By Latheef Farook –
For the first time in more than a thousand year history, the island’s Muslim community has been persecuted since the end of the ethnic war in May 2009. It has become worse ever since eight so called Muslim parliamentarian voted for 20th amendment and gave wide powers to the president.
Before leaving he has appointed a Mawlawi who spent three weeks in remand prison as the chief executive officer demonstrating his callous disrespect for religious values, honesty and integrity.
Ever since Rizvi Mawlānā became president of ACJU, more than 20 years ago under questionable and controversial circumstance, he has made it a one man show and everything was centered on him.
However his repeated blunders provided enough fodder for anti-Muslim elements to unleash a vicious campaign which has reached a stage where Sinhala Buddhist only government has started introducing laws striking the very root of Muslim political, economic, religious and cultural life.
For example the ACJU failed during the past two decades to attend to burning issues such as reforming quazi courts, fixing the marriageable age for Muslim girls and reforming madrasas. Rizvi Mawlānā did nothing to deal with these .As a result today the government is interfering to settle these issues.
More than 12 years ago Saleem Marsoof committee has submitted its report on 18 July 2018 to the government. The ACJU strongly opposed any amendments to the Act stating that it is of divine origin and “perfect in the present state”.
The ACJU has unleashed their stalwarts to abuse and lie from the pulpits of mosques deriding anyone who did not agree with them in the Committee. They do this without explaining the recommendations and their justifications proposed by the Committee itself. Instead, the ACJU used Friday pulpits to incite people against reforms saying these would be in violation of Shariah law.
However implementing these recommendations is essential in the interest of the community. So far, due to ignorance, the Muslim community has failed to give the rights and privileges given by Islam to women. Time has come for Muslim women too to play their role and make their contributions to families, community and the country, within the framework of Islam.
The ACJU was not given the right to represent the community and enlightened elements oppose many of its decision.
The ACJU claims that it is an organization of religious scholars. The question is most so called ulemas passed out from out dated madrasas remain unqualified to deal with burning current issues. For example ACJU politicized the organization pitting the community against the other communities.
The general environment in the ACJU is such that most ulemas were afraid to speak out as they fear serious repercussions. They have families to support and can’t afford to lose their jobs. Their mouths are sealed with incentives and blackmail. Thus the need of the hour is to thoroughly reorganize the ACJU to bring in non-controversial ulemas who are respected by the people.
This is essential because powerful destructive anti Muslims forces such as Israelis, Evangelical Christians and India’s RSS and VHP are here plotting, together with local racist elements, against Muslims.
Ridiculous state of affairs is such that fourteen civil society organizations led by Rizvi Mawlānā met President Maithripala Sirisena four days after violent attacks on Muslims in Digana and Akurana. Instead of showing the community’s anger the delegation thanked president Sirisena for working for communal harmony while Muslims whose houses were burnt to ashes and lost all their belongings due to government’s failure to protect them were in tears in Akurana and other places with no cloth to change or no food to eat.
President Sirisena’s Iftar Party Rizvi Mawlānā attended while the frightened and petrified Muslims in and around Kandy forced to remain inside due to growing tension built up the drama of fasting to death undertaken by Authraliye Rathana Thera known for his hate campaign against Muslims.
During the past two decades the ACJU under his presidency has been known for creating unwanted controversies exploited by Sinhala racist elements to distort Islam to the detriment of Muslim community and mislead the Sinhalese masses.
Starting from halal certificate issue, women’s controversial face cover which he claimed is compulsory though neither Quran or Hadess speaks about it and brought disaster and ridicules the community .
He had 20 years to attend to these issues. However he miserably failed and brought disaster on the community especially since the anti-Muslim campaign unleashed after the Easter Sunday massacre on April 21.
The list of Rizvi Mawlānā’s blunders is too long and there were allegations that, with or without his knowledge ,he has been used by many anti Muslim forces.
Over the years today Rizvi Mawlānā, like some Muslim congress politicians, lost the confidence of most in the community. Of course few who still think that he is the passport to heaven while most, from all walks of life in the community, demand his resignation to reorganize the ACJU to suit the need of the time.