24 November, 2020

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Please Give Us Back What You Took Away From Us!

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

In the sub chapter titled, “The Law Defends Plunder” the French Writer and Liberalist Frederic Bastiat wrote, “Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons, and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim—when he defends himself—as a criminal.”. From his famous book ‘The Law’.

Just like the others, the Muslims too were exercising the fundamental rights granted to all citizens. Recently, a part of one such right had been denied namely the right to religious practice, more specifically, the right to bury their dead according to their religious teachings. When they are discussing with the authorities to reinstate this constitutional right various meaningless allegations are being made against the Muslims. Even to the extent of calling them as ‘extremists’.

The truth of what Fredrick Bastiat said in 1850 is very clear today.

 The constitution is the covenant between the government and the citizens. According to Article 28 (a) and (e) of the Constitution:

“ … it is the duty of every person in Sri Lanka –

(a) to uphold and defend the Constitution and the law;

(e) to respect the rights and freedoms of others.

‘Heta Nama Lakshaya’

The purpose of government is to ensure that all the citizens are secured their rights to life, liberty, and property. Fundamental rights are an important enshrinement therein. Thus, every person has a duty to uphold and defend against, even the slightest interference with these sanctimonious rights enshrined under Chapter 3. To allow the ‘heta nama lakshaya’ (sixty-nine lakhs) to monopolise government and governance is absolutely contrary to democracy and democratic principles.

Is it not laughable that the Muslims are being called extremists for ‘upholding and defending the Constitution and the law’ that belongs to everyone? It is difficult to understand why the duty ‘to respect the rights and freedoms of others’ obligated by the constitution is violated by a section of the people. Why the wrong and misguided campaign against Muslims on the basis that they want a separate law, when they are in fact, protecting the law that belongs to all? Should not the ‘heta nama lakshaya’ think that they also should support this cause to uphold and defend the Constitution? Many people who are not Muslims and who prefer a burial for their dead are happy that the Muslims are discussing this matter with the Government. Unfortunately, it seems that our greater society is in a state of confusion not knowing what to do or what not to do. The silence of the intellectuals, academicians, civil society organizations is increasingly becoming questionable.

The proposition that the law was amended due to a public health reason is a valid and reasonable argument. There is no doubt that for the common good of everyone certain compromises are ineluctable. The Muslims would wholeheartedly and unequivocally endorse anything that is of benefit to the country and its citizens. They would never agitate but would willingly co-operate and support.

Scientific And Empirical Evidence

This column deliberately is leaving out debating on the intricate subjects of epidemiology, virology, molecular genetics, ground water hydrology, pedology (soil science) and the potency and propensities of one or more of these disciplines in the replication and proliferation of the virus. Reason for this is because there is sufficient scientific evidence in fact, proving beyond reasonable doubt that burial is a safe mode of disposal of covid-19 cadavers. The hundreds of thousands of burials all over the world by itself stands as undeniably clear evidence, even by empirical standards.

From a physical geography perspective burial of Covid-19 corpses take place, even today, in varying climatic conditions and in different geographies (soil, water tables, population density, etc.) and whatever else that can be factored in to the equation. From a medical science angle data driven scientific evidence on frequency, patterns and determinants of the virus has been immaculately scrutinized by medical scientists of the world. The structure, classification and evolution of Covid-19 and the ways it infects, exploits host cells for reproduction, the destruction of the virus or limiting the damage it can cause are all information that has been vigorously researched and available.

Several reputed health related institutions of the world and countries in which the health sector is highly advanced have no issue with the burial of Covid-19 deceased. The World Health Organisation which is the world’s top most health authority functioning as an important organ of the United Nations also, has no problem with burial of such corpses. The World Health Organization’s guidelines for the safe management of a dead body in the context of COVID-19 allows for either burials or cremations.

Prejudice

Even if it is unreasonable and that happens to a Muslim it is okay? Or, is it that if a good comes to a Muslim you bite your fingers and if a bad befalls on them you rejoice? I cannot resist the urge to refer to a tweet by an elderly politician who is widely respected. Former Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya tweeted as follows on 3rd April 2020:

“Both #COVID19 & racism are killer contagions, that sicken anyone who catches them. Ironically, we lock down on one, but open floodgates to the other. Only way to save us is to improve immunity to them, as individuals and a nation. #LKA media should responsibly help the recovery.”

There is so much truth today looking at his statement made in April.

The pathetic side of this debate is that the ‘heta nama lakshaya’ has never focused on defending the constitution but busy bashing the Muslims. The types of questions asked betrays intelligence. To highlight some:

1. If Muslims are allowed to bury, will the Sinhala Buddhists also be allowed to bury?

2. If Muslims are allowed to bury, will the Sinhala Buddhists be allowed to perform the pansakula and other rituals for their dead?

3. The question is asked why are the Muslims asking for a separate law to bury their dead?

Brief answers to these are burial is governed by the Regulations to the Quarantine Ordinance. This Ordinance is applicable for all Sri Lankans. If the Regulation applies the earlier law to bury, it will be allowed for everyone. (2) The Muslims and those who ask for burial are not asking the right to perform funeral rituals. They do not want to do so because of the pandemic situation. (3) Muslims are not asking for a separate law. Before the pandemic, Muslims and some other non-Muslims buried their dead even, some Buddhists did. The new Regulations deprived them of a practice that had been followed for thousands of years. “Give us back what you took away from us” say, the Muslims and others who prefer a burial! We are not asking anything new.

Win-Win Solution

A Muslim funeral is the simplest form of a dignified send-off of the loved one. It does not involve a myriad of complicated and elaborate rituals, traditions, embalming of the body, retaining the corpse for several days and superstitious practices. The bottom line is simple and clear. Is there authenticated and accepted scientific evidence that burial is safe? If yes, then permit burial. And, if there will be a problem, find a safe win-win solution. Like use of disinfectants, multiple sealed body bags, sealed coffin, deep grave etc. The law should not be allowed to be corrupted by prejudice, private interest, and misguided sentimentality.

“Quod alias bonum et jus turn, est, si per vim vel fraudem petatur, malnm et in justum efficitur.” (3 Coke, 78).

“What otherwise is good and just, if it be sought by force and fraud, becomes bad and unjust.”

The purpose of the law is to cause justice to rule. Therefore, it ought to prevent injustice from reigning. For public order is founded upon moral order, and moral order arises from religion.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    13

    Apart from religious controversy it appears that cremation has more benefits. In that, not only the chances of spreading the infection will be greatly reduced but also the availability of space for the Dead will be greatly enhanced. Corona or not it will be advisable to encourage Cremation and save space for the living..

  • 12
    6

    You are preaching to a heartless people who are awaiting their destruction. Imagine the pain and trauma a family might feel when one their loved ones have passed away and add to that a government now citing pseudo science forcefully grabs the body of the deceased to cremate it. Even during such an unthinkable inhumane situation you will find those who are more than will to knowingly support false unsubstantiated claims based on pseudo science only because its the policy that harms the Muslims the most. These are not people they are not but animals.

    Why do the singhalese hate the Muslims so much ? If all this hate is there then why do these peasants send their womenfolk as slaves to the Middle East ? (rhetorical questions, not interested in reading what those who supports pseudo science to cause harm to the Muslims have to say)

    • 3
      7

      sitrep24
      Why do the singhalese hate the Muslims so much ?

      Because Muslims stabbed in the back of Sinhalayo who saved them from persecution by Portuguese, gave them citizenship to live in this paradise island, allowed them to practice Sharia Law giving the opportunity to Muslim men to have fun with young chicks denying the same to Sinhalayo, allowed them to build Mosques in every corner of the country, allowed them to run Madrasas that produce extremists etc.

      • 4
        1

        “Muslim men to have fun with young chicks denying the same to Sinhalayo”

        Hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha XD

        I had my suspicions but now I have concrete proof !! All the tough guy arrogant moda sinhalayo who comment big big pro sinhala comments are all sexually frustrated incel cucks who are mad their women are converting to Islam !!! Loooooooooooool. People have freedom to choose their life partners and what religion they choose to follow. If they want to convert to Islam or christianity and marry someone in those respective religious then whats the harm ? I see where the problem is but most of the sinhala women I know are married white men and African Americans only one is married to a sinhalayo (who isn’t a racist) and only one of them is married to a Muslim. Don’t be mad, just be happy.

        • 1
          2

          sitrep24,
          One Country One Law.
          Sinhalayo have no problem but Muslims and Tamils who have exceptions do not like that.

  • 5
    4

    How refreshing to see ‘The Law’ being quoted. Bastiat’s simple essay, (freely available on the internet to read), cuts right to basics and explains the proper role of government as it should be. It is as relevant today as it was more than a 150 years ago. It is a must-read in this day and age.

  • 6
    12

    If you really want to bury the Covid dead please do so only in Katankudi, Muttur, Sampur. Let’s compromise. Otherwise this will be another reason for confrontation.

    • 0
      0

      Who is supposed to do the burying?
      Govt or the relatives?

      Soma

  • 13
    4

    The Urine or faecal /body waste from the washroom wastage of covid patient drains to sewage and how safe is it during rainy seasons it is flooding or Can people catch COVID-19 from the backflow from such, will the neighbors be effected reputed health related institutions of the world and countries in which the health sector is highly advanced have no issue with the burial of Covid-19 deceased.

  • 7
    9

    The problem with Muslims is even in the midst of a global pandemic – they only want to selfishly pursue their religion, and that also for a dead man – who doesn’t even say he wants it. The burial has lots of issues..

    https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331538/WHO-COVID-19-lPC_DBMgmt-2020.1-eng.pdf
    If there is a risk of splashes from the body fluids or secretions, personnel should use facial protection, including the use of face shield or goggles and medical mask
    Body bags are not necessary, although they may be used for other reasons (e.g. excessive body fluid leakage); and etc

    The issue is not whether a body can or can’t be buried safety. The key issue is at a time of such a global pandemic, with high risk of aggressive infections the Muslim ethnicity is shamelessly, selfishly and insistently asking for burial has more risk of infections than a cremation.. !!

    In Sydney / AUSTRALIA – they are checking for covid using the sewage – an infected person’s faeces
    https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/sewage-surveillance.aspx

    this COVID is damn infections and why should the rest of the world take more risk for the living – to satisfy a ritual for a dead man , which even he is not asking for !!?

    Muslims will only only figure out the human part – when some alien race turns up at Earth with Jesus , Buddha Krishna and Mohammad having a wine and saying – “Fooled YOU !!”

    • 7
      1

      If there’s any truth to religion – any religion – COVID-19 and so many other disasters should not be happening. But unfortunately the universe is indifferent to human existence. Humans can never penetrate the mystery of the otherness of nature. So we create various religions to humanize the menacing, alien cosmos. Instead, if we can understand and accept this indifference of the non-human … … then we can sit in our verandahs every evening as the sun comes down and have wine with “Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and Mohammad.” Spirituality has nothing to do with religion.

  • 4
    2

    Since the death of the first Sri Lankan Muslim from coronavirus on 31 March, some media outlets have openly blamed the Muslim community for spreading the disease, even though only 11 deaths have been officially recorded in the country at that time

    Dr Channa Perera, Consultant Forensic Pathologist “attached to Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health” told the BBC World Service: “the government has nothing against Muslims but they have a small fear about whether the virus can be used for unauthorised activities. Maybe an unwanted person could get access to a body and it could be used a biological weapon.” 

    Dr Sugath Samaraweera, the government’s chief epidemiologist, told the BBC it was government policy that all those who die from Covid-19, as well as those suspected of dying from it, are cremated, as burials could contaminate ground drinking water.

    The ninth Covid-19 death in Sri Lanka was a Muslim woman, forcibly cremated in Modera, Colombo, reduced to ashes, with no funeral rights or family nearby, only to later discover she did not die of Covid -19. There are more incidents have come to light.

    On a false pretext of being Covid-19 positive, was averted ln Weligama due to the timely intervention of Urban Council chairman.
    These are all questions that will go unanswered, as this was not an isolated incident and may not be the last either.

  • 4
    5

    Simply because some people want to respect the dead, should the Government put the lives of generations to come at risk?
    Sinhalayo did not take anything from Muslims. As a matter of fact Sinhalayo gave life to Muslims by saving their ancestors from persecution by Portuguese, allowing them to settle down in interior parts of the country, marry Sinhala women and convert them to Islam. If King Senerath did not save your ancestors, you are not here to talk all this rubbish.

  • 2
    7

    Again, a Muslim writes on behalf of their own rituals. I have yet to see him write about anything that affects people in general, or about the environment, politics, science, markets or the economy. It would serve him well to expand his sphere of influence to other areas than be focussed only on a very narrow and parochial interest area. By the way, isn’t that photo superimposed against a bookshelf (Photoshop?) to enhance his academic image?

  • 3
    5

    Yes, please give us back what you took from us – the right to walk in public without being surrounded by scary weirdos in black.

  • 0
    1

    Who is supposed to do the burying?
    Govt or the relatives?

    Soma

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