26 May, 2022


Rishad Bathiudeen: A Potential Future Muslim Leader?

By Rushdy Nizar

Rushdy Nizar

Rushdy Nizar

The post-independent politics of Sri Lanka can be characterised as a two-party structure. Invariably, since independence we have seen the patronage of two leading political parties in shape of the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). Although more recently the Sri Lankan political landscape is punctuated by the sway of emerging political parties, having the clout of the king-maker, hence, an indication of the multi-party system and greater democratic propensity. However, Sri Lanka, like many developing nations cultivates political parties on ethnic, region and religious lines.

Tamil areas are generally dominated by Tamil parties and the same goes with the predominantly Muslim majority areas led by Muslim parties, though not until the formation of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). Further, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has become a reckonable force, arguably the third most powerful party. The party has gone through different levels of transformation from Marxist political philosophy to the adoption of domestic political culture.

The formation of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress by late M.H.M. Ashraff was a landmark historical event in the Island. It was not the formation that raised alarm, but the unconditional support of then governments for it creation. The support was well crafted and endeavored to polarize Sri Lankan Muslims as a separate distinctive Tamil speaking entity, an attempt to divide and dissect yet another identity for the Muslims. Such a political ploy further alienated the isolated and scattered Muslim community, yet created deep-rooted feelings amongst them on the extent to which they are an integral part of the nation. The ploy hyphenated the socio-political and socio-economic status of Muslims with M.H.M. Ashraff and SLMC. Undoubtedly, the dispersed Muslim community found a certain degree of integration, and Messianic solace in the SLMC.

The tale of the late M.H.M. Ashraff cannot fulfil the entire political history of Muslims in Sri Lanka. Prior to Ashraff, the political saga of Sri Lankan Muslims was well beautified by the legendary leaderships of Sir Razik Fareed, T.B. Jaya, Badiuddin Mahmud, Bakeer Markar and recently M.H.M. Ashraff. Their efforts have been instrumental in according a bearing to the Muslim community.

It is imperative to articulate here that the aforementioned leaders took decisions based on public-centric and state-centric factors and actively took part in national level politics devoid of a restricted parameter. Moreover, they never maligned Muslims within the country and were equally kind towards issues of all Sri Lankans in the international fora.  They were cautious against ego-centric decisions, instead aligned Muslim and Sri Lanka issues at home and away.

Today’s SLMC leader, Mr. Hakeem has departed from the cherished tradition of SLMC, and has rather discoloured the image of Muslims in Sri Lanka as well as the motherland internationally.  Could such a departure at this juncture become a justification to question Mr. Hakeem’s legitimacy as leader of the SLMC? The post-Beruwala riots and the reaction of Mr. Hakeem as a representative of Muslims in Sri Lanka speaks volumes on his legitimacy as Muslim leader.

It is a widely acknowledged fact that following the demise of late M.H.M. Ashraff, the former SLMC leader cum founder, the vacuum of a centripetal leadership and representative of the Sri Lankan Muslims was vacate. The demise of Ashraff off-tracked the Muslims in the isle, and culminated by internal division and factionalism amongst successive leaders within the party. It was no surprise that cracks soon surfaced within the party.

The party subsequently departed from the chief philosophy upon which the SLMC was founded. Its leftist/socialist political ideology was cremated by successive and contemporary individual-centric political leaders in the party. While a few championed egocentrism, some within the party remained altruistic and truly philanthropic, thus a roadmap towards polarization. Incontrovertibly, SLMC has seen no ideological spar among the key members, instead a power-greedy “identity-politics” unleashed by the Hakeem factor.

I happened to watch the video clip of Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka’s speech on Facebook, wherein he compared the political role of late SLMC founder M.H.M. Ashraff and current leader, Rauff Hakeem as a politician. He was commenting on BBS Chief Monk Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara’s statement that if Maligawatta is Palestine, they would become Israel. He looked at how Hakeem made a truce with the LTTE and what ex supremo Ashraff did to defend the country and the Muslims in the North-East. The dearth of foresighted politics in Mr. Hakeem’s leadership has added a black spot to the uncontaminated history of Sri Lankan Muslims by clandestinely merging with the LTTE, a deal which was revealed by the government sources.  A segment of the Muslims strongly hold the view that Hakeem has misplaced the priority of the party and subsequently forfeited confidence in him as a Muslim leader, though he still enjoys a degree of respect as a power broker within Sri Lankan power-politics. But the truth is evident that Hakeem’s legitimacy is at stake as he fails day by day, and loses his prominence among the Muslim youth on the island.

On the other hand, the recently formed party All Ceylon Makkal Kachchi (ACMC) under the competent leadership of Rishad Bathiudeen is apparently taking root and sooner or later can stand its ground against the SLMC. It is significant to articulate here that though Mr. Bathiudeen has a meagre representation, he has delivered incredible work for the people by whom he was elected.

The major essence of politics, honesty, justice and the truth philosophy of SLMC have all been dented by the current SLMC party leadership. Therefore, will Rishad Bathiudeen’s Peacock be able to spread its brightly coloured long tail feathers with patterns shaped like eyes and attract the Sri Lankan Muslim community to stand for the betterment of Muslims justly?

 (You can contact Rushdy Nizar via rushdynizar@gmail.com)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 3

    Rushdy Nizar

    RE: Rishad Bathiudeen: A Potential Future Muslim Leader?

    The First thing he has to do is declare, Wahhanism and their Clones,Follow the Devil, Satan or Shaitan and that they are not Muslims, but Shaitans, would in sheep’s clothing. These Wahhabi and their clones are NOT Muslims.

    Here is some Intellectual ammunition in that regard. Wahhabism is evil, Wahhabism is the Devil to confront the Wahhabi “Ulema”.

    By Dr Taj Hargey is the Imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation and the Director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford


    Introduction: Exposing Wahhabism Part 1

    Amarasiri uses Wahhabism and Wahhabi, as a generic terms for the so-called Wahhabi “Muslims” who comprise the following. The Wahhabis, The Salafis, The Deobandis, The Talibans, The ISIS, The Al Queda, The Tauhidis , and others who generally follow the Devil, The Satan, The Shaitan.

    Given below is support for the above assertion. Muslims in general, and Sri Lankan Muslims in particular need to challenge the Wahhabi Ideology, based on the Quran and the Satan inspired practices of the Wahhabis using both the Quran, Hadith and the Sunnah, Traditions of the Prophet to discredit the Satan following Wahhabis who wants to destroy Muslims from within and impose the 7th Century Arabian Culture.

    Like the house of wisdom in Baghdad and the great Islamic Philosophers like Avicenna, Avorres and others who put reason above revelation, if supported by evidence and facts, the Wahhabi Ideology need to be challenged. Sri Lankan Muslims have become victims of the Satanic ideology, and but the Sri Lankan Muslims as well the non-Muslims suffer because of the Satanic Saudi Wahhabi ideology.

    Sri Lanka Muslims and many Muslims are like sheep just following the Wahhabis and other Muslims blindly without questing them. The Muslims during the Golden age of Islam were more enlightened and informed than the current blindly following Muslims. Now the Ulema council in Lanka, the land of Native Veddah, want to change the abaya color to Pink from Black, What a joke. To begin with it was not needed.

    It is an edict of the Ulema., just like preventing Muslim women going to the mosques and riding horse or camels or driving cars, imposed by the Saudi Wahhabis, So, the Muslims need a Muslim Martin Luther, with 99 theses to discredit the Wahhabi ideology and Nail the 99 Theses, to the doors of All Wahhabi Mosques. Can you find one or more Muslims intellectuals who can take on this project? Will Rishad Bathiudeen be A Potential Future Muslim Leader?

    a) Hadith of Najd http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith_of_Najd

    “A number of authors have claimed that the hadith refers to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the patronym of the Wahhabi movement. It is accounted that the origin of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab is from the modern day Najd region of Saudi Arabia,”

    b) In the Index of the Meaning if The Holu Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the index contains multiple citations for Satan ( Sahitan, Devil), Satan,

    Cannot harm the Believers Do not follow or obey worship Enemy of man Fails in his promise Fears Allah Has no authority over Allah’s servants Makes sins fair-seeming Misdeeds and deceives Party of, will perish Seek refuge from Allah from Tempted Adam and Eve Whisperer of evil See also Iblis Satan’s Handiwork Iblis , refused to prostrate, see also Satan.

    c) Satan’s Seven Strategies SUHAIB WEBB | NOVEMBER 2, 2012 5:00 AM According to Ibn Qayyim, Shaytan uses seven strategies to wipe you out, and they are ranked according to your ability to defend yourself. They are:
    1. To make someone a kaafir (someone who is given the message and he rejects it).
    2. To make someone commit al bid’ah (innovation).
    3. To make someone commit major sins.
    4. To make someone commit minor sins.
    5. Wasting time doing things that are permissible.
    6. To choose to do the lesser of two good deeds.
    7. An all out attack.

    d) Wahhabis and Satan agree, and believe the same. Here is an interesting post that was on facebook written by someone else (I didn’t write this): http://www.yanabi.com/index.php?/topic/426240-conversation-between-a-wahabisalafi-and-shaitan-satan/

    “Wahabi: No. I follow Saudi announcement. Satan: Me too. Satan: I am shocked. We have the same beliefs. Why I am a Satan and you are still a Muslim? Wahabi: I don’t know. May Allah save Islam from the evil of Wahabism. Ameen. “

  • 3

    If Tamil Muslims and Sinhala Muslims can unite, why Tamils and Sinhalese fight?


    • 3

      That’s a good one ‘aratai’
      The problem is that ‘if’.
      That ‘if’ is there because the Muslims never had a leader, let alone ‘Good leaders’. After TB Jayah this community never had a leader so far. Ashrof was Smart, Good Cunning and intelligent too, but his priority was the East, due to obvious reasons. The rest worked hard for their perks and for the sake of popularity. The only person to represent Muslim community, I have in mind is Imitiaz Marker. A Muslim leader must be a Sinhala Muslim not a Tamil Muslim. A Tamil Muslim would not be populat among Sinhalese and as well as a Tamil Muslim leader would clash with his Tamil counterpart on various issues pretty often. Back to Square one?

      Tamils on the contrary had very good leaders but they were generously eliminated/killed/Murdered by their own folks. On the other hand those Tamil leaders too never considered the upcountry and Indian Tamils were part of them. There you go! Thondamans were disasters. Today Tamils can rely on people in the caliber of Sumanthiran, a definite leader material.

      Sinhalese the majority had thousands of clowns as leaders. Apart from DS & R Premadasa (Me not a Preme fan at all) none of them did anything for the community or to the country. Dudley Senanayake the Gentleman was indeed a Gentleman, its unfair to forget him so I am compelled to mention his name here.
      Sadly some powerful elements in the Sinhala society expect a Sinhala leader, must be biased and prejudiced. Pro Sinhala and/or pro Buddhist is not enough for them. All they want is a leader with an anti-Tamil/Muslim ideology.

      Would Sri Lanka have peace? Would SL have a proper leader ever? First we all must keep the Religion/Race aside. Lets learn to say ‘I am a Sri Lankan’ first and foremost. Then lets stop copying India.

      Rushdy Nizar – Ask your community,
      -Why half of the Muslim population speak Tamil and not Sinhalese still.
      -Why the Muslim kids still studying in Tamil Medium and not Sinhala Medium?
      -Apart from Kabir Hashim, Imitiaz Marker & Rauf Hakim how many other so called Muslim leaders could speak proper Sinhalese?

      There is absolutely nothing wrong in learning or speaking Tamil or any other languages. Tamil is indeed an ancient beautiful language alright but its not yours. Besides the Muslims have a problem here in the country, If they speak Arabic or Urdu its somewhat fair enough and acceptable since their forefathers were Arabs mainly but why Tamil?

      • 4

        Flycatcher says “There is absolutely nothing wrong in learning or speaking Tamil or any other languages. Tamil is indeed an ancient beautiful language alright but its not yours. Besides the Muslims have a problem here in the country, If they speak Arabic or Urdu its somewhat fair enough and acceptable since their forefathers were Arabs mainly but why Tamil?”

        That is because their Forefathers are ARABIC but their FOREMOTHERS ARE NOT FROM ARABE. And also all Muslims do not have forefathers from Arabia. Majority of them are converts from Other Community. Most of Muslims speak Tamil because most of their Foremothers could be from Tamil Community!

      • 1

        I would add much broader sense to this.

        Sri Lanka yet to see a political leader after independence.

        We have sort of unaccountable sub-contractors to manage government institutions what ever the way they wish in the name of mandate from people.

        If you read the constitutions of UNP that address clearly the effort of UNP is to compete in election to come in to office. Beyond that they too have nothing to deliver in terms of vision. Only benefit is international bodies willing to lend money and support in return to ruin the country.

        Other political parties fail to have neither political vision nor western allies. I wonder how Milinda Moragoda take this government and Gota in to hook while staying with them.

        When in come to politics, it should be to serve people and ensure the justice and freedom prevail to all citizens. However this basic values are missing within the hears and minds of entire political machine including the constitution.

        Each community going to recognize the politicians who serve their region in terms getting sub-contract work relating to their area and provide logistical support to their voters and this being colored with religion by convenient.

        I extremely doubt Rishard can explain his political vision if at all have any. This not some thing unique to Rishard including Mahinda, Ranil and Anura Kumara all are in same bucket. No one of these leader have even intellectual backing in terms of policy formation and recommendation as our intellectual domain itself in vacuum.

        Simply we Sri Lankans altogether a community without leadership that pave a way to place radicals and counter radicals to influence our life.

    • 3

      If a Muslim was attacked in Palestine, they will do a protest in Sri Lanka but they don’t protest even if 1000s killed in Sri Lanka. Will you protest if a Tamil/Sinhala was attacked in Pakistan?

  • 3

    Rushdy Nizar –

    Thw Wahhabis are followers if the Devuk, Shaitan, Satan,


    “Students’ understanding of the arts, different cultures and other beliefs are limited.” That’s one of the complaints about Birmingham schools made by Ofsted in their leaked report. It sounds like a relatively mild criticism.

    Not so. What the Trojan Horse scandal has revealed is that leaders of the Muslim community in Birmingham have been creating a Wahhabi-inspired counterculture in secular, not faith, schools.

    Put simply, the interpretation of Islam that’s sweeping through the Muslim world, thanks to Saudi money, seeks to deprive children of any exposure to the arts, which it condemns as idolatrous. Even listening to music is haram, forbidden. The underlying teaching is that the arts, by seeking to create beauty, blaspheme by detracting attention from the only source of true beauty, Allah, which can be appreciated only in the natural world he created.
    The imposition of this ideology on Muslim cultures is a tragedy – for them. But secular state schools in Birmingham are not part of Muslim culture, and their ghettoisation under the years of Labour government is a scandal.

    To be clear about this: primary school children in certain non-faith schools are not taught music because Islamic fundamentalists have been able to manipulate the system.

    Finally, Ofsted has begun to discover what’s going on. I very much doubt whether it would have done so if anyone other than Michael Gove – who is not an Islamophobe but is definitely a veteran opponent of creeping Islamism – were Secretary of State for Education.

    I expect plenty of controversy in the days to come, as the Ofsted report is published and its implications sink in. The BBC will try to dampen it down. We mustn’t let that happen.

  • 7

    This is the same guy who attacked a magistrate in Mannar right lol

    • 0


      Yes , it is the very same gun slinger , now being mooted as a national leader .

  • 3

    The first question that comes to mind is if Rushdy Nizar, for whatever reason, is inspired to push for Rishard Bathiudeen’s leadership of Muslims in Sri Lanka. This may not work for many reasons. One is the untidy behaviour of Bathiudeen who lost his head to the extent he threatened a Judge of a Court and further organised an attack on the Court itself. In any functioning democratic society, such rowdy elements are immediately shown the door. But this is the Rajapakse kingdom – where thuggery and rowdyism rule the roost. In this particular case Bathiudeen escaped with a lie – a hallmark in the Rajapakse regime. The other reason is Bathiudeen’s influence cannot exceed more than a few miles from the Mannar region. It is doubtful if he has enough clout even in the Eastern Province. Of course, he has little support among Muslims in the South and Central parts of the Island. In the Sinhala mind, he will remain a Muslim politician who placed thousands of illegal Muslim settlers in the Wilpattu Park area.

    For the moment, it looks like Muslims in the island are fated to suffer Rauf Hakeem as their leader. Not because he is eminently suitable but because he has support in the North, East and South among Muslims. So the Muslim political tradition of squabble and disunity will prevail.


    • 0

      Do you know that in the World Justice Project ‘Rule of Law Index 2014’, Sri Lanka has been ranked at mid-level at 48 out of 99 countries and that is above all the peers in South Asia.

  • 9

    Seriously? Are you still recovering after your Biriyani sapada from Eid day?

    Yes, Muslims are facing a leadership crisis because we CHOSE to chase after money, although our faith dictates we do anything but.

    We sacrificed our self-respect in order to kiss anybody who facilitated our trading activities, with little regard to the teachings of our faith.

    Of course, we prided ourselves in public with the vestiges of false social status and financial clout.

    We have grand 3000 person weddings for our ill-educated children…
    We drive the latest cars bought with borrowed money, whilst our… ‘investors’ come calling and are sent from pillar to post…
    We build multi-story mosques which are filled just for Jummah…

    And, you think Rishard Badiuddin with barely a 10th standard education should be considered to give leadership to us? He certainly should find comfort in the group mentioned in the previous paragraph. NOT, amongst the rest of us Muslims who still know what it is to have Emaan and follow the teachings of our Prophet.

    The prophet(SAW) said, if you have nothing to contribute, keep your silence!

    • 1

      Abdul Nawaz

      “NOT, amongst the rest of us Muslims who still know what it is to have Emaan and follow the teachings of our Prophet. The prophet(SAW) said, if you have nothing to contribute, keep your silence!”

      Can you please tell that to those who follow Wahhabism.

      Wahhabism and Wahhabi, as a generic terms for the so-called Wahhabi “Muslims” who comprise the following. The Wahhabis, The Salafis, The Deobandis, The Talibans, The ISIS, The Al Queda, The Tauhidis , and others who generally follow the Devil, The Satan, The Shaitan.

      They rename Muslims as kafir and Kill them.

      a) Hadith of Najd http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadith_of_Najd

      b) In the Index of the Meaning if The Holy Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the index contains multiple citations for Satan ( Sahitan, Devil), Satan,

      Read Quran, Chapter 109, The Unbelievers, Kafiroon, which the Wahhabi Devil Followers Ignore.

  • 4

    This must be a joke!
    Rishard Bathudeen is the scum of the earth. He has had several cases against him and is even worse than the corrupt clown Rauf Hakeem!

  • 6

    No credible justifications are given, seems just a propoganda …for Mr.Rishad …nothing to compare with Mr. Hakeem a powerful man still with the ability to coupe with the situation…..

  • 4

    Hmm, sounds like another Rajapakse stooge.
    The rift between the Muslims and SB extremists was not of Hakeem’s making, it came out of actions of BBS, JHU, Weerawansa and the like. Is Hakeem to blame if the Mahanayakes keep silent and give tacit cover for anti-Muslim extremism?

    If Hakeem fails to take a firm stand, he will be marginalised and a more radical current take the leadership of the community. (Dayan Jayatilleke is a man, like Bathiudeen, in search of Rajapakse crumbs; once he gets it, we will be spared his scrawling)

    • 3

      Many Muslims blame Hakim for nothing.
      In fact Hakim is a Good Man, or at least he isn’t a bad guy.
      The man is certainly not rogue or a criminal.
      Hakim is in the wrong party which is SLMC.
      Sri Lanka or Muslims don’t need SLMC.
      Muslims must get rid of people like Aswar first.

      Kumari’s case was a fabrication as tool. If they were in love? I don’t know and its not my business either.

  • 3

    Muslims are their own worst enemies.. this is reflected in the kinds of corrupt and un-ethjical politicians they elect and the oppression of their own women who are forced to cover themselves in black because the men cannot control their lust…

  • 3

    Good luck to the Muslims if such a unscrupulous become their leader.

    We have enough of his dastardly conduct and to receive legitimacy by becoming the Muslim leader?????? This man will sell his mother even like selling the redundant metal of the Tigers.

  • 4

    “All Ceylon Makkal Kachchi (ACMC) under the competent leadership of Rishad Bathiudeen”

    When did the colours change? Isn’t this was “All Ceylon Muslim Congress – ACMC”

    Leave alone potential Future Muslim Leader. He could be appointed as Justice Minister replacing Hakeem. Then he doesn’t have to attack Courts or Threaten Magistrates.

  • 6

    Is Rishad Bathiudin popular because of the much questioned activities he has been engaged in the Vanni, since the end of the war? A special commission of inquiry is needed to investigate and expose his alleged misdeeds.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 2

      Party based on Religion is bound to fail, Moors especially the Ceylon Moors brand them self as Muslims, of course there may be many reasons for this, but it does not favour the national question. RB may have a closed cupboard, but at least trying to do something different. SL politics are self serving vehicles. Integrity of all politicians are a big question. Seems a lost case unless the base changes.

  • 1

    Isn’t it sad that we cannot speak in terms of a national leader rather than a leader of a small group. Is it so difficult to rise above ethnicity and religion, and stand for truth and justice.? Will the Muslims ever produce even another Badiuddin Mahmood ?

  • 3

    Rushdy Nizar,

    Are you serious? Rishard Bathiuddin is a thug. You want your people to be led by a thug? Wake up, man. Haven’t we got the biggest thug of all, Mahinda Rajapaksa, leading the UPFA and the Sinhala people to hell? You want the muslims to go down the same route? Grow up and be sensible!

  • 0

    Each year, the World Justice Project surveys 99 countries to come up with their Rule of Law Index. The ‘Rule of Law Index’ measures how the rule of law is experienced in everyday life in those 99 countries. The Index is intended for a broad audience of policy makers, civil society, practitioners, academics, and others.

    The index put Denmark as No.1 and Singapore No.10 and Sri Lanka at No.48 and India at No.95 in the 2014 list.

  • 2

    Richard Bathiudeen s not a leader material but he is a real thug and a rowdy. Just go back and see what he has done, especially after the Nandiladal holocaust. Any one associating and supporting Mahinda nad his loony brothers are not fit to lead any thing let alone a party.

    Look at Mahinda’s supporters;
    Marvyn, Weeravansa,JHU/Champika,BBS and saffron robed thug Atte Gnanasara, Gunasena Amaraya, KP, Dog Douglas, Karuna the killer,Pillayan,GL Peiris pappa, Rambukwela, the list is too lonnnnng..

    Just give one, just one decent, honest, honorable, person in this rowdy government. You cannot find a single individual. All are selfish, opportunist political good for nothing prostitutes. Rishad and Aswer are the worst kind today.

  • 0

    Rishard Bathiudeen IS a muslim leader. I wonder if Rushdy means leader of all the Muslims in SL? Has there ever been such a character? Mr Ashraff may have thought that he was the leader but that was his opinion. The problem in that kind of thinking is that a leader of the Muslim community as an entirety would no be compelled to see politics as a zero sum game.

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.