18 July, 2019

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MMDA: Personal Laws At The Expense Of Fundamental Rights?

By Sabra Zahid

Sabra Zahid

Sabra Zahid

Given the division within the Muslim community with regard to reforming the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act of 1951 (MMDA), I thought I’d put down something as well to add to the discussion and also specifically after having listened to a few ladies share their experiences in the jury of a particular Quazi court (in the capacity of counselors of sorts). They had served under two Quazis, the first was quite accommodative, the second however was not so and they had to impose themselves, on what he hoped would have been an all-male jury.

The MMDA governs aspects of family law for Muslims in relation to marriage, divorce, maintenance, custody, and inheritance. The Muslim community is divided. On one end are those who call for reforming this law because of its negative impact on women and children. On the other end is the so called religious community (predominantly male) who want the law to remain as it is until the community calls for change arguing that the State shouldn’t give in to international pressure. However, the call for reforming the law dates as far as 1954, gaining momentum in the 1980s and with sporadic attempts there on. A section of Muslim women and men have been struggling for change and in light of this, I don’t see what this fuss about waiting for the community, as though these women and men who have been agitating for change don’t fall within it! Be that as may these demands are reasonable and long overdue. Opposing them defies all logic especially by those professing a faith which is supposedly universal and one in which justice is considered supreme and core to its belief system.

For instance the MMDA poses dangers by not stipulating a minimum age of marriage. Under the prevailing law, girls younger than 12 can be given in marriage with the authorization of the Quazi. Although in Sri Lanka it is not common for girls younger than 12 to be given in marriage, child marriages do in fact take place of girl’s between ages 14-16 and below 18 and so on. In light of this Sri Lanka should move ahead with times and raise the age of marriage as 18, as it has under the General Marriage Ordinance. There have been instances where the Mosque intervenes in instances where overzealous families attempt to give their girls in marriage. For instance, a relative was recently asked to wait until his daughter was at least 16 before given in marriage. This is highly commendable and is a sign that there are progressive elements within the system. However, there was no such intervention when a couple of years ago the same relative wanted to marry another daughter of his off at 14. Not only should the age of marriage be raised to 18, secular education should be made mandatory at least up to 16, because in most instances girls are sent to Madrasas (faith based institutions) which seek to inculcate in them a dogmatic approach to scripture and rituals. The social implications of such marriages are grave. The over reliance on their husbands for finances means even when abandoned or in situations of abuse there are no alternative means of fending for themselves. Apart from this, the burden of having to bear children and run a household, the capacity, and the ability to make decisions etc when one is herself a child has consequences not just for one’s self but for the whole family unit.

In terms of consenting to marriage the law treats Muslim women as legal minors even though they are “ready” for marriage. Although the proponents of the MMDA quote section 25 as a safeguard, a proper reading of the section would show that it is not in fact about the girl consenting but rather the significance of the Wali (guardian). Section 25 provides that a marriage is not valid unless (a) a person entitled to act as Wali is present in time and place (b) and communicates her consent and “his own approval thereof.” In any case there is no safeguard in place to ensure whether the guardian is actually communicating consent or whether the girl has been coerced, thus the law as it stands leaves space for potential abuse. In a particular case, a girl from Thihariya who had obtained good results for her O/L’s and who wanted to pursue her education, was deceived by her mother into taking her belongings including her school uniform as she was to be admitted to a better school to do her A/L’s. The mother who had other motives, dropped the unsuspecting girl to a house in Madawala where she was given in marriage, only for the husband to abandon her a couple of years later robbing her off from even the right to see her two children. She is now in her early thirties hopeful of continuing her education.

If the Quazi courts are to stay, then it is high time that the system is revamped with structural safeguards put in place to secure justice for those who come before it, especially women and children. The pros about the system are that it is informal, the cost, delay and formalities associated with the civil court can be avoided, and the parties don’t have to pay exorbitant fees for lawyers as the issue of legal representation doesn’t arise. However, in the absence of the role played by lawyers, the judge or rather the Quazi in this case ends up playing an inquisitorial role. Under an inquisitorial system, the court or the judge plays a prominent role in investigating the facts of the case as opposed to an adversarial role where the lawyers of both parties argue and present their cases and the judge takes an impartial stand. While the inquisitorial system has its obvious benefits, under a sub-par Quazi court system with inherent structural flaws the system has a skewed impact on gender relations within the Muslim community.

In most instances Quazi’s have geographical jurisdiction. There is no established streamlined systemized structure, and in the absence of it, each creates his own system. The quazi court operates on weekends and after hours. There have been instances of Quazi’s getting affected women to call them at odd hours to discuss matters. In the absence of designated premises, proceedings are held sometimes in court premises, in mosques or even at the quazis house. Although there are provisions for a jury, some Quazis don’t appoint one. Sometimes or rather most often than not, an all-male jury is appointed and it is in such a setting that intimate and personal details surrounding marriage and divorce are disclosed by both sides. Under the Muslim law, a divorce cannot be awarded during a woman’s menstrual state and the requirement of checking on this too falls on the male Quazi.

What is even more perturbing is that there is no qualification to be a Quazi, the only requirement being, “Muslim male of good character and position and of suitable attainments.” The Judicial Service Commission appoints Quazis who are not required to undergo any sort of judicial training. Although lawyers to an extent may be versed with the law, it is not so in the case of Moulavis or others who operate as Quazis.

The female jurors I spoke to shared that they noticed a trend where the Quazi kept giving decisions favourable to men and sometimes outrageous ones at that. One day the Quazi would take one stand, and on the next he would be meekly agreeing to the whims of a particular party. There was a case where on awarding the divorce, the Quazi did not bother to tell the girl that she was entitled to seek maintenance. Although these two ladies informed the girl of this provision, the girl was afraid to speak to the Quazi and these ladies had to tell the Quazi that the girl had something to say, which in essence compelled the girl to ask for her dues. In another custody incident where the husband put the wife and child out (as a result of which they had to spend a night on the streets) and subsequently the husband wanted to exercise visiting rights, the Quazi allowed it regardless of the fact that the child was simply not psychologically ready, fully aware that it was the father who kicked them out in the first place. Subsequently some of the jurors including the ladies I spoke to, began receiving calls alleging that the Quazi was taking bribes. Although this particular Quazi was removed around September they are not sure whether any other disciplinary measures were in fact taken. There must be a system of holding Quazis accountable and a transparent system of appointing Quazis based on objective criteria including qualifications with legal expertise. It has been nearly three months since this dismissal. However a new Quazi is yet to be appointed in this area. Provisions must be made to include female Quazis, jurors, and registrars. Some of the other discriminatory conduct include going easy on payment orders (maintenance/alimony). For instance, the Quazi is quick to listen to a husband who simply says he cannot afford to pay because he has no job, or that he has to now support a new family rather than proactively come to a decision on objective and reasonable criteria. In one case, the judge ordered a husband to pay Rs. 15000 a month for the wife and his 11 month old baby. The husband had refused saying he could only pay Rs. 2500 as he now has a new family to look after. This was agreed upon. Ideally the system should not allow subsequent marriages to take place in instances where the husband is unable to provide for the first.

Personal laws are enacted to provide special protection to minority groups, but in this case, these laws are serving to restrict and infringe on the fundamental rights of a section of its community, and vulnerable ones at that. Given this background it is without doubt that the MMDA no longer serves its purpose and must be reformed. It is high time that the conservative religious community recognizes the problems posed by this law and contribute and make way for change. The State regardless of any opposition must stop looking at this as a community issue, but as a rights issue of its women and children and as such prioritize and intervene to see this process through.

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  • 4
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    Sabra Zahid

    RE:MMDA: Personal Laws At The Expense Of Fundamental Rights?

    “The MMDA governs aspects of family law for Muslims in relation to marriage, divorce, maintenance, custody, and inheritance. The Muslim community is divided. On one end are those who call for reforming this law because of its negative impact on women and children. On the other end is the so called religious community (predominantly male) who want the law to remain as it is until the community calls for change arguing that the State shouldn’t give in to international pressure.”

    Thanks. You need to fight for your rights. Please redd about Susan B Anthony.

    This should not anything to do with international pressure.

    The real question to ask is that the interpretation by the religions Ulema and men, dominated by men, using Islam to their Advantage. They won’t even let women go to a mosque in Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

    The answer is yes.

    The men are are not practicing Islam. They are denying women fundamental rights.

    Remember, women were not allowed to vote until about 100 years ago.

    Just read about what Buddha told Ananda about Women. Avoid them.

    The Christian Church, Hinduism, are not any better.

    For that you need a Secular State.Keep Religion Separate. The State of Utah had to give up polygamy, in order to join the US as a State.

    In Wahhahabi-Salafi Saudi Arabia, women can’t drive and can’t ride even a bicycle. They are considered to be chattel of the men, always suspect of running wild with the closest available man.

    • 4
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      Stupid amarasiri:

      Just read about what Buddha told Ananda about Women. Avoid them.

      Avoiding women aznd abusing women like some one’s objwect are two different things.

      Try to use your peanut brain.

      What is the term for resident comment – writer ?

      • 5
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        jim softy,

        Use your peanut brain. Recognize the different degrees of discrimination by the different religions. Was Buddha, the Philosopher, the Lover of Wisdom, the most ideal?

        From Buddha and his Teachings by Narada Thero, page 147, new edition 2012.

        Ananda and women:

        On one occasion he approached the Buddha ans asked Him:
        “How are we to conduct ourselves, lord, with regard to womankind?”

        “As not seeing them, Ananda”

        “But if we should see them, Lord, what are we to do?”

        “Do not talk to them Ananda”

        “But if they should speak to us,Lord,what are we to do?”

        “Be watchful, Ananda”

        Discrimination against women, was a matter of degree between the different religions. Not all the women within the same religion were subjected to the same degree of abuse. Hindu widows had to jump into the fire, Sati, the ultimate abuse.

        Sati (also spelled suttee) is an obsolete Hindu funeral custom where a widow immolates herself on her husband’s pyre, or commits suicide in another fashion shortly after her husband’s death.Christians, Buddhists and Muslims did not follow this practice.

        This discrimination was applied to children as well. Examples are child marriages and child ordination to be Samaneras, like 7-year-old Rahula, done by Buddha.

        These practices, Child Marriages and child ordinations, from the middle ages, are still being observed and practiced, to the detriment of the children involved in the 21st century.

        • 0
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          Oh dear – Mister Amarasiri sir, I hope you are not pulling my leg. But why sir, why punish wife like that. May be you mean punishment for killing husband.

          Mister Edwin never told me Hnidu burn womans.

          I am shockd.

    • 4
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      Amarasiri,

      Try not to misrepresent Buddhism (and indeed Jainism) as usual.

      Buddha also said to King Pasendi ” A FEMALE CHILD O’LORD OF MEN MAY TURN OUT EVEN BETTER THAN A MALE CHILD”!
      “Avoid women” was said in the context of a male celibate order as women would be a distraction to them. If you read it in context it was also said in slightly rhetorical sense. You clearly are not sensitive to nuances.

      Indeed the Buddha asserted that women are capable of the highest Enlightenment.
      Hence Buddha he also went on to establish a Women’s wing within the Sangha, some staggering 2600 years ago, with Buddha’s stepmother as its head. The latter is said to have lived for 120 years. The Buddhist Sangha is made up of a male wing AND a female wing and not just a male wing as we are apt think of today.

      The Jains, a kindred and contemporary sect of Buddhism also established a women’s wing, though Buddha went further and appointed women as teachers, Dhammadinna, Patacara, Badhra Kundala-kesa amongst many others. In fact Buddhism is the only religion that also has a very beautiful book/collection of verses from of the above “First Buddhist Nuns” ie the lovely and unique Therigatha, part of the Pali Canon.
      There are several English translations of this delightful work. The first English translation was made by Mrs Rhys Davids, another by K Norman, Hallisay for Harvard University and the most recent translation by Susan Murcott of MIT. Read them all and educate yourself! May be the Buddhist nuns can teach you a thing or two Amarasiri, you are far away from enlightenment mate!

      I hope Sabra Zahid will be able to get hold of a copy of the Therigatha as well and have a good read.

      Further, Sinhalese women were the first non-Indian women to join the Buddhist order after Sanghamittha transmitted the lineage to Mother Lanka about 2300 years ago. There were lady doctors/nuns in ancient Anuradhapura. This lineage was transmitted to China whence forth it was transmitted to Korea and Japan and contemporary Taiwan and Singapore where it still lives on. Some of them have transmitted it to the West and re-introduced it to India as well. The same lineage exists in Tibet, Sikkhim and Bhutan as well. Unfortunately it has withered in Sri Lanka due to the stupidity of some but not all monks.

      Buddhism is a very deep, deep teaching. Whilst my substantial self studying is not complete, it is certainly the deepest of all the teachings I have read.

      There is also the Kwan Ying/Kwannon the female Bodhisattva and the famous Pragna Paramitha corpus of Sutras which is visually represented as a multi-armed female goddess. Both exerted and continue to exert huge influence in Tibet, Japan and China and slowly absorbed in to Western Buddhism.

      You might like to compare the praise of women by the Buddha with the Hindu “Manu Dharma” which advocates pouring of molten metal on menstruating women and low/outcastes.

      The Catholics Church still oppose ordination of women. The Church of England to its credit finally allowed it in 1995, after 2000 years of Christianity. A very good example of “Better late than never”.
      I can assure anyone, including the ignorant Amarasiri, women have an honoured place in Buddhism.

      • 2
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        Good student

        “Try not to misrepresent Buddhism (and indeed Jainism) as usual. “

        Keep learning. Let’s call a spade, a spade without being hung up as to what religion the spade belongs to, Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or any other belief.

        The facts remains, throughout history, the religions were controlled by men, the culture they grew up in, and the environment they grew up in.

        1. Buddhism:
        From Buddha and his Teachings by Narada Thero, page 147, new edition 2012.
        Ananda and women: On one occasion he approached the Buddha ans asked Him:
        “How are we to conduct ourselves, lord, with regard to womankind?”

        “As not seeing them, Ananda” = Avoid.

        2. Jainism: Women in Jainism

        But although Jainism is in many ways dedicated to equality, for some Jains a woman’s very femaleness creates spiritual inequality.

        The sectarian divide

        The Digambara Jain sect believes that women cannot achieve liberation without being reborn as men first. The Svetambara sect disagrees.

        Nakedness

        Digambara Jains hold this view because they believe that nakedness is an essential element of the road to liberation.

        Mahavira himself, whose life shows Jains the way to liberation, set an example of total nudity that Digambaras believe monks should follow. Since women are not allowed to be naked in public they cannot achieve liberation directly, and so are seen as second-class citizens.

        This ban on female nakedness is partly intended to protect both men and women:

        Ahimsa and women

        Digambaras also believe that women are inherently himsic (which is best translated as harmful). This comes partly from a belief that menstrual blood kills micro-organisms living in the female body.

        Impurity

        Some Jain texts say that menstrual blood is a sign of impurity.

        Attachment

        Another argument is that because a woman’s nature is to care for children and other dependants, she will find it much more difficult to break free from these earthly attachments, and unless she does this, she cannot achieve liberation.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/beliefs/women.shtml

    • 2
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      You are wrong. Women may go to mosques and pray but the there is a Prophetic Hadith which says:

      It is better for a woman to pray in her house. It was narrated from Umm Humayd, the wife of Abu Humayd al-Saa’idi, that she came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said: “O Messenger of Allaah, I love to pray with you.” He said: “I know that you love to pray with me, but your praying in your room is better for you than your praying in your house, and your praying in your house is better for you than your praying in your courtyard, and your praying in your courtyard is better for you than your praying in the mosque of your people, and your praying in the mosque of your people is better for you than your praying in my mosque.” So she gave orders that a ‘mosque’ be built for her in the innermost and darkest part of her house, and she used to pray there until she met Allaah (i.e., died).

      Narrated by Ahmad, 26550; classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, 1689; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 340.
      Prophetic advice,when she wanted to pray in HIS mosque,where one prayer is more 1000, elsewhere, other thanMakkah where it is 100,000.
      Islam is Obeying Allah and His Prophet. In obeying him the reward is immense.
      FURTHER ALLAH SAYS WHOEVER OBEYS THE PROPHET ,HAS OBEYED ALLAH
      It is a waste of time trying to explain to people, who do not accept facts with authentic proofs

      • 0
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        AYMAN

        “It is better for a woman to pray in her house.”

        That is from a man’s point of view.

        By preventing a women to go to the mosques and interact with other women, the women are denied social interaction, networking and learning about other things. That is discrimination.

        They are essentially treated like cattle and chattel,slaves.

        “Islam is Obeying Allah and His Prophet. In obeying him the reward is immense.”
        “FURTHER ALLAH SAYS WHOEVER OBEYS THE PROPHET ,HAS OBEYED ALLAH
        It is a waste of time trying to explain to people, who do not accept facts with authentic proofs.”

        What about the Hadith of Najd that identifies Wahhabies as Najadis, Santanis and Iblisis?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith_of_Najd

        The Hadith of Najd is a famous hadith with several chains of narration about three geographical locations. While all Sunni Muslims accept the group of hadith as authentic, the exact location of the area referred to as “Najd” is disputed.

        Al Azhar Scholar: ‘Wahhabism/Salafism is a Satanic Faith, the Horns of Satan’

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZOA3Ho9AUk&t=76s

  • 9
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    A reluctance on the part of Muslims to comment – even those who comment on other topics in CT – may show that they are in agreement with the unmentioned ‘policy’ of keeping women/females at almost the level of ‘slaves’ as opposed to men/males.

    Even those who write copious tomes of the rights of Muslims appear to accept this socio/religious situation of female Muslims.

    It is ludicrous that these “Quazis” who are unfit to judge their peers have “juries” to discuss/recommend decisions in cases !!

    When female Muslims are appointed as Quazis – will be the day when Muslim females break free of their ‘slave’ status and become ‘equal’ to males.

    Fortunately, we do not yet have “honour killings” like in Pakistan and elsewhere.

    • 1
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      Please do not presume. We Muslims are advised silence is better than saying something that should not be said..
      To speak on religious matters one should know. We can see the number of ignoramuses shooting out their mouth
      on matters pertaining to Islam, which they are ignorant of and does not concern them. According to many of our
      Scholars ,to say ” La adhree – I do not know” is half of knowledge. To know that ,one does not know something
      is knowledge. When it comes to religion one has to be careful. Muslims are warned not to talk ill of other Gods
      as others will denigrate our God. So Muslims speak out on other matters freely as they can.
      MUSLIM WOMEN ARE NOT KEPT AS SLAVES AND THEY ARE EDUCATED AS YOU WILL SEE FROM
      EXAMINATION RESULTS. Sabra Hamid can answer this question to put this to rest.
      Most of those who convert to Islam in the west are WOMEN.!!!! This would not happen if they consider women
      as enslaved.
      It’s better that Sabra Hamid winds up the debate .

  • 6
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    Sabra Zahid

    RE: MMDA: Personal Laws At The Expense Of Fundamental Rights?

    “Personal laws are enacted to provide special protection to minority groups, but in this case, these laws are serving to restrict and infringe on the fundamental rights of a section of its community, and vulnerable ones at that. Given this background it is without doubt that the MMDA no longer serves its purpose and must be reformed.”

    Thanks for the write up and exposing the injustice MMDA gives Muslim women, in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

    Keep fighting for your rights. The men will not do it for you, because MMDA is to theit advantage, whether it is given by religion or not. They are using religion as a justification fr obvious reasons.

  • 12
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    Sabra Zahid,

    There is nothing right about this MMDA stuff. Once with a friend,I had occasion to visit a Quazi court in action in Colombo. I was shocked to see the way they carried out business there. It was an old house, just a corridor crammed with bickering men, women and families. Some of them were very vocal making threats of terrible consequences towards each other. There were many children crying. There were only two benches to seat all the visitors. Some were standing and some were seated on the floor. A real ‘Mariakade’ scenario. There was a middle man who spoke with litigants in hushed tones. It was quite plain that incentives were changing hands. The Quazi screamed at men and at times at the woman. I was told that the degree of screaming can be manipulated with incentives.

    Sabra, why don’t we simply scrap this vestige of Sharia Law that fundamentalist Muslims are still hanging on to. It is medieval, arcane, poorly administered and devoid of natural justice.

  • 21
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    This makes sense. Why cannot Muslim men become reasonable with the explanations and grow their brain rather than the beards?

    • 8
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      Adrian

      “Why cannot Muslim men become reasonable with the explanations and grow their brain rather than the beards? “

      A very relevant question to ask from the so-called Muslims who grow their beards. However, will they understand the question?

    • 0
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      Muslims have brains and that’s why they accept Islam and Muslims grow beards as it is mandatory and not an
      option. Growing beards is a sign of masculinity. It is because they have brains that they are successful in business and you guys are jealous. We love and have children,because our women are fertile and men potent. You are jealous.
      Instead of wasting your time , use the little brain you have to succeed where you have failed so far. It is the beginning of a calendar year and make your resolutions to get ahead of Muslims, instead of pulling them back, Worth giving a try !!’

  • 1
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    [Edited out]

  • 6
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    The Qazi Adjudication System has gone way beyond redemption; similar to ‘democracy’ in Sri Lanka perverted by the two major political parties the leaderships of which are overwhelmingly corrupt.

    Just like Christianity which perverted God’s Law, to enable the priests to dominate society and its governance, Islam too, that was sent by God to replace Christianity, is falling into the same ditch, out of which there seems no escape. Most of the “Hadiths” that can be labelled as fake on the basis of common sense, logic and Quranic revelation, provide ‘religious’ and political charlatans the foundation for oppression of less privileged sectors of Society.

    May be in the case of Sri Lanka, the inequities produced by the Qazi Adjudication System will be exploited by the majoritarian Islamophobes (comments to this Article will help identify some of these) to brush away everything Islamic; but that will be certainly produce more evil than good.

    It is time Muslim Civil Society resolve this matter on an urgent basis. Hope the Government will actively encourage and permit them to do so.

  • 6
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    Have those in the Muslim community correctly diagnosed the problem of divorce? Is Divorce among Muslims any higher than other communities in Sri Lanka? If so Why?

    Is it the system in place to handle divorce at fault or is it the manner in which the system is administered at fault or is it both?

    It would appear that what is needed is a thorough objective study of the causes of Divorce, of the System in place to handle Divorce – MMDA now – and its limitations and the shortcomings in how the System is implemented, before any corrective action is taken.

    There was an interesting article captioned “Divorce among Sri Lankan Muslims” in the Sunday Times of Nov. 16, 2014 by Dr. Fazal Mahmood which gives some insight in to the problem of Divorce which will be a useful reading on the subject. The article can be read at:

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/141116/sunday-times-2/divorce-among-sri-lankan-muslims-127927.html

    My humble suggestion is that this problem should be handled carefully and objectively leaving aside personal prejudices.

    • 11
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      Dear Muhandiram,

      I’ve just looked at Dr Fazal Mahmood’s article. Very comprehensive and enlightened. Thanks for providing the link.

      Of course Dr Mahmood is an intelligent, enlightened and liberal Muslim, and he writes mainly about how there are far too many Muslim divorces. It is so in all countries. The Maldives has the highest divorce rate in the world.

      There is a good side to this, too. Among such “liberal” Muslims the woman also can request the divorce, and get it. It is a manifestation of how “practical” Islam is. Also, within that community it is not so difficult for a woman to re-marry. In other sections of Sri Lankan society there is too great a stigma attached to divorce. On the other hand, Dr Mahmood himself is unhappy that divorce is resorted to so often.

      However, Dr M. also acknowledges that there is male brutality among the poorer, less educated Muslims, and incidentally he shows a keen awareness of the range of people known as Muslims in Sri Lanka. It is good for us to read both these articles to realise that some of the crude stereotyping of Muslims by us is totally unjustified.

      • 0
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        Sinhala Man,
        You may be impressed with ‘Dr’ Fazal Mahmood. He is no scholar . In Sri Lanka a there are
        any number of P.hd’s There is only one Islam .There is no liberal Islam. These are Muslims ,who get a
        Doctorate from a University and pontificate on everything. If he acknowledges male brutality it must be
        amongst his people, So he must not generalize..There is male brutality among all communities.
        You may have read the late Mrs Thilina Sumathipala the wife and mother of “bookies” was a Doctor !!! Huh !!! Huh!! By the way she was also Precident of Buddhist Congress. So much for those with Doctorates.
        Please note that both Muslim men and women have right to ask for divorce.If as Dr. M says there is
        a large number of divorces,it is for Muslims to sort out and not the others.
        We are not concerned about others ,so just leave us alone
        .

        • 2
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          Dear AYMAN,

          YOU say, “There is only one Islam”.

          What is Sunni Islam, and what is Shia Islam?

          Those two will suffice to disprove you!

          Tell me, is “Dr Fazal Mahmood” a Muslim, or have you defined him out?

          • 1
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            Why hasn’t AYMAN responded to such a simple question?

            Obviously I could have piled more on, but it looks as though I was right to rest my response where I did. So much for the respect that these religious nuts (includes other religions) have for Truth and Rationality.

  • 14
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    Thanks for an excellent article, Sabra Zahid.

    It is very necessary that if we are to bring about salutary changes in MMDA that it be done from within the Muslim community. Interference by others will not only be seen as yet another manifestation of the world-wide bashing of Muslims.

    Looking at it rationally, there is a strong case for the Government of Sri Lanka to intervene and force change. After all every child born in this context is a Sri Lankan citizen, and as such, should be entitled to enjoy Fundamental Human Rights, and it is the duty of the State to protect those rights. The fact that such a child is “unfortunate” enough to be born in to a Muslim family doesn’t deprive that child of Rights. The perception of non-Muslims is that Muslim men have all too many Rights, and the women have fewer.

    That’s all very well in theory. However, by now it is also clear that “majoritarianism” is what governs the thinking of the State. We “Sinhala-Buddhists” are all too keen on imposing our will on others, because Buddhism belongs to us, the Sinhalese. Now the fact is that I know little of Buddhism, and I have Christian background. But I’ve gravitated to something like agnosticism. I may be considered by some to be “Westernised”, but actually, I have never been out of Asia. Therefore, culturally, I’m a Sinhalese with some attitudes shaped by European thinking. At what point I stopped being an orthodox Christian, I’m not sure. And since I don’t believe in the magic parts of religion, I regard Buddhist thinking as wonderful insights in to life and psychology. Islam is an extremely practical religion, and I respect it as such.

    Yet the “problem” is that Muslims too much insist on being different from other Sri Lankans. And, I think, that the apostasy laws are also abhorrent to us all! Now this is the real problem for Muslims! After MMDA is achieved it will look natural for us to object to any manifestation of “Apostasy Laws”! Are such laws operative in Sri Lanka? I just don’t know!

    So, we non-Muslims have to tread carefully. We value secularism, but we must respect the rights of others to maintain their “Identity”. If we remember that our first identity is as “human beings”, and that we also live in a certain society (ours being Sri Lankan Society) then we will all be happy! But how to get there, without forcing our ways on others is the question. the problem is that too many Sinhalese have the Mahawansa mentality and will not know where to stop.

    But, so long as there are people like Sabra Zahid in our midst, the problems can be prevented from causing friction. So, may you continue to reason with others in your community. Where there are human beings, unfortunately, there will always be “problems”.

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      Sinhala-man is a Demal. So, he is writing his anti-muslims stand.

      NO one has the desire to see women are their grand mothers, mothers, sisters and daughters.

      They all treat women like #hores.

      ISlam is extremist. Even though Jesus did not preach those things, some christian too practice it.

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        So Jimmy the [Edited out], you are a fan of Jesus. Poor Jesus!

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    The fact that a group of Muslim intellectuals and professionals has not been able to release the final Report of Recommendations pertaining to the amendment of the MMDL of 1951, although they were appointed to the Committee as far back as 2009, is only a reflection of the difficult nature of the subject. There is obviously a marked lack of consensus among the group members regarding amendments to key clauses of the Law. This is evident even in the articles of various Muslim writers (males and females) regarding for instance the minimum age of marriage for girls. While almost everyone accepts that it should be over 12 years, there does not appear to be any consensus emerging as to whether the minimum age should be 14 years, 16 years or 18 years among these writers including commentators.

    The main impediment to the progress of discussions among the Committee members would have been the resistance to change from the more spiritually-inclined literalists who perceive any deviation (however slight) from the Holy Book and/or the Traditions to be blasphemous. This resistance to change is not specific to Muslim Sri Lankans, but is a common attribute among the 1.6 billion Muslims world-wide. Why do you think that Islam is the only international religion which celebrates it’s most important religious function on 2 , sometimes 3, different days ? Isn’t the primary goal of any religion to unite it’s followers ?

    The fear-driven inability on the part of the majority of Muslims to even consider thinking outside their extremely narrow comfort-zones will be the bane of the community. Interpretations are contextual. When the context changes, interpretations have to naturally keep pace with such changes if they are to remain relevant.

    The descriptions of the Quazi Courts and the conduct of some Quazis should be a matter of deep shame to the Muslim Community.

    • 5
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      ekelbroom

      “The fear-driven inability on the part of the majority of Muslims to even consider thinking outside their extremely narrow comfort-zones will be the bane of the community. Interpretations are contextual. When the context changes, interpretations have to naturally keep pace with such changes if they are to remain relevant. “

      Yes.

      Islamic Philosopher and Jurist, Ibn Rushd, Averroes(1126-98, CE) described it 800 years ago, that only a very small faction understands religion and philosophy, and he wrote distinguished commentaries on the works of Aristotle.

      Averrors had argued that you should always, when presenting a philosophical argument, cite the views of your opponents. Failure to do so is an implicit acknowledgement of the weakness of your own case.

      Averroes words hold true for religion as well.The silence of the fundamentalists and their cowardliness to hide under the religion, shows their lack of reason and knowledge. Wha happened to the saying by Ohopjet Mohamed, “Increase me in knowledge”?

      Do the Islamic fundamentalists follow the Satan, Iblis, Iblees, Devil,”Increase me in Stupidity”?

  • 0
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    [Edited out]

  • 9
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    Make Sri Lanka state secular. Only one law for everybody.

    • 4
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      Leel

      “Make Sri Lanka state secular. Only one law for everybody.”

      Thomas Jefferson understood that. He kept the American State separate from Religion.

      The French and the Turks followed.

      It is time for Sri Lanka to do the same, in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

    • 7
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      Leel

      “Make Sri Lanka state secular. Only one law for everybody.”

      Definitely, you are going to be in trouble.

      The fundamentalists will hit the roof when they found out you have suggested the unthinkable, sacrilegious attack on their faith. They will hit you like a ton of brick.

      The fundamentalists are known to hide in religions including Sinhala/Buddhists.

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    Dear Sabra Zahid,

    Can you please let us know where were you before EU can into rescue you guys?

    It is understood that this issue is just in the limelight after GSP+ and EU came in and only now that non-Muslims really understand the gravity of the situation (if so).

    You guys being Muslims, what did you do for years? And if a non-Muslim (EU) doesn’t come in, you learned Muslims would ignore and let the Muslim women suffer?

    Shameless learned Muslims and activists, you had been having an issue that has been concealed just like concealing ur faces in black Abaya..

    • 10
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      Dear Ahmed

      Leave the EU and their conditions alone. Are you disputing the points made by Sabra? There is an important distinction that she makes about the right of the individual and she laments that many Muslim MEN refuse to accept.

      The girl child must be give her individual right to choose. The child must grow up and be able to decide for herself. How can another person or guardian decide? Have you not heard of the many instances of abuse of the system? The system is so reliant on the good judgment on a male guardian and too often the trust reposed on them is often is misused.

      The moral question is not whether EU is right or wrong . it is if you want children to be married off.?

      I am not sure if you are a Muslim or a non Muslim, likely you are the latter. Just like the practice of bigamy being frowned and discontinued by almost all Muslims, child marriage too doesn’t find favour with urban Muslims. So how come you are defending the indefensible?

      Under age marriage is common among the rural poor across all communities, and is not particularly true of Muslims. Marriage is seen as an escape route from poverty.

      I have bigger issues with the system that Sabra has dealt with. Getting a divorce is far too easy as often Muslim women’s rights are often not respected. I think it is important that divorce action must be removed entirely from the Qazi system. Not only are women seeking divorce treated shabbily, they are often made the offenders. Sometimes very personal questions are asked without any sensitivity,

      Many Qazis also succumb to peer pressure and go along with the flow. Some can be bought as well.

      She makes good sense. Any one who wants to continue with this practice is doing a great injustice to young Muslim girls and must be condemned
      Nabil

      • 5
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        Nabil,

        She definitely makes sense, there is no doubt about it. My question to the learned and privileged and able part of the community is “why so late to come forward with the facts when they all had been aware (for ages) that something among the community has not been happening in the right way?”

        Just imagine, had EU and GSP+ not raised the issue, the Qazi system would continue to be as it is, despite its ugly side which all these big talkers have been aware of.

        How many of similar ugly sides (that these pundits know are ugly) not being put to reform, just because we don’t have an external interference pointing fingers at?

        It is either SL government did not support those wanted MMDA reformed, or those wanted MMDA reformed never attempted it seriously for years.

        Correct me if I am wrong, prior to EU involvement, I have had seen only a few soft attempts made for MMDA reformation by those who now exaggerate it.

        NOW: Having all that said, I have a message for below type of guys here:

        There are too many Muslim haters in CT who have enough time to write comments against, copy and paste a few lines copied from other blog and News sites without fully reading articles or fully understanding the subjects itself – Believe me these are the worst time-wasting idiotic cowards as worthless as cockroaches who, hide themselves behind keyboards.

        And the message is, being a Muslim, I hate Muslims too most of the time. But I hate for a justifiable reason. Don’t hate Muslims for a reason that your parents, friends, neighbours, Facebook, Internet sites, politician or this very MMDA issue that is still greek-and-latin to many influence you.

        • 2
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          A Muslim cannot hate a Muslim and continue to be a Muslim. Such a person is termed a “Hypocrite”

          • 0
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            AYMAN

            //”A Muslim cannot hate a Muslim and continue to be a Muslim. Such a person is termed a “Hypocrite” “//

            The Wahhabies, Salafies, Tauhidis, ISIS, Taliban etc. hate Muslims, while claiming t be Muslims.

            So, are they Hypocrites or are they Satanis, Iblisis, Ibleeses who follow the Devil, Satan, Ibis, Iblees?

            Scholar from al-Azhar: Wahhabism is a Satanic Faith, the Horn of the Devil that Prophet Muhammad Predicted.

            Published on Jun 2, 2013

            Yusri Rushdi al-Sayyid Jabr al-Husni, a Sunni Muslim religious scholar from the world’s oldest and most prestigious Islamic school, the Honorable al-Azhar, has stated that Wahhabis who are also known by other names such as Salafis, Najdis, and Horners, are in fact the Horn of the Devil, a term used by the prophet Muhammad in reference to a satanic faith that shall come out of Najd (Saudi Arabia).

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufxTUFapy1w&t=42s

      • 0
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        Nabil,
        Islam recognizes the right of a woman to,marry,the man of her choice,however, he has to be Muslim.
        There is no child marriage. A girl is fit for marriage when she attains puberty,so one cannot prescribe
        an age. There can be no forced marriage. All these are embodied in Shariah .If you are ignorant ,best
        keep your mouth shut.
        This is not the place to give proofs If she makes sense. Just follow her because she is not expressing
        the Islamic view. It is her personal opinion.

    • 1
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      She said this is an issue surfaced long ago . Pleaes read from her article.

      “However, the call for reforming the law dates as far as 1954, gaining momentum in the 1980s and with sporadic attempts there on:.

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    Dear Sinhala_Man

    Glad you found the article by Dr. Fazal Mahmood Very useful.

    I am all for correcting the Wrongs. My Only concern is that it must be done carefully, in a well planned manner so that most, if not all, the Wrongs are corrected. As far as the MMDA is concerned, from what I have seen so far, I am not sure whether the problem/s have been rightly addressed.

    Before the MMDA is faulted, we must bear in mind that there is NO Perfect system in the world. A classic example is the recent US Presidential Election where the loser polled more than 2.5 million votes more than the winner! Though this is NOT the first time it happened in US Presidential Elections, the margin was very much less on previous occasions, the highest being a little over 0.5 million. Who said, in Democracy, it is the will of the majority that counts?

    Now, how correct is it to blame the MMDA for the wrong doings of those charged with implementing the MMDA? Of course, it is more the Rule than the Exception every where, that the Rules are observed in the Breach by those charged with implementing the Rule. So, MMDA is NO exception. Then, what should be done is obviously to plug the holes in Implementation process, first and foremost. If that is NOT done, no matter how the MMDA is turned upside down, the chances are, little will change if the Implementation Process is left intact.

  • 2
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    Some Christians denominations are also like muslims. Those christian denominations also practice polygazmy, they marry young women at very young age, very old men marry very young girls. Those women are only reproduce children and cook and nothing else.

    North america has those denominations.

  • 1
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    I have my doubts on how this theory will be implemented in courts.anyway the Sri Lankan qaazi courts always support men and woman are are being indeed oppressed.

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    One simple question m/s Zahid which I posed to the Kandy Forum and they couldnt come up with an answer. I wish if you could enlighten me is

    ” Say a boy ad girl are in love and have been courting and they are say 16 plus years and 16 years of age respectively.Now they have pre-marital sex(a fairly common factor in this so called enlightened age) and the baby is due in 9 months time.The parents want to have them married “before the cat is out of the bag”.But there is a problem they have to wait till they are 18 yrs according to your contention. Now what has to be done perform an abortion which is illegal? Or let the child be born and be called this innocent babe a “bastard”(child born out of wedlock). Face the wrath of both parents and relatives and the parents being the target for this mishap?

    • 1
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      Bad parenting I’d say . Children should be taught that ‘if they can’t be good , they should be careful’ .

      • 5
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        Brilliant! I have used far too many words to say the same thing!

    • 3
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      Dear Colin,

      I think that it’s a bit unfair to ask such hypothetical questions. In this discussion “Muhandiram” has commended what I have said, but “jim softy” with whom I have not quite agreed on other occasions as well, has almost attacked me – because I said that I have “a Christian background”. I once actually gave him my email address, but he is not seeking genuine answers – just wants to irritate.

      Jim, please see the last lines of this comment of mine. How can you possibly say THIS of me:

      “Sinhala-man is a Demal. So, he is writing his anti-muslims stand.”?

      For guys like me, those evangelical “Christians denominations” are the problem. You have “Tele-evangelists” who make fortunes out of the less educated, gullible sections of the public. You can be sure that the way guys like me describe ourselves, we have far fewer problems with the traditional “Churches”. Unfortunately even those attending them don’t stick to traditional teaching, and instead listen to all the rubbish that comes from “Christian Cults”. Basically few “Religious People” THINK!

      Now, for Colin’s hypothetical question. Sixteen is too early for sex, but if they must have it, please let them use contraceptives. Basically, with children from such backgrounds only, let them know about these things. I’m NOT advocating sex at that sort of age. Abortion should NOT be advocated as a birth control measure. But don’t make it illegal or impossible. I’m NOT advocating abortion!

      Marriage before the age of about 21 should never be encouraged – and resorting to marriage because there is a “cat in the bag” should never be, unless both partners are quite sure about what they want.

      How can one possibly be more specific than that, unless all the circumstances are known? But what society should never do is to force individuals to act in certain ways – unless that individual is exploiting another. Hasn’t this entire argument, up to this point, been about how men tend to exploit women, and women not standing up for their rights.

      Colin, there’s nothing wrong with your posing the question, but I hope that nobody takes portions of my response out of context and attacks me. Ms Sabra Zahid has written a courageous article. I haven’t the foggiest idea as to who she is. Don’t undermine her campaign by asking her to respond to what should be done, step by step, in the case of your hypothetical 16 year olds.

      Instead, if you have the time, look at this link that Muhandiram gave us. So often, we don’t follow these links, which is why I’m listing it again:

      http://www.sundaytimes.lk/141116/sunday-times-2/divorce-among-sri-lankan-muslims-127927.html

      • 5
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        Sinhala man i dont know whether you are a Sinhala Christian or Buddhist and you say”Now, for Colin’s hypothetical question. Sixteen is too early for sex, but if they must have it, please let them use contraceptives. Basically, with children from such backgrounds only, let them know about these things. I’m NOT advocating sex at that sort of age. Abortion should NOT be advocated as a birth control measure. But don’t make it illegal or impossible. I’m NOT advocating abortion!”
        Sixteen is too early for sex? you are talking through your hat my friend or you must have been living in another planet,Today thanks to the internet everyone knows about the birds and the bees and if you know boys mature much earlier around 15 and girls around 11 these days thanks to the hormone created food that we eat.

        You are speaking in riddles when you say “I am not advocatihg sex at that age,but if they really want it use contraceptives” in other words “do the wrong thing but dont get caught”. Or visit a house of ill fame but dont forget your contraceptive. I presume that this is the advice you will give to your children or grandchildren in a similar veinas whatever the case maybe.
        But all your beating about the bush doesnt answer the question posed by me and I would prefer Madam Zahid comes up with the answer as mine is not a hypothetical question but quite a reality with all these abortion clinics sprouting up like the massage clinics throughout our fair landTheywont be there unless business is available

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          Dear Colin,

          First about myself: I think that all Sinhalese people have some “Buddhist attitudes” in them, however much of a fashionable “Western veneer” we try to give ourselves. My upbringing was entirely Protestant Christian, but I now recognise that Christianity was taken on by my ancestors mainly for what were ultimately economic reasons. The fact is that I don’t really know much Buddhism, but I realise the greater (intellectual) sophistication of a Buddhist outlook. I regard “Sinhala-Buddhism” as an unfortunate aberration, and all religions get tied up in superstition. Educated “Western thinking” is now scientific and humanitarian rather than Christian.

          Is it so very necessary for us to attach ourselves to any one religion? Of course, one must think seriously about serious subjects.

          I ventured a response partly to save “Madam Zahid”. She has courageously tackled a difficult question for Muslims. If she answers on the lines you have now indicated that she ought to have, it would have led to her being pilloried in her community. The Muslims whom we usually refer to as “Fundamentalists” would attack her the way they did Salman Rushdie. They’d quite simply label her a “loose woman”. As it is, her advocacy may make the lives of many Muslim girls more tolerable through possible reform of MMDA.

          I know that sex does start very early in many more sections of our society than most “respectable people” are willing to concede. Most Sri Lankans would condemn pre-marital sex outrght, but would be quite happy to enslave young girls to depraved men. That happens, too. This is particularly so among Muslims. Let Madam Zahid (I couldn’t be bothered scrolling up to find her first name! – but I do respect her!!) try to improve those aspects of Muslim society. I haven’t condemned teen sex outright, have I? I think that Islam is really harsh on extra-marital sex; so why not start a more general discussion of that subject without doing so on this blog? As it is, you are anonymous – I’m not to most CT readers! My comments on an article by you will certainly be civil.

          Yes, there are far too many abortions. Late abortions are horrible; I feel that instinctively. I’m not an authority on the subject, but I wouldn’t be happy with it as a means of birth-control. Yes, when performed surreptitiously (even by doctors – who I’m sure charge huge amounts, too) they endanger lives, as well. Surely, for a layman I’ve taken a liberal enough line, haven’t I?

          Sex is not wrong; it is enjoyable and natural. However, it should not be allowed to lead to unwanted pregnancies, not because you want to avoid getting “caught” but because I’m sure that an abortion is bound to be harrowing (for the pregnant girl mostly); having an illegitimate child would be even worse – much, much worse: need we argue about that?

          Colin, why pick on me? Surely my attitudes are not monstrous are they? It may be that I’m not terribly consistent. It is difficult to generalise, is all I ultimately say. Perhaps Pope Francis was right on that: “Who am I to judge?” Please note that my background is NOT Catholic!

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            Muslim girls are not enslaved. When they grow up and if they have been parented properly, their conduct
            dress mannerisms are along the Islamic Code. So when girls grow up ,they have to dress modestly and
            be chaperoned. Even within the extended family girls have to observe the dress code in the prescence
            of male cousins.. Is this enslaving or being protective. In fact the concept of having separate schools for
            Muslims was to see that Muslim girls get their education in a Muslim environment. Gender mixing once
            grown up is not permitted be in school workplace or in homes.
            Fifty years ago all girls dressed decently as their mothers did. Today we see a young girl in a decent frock.Accompanying her is her mother in what you call “tights” and an even tighter T Shirt. Disgusting !!!
            Islamic dress code says that be it a man or women must not be in tight clothes ..
            Modesty and shyness is a sign of decent upbringing.
            Let us all irrespective of races and religions reform and bring about a better environment for our young ones.
            Is this enslaving or giving freedom.? Let us bring about a society ,where all our girls are safe .

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              Mr Ayman Sir, you will be shocked how Philippina dress even here. Lot worse in Philippines. Very short dress showing thighs. So bad I don’t want talk about it.

              But sir, Madam Sabra, look very decent and nice Sir. I know she not wear Hijab. Even here many Arab ladies also Muslim not wear hijab.

              Sorry Sir, I am not education. My English poor Sir. But Madam Sabra very excellent English Sir.

              Please Sir. Not upset her.

              Small joke Sir. Here people say. When people go out they dress. But when Philippina go out they undress. True sir. Even I get shame and cannot look at them.

            • 4
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              AYMAN, you have said TODAY, afterwhat you’ve written yesterday:

              “It’s better that Sabra Hamid winds up the debate.” You haven’t even got her name right! Excusable for guys like me who are not familiar with Muslim names – incidentally why can’t you have one of your names drawn from the Tamil language background (or Sinhalese) that you have?

              In other words, you want to control Sabra – and “our girls”, you say. I wish there weren’t Muslim schools; it is unfortunate that the State has most “ordinary folk” educated in segregated schools owing to our having two languages.

              I think that gender-mixing is good (I was throughout in “boys only” schools), but you may have a point there. Please, we don’t want Muslims retreating in to ghettos.

              As for the rest of what you say, it’s too emotional and prescriptive.

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              AYMAN you are such a moron. Your dress code is never mentioned in the Qu’ran and furthermore why is it applying to women only. It was probably all right in medieval times but today women are emancipated and yearn for equal rights with men, at least be treated equally. The MMDA requires urgent reform or at best be deleted altogether. It has no place in Sri Lankan judiciary.

              • 3
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                Sylvia Haik

                “It was probably all right in medieval times but today women are emancipated and yearn for equal rights with men,”

                These dresses are suitable only for middle east as they want to protect their nose and eyes from hot sandstorm, hot and cold weather.

                The Muslim men do not trust other Muslim men.

                The men are so ugly (in their thoughts/minds) in fact, they should be wearing their face masks. In some cases, they (the perverts)should be kept in their house and not let out to harm others.

                Muslim Men should be helped to emancipate from their own medieval mindset.

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          When a boy or gir reaches puberty, they are biologically fit for marriage,
          This age varies according to places, climes. Etc.,
          If there is correct parenting and example of elders in their family and environment
          they will understand and not get into trouble. Can we keep this discussion decent.
          It is a sign of knowledge not to comment on matters that do not concern us .
          Dragging religion races etc is uncivilized behaviour.

          • 3
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            This is not just about biology. And not about breeding children like rabbits. There are social implications. There are issues of psychological and emotional readiness. There are issues of consent. There’s issues of bringing up children who will in turn not be a burden to society as opposed to multiplying.

            • 0
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              If your father and mother believed in birth control,you may not be here to make this idiotic comment.
              In Islam we are expected to marry fertile women to procreate. If you guys cannot that’s your problem.

              • 2
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                Mr. Ayman,

                We know you are allowed to marry 7. King coconut, it is useless to argue with this man. It is like arguing with a rat about procreation. That is their main job – breeding.

              • 8
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                That’s a common but irrational argument. Yes, once born we like living.

                What if we never were? Imponderable, but I’m sure no great tragedy.

                Controlling population to offset the effects of Medicine extending lives is absolutely essential.

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                Heard this AYMAN?

                “ If you knew a woman who was pregnant, and she had 8 kids already, three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally retarded, and she had syphilis; would you recommend that she have an abortion?

                If you said yes, you just killed Beethoven. “

                The great Ludwig van Beethoven was actually the second of seven children:

                http://www.classicfm.com/composers/beethoven/guides/maria-magdalena-beethoven-mother/#pY7C7LbxI5x8Y2G8.97

                Why not read that? You see how “religious people”, Catholics as well as Muslims, tell LIES!

                Today, nobody ought to have seven or eight children.

                Why did Beethoven begin to go deaf at age 30? He was one of my great childhood heroes. I was furious when somebody said that HIS deafness was caused by syphilis. Actually it is a strong possibility, but I will not hold it against him now. Listen to his music, then you will understand what cads want to denigrate him.

                A great humanist, eccentric no doubt, but he also suffered more than you can understand – unless you, too, take the trouble to listen to what he wrote.

                • 0
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                  Returned to this article because Sabra Zahid has written another powerful article. Just to say that I have a little correction to make.

                  No, it was not this article that I read with great joy in December 2016. It was one that proclaimed lead poisoning to be the cause of deafness at the age of thirty, who worked until his death at 56.

                  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/29/arts/music/29skull.html

                  Anybody so interested can look for the other article! We must be truthful, and not use any old argument to support our stand.

        • 0
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          Sixteen is too early for SEX you said. Google says that Sri Lanka is the number one nation in the World which logs onto SEX.

    • 2
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      Colin,

      I would like to answer what I think would be an appropriate answer. If the boy and girl is under-aged, if it was due to rape, criminal action has to be taken. If it was consensual, then their (boy & girl) parents must assume responsibility for the baby and their children until they are ready to assume responsibility to raise the family. Laws must accept such parenthood legal if the grand parents approved the birth, and issue them a birth certificate to that effect.

      The question arises as to whether the boy or girl is accepted by the their parents and families. It is too complicated when families practice discrimination. The responsibility to educate the child should be left to the parents of their practices so that such incidents could be avoided.

      • 1
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        Adrian you say this is rape and criminal action should be taken,Rape is forcible sexual intercourse without the consent,but in this case it is consent so therefore rape is out.You also say if its consensual then the parents should take responsibility of the “bastard” child.Nowhere in the statute books in the world does it ever state that the parents have to take such responsibility ,and there again which parent? Each will pass the “baby” over to another.The poor child has to face the world with a stigma and that is because the legislation as Zahid proposes to keep the minimum marriage at 18.I do not for once advocate that children should be given in marriage around 12 to 14 but eighteen is questionable as sexual desires arise at maturity and undue delay by legislation can cause problems of the nature I pinpointed.
        My case is no longer hypothetical as it would have been 50 years ago it is sadly becoming more common and the dilemma it envisages resulted in my question which I would request m/s Zahid to reply without others like you and Sinhala Man playing the role of “Devils advocate”. This is only an expression and I am not saying m/s Zahid is the devil in disguise

        • 2
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          Colin,

          I have taken note of everything you had mentioned already. I am only suggesting a compromise. With the changing situations, the laws also need amendment. It is not correct to brand a child bastard or so as the child has not done any wrong. Our mindset should adapt to compromises and find solutions to such tricky situations. If we don’t compromise, age old problems will continue. Parents are expected to be the responsible person for their children, hence both the parents of the boy and girl should be made to take responsibility until the boy and girl is ready to manage a family.

        • 2
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          Colin,

          I’m sure that you are a decent guy and that’s why your questions. But as you say it’s a dilemma. Unfortunately there aren’t solutions to all problems! That’s life.

          We all know what a “Devil’s advocate” is. I’m not sure why I’ve been playing it so much. I also realise that you respect Sabra Zahid.

          But can’t you see this? Muslim females are some of the most unfortunate members of our society. At first, (check the dates, they’ve got so jumbled because so many are ‘responses’) all comments were from non-Muslims. Then you’ve had a stream of abuse from Muslim men directed at Sabra. Let her fight that battle within the Muslim community.

          Let us debate the more general issue without involving this most unfortunate lot of human beings. AYMAN will have a lot to say about this comment of mine, too! It would be suicidal for Sabra to respond to your query. Sorry to be confirming your opinion of me!

  • 0
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    [Edited out]

  • 2
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    Jim Softy,

    You are soft in the brain!

    You cant see the light because You are anti ,Muslim,Anti Tamil,Anti Christian in fact every prejudice but you are an pro Sinhala Buddist Ape.

    Cant you see the significance of Sabras article in terms of providing Oppressed Muslim Women a chance to be equal partners in a Muslim Marriage ?

    if you had been a Muslim woman you would have been thrown out overnight in to the street!Simply because you are a grumpy old sod.

  • 0
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    We Muslims have to conform to our laws as commanded by Allah in the Quran and the SUNNAH .
    I would like to ask Sabra, what rights have been denied to her. Looking at her picture I was wondering
    whether she is a Muslim. There is a dress code which she is not observing. It is not an option but
    mandatory. Fourteen centuries ago ,it is Islam that gave women rights. This is accepted by all.
    Whatever laws are there,Allah has made it for the protection of women.
    What right has EU to tell Muslims about practicing their religion.
    For instance the death penalty too cannot be implemented as EU is against it.
    Open the newspaper and read every morning in this country, or rather Buddhist country, it’s murdersnand rapes.
    Fathers raping daughters while mother is away in the Middle East..
    Husbands killing wives who have extra marital affairs. I can go on but it’s of no use.I have strayed a bit.
    “In Islam, marriage is a legal contract (Literary Arabic: عقد القران ʻaqd al-qirān, “matrimony contract”; Urdu: نکاح نامہ‎ / ALA-LC: Nikāḥ-nāmah) between two people. Both the groom and the bride are to consent to the marriage of their own free wills. A formal, binding contract is considered integral to a religiously valid Islamic marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride. There must be two Muslim witnesses of the marriage contract. Divorce (also called Tallaq when it is initiated from male side) (khula when it is initiated from Female side) is permitted and can be issued by both the bride and groom with equal rights as per Islamic laws and Shariah. The actual rules of marriage and divorce (often part of Personal Status Laws) can differ from country to country, based on codified law and the school of jurisprudence. There has to be male guardian giving her away and the marrige gift or dower (MAHR) given to the bride by the husband.”
    This is not a matter for comment by non-Muslims since we do not interfere or comment on their MAARIAGE rites .

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      The Laws that your Allah gave are interpreted by a bunch of your men who are not very sensitive on the lines of gender and equality. Are you denying that the Kazi system has no faults? and that women are not treated unfairly by this law?
      Making personal attacks at the messenger by ignoring the message is very typical. Disgraceful.

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        There are faults in every system !!!

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      There is a significant difference between the ‘stipulated code’ and the ‘implemented code’ for a specific purpose. In many instances, a serious mistake is often made by referring to the ‘implemented code’ as being the ‘stipulated code’.

      Take for instance the highway code. There was a time before the advent of the wheeled vehicle, when the need for such a code was not felt by society. However, as the types and numbers of wheeled vehicles began to soar, society would have realized the importance of introducing some kind of ‘order’ to resolve the chaos on their streets and roads with people and vehicles travelling in all directions. This would have given rise to the birth of the Highway Code which in it’s simplest form would have stated that ‘All vehicular traffic heading towards the same direction must use the same side of the road’. This is the stipulated highway code. However, when implementing this code, some countries identify the term ‘same direction’ to mean the left side of the road, while the majority have chosen it to mean the right side of the road. Yet all countries refer to their codes by the generic term ‘highway code’.

      The Islamic Dress Code is defined by the Holy Book and the Traditions and it essentially makes it mandatory for all True Believers (males and females) to ensure that they dress modestly at all times. This incidentally is not unique to Islam but is also part of the teachings of all major religions. In communicating this important message to the largely illiterate, uneducated Arabs of the 6th Century (this was a time when pagan Arabs used to circumambulate the Ka’aba naked), the Almighty and his Messenger used terms which would have been readily understood by the Arabs (spoon-feeding ?). So instead of merely instructing Muslims to dress modestly / cover themselves at all times, reference was made to the existing dress habits of the Arabs for this purpose. The essence of the dress code for males and females as defined in the Holy Book is ‘to dress modestly at all times’. The dictionary defines the word ‘Modest’ as ‘Observing conventional proprieties in speech, behavior, or dress, especially in the avoidance of arousing sexual interest’. This is the Islamic Dress Code. However, the fact that the Arab Dress Code is mentioned in the Holy Book and in the Traditions has resulted in the belief that Islam sanctifies the Arab Dress Code and more critically has resulted in the Arab Dress Code being promoted as the Islamic Dress Code.

      Are there Religious Dress Codes ? Are there Christian Dress Codes, Buddhist Dress Codes and Hindu Dress Codes ?

      Isn’t the Dress Code of a specific country determined by it’s own climatic conditions, it’s socio-cultural factors and religious influences rather than that of some country 1000’s of miles away ?

      Do non-Arab Muslims have to imitate Arabs in speech, behaviour and dress if they are to be ‘good’ Muslims ? Can’t a person be a ‘good’ Muslim without observing the Arab dress codes ? Does this explain the global phenomenon of the Arab-isation of Muslims ?

      And finally what about the Hijab – a term that is mentioned just 7 times in the Holy Book and not once in connection with the terms ‘head’ or ‘hair’ ? How has a head dress tightly worn by all (male and female) Arabs from pre-Islamic times as a protection against the hazards of frequent sand-storms and sand-infused desert atmospheres been elevated to an ‘Islamic Dress’ that Muslim females are obligated to wear in totally unsuitable climatic conditions where a simple loosely-worn veil might be more appropriate ? ‘Hijab’ is not compulsory, ‘Modest Dress’ is.

      So we should not rush to judge the ‘Muslim-ness’ of Sister Sabra purely by her picture. We must heed the words of Allah SWT in our Holy Quran ” O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as to adorn you. BUT THE BEST GARMENT IS THE GARMENT OF PIETY/RIGHTEOUSNESS. These are some of God’s signs, so that they may be mindful”. [7:26]

      More power to your pen, Sister Sabra, and to all female Muslim Sri Lankans who subscribe to the belief that our Muslim Community shall ‘Leave No Girl Child Behind’. All your brothers-in-Islam who are capable of independent reasoning (ijtihad) are walking right beside you. Our Community must ensure that every female has the opportunity to realize her full potential as a woman to be an equal partner to some future lucky husband.

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        We are asked to judge by what is apparent,since we cannot know what is in the heart.
        For a woman it is from her dress and conduct.
        If you think you and I can perform ijthihad,you are sadly mistaken
        Ijtihad literally means “to endeavor, strive, put one­self out, work hard.” In Islamic legal terminology it means “the process of deriving the laws of the shari’ah from its sources.”

        Mujtahid means a person who does ijtihad or who is an expert of Islamic laws.

        Fiqh literally means knowledge, and in Islamic ter­minology it means the science of Islamic laws.

        Faqih (pl. fuqaha’) means the expert of fiqh. The terms “mu­jtahid” and “faqih” mean the same.
        It is a waste of time to explain to a person who does not know the basics of Islam,leave alone FIQH
        Islamic Law is based on Quran ,Sunnah, Ijma, and Qiyas.
        Ijthihad has been already explained.
        WHAT MORE CAN BE EXPECTED FROM AN EKELBROOM??!
        Q.E.D.

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          Shariah laws are inviolate, irrevocable and immutable.
          Fiqh laws are interpretations by mujtahids of Shariah based on the Holy Quran and Hadith using the techniques of Ijtihad, Ijma & Qiyas.
          Fiqh laws are therefore ‘man-made’ and contextual.

          When the context changes significantly, the question may be asked as to whether there should be a more appropriate INTERPRETATION (Fiqh) of a specific Sharia Law compatible with the new context.
          The divine Sharia Laws per se are beyond questioning. But Fiqh Laws are not set in stone and therefore can and must be queried for the greater good of the Muslims.

          The time to re-examine the MMDL in Sri Lanka is now. It is the responsibility of the current Muslim leadership to make the necessary ‘course-corrections’ that will obviate any, all or most of the weaknesses in the present laws that result in perceived injustices to females. As a community we owe it to our future generations to do just that without cowering in fear.

          The ability to question the appropriateness of existing Fiqh Laws depends on the thinking prowess of an individual and his willingness to think laterally.
          Those individuals whose ‘thinking’ over the decades have been stultified by the continuous usage of the method of blind obedience (Taqlid) would have developed ossified brains. When confronted by sound, valid and irrefutable arguments based on incisive objective premises, the usual response of such individuals is to seek refuge in the delivery of ad hominem arguments (aka derogatory personal attacks).

          My advice to such individuals would be : If you cannot stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.

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      Sabra, it is because you are in a non Muslim country that you are alive today. Otherwise Ayman would probably have you stoned to death fro exposing your hair to the public.

      Mr. Ayman if stoning to death is the punishment for not covering hair, what is the punishment for being nude?

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    Islam, unlike other religions is a strong advocate of marriage. There is no place for celibacy like, for example the Roman Catholic priests and nuns. The prophet (pbuh) has said “there is no celibacy in Islam.

    Marriage is a religious duty and is consequently a moral safeguard as well as a social necessity. Islam does not equal celibacy with high “taqwa” / “Iman”. The prophet has also said, “Marriage is my tradition who so ever keeps away there from is not from amongst me”.

    Marriage acts as an outlet for sexual needs and regulate it so one does not become a slave to his/ her desires.

    It is a social necessity because through marriage, families are established and the family is the fundamental unit of our society. Furthermore, marriage is the only legitimate or halal way to indulge in intimacy between a man and a woman.

    Islam takes a middle of the road position to sexual relations , it neither condemns it like certain religions, nor does it allow it freely. Islam urges us to control and regulate our desires, whatever they may be so that we remain dignified and not become like animals.

    The purpose of Marriage.
    The word “zawj” is used in the Qur’an to mean a pair or a mate. In general it usage refers to marriage. The general purpose of marriage is that the sexes can provide company to one another, love to one another, procreate children and live in peace and tranquility to the commandments of Allah.

    * Marriage serves as a means to emotional and sexual gratification and as a means of tension reduction. It is also a form of Ibadah because it is obeying Allah and his messenger – i.e. Marriage is seen as the only possible way for the sexes to unite. One could choose to live in sin, however by choosing marriage one is displaying obedience to Allah.

    Marriage is “mithaq” – a solemn covenant (agreement). It is not a matter which can be taken lightly. It should be entered into with total commitment and full knowledge of what it involves. It is not like buying a new dress where you can exchange it if you don’t like it. Your partner should be your choice for life. One should be mature enough to understand the demands of marriage so that the union can be a lasting one. For a marriage to be valid certain conditions must be met.

    1) consent of both parties.They can meet and see each other in the presence of an elder

    2) proposal (ijaab) and acceptance (qabool)

    3) Wali (Male Guardian) e.g. Father, etc.,

    4) ” Mahr” a gift from the groom to his bride.

    5) Witnesses- 2 male

    6) The marriage should be publicized, it should never be kept secret as it leads to suspicion and troubles within the community. This is the Marriage Feast called Waleemah.
    The practice of bride’s parents giving a dowry by way of cash etc is not a condition. It is called “kaikooli) and is a Tamil
    custom as is the Thali.

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    According to “The Plain Truth”, February 1984, in its 50 Year Anniversary Issue, quoting from the “World Almanac and Book of Facts 1935” and “Reader’s Digest Almanac and Yearbook 1983”, between 1934 and 1984.

    Christianity increased 47%
    World Population increased 136%
    Islam increased 235%

    100,000 people per year in America alone, are converting to Islam. For every 1 male convert to Islam, 4 females convert to Islam.
    They’re discovering the FACTS and not basing their decisions on biased media. They realise they deserve to know the complete unadulterated truth.

    1. The Bible Convicts Women as the original Sinners (ie. Eve picking from the forbidden tree){Genesis 2:4-3:24}.

    The Koran Clarifies it was Adam Not Eve {Koran 7:19-25}

    2. The Bible says “The Birth of a Daughter is a loss” {Ecclesiasticus 22:3}.

    The Koran says both are an Equal Blessing {Koran 42:49}

    3. The Bible forbids women from speaking in church {I Corinthians 14:34-35}.

    The Koran says women can argue with the Prophet {58:1}

    4. In the Bible, divorced Women are Labeled as an Adulteress, not men {Matthew 5:31-32}

    The Koran does Not have Biblical double standards{Koran 30:21}

    5. In The Bible, widows and sisters do not inherit Any property or wealth, only men do {Numbers 27:1-11}

    The Koran abolished this male greed {Koran 4:22} and God protects all.

    6. The Bible Allows Multiple Wives {I Kings 11:3}

    In The Koran, God limits the number to 4 only under certain situations (with the wife’s permission)and prefers you marry only one wife {Koran 4:3} The Koran gives the woman the right to choose who to marry.

    7. “If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives” {Deuteronomy 22:28-30}

    One must ask a simple question here, who is really punished, the man who raped the woman or the woman who was raped? According to the Bible, you have to spend the rest of your life with the man who raped you.

    The Prophet Muhammad Says {Volume 9, Book 86, Number 101} Narrated by Aisha:”It is essential to have the consent of a virgin (for the marriage)”.

    Would the Non-Muslim men reading this prefer the Women they know to be Christian or Muslim?

    8. The Bible also asks women to wear veils as in Islam {I Corinthians 11:3-10}

    9. Women were given rights to Vote less than a 100 years ago in the (US), while the Koran gave women voting rights almost 1,500 years ago.

    Christian Scientists are declaring the Koran is from God. Click Here for stories of Christians and atheist scientists who convert to Islam and why. The Christian Bishops and Priests are admitting the Bible has tensions. Jesus is a Muslim? Click here. The list goes on and on, to hear from some of these converts, including Nuns, and many Famous people click Here. For a more Information and Statistics click Here

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      Throughout the Muslim world, women are treated as second-class citizens who are inferior to men in terms of intelligence, morals, and faith. This arrangement derives from the Qur’an itself, which states unambiguously: “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other” (Qur’an 4:34).

      Over to you, Ayman.

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        Please do not atempt to interpret Quran verses. It is beyond the understanding of those who worship
        bulls and monkeys and even consider “bullshit” sacred,.You burn it ,eat it and apply it on your forehead.
        Do not bother about the lack of scientific knowledge. You will not get anywhere by belittling Dr. Bucaille,
        who learnt Arabic and read it in its original version. Just lay off without commenting on things which is
        beyond your understanding. Q.E.D.( I hope you know what this is)

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          Ayman, you say, “Please do not attempt to interpret Quran verses.”

          Is that the best you could come up with after spending 9 hrs trying to find a satisfactory response? It is a poor defense for a poorer case. Be careful, in your enthusiasm, you may be committing blasphemy by intentionally misinterpreting the statement ”Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other” {(Qur’an 4:34)}. Why do you risk being sent to hell out of a misplaced sense of punditry? Is it worth that? Remember, once in hell you will never get out and those rivers of wine and the 72 virgins will be out of your reach forever.

          Then you say, “It is beyond the understanding of those who worship bulls and monkeys and even consider “bullshit” sacred.” Yes we consider the cow to be a scared animal because it provides us with sustenance (milk), dung, with its bactericidal properties to apply on our floors and to be used as manure, motive power to pull carts, ploughs, and to pump water etc. If they are lucky enough to die a natural death, escaping the attempts by certain people to steal, kill and eat it, we use the skin, the hooves etc too.

          Of course, we do not eat cow meat. People do not generally eat things they consider sacred. By the way, is that the reason why you avoid eating pork?

          Hindus do not eat flesh of animals. Our food consists entirely of vegetable matter and milk. But we do understand why Muslims eat meat, except for pork. Your religion originated in Arabia, where there is pretty little vegetable matter to eat. There is a lot of grass, but we are aware that you guys avoid eating grass. Good for you. Leave it to the camels and the goats.

          So you see, for thousands of years, the Hindus have been leading lives that are environmentally friendly. Cattle has been part of our lives from time immemorial. We think it is better to worship an animal on whom our lives depend than to worship an unseen, unheard, jealous and possessive God who seems to care about himself only.

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    The contemporary Muslims suffer from a profound lack of scientific understanding. Instead of trying come out of the darkness caused by ignorance, they try to stretch things to make it appear that the Holy Quran is equivalent to Science.

    One of the tools used for this is, Maurice Bucaille’s theories that are vague descriptions of natural phenomena employing stretched or arbitrary interpretations. Alleged Quranic references in particular to the expanding universe, parallel universes, and cosmic structural hierarchies have been are completely wrong.

    Such methods will keep the Muslims backward compared others, which perhaps is the real objective of people like Bucaille.

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    Why don’t we settle for what is possible?

    Almost all seem to agree that it is unfair to expect a person, man or woman to intelligently enter in to a life-long partnership before the age of twenty or so.

    Some of us non-Muslims have been willing to at least discuss the prevalence of pre-marital teen sex, where there isn’t any life-long commitment. Even “we” – most readers and commenters are Old Codgers, I guess – are diffident about giving it full-throated support – except the courageous and out-spoken, but “anonymous”, “Colin”.

    I think that it is a disgrace to allow some Sri Lankan females (i.e. Muslim girls) to be deprived of the basic human right to receive a broad education. People like AYMAN seem to insist that just because they have fathered the children they have the RIGHT to do what they want with their children. Please try to be fairer by other members of the human race, including your children!

    Seriously, if you go on like this, there is a danger of the rest of the world turning upon the entire “Umma”. It’s not what I want, and it wouldn’t succeed, obviously. But there could be a lot of nasty violence, and we don’t want that.

    And as for the number of children produced – we seem to have too many humans in the world already. Stick to the replacement rate of two. Of course if that is consistently applied world-wide it will actually lead to reduction, since some cannot or will not reproduce. Not a bad thing in the short term. This is only an appeal – not a fiat!

    Must we get competitive in everything, including the number of adherents of each religion, and of each race?

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    You are a non-Muslim and free to have pre marital or extra marital affairs.
    You feel those below twenty are not in a position to enter into marriage. That’s your opinion
    We have certain rules for the safety of our women. I have seen my fourth generation and my grand children
    are married and living happily.
    Muslims like to have more children . They are our treasures. You guys are stingy,that’s your whole problem.
    We are not competing to have more followers but if someone wants to follow us he is free to come of his own
    accord. We do not give money to get people to accept Islam.. Just bring me someone who was given any
    inducement or gift to convert.
    I am a professional and have worked all around Sri Lanka,and I have got on very well with all the people.
    If everyone was to live according to the teachings of his religion ,he will be a good human being and we
    can build a decent society. Sad to say our leaders and politicians are the cause of all the unrest.
    My advice to anyone is to keep away from the rich man and the man who has power.
    They are the ones who use their money and/or power to manipulate.
    We worship Allah alone and place our complete trust in Him and we have nothing to fear.

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    Dear AYMAN,

    I’m sure that you are a decent human being, and who knows, you may even be one with whom I already cordially interacted. However, you’ve got to concede that there is a lunatic fringe in ISIS like types whom you’ve got to control. Have you got any strategy to do so? We’ve been calling out loud and clear that Gnanasara and the Batticaloa monk be brought under control. Some Muslims have been doing similarly in respect of Muslim extremists.

    There is every sign that a person like Sabra Zahid is personally a devout Muslim, whose view point on some SOCIAL issues differs from yours. Will you allow her to live unharassed? The same goes for Ekelbroom.

    Have you read this article by Dr Fazal Mahamood?

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/141116/sunday-times-2/divorce-among-sri-lankan-muslims-127927.html

    Do you grant that his analysis of the position among Sri Lankan Muslims is quite comprehensive? Do you accept him as a brother-Muslim, even if you don’t fully agree with him? Do YOU respect him, even as I respect you as a fellow human being?

    I’m responding to your last “live and let live” comment; I haven’t attempted to collate all the comments that you have made here and elsewhere. However, I take strong exception to your saying that we “guys are stingy” and therefore don’t beget many children. Even if World Population is increasing only at an inexorably slow but steady rate, I think that it is a sign of responsibility that we start thinking of ways in which we ensure that life on this planet is sustainable. As it is population growth appears to be out of control. “Explosion” is the word commonly used. ALL life forms – some elusive, mostly tiny forms that we haven’t even discovered yet – are fast disappearing owing to human activity and the irreversible long term consequences YOU haven’t even begun to analyse.

    One of the problems we have are indeed “dirty politicians”. But they will always be around, and you are giving them opportunities to exist by not controlling the lunatic fringe within your “Umma”.

    However, I see the problem as essentially arising from the position that most Muslims take that you alone are on the right track, that your rather anthropomorphic concept of Allah alone is valid, and that this Allah has given the entire universe for man to rule. Your own view may be slightly more refined, but it is one that many Muslims hold. For 75 years after the internal combustion engine was developed, the West criminally exploited the oil of the then poor Arabs. Now that has got a bit fairer – in a sense! But why DO so many Muslims migrate to the West? Some integrate, thereby admitting that Islam is not the only way to look at the world. Others want to assert themselves. Isn’t this similar to our Sinhalese efforts to colonise the Eastern Province?

    This “Allah uniquely superior” view is ironic, because I REALLY think that the Jewish and Muslim concept of God (like that of the Buddha) is finer than that of many others. You refuse to define Him in any way, and you say that the human mind cannot possibly comprehend what God is. And if there is only one God, as most sophisticated religions seem to accept, then is it not the same God, whom you call Allah and others by different names? Actually, even I will accept a God so defined . . . , but there are obvious ripostes to such a comment by me – so let’s avoid getting in that area of dispute! Call me coward or hypocrite if you want to! It may be that even Hindu mystics ultimately see God as Shiva, and other “deities” as simply manifestations of aspects of Shiva. I’m not a scholar of religions, so don’t throw out all that I say merely because one or two of the things said by me are infantile.

    This growth of Muslim populations is bound to create problems, which are waiting for exploitation by “politicians”. People freely converting to Islam is not something that can be objected to, although it may be for complex psychological reasons. The main Christian Churches are haemorrhaging those born into their families to cults like that belonging to Joyce Meyer:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_Meyer

    I think that almost ALL Muslims (it is for Muslims to take issue with this statement of mine) have this in common with Joyce Meyer. You have a firm belief that the words of the Koran and the Bible are literally true. I take them as allegorical in terms of empirical matters, but of great validity in terms of moral teachings as applied to the times and places in which they were revealed. So, we’ve got an insoluble problems where interacting with each other is concerned.

    Considering all that is taking place in the world today, I’d like to appeal to you to take account of this when interacting with the rest of the world. However, we can’t be so laid back where our actions in relation to human reproductivity is concerned. If Muslim (let me not hedge here and hypocritically use vague expressions like “any one group”) populations increase owing to free conversion, we cannot object; but if we find that birth rates are phenomenally high and that the children are brought up isolated from all other thinking, then it is inevitable that there will be resentment – and some of it dangerously bitter resentment. There are writers like Izzeth Hussain who have suggested that with greater education birth rates among Muslims will fall. Not a very clever argument for me to put to AYMAN because that is to suggest that he is not sufficiently educated!

    However, it seems indubitably true to me that many Muslim women are not so happy to be producing so many children. I have no way to actually prove this, but the views put forward by Sabra Zahid, and a few other Muslim women seem to reflect such thinking – and you can see that the Muslim men don’t like it one bit!

    I’m telling you, I find the situation in Sri Lanka right now is scary!

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    I am also a Muslim mother of two young girls. I fully endorse what Sabra Zahid has written. There are many women who have come to me with their marital problems. Male dominated jury has blocked them from coming out with their problems. They have also complained on the pretext of being the counselors get the contacts of these young women and keep calling them. Furthermore its sad to note one of the earlier comment being judgemental about the writer. It is must to cover the head i agree but that doesn’t mean we can insult a woman who is not covering. Judgemental men has no right to talk of the religion. Pls note you are judged by your intention and not by your outwardly performance.

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