26 May, 2022


Political & Religious Leadership Crisis Of Muslims

By Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

The island’s Muslim community is passing through its worst ever political and religious leadership crisis which placed the community in a precariously helpless situation while burning issues await urgent solution. The tragedy is that this happens at a time when so many hostile forces, both local and foreign, are openly and secretly working against Muslims.

Ever since the evolution of political reforms in the 1930s Muslim leaders who were respected by all worked for the community and won their rights while maintaining the goodwill of the majority community. The situation began to change drastically after the independence in 1948 due to rising racist politics.

The vote catching strategy of promoting majority community interest began by the United National Party continued later by the Sri Lanka Freedom party despite its devastating overall impact on the country.

However Muslim leadership was represented in both parties. As a result despite rising chauvinism, Muslim leaders managed to contain the hatred towards the community though there were sporadic anti Muslim attacks.

However the disaster came when late President J.R. Jayewardene dismissed the UNP Muslims stating that “if they want they can stay or they can leave the government” when the Muslims opposed his move to bring Israelis to deal with growing Tamil militancy.

Muslim community was shattered and frustrated. They felt the need for their own voice to highlight their grievances and ensure their rights. Thus there was a vacuum in the political leadership. This was cleverly exploited by late M.H.M. Ashraff who was then running from party to party in search of a platform to start his own party- Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, SLMC.

Many senior Muslim politicians in the south warned him not to make it an island wide party but confined to the east. I remember SLFP politician Haleem Ishak advising him for more than an hour on a Sunday morning at Galle Face ground around late 1970s not to pit the Sinhalese against Muslims in the south by making it an island wide Muslim party.

However Ashraff did not find time for such saner advice. He started the SLMC with Kalmunai as its base and the Muslims frustrated at rising chauvinism supported the new Muslim party in the hope of safeguarding their rights and dignity. In the subsequent years the SLMC began to play a decisive role in forming governments.

His opportunistic politics did antagonize some Sinhalese proving Haleem Ishak’s fear credible.

From the very inception the SLMC was a one man show. Within years Ashraf built up an image of a leader who was unpredictable due to his alignment with different political forces. As a result Ashraff was accused of widespread corruption and moral degradation. Number of people who supported him began to leave the party and distance from him.

In the midst came his untimely death leading to severe leadership crisis within the party. The Sinhala leadership, fed up of yielding to Ashraff’s demands, exploited the opportunity to suit their own agendas. They began to pick up one group to promote by providing ministerial portfolios and aggravated the division.

This division continued and the SLMC which came with the slogan of Islam and Unity is divided into more than half a dozen splinter groups causing irreparable damage to the community. They all aim at positions and perks by pleasing the Sinhala leadership. Thus they abandoned the community.

For example the main SLMC and splinter groups remained integral part of defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa government despite its atrocities against the Muslim community. They joined President Maithripala Sirisena camp during eleventh hour only when they found that the community, dismissing the Muslim parties, has decided to vote for President Sirisena.

According to rumors they were absorbed into the government on the eve of the 8 January 2015 presidential elections after signing a deal with the UNP which, perhaps, sealed their mouths and tied their hands and legs. It is more than a year since then they failed to raise any serious Muslim issue.

For example their absence during the recent visit to the island of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ziad Ra’ad Al Hussein demonstrated to what extent they have abandoned the community.

Israelis, sworn enemies of Islam and Muslim who virtually destroyed the Muslim countries in the Middle East, are here in a big way. They are bound to create problems for Sri Lankan Muslims as part of their global campaign against Islam and Muslims.

Regarding this did the Muslim parliamentarians raise any concern about? Did they take up the issue with the Prime Minister?

Shameful state of affairs is such that these Muslim parliamentarians talk of unity these days. The question is unity for what? However their dismal failure to come together to prepare a set of proposals to safeguard Muslim interest in the proposed constitutional changes is shameful. This was betrayal of the community for which they had been notorious during the past few decades.

Under the circumstance the only option for Muslims is to organize the civil society into an effective force which could prevail on these politicians and reestablish relations with the majority community.

Equally disastrous is the religious body the All Ceylon Jamiathula Ulema, ACJU which has miserably failed to stand up and guide the community to ensure the age old ties with the majority community is preserved despite rising racism by a handful of people.

The challenges posed by Sinhala racists on various issues were ignored or not properly handled by the ACJU. As a result the ACJU and its leadership have lost the confidence of major section of the community judging from the serious allegations in the social media.

There have been calls from different sections of the community on the need for complete overhauling of ACJU to suit the time and help guide the community on issues especially in the context of racist elements trying to pit the majority against Muslims.

The ACJU and its leadership have failed the community since the days of halal issue followed by the blunder in deciding the Ramadan festival day. This controversy almost split Jamiathul Ulema when ulemas in the east decided to set up their own association.

The need to reorganize the Friday Juma sermons to educate Muslims of emerging threats and to advice positive means to deal with them has been felt by the entire community. The long felt need for common curriculum in Islamic education in par with national education and the need to make more socially responsive have been ignored.

The allegations against the ACJU leadership remain widespread and thus the call for a new leadership which could guide the community is imperative.

For example on 12 February 2016 Colombo Telegraph published an article under the title “Fundamentalism Creeps into Muslim International Schools” in which Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi raised the issue of ‘black face veil or the Burqa. He said this was seen as a symbol of rising radicalism.

The allegations against Ilma International School was totally baseless and unfounded though defence secretary’s concern about black veil needed some clarification. Though an innovative phenomenon assimilating Middle Eastern cultures due to our dependency on employment in the Gulf, wearing what is considered by some as alien cannot be attributed to radicalism.

Already vested interest in the media began to unleash unfounded fears and phobias disturbing society further.

In this article Channa Abeetha Dahanayanke a researcher on anthropology and social media trends had this to state; “If you take Sinhala racism, the opposition comes from the Sinhalese itself. Even if its Tamil separatism on social media it’s the Tamil community who first raise the flag and then joined by either racist or moderate Sinhalese. But what is alarming is the silence of Muslims. Muslims just do not ever speak against this and it’s on one hand sad and on the other very alarming”.

Under such circumstance isn’t it the duty of ACJU to issue a fatwa, guide the community and ensure the rising hatred towards or misunderstanding of Muslims is checked in the interest of national harmony.

The ACJU miserably failed to attend to any such issues.

Their failure to respond on time in the right manner and professionally as responsible religious leaders are damaging the society in the similar manner as Muslim political parties are.

Unless the entire ACJU is reorganized to serve the community and the country what is in store for the Muslims is unpredictable.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 2

    Important distinctions – the many faces of Islam
    By Marwaan Macan-Markar

    BANGKOK – Asia’s moderate Muslims have unlikely allies who are giving legitimacy to a view that they asserted after September 11 – that Islam is not a monolithic faith, that there are many Islams.

    Their unwitting supporters are a growing chorus of high-profile, neo-conservatives in the United States who are calling on Washington to deem Saudi Arabia an American enemy because of the form of Islam it practices and exports – Wahhabism.

    This view has gained currency “within the [President George W] Bush administration – especially on the staff of Vice President [Dick] Cheney and in the Pentagon’s civilian leadership – and among neo-conservative writers and thinkers closely allied with administration policymakers,” the Washington Post newspaper wrote last week.

    This group views Wahhabism as troubling because it sees a strong anti-US sentiment being pushed by its exponents. Adherents of this argument cite well known examples: Osama bin Laden and a majority of the 19 hijackers who participated in the suicide strikes in New York and Washington. Bin Laden, the man wanted by the United States for planning the September 11 attacks, and the majority of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and were adherents of Wahhabism.

    In shedding light on the dangers of Wahhabism for the United States, the neo-conservatives are implying that a distinction can be made between this form of Islam that has taken root in Saudi Arabia, and the other Islams across the world. But for moderate Muslims in Asia, the problem with Wahhabism has little to do with the US twist and goes back years.

    Following September 11, when Islam was pilloried as a monolithic faith that propagated terror, moderate Muslims attempted to offer a counterpoint. They asserted that the faith was far from monolithic, ranging from the more austere and extremist form practiced in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia, and the other strands of Islam evident in Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Central Asia.

    “Had the Muslim community been given the chance to choose its leaders, the likelihood is that we would not have chosen a bunch of Wahhabi or Deobandi extremists to speak for the rest of the Muslim community,” Farish Noor, a political commentator in predominantly Muslim Malaysia, wrote in an article titled “Who elected you, Mr Osama?” as early as last year. The Muslim community, he added, “is much bigger and certainly more diverse”.

    Wahhabism emerged in the 18th century and since then became a pillar of legitimacy for Saudi Arabia’s monarchy. Its adherents comprise just 10 percent of the world’s more than 1 billion Muslims, but its conservatism includes restrictions on women’s rights and participation in public life and it has succeeded in convincing the Saudi monarchy to ban all other religious practices in the country.

    The Deobandi movement matches Wahhabism in its conservative views on Islam. The school that propagates this interpretation of Islam is based in Deoband, an Indian town, and represents the extreme fringe of the faith in Asia. Afghanistan’s defeated Taliban regime was a product of the Deobandi ideology.

    Another moderate Muslim voice, Surin Pitsuwan, Thailand’s former foreign minister, also reiterated the broad spectrum in Islam and the differences between the faith as practiced in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia.

    “This distinction has become a point of controversy ever since Islam arrived in our region over 10 centuries ago,” Surin wrote in a newspaper commentary in late September. “Some consider the Southeast Asian brand of Islam less pure, and our Muslims less puritanical and less true to their faith than those in the Middle East.”

    Asia’s moderate Muslims are amply qualified to shed light on the attempt by the Wahhabi movement, backed by Saudi funding, to impose its narrow, intolerant and oppressive views on other Muslims across the continent. This is because Asia is home to many strands of Islam, including those who belong to the two broad categories of Sunni and Shi’ite, those who accept at least two of the four legal traditions of the Sunnis and to those who accept Sufism as a part of their faith.

    The Sunnis are the majority among the world’s Muslims, while the Shi’ite Muslims make up the minority. The Wahhabis are members of the Sunni majority. This divergence in Islam – one of the first since the death of Prophet Mohammad [Peace & Blessings Upon Him] in 632 – resulted in the Sunnis accepting the fundamentals of the faith and the customs of the prophet. The Shi’ites accepted the fundamentals of the faith and placed additional loyalty to Ali, Mohammad’s son-in-law.

    Shi’ites make up the majority in Iran, while pockets of them live in South Asia, from India and Pakistan to Afghanistan, and Central Asia. The rest of the region is largely Sunni.

    Sufism, on the other hand, is more widespread, with adherents living in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Central Asia.

    With regard to the Sunni legal traditions that prevail, Hanafi, the oldest school and often described as the most liberal, is embraced by Chinese Muslims, those in Central Asia, and parts of South Asia. The Shafi legal tradition is evident in Southeast Asia and in South Asia.

    In addition, the likelihood of Muslims in Asia having a broader outlook in religion is greater because a number of them live in close proximity to adherents of other beliefs, like Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism and Taoism.

    For the Wahhabis, however, much of what passes for Islam in Asia could be considered a deviation from the fundamentals teachings of the Koran, which is anathema to them. The Wahhabis even have an Arabic word that they use to express disgust for any practice they deem “not Islamic” – bida.

    The followers of Wahhabism have been trying to make inroads into the world of Asian Islam since the 1970s. This effort, backed by Saudi money, has had two objectives: to ensure that the Wahhabi version of Islam becomes the dominant form and to counter the promotion of Shi’ite Islam by Iran after the Islamic revolution there in 1979.

    Hence, Wahhabi enthusiasts today have no qualms combating other Muslims in Asia, attacking their Sufi traditions, condemning those who recite prayers with songs, destroying mosques if they do not conform to the austere regimen of Wahhabism and ridiculing Muslims who celebrate the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday.

    For the Wahhabis, the ideal Islamic state was the one in Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban, where women were subjugated, laughter and song forbidden, and only one form of Islam permitted.

    Moderate Muslims like Noor of Malaysia are well aware of the other torments in the Islamic world. These purists and “defenders of Islam” can “hardly speak for the thousands of other Muslims who have been killed by them in the quest for a model Islamic state,” he wrote.

    So when the neo-conservatives in the United States draw a distinction between Wahhabism and the other strands of Islam, Asia’s moderate Muslims can say: We told you so.

    • 0

      Lebanese druse Muslims, Sifu muslims are very peaceful muslims who sahres some similar views as buddhists do.

      But, Wahabism is the pinnacle of Islam and it will break or make Islam.

      Wahabism shows how weak the islamic ideology, mostly the quran, as a religion.

  • 8

    The problem with the Sri Lankan muslims is they are waiting some one else to solve their problems. Let it be ACJU, SLMC or what other Acronym. The basic premise of Muslims is to follow the life of Prophet Mohammed. For starters Prophet Mohammed although was raised as an orphan married to the most powerful clan in Makka. That is the first lesson to muslims in Sri Lanka. For God’s sake learn Sinhala and integrate with the larger society instead of sucking upto turn coat Hakim and Bathudeen.

    • 3

      Patriot the pathetic

      “For God’s sake learn Sinhala and integrate with the larger society instead of sucking upto turn coat Hakim and Bathudeen.”

      Why not learn Tamil and integrate with them, or Malayalam and integrate with Malayalis?

  • 2

    Muslim leaders never care about their people and stick with the Government and got benefit out for themselves and government didn’t failed to use these Muslim leaders , every peace talked spoiled by the government by stick these cardboard lesdres between talks and told the peace team we can’t live with Tamils they need their own
    MR regime put over 300000 thousand tamil IDPs in the camp and put a Muslim minister to incharged and hide the issues and unsanitary and not suitable for living camp

  • 2

    Ziad Mohamed

    “Their unwitting supporters are a growing chorus of high-profile, neo-conservatives in the United States who are calling on Washington to deem Saudi Arabia an American enemy because of the form of Islam it practices and exports – Wahhabism. “

    “For the Wahhabis, the ideal Islamic state was the one in Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban, where women were subjugated, laughter and song forbidden, and only one form of Islam permitted. “

    Wahhabism and its clones are Satanic, Iblisic Ideologies.

    It even makes Saudi Graduates (GMAT 311) and Afghanistan Graduates(GMAT 309) become less intelligent, lose their critical thinking skills and get very low GMAT scores, 311 and 309 compared to 550 for Turkey, 520 for Iran and 532 for USA.

    Read abort the Hadith of Najd, and what Alazhar cleric says about Salafism Wahhabism, in the many posts by Amarasiri.

    Do the Iblis, Satan glowing Wahhabies and their clones believe that Stupidity is a Virtue?

    Have not seen that yet in the Quran or the Hadith, other than with Wahhabism and its clones.

  • 5

    Muslim journalists should not only focus on political and religious leadership crisis only, but also concentrate on community issues that are important to the community with regards to social issues which are also some of the main reasons which has placed the community in a precariously helpless situation making hostile forces, both local and foreign, to openly and secretly work against Muslims. Look at what happened in the ENRIQUE scandal. The Muslim Mayor has gone “scotch fee” without a proper inquiry and the whole scandal report swept under the carpet because the Mayor gives “buriyani dinner” to a VVIP politician every week at his residence. What about the gold smuggling incident at the BIA and the arrest of a personal staff member of a Muslim Minister a few weeks ago and the smuggler not even reported to the Immigration authorities by the police when he had in his procession 5 passports in his same name. When it came to Hon. Wimal Weerawansa with regards to passport issues, the UNP makes a “hue and cry”. Is this “Yahapalana justice?”
    What a shame on the Muslim Community. Why NOT we accept that we are those who habour the most number of smugglers in our community (including businessmen, politicians and political stooges) and begin to correct ourselves and live the “Muslim way of Life” Insha Allah. IT DOES NOT MEAN THAST ALL SRI LANKAM MUSLIMS, INCLUDING BUSINESSMEN, POLITICIANS AND POLITICAL STOOGES ARE PRACTISING THIS “CULTURE OF SMUGGLING” IN THE SRI LANKAN MUSLIM COMMUNITY.
    Not only this, let us be bold and ashamed to accept that our Community government officials, especially in the Sri Lanka customs (not all) also conceive in making this possible to the Muslim business gangs who under the disguise of “religious travel” are the biggest culprits in this smuggling operations. Muslim entrepreneurs in the Travel and Tours Trade (not all) also aid and have abetted this culture within the Sri Lankan Muslim community. Some of the Muslim politicians are also hand in glove in these operations, but deny and wash their hands and pretend to be “Mr. Clean” when caught. The other segment of the Sri Lanka Muslim Community are some of the Muslim Lawyers who, notwithstanding the FACT that they are very good practicing Muslims, still provide legal support (but for high legal charge/fees) and appear on all apprehended smuggling cases and make sure that the culprits are free from all allegations and charges, or by paying a small fine, within the law. These community elements help the authorities fix a “scapegoat” and get out of the allegations. The Indian Muslim community also have a great influence in these activities, especially from South India and also from Singapore/Hong Kong. The “SMUGGLING CULTURE” practiced by these unscrupulous Muslim gangs has to be condoned in full and eradicated totally from the Sri Lankan Muslim community. Derana should help the Muslim Community in this fight against the “The Smuggling Culture” in Sri Lanka. Media and TV stations can also do the rest of the needful, Insha Allah. This comment may create a volcanic eruption in the Sri Lankan Muslim Community with a lot of violent opposition from within the Sri Lankan Muslim Community with the instigation of the money and political/social power available to the smuggling gangs, but the Sri Lanka Muslim Community has to be once and for all get ridded of this menace and allow the Sri Lankan Muslims to live a respectful and dignified social and political life and practice the TRUE “Islamic Way of Life” that the Holy Prophet Mohamed (Peace be upon him) has preached to us and that which has been revealed in the “Holy Quran and guided by the “Al Hadith”

    Noor Nizam.
    Political and Peace Activist, Political Communication Researcher and Convener “The Muslim Voice”.

  • 5

    Latheef Farook

    ‘The island’s Muslim community is passing through its worst ever political and religious leadership crisis’- What? Crisis ??????????

    There is no crisis man.

    Muslims are Muslims. Their religion unites them. They breed! They forcefully extend their territories!! They forcefully propagate their religion… all over the world.

    This is not a hate comment.

    This is truth. They want to establish a one and only Islamic/ Mogul empire world over.

    Look at Rishad Badiudin’s crusade.

    He is doing his religious duties to colonize.

    Then our friend Hakkim.

    He will hold any evils or devils hand to uphold the Islamic crusade.

    Islam may have divisions from Conservatives to modern interpreting koranists to gun-ho Modamadens. Leave aside the modern men who are the nicest and the tiniest. It is progressive manifestation of puttras of Kaliyuga.

    Wait for the Piralaya to come after the Kaliyuga.

    You and I won’t be in this world or even reborn. It will be a big juborie – a scale that we cannot imagine now.

    Islams unmitigating crusade will see the end of this world and the western globalization would help progress the Islamic process faster.

    • 0

      KS to LF

      What about the Tamil nationalists?
      Tamil nationalist arrogance has known no limits.
      Tamil nationalists wanted to subjugate Muslim identity from the time of P Ramanathan to V Pirapapakaran and after.

      The FP spoke of Tamil Speaking People, but spoke nothing about the rights of Muslims. The Tamil parties were Jaffna Vellala centred with mainly English speaking leaders based in Colombo.

      The Tamil youth movements shifted the political centre northwards, but the old sick attitudes remained.
      They killed Muslims in large numbers in mosques, something that Sinhala Buddhist fanatics did not do since 1915.
      They drove out tens of thousands of Muslims from their homes in the North for no good reason, something that even the worst Sinhala Buddhist fanatic did dare not do.

      This ill informed hatred for the Muslim ails a significant section of the dull-witted Tamil middle class influenced by the anti-Muslim tirade from two sources– Hindutva fascism and post cold war anti-Islamism of the West.

      Most Islamic fundamentalists are in the pay of US imperialism, which generated them and selectively used them for its purposes, as in Syria now. Things can go out of control and went more than once.

      The Saudi Arabian regime is not Muslim in the true sense of the word.
      Islam is a more egalitarian religion in many ways than Hinduism, but has its shortcomings, which modernity is addressing well. Let the Muslims deal with that.

      Today who are the terrorists in India? RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP etc. are far more vicious than the handful of “Islamic extremists”.

      What is the record of Tamil nationalist terror in Sri Lanka? It killed more Tamils than Sinhalese and Muslims.
      What about the Tamil gangland in Europe and Canada?

      No doubt, the Sri Lankan Muslims severely need better leaders.
      So do the Tamils and the Sinhalese.

  • 3

    Thanks Latheef for this timely article. While our politicians have proved beyond any reasonable doubt that they have acted selfishly, It is important that we Sri Lankan Muslims behaved as Sri Lankans and do not follow an alien culture. Islam is the most tolerant of religions and it has enough space for my religion and your religion. There is no one religion as clearly mentioned in the Quran. So, let us make sure that while we exert all our right to practice our religion, we should not step on the feet of others. In my opinion, the main cause for the hate campaign by Bodu Bala Sena and other extremist Buddhist is because of the high visibility of our women in Hijab and Nikab, and our men with their gowns. The Borah community has been wearing something very similar to the Abaya right through out and there has been absolutely no evidence of any opposition to their clothing. This is because they chose to wear pleasing pastel shades while adhering to the Islamic code of conduct ensuring that they do not show the contours of their body. The Muslim council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) introduced the colured Abaya project a couple of years ago which has shown some positive movement especially amongst the young. It is important that we revisit this, as Muslim civil society and encourage our sisters to assimilate while dressing modestly. The high visibility of the Black Abaya should be abandoned the black abaya for a start and get our sisters to tart wearing modest clothing. I do not think that we need the face cover, if our dress code specifically states that the face should not be covered in our state of ihram, why are we promoting the face cover which is causing all the ill feelings amongst our other Sri Lankan brothers and sisters. It would be important for the Muslims a a community to engage in a conversation as to how we dress and behave in a multi-ethnic environment in Sri Lanka.

    • 0

      It’s the ARABIFICATION OR ARABIZATION OR IN SINHALESE, ARAABIKARANAYA that’s the cause of this. We never had hordes of women wearing full black like in Saudi Arabia until mass migration for slave labour in oil rich nations happened. This is considered the “fashion ” by clueless women .

      Also, why aren’t educated Muslim women on CT? Are Lateef the Jewish hater, Hilmy, Izzeth etc the only voices of Muslim Tamil speaking sri Lankans of dravidian descent? Why can’t FREE Muslim women and REAL learned intellectuals like Mrsm Jezima Ismail write and counter these SAUDI worshippers? Why are Muslim women silent?

      Lateef you’re are an outright bigot.

  • 3

    A striking feature of the First-Pass-The-Post (FPTP) system of electing Members of Parliament, that existed until the introduction of the new Constitution in 1978, was the election of Muslim MP’s from predominantly Non-Muslim Electorates and the ready support extended to Non-Muslim Candidates by Muslim Voters in all electorates. Muslims voted for Candidates, irrespective of race or religion, who won their confidence of being able to safeguard and protect the interests of their Community inside and outside the Legislature. Muslims voted with their heads in the belief that ‘What is good for the Country, is good for me’.

    Then came the Proportional Representation (PR) system which compelled many would-be MP’s to adopt a partial attitude towards the Majority Community in their desperate bid to attract and hold Preference votes. From a situation where a candidate had to impress upon a cross-section of multi-ethnic voters that the policies of his party are more beneficial to the country at large than that of a rival party, he had to now further convince voters that of all the candidates of his party contesting a specific area, he is the one best suited to represent them. In other words, the candidate had to project himself as being significantly different from the rest of the flock. To use a common marketing term, he had to possess a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), something that gives him a competitive edge over the other candidates.

    Consciously or sub-consciously, many Sinhala Buddhist candidates began to play the ethnic card and/or the religious card as they directed their efforts and limited (cognitive and financial) resources at the group that constitute over 70% of Voters – the Sinhala Buddhists – in their desperate bid to possess this much-sought after USP. At the end of the day, the cost of marketing themselves to Sinhala Buddhist voters was considerably less than marketing themselves to a target group of multi-ethnic Voters. The National Parties abdicated their responsibilities to the Muslim Community leaving the Muslims with the feeling that their interests would be best looked after by Muslim Candidates.

    The new Constitution enacted by the UNP in 1978 did irreparable damage to Buddhist-Muslim relations, the effects of which are continuing to reverberate even today, primarily due to the introduction of the ‘Preference Vote’. Not only did it create the space for the emergence of Muslim Political Parties, but also for the entry of members of the Buddhist Clergy into the local political scene.

    Detailed analysis of voting patterns since 1978 reveals clearly that the popularity of Muslim Political Parties have declined steadily since the euphoria generated by the “Ashroff factor’ during the early years. The support of Muslim Voters to such Parties reached a nadir at the Uva Provincial Council Elections in 2014 for which all the Muslim Parties had decided to join forces and contest under one umbrella Party for maximum results. At the end of the day, out of an estimated 40,000 Muslim Voters , only 5045 voted for this grand coalition of Muslim Parties. This meant that about 7 out of every 8 Muslim Voter in this region had rejected the Muslim Parties at a time when the activities of the anti-Muslim groups were at a peak. Can the voters deliver a more telling, stinging slap-in-the-face to these Muslim Political Parties than this ? And yet, these shameless Muslim Politicians continue with the charade that they ‘represent the Muslim Community’. They are utterly incapable of comprehending the fact that immediately following the Aluthgama tragedy, 99% of Muslim Voters had decided firmly as to who they were not going to vote for at any future National Election and did not wait for these self-styled ‘Muslim Leaders’ to show them the way.

  • 2

    It’s timely reminding, yes today muslims are suffering due to lack of selfless leaders.ACJU playing hypocrisy with the religion by recognising the Wahabi cult the so called Thawheed jamaath. ACJU is encouraging the division of the Muslim community by allowing the Thawheed jamaath to build separate mosques in the cities and villages although the particular area muslims oppose. Argument by the BBS is right to an extent that these wahabis survive under the cover of the general Muslim community and propagate their malicious type of Islam to deceive the innocent muslims.
    There’s nothing wrong in muslim women wearing black purdah or Abaayas as it has nothing to do with wahabis but a requirement of our Islam religion. But the Muslim leaders and the stalwarts of the Muslim community should put pressure on the ACJU to stop building separate mosques for the Thawheed shias and disband such mosques which are already built. This will create greater confidence among the Sinhala majority who are poisoned by BBS to understand that greater majority of Muslims are against the so called radical wahaabis who create chaos and new brand of Islaam to decieve the Muslims.
    If ACJU fails stop building separate mosques for thawheedis, then muslims should rise against the ACJU and reject and oppose their right to intervene behalf of the muslims and should brand the ACJU a cult who encourage separatism among the Muslim community.
    If proper unity is established among the Muslims and a selfless leader comes forward then we could think about our rights, otherwise it’s a waste of time of speaking on our rights or to blame the major community for our ills. As there is a famous Urdu proverb used in Pakistan, “Ghar ka bedhi lanka daai”, means a divided home is collapsed.

  • 1

    Masha Allah. We still have the likes of Lateef Farook & Hilmy Ahmed and a few others to write independently, sensibly and without personal agendas or prejudice. We will grow our “intellectuals” in time. The Faizer Musthafa’s & the Azad Salley’s do not define (set-a-limit-to)us – nor do the Rishard Badiuddins & SLMC Leadership.

  • 1

    There should be a law for people to file a fundamental rights case against the parties who use the word Muslim in their party name unless they get a mandate from the us the people, SLMC should change their name to something like Eastern Congress or similar as their focus is only them. I don’t think the people of the other regions of the country have got any benefits from these so called Muslim representatives, on the contrary only unwanted issues and problems ever since their formation.

    • 1

      Should that not apply to Tamils and Sinhalese?
      The Muslims are a distinct nationality and that identity is valid. Eastern Muslim Congress may be appropriate but not Eastern Congress.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.