15 August, 2020

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Rathana At It Again; ACJU Is The Punching Bag For Everyone

By Mass L. Usuf

Mass Usuf

Let this column begin with a Disclaimer. It is only an analysis and the writer is not holding a brief to defend or protect the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (ACJU). The ACJU has been functioning as an organisation for nearly 100 years. It was established circa 1924. As such it is not just another mushroom religious body and it consists of erudite persons with Islamic scholarship. It is interesting to note that there is no priesthood as such in Islam. Therefore, overlordship of man over man, in any form, be it religious or otherwise, is never a part of the teachings of Islam.

The ACJU has been targeted in two different ways. Firstly, by some members within the Muslim community. The Muslim bashing is mostly aimed at its leader. In the generic sense no human is perfect. The varying values of imperfection applies to a Leader too. After all a Leader is also a human and logically, cannot be perfect. We have seen how leaders conduct themselves, the levels of efficiency, the extent of corruption and so on. Having said that, it is also important to highlight that every Leader carries certain responsibilities that defines a good leadership. Moreover, a leader is burdened with the task of delivering on the expectations of those who accept him as a leader. Anyway, this is a personal matter and outside the scope of this column.  

The second attack is mounted against the organisation itself. This is mainly spearheaded by the extreme right politicians and racist elements with the support of monks in many instances. Their ‘offensives’, unfortunately so called, since they are indeed offensives, are not aimed at achieving some principled objective or to advocate a cause via rational argument. Far from these, the apparent aim is to intimidate, create a fear psychosis, hatred and through this inculcate violence. 

ACJU Is Fair Game

Democratic institutions among others are based on the epithet ‘Equality’. This equality is in relation to the citizens of the country. When equality is offended or disturbed by whatever force, it naturally results in conflict. The force that is guilty of violating this principle will continue doing so and those who had been deprived of equality will struggle to reinstate it. The imbalance caused by this inequality reflects on all strata of societal life.  

In this context, when examining the effect of the vitriolic diatribe against ACJU, the hallmarks of a divisive society is clearly exposed. In fact, no other religious organisation has been abused in this country in the way ACJU has been battered. Each offensive rains down on ACJU spurious, unsubstantiated and unfounded allegations. The ACJU has been accused at different times as extremists, supporters of terrorism, striving to make Sri Lanka a Muslim country, surreptitiously introducing sharia law and such other fanciful and highly imaginative allegations. These are well timed and choreographed with a careful selection of words and terminologies which appeal to the feelings of the people and combining these with phrases which can easily excite their sensitivities.

The recurrence of this exercise at intervals exposes one more thing and that is the character of the people who engage in this vanity. Such people are not patriots, true nationalists and in the context of monks, the impression is that they have deviated from the teachings of Buddha.

Free Entertainment

Without any prejudice compare the noise that was made by the media, politicians and monks over the statement of Mr. Harin Fernando, former Member of Parliament about His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. Even the Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo together with the Catholic Clergy of the Archdiocese of Colombo issued a statement expressing their grave concern.

Let us examine another perspective. Whether one likes it or not Mr. Mangala Samaraweera former Member of Parliament is one person who does not hypocritically mix words when he articulates his disgust towards the conduct of certain monks. Irrespective of the veracity of what he says about some notorious monks the media, politicians and monks all have a field day casting aspersion on him and defending the monks.

Empirical observation reveals that most of the times it is the ethno-nationalists, extreme right politicians and politically bankrupt monks who engage in this game. They are providing free entertainment to many who are able to differentiate the chaff from the grain. The danger is that the majority of the people buy into these accusations and develop within them indoctrinated fear.  This fear can easily be transformed into developing hate and resulting violence.

Enter The Dragon

Recently Athuraliye Rathana Thero appears to have had a bout of verbal diarrhoea which figuratively stinks. According to the general perception of the public, the government is not interested in him and therefore, he has been marginalised. The talk of the town is that he has passed the political ‘expiry date’ and is now desperately struggling to maintain his presence in the arena. Given the political climate the best choice for him is to throw a few punches at the ACJU. After all, anything against the Muslims is fair game these days especially for the racist monks.

I am reminded of a scene in the picture ‘Enter the Dragon’ (I assume) where an opponent of Bruce Lee, in the tournament ring, holds a wooden board and breaks it with a karate stroke in a display of power. Bruce Lee calmly responded saying, “Wooden boards do not hit back”. Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero knows very well that his punching bag (ACJU) also will not hit back. Moreover, unlike for His Eminence The Cardinal and for certain monks there is no media, politicians and monks who would come forward to speak on behalf of ACJU.

Polowa Pelena Boru

The fourth precept (sila) in Buddhism involves falsehood “musāvāda,”. More broadly it encompasses all forms of wrongful or harmful speech. As explained by the respected venerables, this would mean speech that is harsh, untruthful, motivated by greed or hatred, or otherwise connected with harm. Misleading arguments, verbal bullying, incitements to violence, rage, outbursts, malicious ridicule, and poorly worded statements that cause pain without benefit.

The recent statements of Rathana Thero against the ACJU which are unfounded or unsubstantiated can be connected with most of the above extensions of the pali word, “musāvāda”. What lies?  Or, in Sinhala the common adage, “Polowa pelena boru”.  Worst of all coming from the mouth of a monk violating the precept that he utters; wonder how many times for a day. This time the accusation, among several others, is that the ACJU has advised all Muslims to boycott Sampath Bank. Liar! Liar! Pants On Fire. The ACJU had never given any such advice and promptly issued a statement refuting this heinous accusation. See ACJU letter below:

The Most Abused Sila

The extent to which the fourth sila is abused is abominable. Especially, in a country where the five precepts are repeated so many times each day over the radio, on TV, in the temples, in every junction of the roads. And, that too, when the utterers of such lowly abuse are the monks the abomination becomes simply unbearable. It is unpleasant and it is unbecoming of anyone who has enrobed himself to indulge in lies. The monks are supposed to be the paragons of virtue. It is them that the laity looks upon with veneration since they have adopted the path of the buddha. It is the monks who teach the lay people the way of the buddha. When they fail to stand up or do not put into practice what they preach it is disappointing. Of course, this does not include the respectable monks.

The curse of pseudo religious and racist rhetoric most of the times fuelled by a false sense of nationalism are the enemies of this country. They are a threat to national security. These deceivers have to be stopped and they can be stopped only by the civic minded citizens of this country. This means you and me. Thank God, there still remains a large contingent of those who detest the dramatics of these opportunistic and pretentious patriots.

Abandoning false speech

Abandoning divisive speech

Abandoning abusive speech

Abandoning idle chatter

“This is how one is made pure in four ways by verbal action.”

— Anguttara Nikaya 10.176

Is it not time that the law-abiding citizens make the voice of their dissatisfaction be heard over this continuing state of affairs? What moral values are we going to leave behind for our children?

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Latest comments

  • 21
    6

    Due to social media, fake news can be spread very easily. Then we also have racist networks like Derana that operates like the propaganda arm of the Rajapaksa regime, with their racist personalities, and low level publications like the Divaina, that accused an innocent Muslim doctor of mass sterilization, causing mass hysteria by Sinhala women, that racists in power made sure he was thrown in jail, destroying his good reputation and his life.
    If this saffron robed terrorist thinks his hate speeches will sway Sinhalese people and make them attack Muslims, then he is insulting their intelligence, and thinks they are gullible fools. It is far safer for the ACJU to put out statements in all three languages, because it seems there is a percentage of our populations so naive, and are racists, that they keep believing this BS every time. Our racist politicians use them as useful tools to attack Muslims, their homes, businesses, and are physically harmed.

    It is election time, and the Rajapaksa’s are up to their usual tricks again.
    Shame on any minority citizen that keeps supporting a bunch of racists like this.

    • 16
      7

      How much fake news against the Muslims are the people of this country going to keep getting fooled into believing?

      We have gone through:

      The free toffees given by a Muslim shop with the power to make Buddhist women sterile.

      The “gullies” put into food at a Muslim kade, where it had special powers to make Buddhist men sterile (no one else seem to be “affected”)

      That the Coronavirus was started and spread deliberately by Muslims.

      Muslims are breeding in large numbers so that they can take over the entire Island (mathematically impossible that 8 percent of Muslims can take over 70 percent of Buddhists)

      The Muslim doctor that targets and sterilizes Buddhist women without their knowledge.
      Etc.

      Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    • 5
      4

      When would SRILANKEN president/PM be tested POSITIVE for COVID 19 ?

      http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Bolivia%E2%80%99s-President-Anez-tests-positive-for-coronavirus/108-191663

      Any evil men on the earth are already punished with RAJAPKASHES are still waiting on the top of the list.

      • 4
        6

        leelagemalli,
        President Gotabhaya Rajapakshe is a threat only to persons involved in drug business, members of the underground mafia involved in illegal activities, extremists planning to carry out terrorist activities and LTTE cadres who committed war crimes and hiding in foreign countries under new identitities.
        If you do not fall into any of the above categories, do not get panic.

        • 1
          1

          Eagle Evil BP,

          What have you bubbling ?

          Are you on your head ? Else I dont think any one with some sanity would not see the way you are compelled to do so. My gosh, you should have blocked you ” Lajjawa gene ” in your genome right ?
          :
          Tell us please one good thing so called FAKE ratawiruwa- Gotler – phantom head during the last 8 months.
          :
          If you BP would please look at, please check the number of COVID infected patients, during the last 72 hours – it is more than 360 …
          :
          Is that the way BPs controlled COVID… no doubt, the number will go up in few more hundreds by 5th August 2020.

          https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/sri-lanka/

          • 1
            1

            Eagle,
            .
            not once repeated times you have been attacking all those sinhalaya that stand against Rajapkshes bps only be LTTERs or their supporters. … but there are lot more rising in Middle east and Europe against Rajapakshes… I have been against them from my child hood on for some good reason. i simply dont commend rascals, murderers, rapists, property robbers.. I have lost my properties in Matara and Colombo curse to Rajaakshe bitch’s sons.
            Not only my own issues bu tI know how the these rascals, grabbed the properties of others. They were far poor people at the time, their father died then. Please listen to the video clip below.
            .
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TnE66u70a0

        • 1
          1

          Eagle,
          he is not a threat to anyone. Please get your facts right. Those who thought GOTLER could do something is gone out of their mind now looking at the manner former PETROL shed assistant failed to fulfill any of the pledges he then made to the voters.
          :
          Instead cost of living today is multiple times higher and people are thrown from frying pan to the fire.
          :
          Thanks to former govt, and their austerity plans, now some billions are ready for the loan settlements, but after that, the govt will have to be comparable to that of Sudan or Malawi… you the kind of ULTRA racists standing on your heads woul dnot see it right… in this life.

          As some say, even COVID VIRUSES are afraid of brutal Rajapskhes. But I see something at the end of the tunnel regarding the ” DITTA DAMMA WEEDANEEYA TO RAJAPAKSHES”. wait and see I have no doubt, Mahinda will have to face it sooner than later. He will … it is just matter of time… we are patient… ohoma yang.

      • 3
        1

        It’s not very likely. Even the Covid-19 virus is afraid of the President.

  • 8
    9

    Empty rhetoric. Usuff is hiding the fact that it was Muslim Activists took it to media without closing it down within Sampath Bank Premises. The rest is just a decorated playwright only. No Substance. Usuff calling Ratnam for dual, declaring ” I am no way any shorter to you in any manner. ” It is still better to go bank for banking without added determinants during a dangerous Covid-19. Emergency 58 Pogrom started by spreading rumor in Colombo that a mutilated body of a Sinhalese coming in a ice box to Katunayake from Palaly. If one insist on caring the hair, then may not be able to care the head.

  • 11
    5

    He is selling Rajapaksa racism now.

  • 10
    5

    This sad human parasite of an uncouth pretends fast till death do him part is once again in live clowning acts to bully the Muslims of this sad sorry shit-house of a so-called country.?
    =
    The present kallathoni Yakka resembling bogus president, the rest of his family members and their fellow boru hora comrades are giving the philosophy too much prominence with the sole aim and purpose of further taking the millions of Sinhala modaya’s for more rides down the pallan to self-destruction at the end of the day.
    =
    One has got to accept the sad fact that these Buddha’s representatives more or less come from the poverty-stricken lower rungs of society where the saffron coloured amude of a flimsy sparse loincloth is the first decent piece of cloth they adorn themselves when they get bald-headed.
    =
    This bugger is nominated to be an MP, sits his bottom on a white cotton piece of cloth in the supposed to be hallowed holy House of Representatives.
    =
    The likes of him and his fellow monks should be told in no uncertain terminology that their primary aim is to walk around bare feet and collect alms from the willing households and not get themselves in mundane matters that do not concern them.

    • 3
      0

      rj1952, I’d like to collect all your posts in one place. They are hilarious.

      • 1
        0

        Dear Stanley,
        .
        They were always hilarious, but I refused to hate the guy who was sending them because he was condemning mainly the guys whom we disapprove of.
        .
        In keeping with that attitude, I wrote, proving to him that I have two sisters in Australia – living in much better circumstances than he could possibly be in. For me to have said more would have been to stoop to the same level of vulgarity as rj1952. His full name: Rohan Johnpillai. I now respect him only for not hiding his identity.
        .
        However, this really is tragic. The fellow keeps behaving irresponsibly, undermining all that we are trying, rationally, to achieve. I’m sure, Stanley, that we both sincerely respect Sinhalese culture and the decent poor.
        .
        I don’t want to stop you from continuing and could even show where he had given his own (pseudonymous) email address to me. Again, to his credit, the fellow wrote back to me cordially enough – but alas, it is clear that the idiot cannot be “reformed”.
        .
        Yes, assigning to the word “idiot” the colloquial meaning, and not the IQ statistic that psychologists assign, he is an idiot.
        .

        • 1
          0

          Thank you Panini, I didn’t explain too much. I left him the mighty intellectual challenge to work out whether it was a complement or not.
          .
          What I cannot understand is why the moderators allow such language. Also you may have noticed that he receives a large number of ‘thumbs up’ approvals. I suspect, but cannot prove, that this is due to the diaspora supporting anything and everything that is anti-Sinhala.
          .
          As for his content, you may remember that line from Macbeth, ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’.

          • 0
            0

            Dear Stanley,

            I think the comments being posted by Eagle Eye is ultra racial. But nobody seems to become upset …

  • 13
    4

    It is sad that Muslims speak for Muslims only and Tamils speak for Tamils only. The Monks who speak against Muslims are not different from the Monks who speak about Tamils. Muslims and Tamils in the North East of Srilanka are Tamil speaking communities both failed to understand that they both face dangers of extinction in their homeland.
    Ellawala Medhananda Thero, Rathana thero, Ganasara thero all are not individuals they are sponsored by a powerful Politicians and powerful military. Until now, over decades they were targeting the majority Tamil community of North East and they used Muslims against Tamils. Now after 2009 Tamil power was reduced, their target turned against Muslims and they try to use Tamils against Muslims.
    I don’t know whether Muslim professionals and political leadership understand this reality. For example, most of Muslim writers in this column writes about uniting the Tamil speaking communities and write against the common problems such as the appointment of the archeological task force for the East and Ellawala Medananda Theroes lies and violence against history of Tamils and Muslims in Srilanka. Why cannot Tamils and Muslims unite to face this election together to maximise their numbers in the parliament?

    • 6
      10

      Ajith,
      More attacks against Muslims took place during ‘Yahapalana’ Government compared with Rajapakshe regime. Rajapakshes were not behind the Aluthgama attack against Muslims. There was nothing they could gain by attacking Muslims at that time. That attack was planned and executed by the ‘Regime Change’ mafia to create tension between Rajapakshes and to prevent Muslims voting for Rajapakshes. It worked!
      The one who was behind the attack is a tall person wearing a National Dress. He became a Minister in ‘Yahapalana’ Government.

      • 9
        4

        EE,
        Simple fact is that Rajapakse’s were dominant and capable to attack Muslims during their regime and during the Yahapanaya regime because majority of the military are working for Rajapakse family, not to country.

        • 3
          5

          Ajith,
          If you do not want to face the truth, there is nothing I can do.
          Military is not working for Rajapakshes. By eradicating LTTE Tamil terrorist menace, military demonstrated that they work for the people; Sinhala, Vedda Eththo, Demala, Muslim, Malay and others in this country. Because of the commitment of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces, Demala people along with others live in peace today.

  • 8
    0

    Dear Usuf

    Thank you. I am just like anyone else in our nation have no prejudice towards anyone based on Race/Religion/Language etc. One World One people etc.

    However when it come to SL situation we need to go back to how we departed the colonial era (I am not interested in the blame game with Colonialists did etc) but the way we departed as people with a history of 1915 riots. This played a part in the exit strategy/climax as British were willing to kill the Buddhists over Muslims as there were few categories of Muslims one local and the other who migrated during colonial period from India and then later had a different attitude towards the locals then etc…the same with Northern Tamils being used for all the civil service (poor/rural/caste oppressed Northern Tamils a different story altogether), Indian workers brought in and placed in the heartland of Buddhism and to make matters worse English was the official language.

  • 3
    1

    Continued

    Without justifying all that goes around today following a miserable war we need to start showing some understanding of the grievance of the majority for a change and respective leadership then and now specially unlike the Islam/Christianly/Hinduism.. Buddhism has a different way of taking care of the community needs too and we have all confronted it without any due care in the past is a fact. Apart from the unfortunate Indian population ended up where they should never have been in the first place all others should take some ownership/responsibility when challenging the current order that is rightful place for Buddhism for the following reasons as all other religions had their own differences and infighting in SL too historically……..it may well be Buddhism can bring the required balance and harmony for a brighter future of peace and prosperity too.

    I am an atheist but have seen how all religions have been used in our Nation for the wrongs things well away from the respective religious teachings……….and hope less religions and organisations and more on applying some of the teachings to empower fellow men and women will go a long way towards living by the guidance/teachings of religions. I do not justify any hate mongering by anyone on the other.

  • 1
    1

    All these time, in North, the Rapist Army was 1:3 to 1:5. In some Vanni area it was pointed it is 1:2. Now it is said Rapist Army taking steps to take over the Grama Servaga civil administration from him/her, in all Northern Province. Grama Servaga will be there only as an identifier of people inside his office for the Rapist Army. Under the new arrangement, no one will be able to directly interact with police. Any people interaction with police will be only if Rapist Army called in police for any matters. This will be 100% military rule for Tamils in North. Tamil Modayas are very high on Election fever. Sumanthiran is said to be after another Paperboy Ministry. Rapist Army preparing North for after Election Celebration.

  • 2
    2

    can the write explain the ACJU ‘s stance on MMDA if they are made up of “erudite persons with Islamic scholarship” ?

    What are their qualifications and where have the qualifications been granted from?

  • 1
    3

    I totally oppose racism and religious double standard imposed in the constitution. All religions should have equal status in Sri Lanka. Having said that, re: ACJU I must say it is an organization which is “gender racist”. Why I say that is there is no protection for women in education, marriage, divorce and child marriage (under 18) related matters.

    Muslim Women of all ages including School Children above 12 years should rise up against this “gender racists”.

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