18 September, 2018

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Prostituting Iftar For Political Gain

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Iftar, the Muslim tradition of breaking the fast during Ramadhan comes from the Arabic word fatoor meaning breakfast. It is a solemn occasion for the devotees who fast as required by their creator and end the fast also as required by the same. The occasion is concluded by performing the evening obligatory or maghrib prayer. 

It was some time last year that I published a piece in the Colombo Telegraph titled, “Ostentatious Iftars and Obscene Poverty”. I was critical of holding lavish iftar parties held in Five Star Hotels organised by publicity seeking individuals and institutions, and inviting politicians and diplomats, while constituencies of poverty remains the most obnoxious feature of the Muslim community. One only has to go to the mosques during the fasting month to witness the crowd of beggars gathering there for handouts. The month of Ramadhan is notable for charity and charitable activities.

Iftar is neither a religious ritual nor an elaborate custom but a normal daily feature of fasting. Simplicity is Islam’s requirement in all its religious observations. The Holy Quran warns the Muslims of “those who want to be seen” (chapter 107, verse 6) and Islam is against showiness. Muslims should remember that it was their showiness in practising their religion, which in the past had contributed mostly to Buddhist-Muslim tensions in the country. 

One of the most pleasing traditions of iftar practised for a long time in Sri Lanka is the distribution of kanchi or rice porridge at mosques, which for many poor Muslim families constituted part of their dinner. With a couple of dates, preferably and not compulsorily, that kanchi was almost a lifesaver to the poor. If the iftar party organisers would spend their money in distributing more kanchi even to non-Muslim poor families in this month they would be earning more reward from their creator.  The kanchi will bring communities together. I remember in the 1970s when there was food shortage in the country a number of estate worker families depended entirely on the Ramadhan kanchi for survival during those thirty days.           

In this context, it is shocking to read an elaborate advertisement from Beruwela, announcing iftar parties for three days, for which the chief guests would be the political stalwarts of the Rajapaksa family. There is nothing wrong in hosting them for any celebration organised by Muslims. Having betrayed by the MS-RW government, most Muslims are quite willing to fall back on MR for solution to their problems. Whether changing pillows to cure headache is another question.  However, what is inappropriate is to prostitute an ordinary religious tradition to gain political favour. It is better to invite them rather to the festival dinner or lunch than to the solemn iftar. Stop prostituting religion for political gain. Contrast this to what Bosath Tharuna Ekathuwa has done in a Dansala in Maradana to mark the Poson Full Moon Poya, where the Sinhalese youth has served iftar breakfast to Muslims. While the event in Beruwela is for seeking political favour that in Maradana is to unite communities. Let Muslim leaders stop prostituting religion for political gains.                

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Latest comments

  • 4
    0

    Where is Mr Hakeem?..
    Did he get anything from Aloysious?.
    Mr Amin says there are so many poor Muslims , and they look forward to a bowl of freee Kanji, during Ramadan.
    I know, as a kid even I was looking forward to a free feed myself at the Mosque in Kaluwella.
    And I have never tasted so good Kanji even in KL.
    Anyway I got carried away.
    All I want to say is how come there are so many poor Muslims, when our Major Shopping Malls are owned by them along side all the new Condos in Wellala Gardens.
    And the Yahapalana Dispensers s have been on a rollicking time raking in Billions.
    Just read Palisen’s Bonus was 65 Million just in June 2015, And another in July 15.
    Aloysious has 24 Businesses each worth around Billion Rupiahs plus ..
    And Aloysious gave the Field Marshall, whom our inhabitatns affectionately call Kalavedda One Million Rupiah as well..
    How cool..
    Wonder how many Muslims are among those 118 beneficiaries of Aloysious and Mahendran family Trust?.

    • 2
      2

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      Did you know there was a protest in front of the Hindian High Commission in Colombo?

      Were you there supporting your Toothukudi brethren? Some of the dead might have been perhaps your third or fourth cousins.

      You purposely chose not to let me know the time and venue of the protest. Alright let me next time.
      Did you send your condolence messages to them?

  • 2
    0

    Bloody all these Muslim fellows might have fed Gota with all available sweets and fats, and in final prayer might have asked dua that this harami should not be president.

  • 3
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    Why Percy is dragging the Tamils to a debate about breaking the Iftar fasting during Ramadhan?The Tamils may do menial jobs in Singapore, but that country has afforded official status to Tamil language spoken by less than 6% of the population. This was a recognition by Lee Kuan Yew the first Prime Minister of Singapore for the contribution the Tamils have made towards building a wealthy and prosperous city state. In Singapore every job, including Ministers, is based on merit and qualification. The ethnicity, religion and language of an applicant is of no concern when it comes to appointments to public institution. Singapore was a fishing village 100 years ago, but today it is a mini-superpower in South Asia. The per capita income in Singapore is US$ 52,600 compared to the paltry sum of US$ 4000 in Sri Lanka. Percy must grow up and behave like an adult. He and the likes of him are ruining the country by fanning communal hated among citizens.

  • 2
    0

    Why Percy is dragging the Tamils to a debate about breaking the Iftar fasting during Ramadhan?The Tamils may do menial jobs in Singapore, but that country has afforded official status to Tamil language spoken by less than 6% of the population. This was a recognition by Lee Kuan Yew the first Prime Minister of Singapore for the contribution the Tamils have made towards building a wealthy and prosperous city state. In Singapore every job, including Ministers, is based on merit and qualification. The ethnicity, religion and language of an applicant is of no concern when it comes to appointments to public institution. Singapore was a fishing village 100 years ago, but today it is a mini-superpower in South Asia. The per capita income in Singapore is US$ 52,600 compared to the paltry sum of US$ 4000 in Sri Lanka. Percy must grow up and behave like an adult. He and the likes of him are ruining the country by fanning communal hatred among citizens.

  • 0
    0

    It was the Tamils (Hindus ,Christians & Tamil &Malayalum Muslims)and Chinese who sweated must build Singapore . of cause a small segment of Malays and Eurossians also contributed.

    It was a Jaffna’ Tamil who even wrote the pledge .
    I will always hold Jaffna Tamil with lot of respect ,they such dedicated folks and a class of their own

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