23 October, 2018

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MMDA Reforms: Dead & Buried Or Frozen?

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

In societies where secular officialdom considers it blasphemous to rebel against the power of sacerdotalism, and therefore sacrosanct to remain subservient to their dictates, even tinkering with the most blatantly oppressive elements of what is claimed to be sacred by the hierocracy becomes a virtual impossibility. This seems to be the fate of the long awaited recommendations made by Justice Saleem Marsoof Committee (JMC), appointed at tax payers’ expense, to investigate into the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA). By secular officialdom I simply mean the Muslim political hierarchy and the so called Muslim intellectuals who are advising it.  How and why the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU), an undemocratic and extra-territorially connected institution of religious functionaries and hierocrats, rather than theologians, has come to wield so much power so that it is able to veto all rational arguments against historical injustices endured by thousands of Muslim women innocently trapped under a male favoured matrimonial system is mind boggling. With some notable exceptions, even journalists and legal commentators on the issue have become unashamedly subtle apologists to ACJU for fear of avoiding its opprobrium. As a result, MMDA reforms remain either dead and buried for ever or frozen until perhaps another generation of agitators and daring intellectuals emerge to take up the cudgels and continue the struggle for Muslim women’s liberation. What follows is not a plea for promoting Muslim feminism an appeal to power holders in the Muslim community to listen to the voice of the aggrieved.  

In an earlier piece that I contributed to this journal (January 6 2018) I employed the term ‘pussyfooted reformers’ to describe the behaviour of recoiling by reform-seekers whenever the ulama1 hurl in front of them the term shariah, and maqasid al-shariah2 to counter any argument.  Conceding for the sake of argument that sharia means Divine Law, who will know that law best except the Divine? That Divine has not sent down a compendium of those laws in any textual or aural form. All that the humans can find in the Quran are some signs of the intentions of the Divine from which humans are expected to derive their own laws to the best of their intellectual ability and needs. Even though the Sunnah of the Prophet has added some specificities to those signs even they have to be contextualised in terms of time and circumstances. That was what the eminent Muslim jurists accomplished in previous centuries through a process of discursiveness and ijtihad (the exertion of mental energy in search of an opinion). These laws are known as fiqh (practical details and rules) and they are man-made, both literally and conceptually. Therefore they can be repealed, modernised and reformed through the same processes. 

From the legislative endeavours of early scholar jurists arose a number of schools of legal thought, counting more than a hundred at one stage. However, in the course of time majority of these schools became extinct, largely due to their irrelevance to changing times and context. Today, there are four schools of fiqh that are predominant in the Sunni world of Islam. One of them, the Shafiite School, is the ruling one in Sri Lanka.  Yet, none of the originators of these schools, to their credit, ever claimed that their interpretations and derivations from the basic sources were the most accurate and that the others were wrong. Contrary to our modern day integrists and religious purists, those savants were strong believers in freedom of thought and expression. Nevertheless, they were not utopian but practical minded people. Since not everyone in the community is erudite and has the intellectual capacity to engage in ijtihad, they recommended ordinary people to follow one particular School of Law to avoid confusion and conflict. They did not however, prohibit the erudite and knowledgeable who would come after them to undertake ijtihad, to critic and improve existing rules and derive new ones in order to enhance society’s progress and public welfare. As Irfan Ahmad put it pithily, “to reform was to critic and to critic was to reform”3. 

Unfortunately, religious leaders of later generations went against these expectations and disallowed not only new interpretations of existing laws but also cross-pollination and synthesis amongst existing schools of law. The instrumentality of ijtihad became highly restrictive if not totally prohibited.  Taqlid (imitation of the past) replaced ijtihad. It is this rigid commitment to taqlid that bedevils Islamic modernity all over the world and Sri Lanka is no exception. This is why MMDA reforms are stuck in the mud of religious obscurantism. 

In fact, in the eighteenth century, a new generation of Muslim intellectuals such as Shah Waliullah (1703-63) of India, Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Shawkani (1759-1834) of Yemen, and Muhammad Bin Ali al-Sanusi (1787-1859) of North Africa, prompted by the narrow religious puritanism of the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, started a mission to democratise ijtihad and even went to the extent of making it an obligatory duty for all Muslims4. Among them al-Shawkani went a step further and condemned tamadhhub (sectarianist quarrels among followers of different Schools of Law). Ahmad Dallal quotes from al-Shawkani, which is worth reading in the context of MMDA anti-reformers, who are not willing to overstep the precincts of Shafiite School of jurisprudence. “Know that just as partisanship … results in the effacement of the blessings of knowledge, the dissipation of its splendour, and the loss of the reward that derives from it, so too does it cause strife that leads to the shedding of blood, violation of sanctities, vilification of honours, and making violable what is in the protection of the Divine law.”5 

Reinterpretation of fiqh without contravening the fundamentals of the religion is an ongoing process in Islam. One of the objectives of such reinterpretation is to remove hardships and injustices embedded in existing legal formulations. Even in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia scholars have dared especially after September 11 2001, to challenge the status quo with new interpretations on established Salafi licensed sharia.  Such scholars have even faced long jail sentences by Saudi establishment6.   

MMDA has to be reformed. To subvert reforms in the name of upholding sharia is to demonstrate one’s ignorance of a golden tradition of legal liberalism in the history of Islam. Inaction only prolongs the agony of victims and may even lead to consequences far more destructive to Muslim families and the community than the fear about reforming. ACJU should wake up to face reality and challenge of modernity. 

In a country like Sri Lanka where Muslims are a second minority they cannot expect the government to take the initiative to introduce reforms that impinge on Muslim religious susceptibilities. It is the community leaders who have to take the first step. The government should be commended for at least appointing a committee to investigate the operation of MMDA and make recommendations to improve on it. The Marsoof Committee has done its job to the best of its ability. Now it is the duty of the Muslim parliamentarians to push the minister in charge to introduce the necessary legislation. It appears that ACJU has put a spoke in the wheel. Why are Muslim parliamentarians in bed with ACJU?      

Notes:

  1. This name has been overly religionised to rob of its wider meaning, scholars. Ulama is plural for alim, which is derived from ilm, meaning knowledge. The word does not distinguish between religious knowledge and secular knowledge.   
  2. Sharia, literally means “the way to a watering place”, and it occurs only once in the Quran, in chapter 45, verse 18. In the Quran, the word carries only an ethical and not legal connotation. However, from the time of the development of usul al-fiqh (theory of law) in Islam the term shariah referred simply to the two basic sources of law namely, the Quran and Sunna (deeds and sayings of the Prophet).  How did the sources of law come to denote the laws themselves is a mystery. Similarly, maqasid al-Sharia simply means aims of the sources of law. 
  3. Irfan Ahmad, Religion as Critique: Islamic Critical Thinking from Mecca to the Market Place, University of North Carolina Press, 2017, p. 26.
  4. Ahmad Dallal, Islam Without Europe, Traditions of Reform in the Eighteenth-Century Islamic Thought, University of North Carolina Press, 2018.
  5. Op.cit., p. 56.  
  6. Madawi Al-Rasheed, Muted Modernists: The Struggle over Divine Politics in Saudi Arabia, Oxford University Press, 2015.  

   

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Dr. Ameer Ali,

    RE: MMDA Reforms: Dead & Buried Or Frozen?

    “This seems to be the fate of the long awaited recommendations made by Justice Saleem Marsoof Committee (JMC), appointed at tax payers’ expense, to investigate into the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA). By secular officialdom I simply mean the Muslim political hierarchy and the so called Muslim intellectuals who are advising it. How and why the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU), an undemocratic and extra-territorially connected institution of religious functionaries and hierocrats, rather than theologians, has come to wield so much power so that it is able to veto all rational arguments against historical injustices endured by thousands of Muslim women innocently trapped under a male favoured matrimonial system is mind boggling. With some notable exceptions, even journalists and legal commentators on the issue have become unashamedly subtle apologists to ACJU for fear of avoiding its opprobrium.”

    Thanks for keeping this issue in the limelight.

    What do we have? The Ulama and those who benefits, wants to keep the status quo that way.

    So MMDA is:
    1.Frozen
    2. Buried
    3. Dead or Dying

    This is similar to the USA Southern States need to keep slavery, that ended up in the US Civil War.

    May be Sri Lankan Muslims need a Civil War to kick out the Ulama, ACJU.

    Are there any takers like the JVP and LTTE? Sri Lankan Muslims darkest hour.

    Ibn Rushd in his darkest hour

    https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/artsandculture/2015/4/9/ibn-rushd-in-his-darkest-hour

    A final reason offered was Ibn Rushd’s book The Incoherence of the Incoherence, in which he responded to the fallacies of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali’s The Incoherence of Philosophers. He did this despite knowing Ghazali was the master of the Almohad dynasty who were in power, and believed the earth was located between the horns of a bull.

  • 3
    0

    Dr. Ameer Ali,

    RE: MMDA Reforms: Dead & Buried Or Frozen?

    “It is the community leaders who have to take the first step. The government should be commended for at least appointing a committee to investigate the operation of MMDA and make recommendations to improve on it. The Marsoof Committee has done its job to the best of its ability. Now it is the duty of the Muslim parliamentarians to push the minister in charge to introduce the necessary legislation. It appears that ACJU has put a spoke in the wheel. Why are Muslim parliamentarians in bed with ACJU? “

    Thanks for keeping this MMDA travesty of justice in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in the lime light , where the un-elected Ulama controls.

    There is a partial solution.

    Ask the State, the Minister in charge, to table BOTH Recommendations to Parliament for a vote. After All BOTH recommendations came from the Muslim community. One section likes one recommendation, while the other likes the other.. So, the Members of Parliament BOTH Muslims and non-Musims can vote on the measures. The recommendation that gets the most motes, anf not not dfetated [asses.

    Then the un-elected Ulama, ACJU, will be history for some time, until their next move.

    Do the Sri Lankan Muslims posses sufficient intelligence to see this MMDA reform done, when the mean IQ of Sri Lanka is 79?

  • 5
    2

    Thank you Dr Dr. Ameer Ali, for letting the rest of the country off as lightly as this:
    .
    “In a country like Sri Lanka where Muslims are a second minority they cannot expect the government to take the initiative to introduce reforms that impinge on Muslim religious susceptibilities. It is the community leaders who have to take the first step.”
    .
    I do not agree.
    .
    I know that all non-Muslim citizens must be sensitive and act responsibly. However, an administrative set up that has put on trial a Hindu, Vijayakala Maheswaran, for an impulsive statement only that she made, must have the balls to go ahead with this legislation on its own when the issues are as clear as they are here.
    .
    I know that this is going to be considered too strong a statement to make, but isn’t this a Human Rights Issue? Let there be fair and just laws that apply to all human beings world-wide. We cannot control all that happens everywhere, but all Sri Lankans must enjoy the same rights on certain basic issues.
    .
    This is one.

  • 3
    5

    There you go again Professori, flogging a dead horse. Don’t you have anything else to write about?

    Note to CT. Isn’t it time that you stopped wasting your valuable space on MMDA?

    • 4
      1

      Muhandiram

      “Note to CT. Isn’t it time that you stopped wasting your valuable space on MMDA?”

      CT and the many advocates who wants MMDA reformed must keep this issue in the limelight until the travesty of justice to the Sri Lankan Muslim women is removed in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and the Ulama hegemony curtailed.

      Ulama are not even the elected representatives of the Sri Lankan Muslims.

      https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/artsandculture/2015/4/9/ibn-rushd-in-his-darkest-hour

      There is no conflict between reason, philosophy and religion-Ibn Rushd, said 900 years ago. The Ulama went berserk then.

  • 4
    3

    The idiot who ran away from motherland to lick the whites writing about Islamic reforms. Why not come to Sri Lanka and start your campaign. If it is not like MR’s I will join you.

    • 4
      1

      mohomad,

      “The idiot…….Why not come to Sri Lanka and start your campaign. If it is not like MR’s I will join you.”

      Dr. Amir Ali probably went abroad, he was wasting his time with all the idiots around him Sri Lanka, mean IQ 79, especially Muslims idiots.

      Why should he come back and waste his time, when he can effectively promote justice for Sri Lankan Muslim women suffering from the injustices of the MMDA? Besides, the Ulama will gather the idiots and try to stone him. The Ulama have effectively shut out the Muslim parliamentarians. Is this the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka tthe Ulama=-ACJU Theocracy?

      The Proto-Ulama became Ulama, and what the Sri Lankan M,Muslims have is Ulama-ism, just like Wahhabism Salafism.

    • 3
      1

      mohomad,

      Correct. Do you really think that these buggers will ever come back to SL? Just “sevalayas” trying to earn some fame without much investment on it, and through some easy ways. – These buggers are very selfish

  • 5
    0

    [ONE]
    Mr Ameer Ali writes ” …Muslims … cannot expect the government to take the initiative to introduce reforms that impinge on Muslim religious susceptibilities. It is the community leaders who have to take the first step.” He goes on to state “Now it is the duty of the Muslim parliamentarians to push the minister in charge to introduce the necessary legislation”.
    Who are these mysterious ‘community leaders’ that the writer is alluding to ? Can he name even one individual (male or female) who commands the respect of the Ummah to such an extent that he/she is perceived as a true ‘leader of the community’ ?
    Or does he perceive all Muslim Parliamentarians as ‘leaders of the community’ ? Has he still not realized that these Muslim Parliamentarians are first and foremost ‘Politicians’ ? And that they have always given priority to the achievement of their personal goals as politicians over the well-being of the Muslim community ? Check the voting patterns of the Muslims over the past 5 years, Mr Ali.
    There is a strong symbiotic relationship between the Muslim Political Parties and the ACJU. Both groups need to boost and reinforce the ‘Muslim-ness’ amongst the Ummah – the former to enhance and solidify it’s voter-base and the latter to enhance the stranglehold it has on the community by promoting it’s ‘Rizwie Doctrine’.
    The launch of the National Shoora Council around 2012/2013 offered a glimmer of hope for the community that a leadership might emerge from among Muslim Civil Society. These hopes were dashed after the regime-change in January 2015, when the NSC was perceived as being hijacked by the Muslim Political Parties and the ACJU. Has the NSC even issued a public statement regarding their stand on the MMDA and the issue of FGM ?

  • 5
    0

    [TWO]
    This is the sixth article on this subject written by this particular writer that has appeared in CT. There have been numerous other articles too by different writers bemoaning the fact that the debate has reached an impasse with no discernible way out.
    If the reforms are indeed dead, buried or frozen, the winners are the anti-reformers. They have won without having to concede anything. Their belief that the MMDA is perfect in it’s present form is sustained.
    Sadly, the vast majority of Muslim Sri Lankans remain totally ignorant of, indifferent to and therefore equivocal regarding the MMDA simply because they have to date not been personally touched by it’s discriminatory practices. The chances that the ‘noise’ created by the pro-reformers will spur such individuals to action is very slim, especially in view of the ‘din’ being created by the anti-reformers. The ‘noise’ may create sympathy, but it will not create empathy in many Muslims.
    The Muslim community does not have to be reminded ad nauseum that the reform process has reached a state of dead-lock. The pro-reform members of the Muslim intelligentsia must accept that the situation calls for new strategies – circumvention instead of confrontation – and these analysts / writers must therefore focus on developing and presenting for discussion strategies aimed at circumventing the road-block.
    Some among the orthodox, conservative Muslims are becoming more extreme in their religious outlook. According to the grapevine, small groups of Muslims have adopted the practice of marrying according to the NIkah ceremony that existed at the time of the Holy Prophet (sal) thereby justifying their rejection of the need for the registration of the marriage and for a marriage certificate.
    The Government must take the initiative to introduce reforms to the MMDA before the situation becomes chaotic.

    • 3
      0

      ekelbroom ,

      “They have won without having to concede anything. Their belief that the MMDA is perfect in it’s present form is sustained.”

      “Sadly, the vast majority of Muslim Sri Lankans remain totally ignorant of, indifferent to and therefore equivocal regarding the MMDA simply because they have to date not been personally touched by it’s discriminatory practices.”

      Yes. Not touched yet? Your daughter was not touched yet? A few months ago, in the Western Province, Kalutara District, the Father in Law stbbed the sonb-ib-law, because he wanted to divorce his daughter, and he cited his rights under the MMDA. Please check with the Kalutara District Police.

      First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a socialist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a trade unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  • 5
    1

    Dr. Ameer Ali,

    1. So said, Ulemas and others enjoy the MMDA.

    2. Women suffer from MMDA

    3. People like you write colorful articles from thousands of miles away against MMDA, not more than that

    Those who enjoy MMDA do much more to keep MMDA as it is, while the suffering women and their supporters like you don’t do even the fraction of what 1st party does to reform MMDA.

    So end result is MMDA is alive, and reform is frozen for now, please stop shouting from AU and come here and do the needful.

    • 4
      2

      F.
      “come here and do the needful” is not a sensible solution.
      Dr. A.A. writings are not just colorful; it’s educational. Reform is frozen because of powerful Muslim political hacks influencing the present government and the ACJU is in cahoots with them for ulterior motives.

      • 3
        3

        Sarrij,

        Everyone knows about these things. Everyone knows about what slows down the reforms. There is no point in keep on educating the people without action, however colorful the writing is. Now it is time that we need commanders on the ground, not a remote writer on the subject

        • 2
          0

          F.
          The “remote writers” are very erudite and honorable; “their action” is educating the public; the locals have done a very poor job over the years.
          The “commanders” you yearn for are all corrupt and nonexistent. Good luck.

    • 2
      0

      Fathima

      Why this indecent hurry. Adopting alternative ethical systems are no easy matter. English educated Muslims exposed to other cultures have taken over interpreting Islam from Arabic educated Muslims. As Holy Quaran is written in Arabic we as a third party to trust whose interpretation?

      Soma

      • 4
        1

        Soma, wound is mine, the the pain is mine too. The issue is not the language here, the issue is that perpetrators taking advantage of local political culture – as in anything

      • 0
        0

        Soma ,
        If you are a happy Buddhist , Gnanasara Version of Islam could be
        the choice for you !

  • 5
    0

    Does MMDA1950 violates human rights? It does. It must go.

    • 5
      1

      K.P.
      MMDA1950 is defunct. The poor ignorant Muslims have been taken for a ride by the ACJU which is in cahoots with the bogus group of “crooked influential Muslim politicians” supporting the present government.

      Dr.A.A. has succinctly attempted to explain the pitfalls of MMDA1950 but unfortunately, it has fallen into the deaf ears of the ruling political hacks; ignoring the plight of poor young Muslim girls of marriageable age.
      Dr. A.A. has to be congratulated on his persistent efforts to make sense of a bad situation.

  • 2
    1

    All of you talk rubbish ..
    Islam gave women before Europe have them voting rights; right to marry; right do business; right to divorce; rights to inherit and right to have education; so on.
    Do not judge Islam with actions of Muslims.
    Read Islam with pure minds and hearts ..
    You will be guided.
    Why people accpet Islam even today .
    Why not Muslim girls like marry Muslim boys ..
    Is it for cleanness or cleanness of ideaology..
    What ?

    • 3
      0

      Lankan ,

      “Why not Muslim girls like marry Muslim boys ..
      Is it for cleanness or cleanness of ideaology..
      What ?”

      Why not Christian girls like marry Christian boys ..
      Is it for cleanness or cleanness of ideaology..
      What ?

      Why not Buddhist girls like marry Buddhist boys ..
      Is it for cleanness or cleanness of ideaology..
      What ?

      It is:
      1. Culture
      2. Upbringing
      3. Brainwashing
      4. Heaven/Hell-Fire/Rebirth/Nirvanna
      5. Family and Community pressure
      6. Honor killings
      7. Apostasy/Killings
      8. Loss of Family relationships and friendships.

      This has nothing to do with whether, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc. is true, because, so fat there has been no demonstrated evidence for the claims of Heaven/Hell/Nirvanna/Apaya etc.

    • 4
      0

      Dear Lankan,
      .
      It may be right, what you say, about what “Islam gave women before Europe”.
      .
      Never mind that. Our concern is with what is done to girl babies who are born to Muslim parents in Sri Lanka in the 21st Century?
      .
      Starting 1950, with the D.S. Senanayake government.

  • 5
    2

    Well written article but our mullahs can not read it and understnad it ..
    No solid knowledge

  • 4
    0

    Lankan ,

    “Why not Muslim girls like marry Muslim boys ..
    Is it for cleanness or cleanness of ideaology..
    What ?”

    Why not Christian girls like marry Christian boys ..
    Is it for cleanness or cleanness of ideaology..
    What ?

    Why not Buddhist girls like marry Buddhist boys ..
    Is it for cleanness or cleanness of ideaology..
    What ?

    It is:
    1. Culture
    2. Upbringing
    3. Brainwashing
    4. Heaven/Hell-Fire/Rebirth/Nirvanna
    5. Family and Community pressure
    6. Honor killings
    7. Apostasy/Killings
    8. Loss of Family relationships and friendships.

    This has nothing to do with whether, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc. is true, because, so fat there has been no demonstrated evidence for the claims of Heaven/Hell/Nirvanna/Apaya etc.

  • 2
    2

    AMAEASIRI.

    I AGREE WITH YOU THAT LOVE IS BLIND…
    NO RELIGION OR ETHICITY; LANGUAGE OR ANY CASTE CAN STAND BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN IN LOVE …
    IT IS BLIND..
    DO NOT WE SEE THAT IN EUROPE SO MANY MIXED MARRIAGE ….but percentage wise; more non- Muslim girls marry Muslim boys ?
    Why is it ?…
    Truth is with Islam ..
    Jewish and Christian faiths are nothing but extension of Islam..
    All those religions are identical with Islam..
    Islam is not new but started with Adam..
    It is not new religion as it claimed by some .
    Islam is culmination of all faiths before it ..all Abrahamic faiths before it ..Amara..
    You need to read Islamic from pure sources ..
    Not from ibn Rushd ..
    He is influenced by alient thoughts of Aristotle and Plato..
    What is abstract intellect ..
    You know there two type of intellect ..
    One is mere abstract intellect …like that of ARISTOTAL and Plato reasoning methods ..
    Do you think that they were supported by divine revelation . .
    No at all…
    That is why they are called by many as abstract inlltelcutls who are not guided by divine wisdom ..
    Read Moroccan philosophers …Taha Abdul Rahman in YouTube

    • 4
      0

      Lankan

      “Truth is with Islam ..
      Jewish and Christian faiths are nothing but extension of Islam..
      All those religions are identical with Islam..
      Islam is not new but started with Adam..”

      It all started with Zoroastrians, who abducted, somebody else’s God..

      The Jews abducted the Ahura Mazda, as Yahweh. Christian abducted Yahweh as Jesus. The Muslims abducted Yahweh and Jesus as Allah.

      The Iranian prophet and religious reformer Zarathustra (flourished before the 6th century BCE)—more widely known outside Iran as Zoroaster, the Greek form of his name)—is traditionally regarded as the founder of the religion. Zoroastrianism contains both monotheistic and dualistic features. It likely influenced the other major Western religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For a discussion of the context in which Zoroastrianism arose, see ancient Iranian religion.

      Zoroastrians believe in one God, called Ahura Mazda (meaning ‘Wise Lord’). He is compassionate, just, and is the creator of the universe. Ahura Mazda is: Omniscient (knows everything).

      Al-Fatiha (The Opening)

      In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
      Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
      The Compassionate, the Merciful. Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
      You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
      Guide us on the straight path,
      the path of those who have received your grace;
      not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.

  • 2
    0

    Some reports say that agreements have been reached between A C J U and
    some Muslim politicians indicating progress in bringing out positive
    changes in M M D A . As I understand it , a girl has to be between 16-18 of age
    minimum and below that age has to go through a panel of judges for approval .
    This looks similar to what is in practice in some of the states in U S A .
    However I would like to get the attention of some GREAT COMMENTATORS
    here on this forum who are since very long so much interested to see some
    justice done to their Muslim sisters about winning certain rights on them !
    To the point , it is reported that a 2015 nationwide survey carried out by United
    Nations Population Fund and released last year says that 90 % of females
    BETWEEN THE AGE OF 15 – 35 ALL OVER THE ISLAND , HAVE EXPERIENCED
    SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT ! OF THESE 74 % WAS OF
    PHYSICAL VARIETY ! In the same year , a Srilankan activist organization called
    Street Harassment Hurts found 97 % of female participants out of 568 had
    faced street harassment . And all this in spite of having Section 345 of the Penal
    Code Act No – 22 of 1995 that can send a culprit to five years + fine !

  • 3
    4

    Amarasiri

    1. In what respect/s do the Muslim women face “travesty of justice” as opposed to their non-Muslim sisters? Do we have any facts and figures on this? The uncomfortable answer is NO. So, people like Ameer Ali, is wasting not only his time but ours as well.

    2. Is MMDA the most important problem facing the people of this country that we should spend our time and energy discussing it again and again? We have enough and more problems of governance, corruption, economic mismanagement, Crime, etc. etc which defy solution. Things seem to getting worse by the day.

    3. Since Independence, we have passed enough and more Laws. Have these Laws
    made any difference to our lives? If there is any difference, you can bet it is for the worse for the
    simple reason that.those who implement the Laws know how to find ways to circumvent the Law
    to please their Masters and line their pockets. We even changed the Government in 2015 hoping
    for a change for the better. Has that happened?

    So, what is important is NOT the Law but the man. Even if MMDA is changed as Ameer Ali desires, it is quite unlikely that things will change. So, let’s not waste any more time on MMDA and use our time on more important matters.

    • 4
      1

      Muhandiram,

      1. “In what respect/s do the Muslim women face “travesty of justice” as opposed to their non-Muslim sisters? Do we have any facts and figures on this? The uncomfortable answer is NO. So, people like Ameer Ali, is wasting not only his time but ours as well.”

      2. “So, what is important is NOT the Law but the man. Even if MMDA is changed as Ameer Ali desires, it is quite unlikely that things will change. So, let’s not waste any more time on MMDA and use our time on more important matters.”

      On Q1. Muslim women face “travesty of justice”

      1. Girls 12 years under can be married off to a man with no age limit . No signature needed. Only the Chattel owner signs.

      2. Girls and young women can be married off without their consent. No signature needed. Only the chattel owner signs.

      3. The girls and women are owned by the men,(Wali), as chattel, things, like furniture.

      4. The man can take 2nd, 3rd and 4th wife without asking the first, second and 3rd wife.

      5. The man can divorce the 1st, second, third and or fourth wife by saying Talak, Talak, Talak three times. Then he can get the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th wife.

      6. The women only get 50% of the inheritance of the man.

      7. The Qazi courts are all men. Women are treated like dirt, and get a bad deal.

      8. Q. Do you want your daughter, sister or mother to be treated like the above?

      • 1
        4

        Amarasiri

        I am surprised at the tone of your reply. You seem to have a prejudiced mind and pre-conceived ideas. It is very difficult to exchange views with a person like you. So, I will not continue discussion with you on this topic any more.

        • 4
          1

          Muhandiram

          1. “It is very difficult to exchange views with a person like you. So, I will not continue discussion with you on this topic any more.”

          Why? If you come with supporting data, it is difficult. However, if your argument is based on belief, without any supporting data and observation, yes, it becomes difficult to accept your point of view.

          This was the same problem the Catholic Church had with Galileo. Galileo had the data, and the Church the Bible and Joshua.

          2. “So, I will not continue discussion with you on this topic any more.”

          Can we discuss a different topic? Creation vs. Evolution? Shape of the Earth? Was the Quran created or Uncreated? How did the Proto-Ulama became Ulama and resulted in Ulama-ism? Life before and after death? What is the purpose of life? How did life appear on earth? When? How?

          Prophet Mohamed (Pbuh) says in the Hadith, “Go in search of knowledge even onto China”,

          “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” Quran 20:114

          I am just curious to know what you know, and what I don’t know.

    • 2
      2

      Muhandiram ,

      Spot on mate ! Don’t you worry about those who have made it a habit of
      just arguing to prove that they know it all . We all did a lot to bring about
      a change in the country that was promised ! And not to go on watching
      them preparing the grounds for the whole of their term , everyday trying
      to do something to get everybody disciplined in order to silence
      somebody else , making amendments all life ! Will new laws or amendments
      bring about the changes that we need to progress ? JRJ did that forty years
      ago in BULK , where are we today ? New roads and flyovers have come up ,
      and has the congestion eased ? How many more ? This MMDA , is this the
      issue that Muslims are crying for attention ? Or else , is that an issue that is
      a hurdle in the way forward ? Justice ministry has nothing else worthwhile
      to do , like establishing more courts to expedite cases in two or three years ?
      People today need more COURTS than HOSPITALS ! More and more people are
      becoming enemies to each other for endless minor and major reasons on a
      daily basis than never before ! Soon you may need courts in every village .

  • 2
    3

    We all spend a lot of time with MMDA. Before we waste this amount of time collectively, ask yourselves if it is worth it? Does anyone, including the writer have a realistic figure or stats on victimization of MMDA? Why are there more anti-MMDA activists than the real victims of MMDA?

    The other day, there was a writing against MMDA in CT that also showed images of Muslim women protesting. The article discussed about MMDA reform struggle for 30+ years, but number of protesting victims were just about 8.

    One can argue,. is it the MMDA itself the victims in the hands of these fame seeking fake activists and writers who are lazy or frighten to talk about more serious matters that victimize almost all Sri Lankans on a daily basis?

    • 3
      1

      Mohamed,

      ” is it the MMDA itself the victims in the hands of these fame seeking fake activists and writers who are lazy or frighten to talk about more serious matters that victimize almost all Sri Lankans on a daily basis?”

      No. It is just Ulama Hegemony. They claim to be the All knowing, Alims, infallible, and do nor anybody else interpreting scriptures and Hadith. The Catholic Church did the same. This has a long history. Ulama hegemony vs. Philosophers wisdom and reason.

      Ulama can be useful, if they preach on the danger of diabetes and eating meats and lack of exercise.

      .

  • 4
    0

    There must be a law to stop politicians misleading the the general public
    primarily on economic issues ! Against plotting to set up communities
    against one another ! Against false promises at election times , unrealistic
    and loss making projects without sufficient funds in the treasury ! The
    opposition must play the role of a government in opposition with facts and
    figures in hand about what they oppose without making up stories after
    capturing power through misleading the public while in opposition ! Make
    the parliament one hundred percent a place where the country’s burning
    issues are discussed and not a place of jokers exchanging jokes or
    humiliating each other for personal amusement ! The days are gone for such
    waste of time at people’s expense ! Same as education is must for children ,
    there must be strict laws for the maintenance by the govt of aged adults over
    70s . A proper mechanism has to be in place to provide employments for the
    youth and until such time some financial assistance needs to be provided
    so that the government feels the burden of looking after them ! There’s so much
    to be done for the society before trying to correct the people through unsolicited
    amendments to existing laws or introducing new laws !

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