeves, especially in a multi ethic and multi religious country? Is it not possible for them to dress as moderates and appear more approachable to others?

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      AS REGARDS BEARD FOR MEN AND ABAYAH FOR WOMEN IS NOT AN OPTION IN ISLAM
      BUT MANDATORY. AND WE MUSLIMS ARE ASKED TO BE DIFFERENT IN DRESS AND MANNERS.
      WHAT IS THE PROBLEM IF MUSLIM MEN AND WOMEN PRACTICE THEIR RELIGION AS
      THEY ARE COMMANDED BY ALLAH AND AS SHOWN BY THE PRACTICES OF THE PROPHET.
      THOSE WHO DON’T ARE DEVIANTS. YOU ARE FREE TO DO WHAT YOU WANT AND BE
      ANSWERABLE ON THE DAY OF RECKONING.

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    kattakarawala,

    The author is calling for unity amongst the various Sri Lankan communities and not the quashing of their diversity. I am perplexed as to why you have equated the wearing of Abayas and Thobes as ‘not moderate’ and ‘not approachable’? Is the Tamil ‘pottu’ and Sari not moderate? What of the Sinhala ‘Osariya’? The onus then, is on the ‘uneducated’ few, who bizarrely construe the attire of the muslims as reason enough to launch a socially divisive campaign. It is imperative that all of us as Sri Lankans, ensure that all communities are protected and their diversity celebrated and to not allow the ‘rogue elements’ of society to sever our links with each other.

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    Mr Kattakarawala

    Really appreciate you for raising your concerns. This is exactly the type of mature conversations we must see more and more in our country, to understand each other, without fighting it out in the streets. As I stated in my article, being insensitive towards the religious susceptibilities of others and impose their way over others’ , should not be condoned at any cost in a multi-ethnic country like ours. Muslims. like other communities, should also be alive to others’ perceptions about them and always project a positive image about their religion and their culture. However, every culture has its’ own symbols and identity . Attire is certainly one of them. Muslims ,in accordance with their culture, tend to dress in a certain way in their daily life , although other communities by and large don their distinctive attire ,generally only wear them on special occasions.

    What should cause us concern today is the fact even after six decades of independence ,we have still failed to think as Sri Lankans and develop a common identity,let alone a common dress. What we generally dress in today’s context is the Western attire -the shirt and trouser while sarong has also of foreign origin.

    Therefore, we need to understand that developing a common identity is very imperative ,but it does not mean behaving in the same way and dressing in the same manner. Developing a common identity means forging unity in diversity, which means the ability to come together in the best interests of our country under one flag and to defend its’ integrity ,while respecting and celebrating the ‘other’ amongst us, appreciating the different cultures amongst us.Trying to eliminate all differences amongst us is an impossible task. There are cultural differences even among each community. for example – Udarata and Pahatharata Sinhalese , Jaffna Tamils and Eastern Tamils ,Moors and Malays among Muslims.

    This is the need of the hour and duty is cast on the intellectuals , political and religious leaders amongst us to educate our people to think in these terms .We must also educate our younger generation about the need to appreciate our cultural differences and the need to ‘live and let live’ This is the message effectively given by an illustrious Buddhist speaker Ven Amila Thero in a recent book launch (Muslim Law by Karunaratna Herath)

    link :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVy0qSVu5Xo

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      Thank you very much Mr. Harees much clearing my doubts and suspicions regarding the Abaya, Thobe and beards :-)

      I now look at our Muslims, my fellow countrymen and women in Abaya and Thobe through more enlightened eyes. Actually I’m starting to realise that this attire are not only elegant and dignified but also very decent.

      I hope others who read CT will take the time to read this thread, especially your answers to my questions. Those who regard our Muslim brethren with suspicion will become all the more wiser.

      Also it will help people like Mr./Ms. AH who has commented on this thread, not to feel threatened when people of other faiths raise sincere questions such as mine.

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        It should read as “Thank you very much Mr. Harees for clearing my doubts……………”

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          MR.HAREES IS NOT WRITING ABOUT ISLAM AS PRACTICED BY THE PROPHET
          AND THE EARLIER GENERATIONS. HE IS FREE TO COMPROMISE.THOSE WHO TALK OF ABAYAS AS A NEW PHENOMENA ARE TALKING “POPPYCOCK”
          FIFTY YEARS AGO TOO THEY WORE IT. AND I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT SINHALA BUDDHIST LADIES TOO WORE MORE MODEST DRESS.

          THERE ARE MANY BUDDHIST MONKS WHO HAVE COMMENTED ON WOMEN COMING TO TEMPLE SCANTILY DRESSED.

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    AH,

    Tamil women have been wearing the ‘pottu’ and sari and Sinhala women the ‘osariya’ for eons, unlike the Muslims in Abayas and Thobes which is a recent phenomenon. WHY this sudden change in the Muslim dress code in Sri Lanka?

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    Mr. Harees,

    I sincerely appreciate the message in your article as well as your reply to my question BUT you have not answered my question.

    WHY did the Sri Lankan Muslims suddenly embrace an extreme form of dress code such as the Abaya and the Thobe?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but does an internal Islamic doctrinal conflict have anything to do with this drastic change in the dress code among some of the Muslims in Sri Lanka?

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    Mr kattakarawala

    Ethnicity of Sri Lankan Muslims is not defined by language as in the case of the Sinhalese and Tamils, but by religion. That is why Sri Lankan Muslims have been giving more importance to their religion than to their language.Sri Lankan Muslims sought their identity in Islam and their Islamic historical past in SL. I agree with you that there has been a dramatic increase in SL Muslims going to the fundamentals of the faith in recent times. I will not call it sudden but consistent; also this is not a local phenomenon; rather part of a global and a regional (SE Asia)one .

    Since the late 1970s, an Islamic resurgence was seen in the region, with several resurgence movements mushrooming throughout Southeast Asia. As you know, in the global sense, the Islamic resurgence has a background after the end of the cold war and has acquired a derogatory meaning in the current Western political discourse mainly because of the fundamentalist political resistance against Western dominance in the Middle East. These movements in general, were aimed to create a strong Islamic identity among the Muslims for various reasons, even political.As a result, Islam began to assume a larger role in public life, underlined by the increased donning of Abaya or Hijab among Muslim women and a cap and long dress in the case of men.

    It is critical that one distinguish between Islam as a moral creed and ethical code—seen by the vast majority of Muslims as necessary to govern everyday life—and Islam as a militant force professed by a small majority on the fringes.Any community has its share of extremist elements ;so are SL Muslims too. However ,SriLankan Muslims as a community , both traditionally and historically, has been able to promote their religious identity in a moderate manner while maintaining their Srilankan identity as well. In this context, the barometer of a dress code may not be a good indicator of moderate-ness or otherwise.

    Of course, there has been excesses;but the answer is not to tar-brush the entire community ,but to work with the community to keep focussed on the common national goals.Today ,the menace of hatred has assumed the danger of alienating an entire community out of the SL family. The Sinhala people, as an elder brother in the family has a decisive role to play in helping the Muslim community to integrate themselves towards forging a common SL identity ,along with other other communities, in a post war SL.

    Thankfully, there is a growing awareness among the progressive sections in the country that communalism cannot be eliminated without due recognition of the rights of the different ethnic communities and without creating an environment conducive to the blossoming of cultural and political pluralism. Decommunalisation also implies an active reconstruction of ethnic identities not in mutually exclusive terms, but in a spirit of interdependence and mutual enrichment. After all, the history of interdependence and cross cultural fertilisation between Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims is longer than that of communalisation.This history of organic coexistence provides the seeds for regenerating the multi-ethnic consciousness that is so crucial to the formation of an all inclusive Lankan identity. Intellectuals has an important role to play in making this to happen during our own lifetime.

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    The Article of Mr Harees is an eye opener to the intelligent and peace lovers, there may be still some of the majority Sinhalese,who has misunderstood Islam due to some extremist monks.I do not know from whom should get the authority to talk on behalf of a Country trampling the own countrymen from a different ethnic,in a Democratic Socialist Republic Sri Lanka.may be he is a direct descendant of Lord Buddha or pretending to be so.
    Specially an article of this caliber should be in the Sinhalese language where the majority of the Sinhalese who starve for the truth to understand.

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    Mr kattakarawala

    Great to communicate with you. It is the duty of people in your calibre, who should take this message of ‘live and let live’ to our fellow brethren in our blessed country. Also you can read my book ‘Mirage of Dignity on the highways of human progress ,which was published in US , and was launched in October 12 in Colombo. The details of the review of the book are in this link

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/121104/sunday-times-2/oh-humanity-where-art-thou-18960.html

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      I sincerely hope that those in authority will give serious thought to introducing Comparative Religion as a compulsory subject to schools. In a multi religious society such as ours, it’s imperative that our future generations learn and understand each others faiths from an early age, thereby leaving no room for external prejudices to could one’s mind.

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        it should read as “cloud one’s mind”.

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        Mrs.Shamini,I would recommend a ban on religious
        subjects from schools and leave it to religious
        organisations.Take that time to teach human rights.

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        Religion must be a private matter and govt needs not
        try to promote it.The children in schools are not
        learning the values of human dignity,mutual respect
        freedom of expression and in short the purpose of life.
        Schools can play a bigger role if only 30 minutes taken
        once a week from grade five.Lot more can be achieved if
        proper attention is paid to schools.

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    Mr Harees! I read your reply you wrote to Mr Kattakarawal about his doubt over the recent abhaya thing.Its not great to say I am impressed ,but impressing an educated person like Mr Kattakarawal is a meritorious thing. In America they say that a sucker is born every minute! like wise in Sri Lanka Jokers are born to high light them in the TV at intervals from every departments.
    After the cold war there are some elements who cannot stand the showers of Harmony.But they do not understand that they have tarnished their image and title among their own community.

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    Since when have Sri Lankans been wearing the trouser, shirt, skirts and tops? Should we go back to the days prior to the British? All these flimsy reasons for attacking the minorities. We live in an enlightened era where there is freedom of expression, speech, sexual orientation etc. then why not a dress which is not indecent. Given the cases of rape and sexual abuse it is fully justified.

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    Ms Sharmini Serasinghe’s suggestion to teach Comparative religion from school level is a good one – in the context of our own multi-religious
    society and its recent history. The initial obstacle could be competent teachers – but I am sure volunteers from the public can help in to fill the gap. It may not be ideal to expect neither leadership nor input from the Govt here. It has to be a State-society partnership.

    Senguttuvan

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    The objective of hate campaign is not recent.There were
    enough signs and incidents that racist intolerance
    prevailed and Muslim leaders did nothing or couldn’t do
    nothing to sort them out while some Sinhalese leaders
    came forward to voice their concern but failed in action.
    Bitter but truth.Just a couple of years back, in the south,
    commercial properties of a prominent figure came under attack.
    This man’s father lost his life for being an active SLFPer
    and the son is in the same color but still attackers escaped,
    a UPFA traditional man with close link to the top.Muslims
    must touch their hearts and say whether they are living in
    constant fear or not.I’m not talking here about common Sinhala
    public,it’s about the rogue elements who are testing the water.
    Even ordinary innocent and decent Sinhalese are not safe from
    this ever increasing menace.Increasing number of rapes,loots,
    robberies and murders and some murders are within family members,
    even monks, are they Muslims? The objective is,to gather rogues
    to punish Muslims and drive them away from among the Sinhalese.
    They take LTTE as their GURU for their operation.These rogue
    elements are only interested in rubbish and waste products from
    the West while there’s enough quality products free of charge.
    Go to London,look at the transport services,hospital staff,bank
    staff and many other public and private services and see for
    yourself how multiculturalism works.Hijabs,Sikh turbans,abayas
    and African dresses.These rogue elements are importing materials
    only to suit their needs and Muslims will have to handle this
    in a realistic and expertly manner.Empty dialogues will only give
    empty results.

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    THESE DAYS BURMESE ROHINGIYA PEOPLE ARE BEING RESCUED BY OUR FISHERMEN AND NAVY THESE ARE MOSLEMS FLEEING ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN BURMA.THIS IS ONE OF WORST HUMAN TRAGEDIES IN MODERN TIMES. THEY ARE ETHNIC BENGALESE IF THEY GET LOST IN SRI LANKA IT IS NOT EASY TO TRACE THEM BECAUSE THEY LOOK LIKE SRI LANKANS.GOVERNMENT WILL FACE A KNOTTY BROBLEM OF REPATRIATION OF THESE PEOPLE.

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    Do the current leadership promote communal harmony? Are they all talk, no action? Do they have the political Will to take legal action against the lunatic fringe of the political parties? Disrespect breeds Distrust. It’s time We The People (all peace loving Sri Lankans) identify, catalog, sanction and boycott these individual and their groups. This may sound a bit extreme, however necessary to survive as one country. At least, Know Thy Enemy.

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    HALAL/ haram solely is hall mark for muslim consumer food, personel collective issues in the muslim personel lives, behviour etc it is being made a issue out of propotion to stir up problems with the backing of certain outside forces who have long term plans to serve their own interests.

    Ingredients derivatives from unacceptable and unhealthy substances muslims sinhalese and others alike are beeen proved added on food like from pig bone dead man hair are proved th ahve been added to chewgum, daily bread to keep soft dead man hair has side effect on health animal fat in the strict sense is not acceptable to vegetarians in nature.

    To create an issue of this nationalaly is really stupid and has all hallmark for destabising country if they dont realise especially after a long drawn out bloody destructive war totally destroying the countries development.

    The strength of a country lies with the people. PEOPLE are made of different communities which is a insindication of diversity in language race religion food cultural values mentality unity in diversity is the fabric of the country maintaining it pulling the country forward is the ideal model for the country way forward.

    Polarising throwing one community against the other WITH thirty years on hand on experience in inter community fighting is not the way forward likened a lion when it taste human blood it always gives first preference to it.

    HALAL certificate is only applicable to muslim consumption both in sri lanka and abroad for the products made in Sri Lanka. we can do away with it by implementing awarness programme within the muslim communitity to boycott certain product so let the producers who produce these products come out and tell that we dont WANT our products for muslim consumption both DOMESTIC AND OVERSEAS generous enough to run the risk of making losses so let the buissness community chamber of commerce realise issue at stake and not other misfits.

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