14 December, 2018

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Secretariat For Muslims Welcomes Sumanthiran’s Recognition Of Ethnic Cleansing Of Northern Muslims

The Secretariat for Muslims (SFM) would like to acknowledge the recent public statement by Tamil National Alliance M.P M.A. Sumanthiran made in early May at the meeting to commemorate the 36th death anniversary of S.J.V. Chelvanayagam held in Vantharumoolai, Batticaloa. Recognising the Expulsion of the Northern Muslims from the five districts of the North – Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Mulaitivu and Kilinochchi as an act of ethnic cleansing, Mr. Sumanthiran reportedly stated that the Tamil community needs to acknowledge its own mistakes and take steps to correct them, including in not neglecting the Muslim community. He emphasized that unless the Tamil community does this, it would have no moral right to expect others, including the international community to take up their grievances. We welcome this statement and the collective statement by leading Tamil political activists in 2011 as important steps in rebuilding and reconciling relations between the Tamil and Muslim communities in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Mr. Sumanthiran’s gesture provides an example to other political and civil society leaders of the measures that need to be taken to strengthen peace in Sri Lanka.

M.A. Sumanthiran

Sri Lanka is faced with the challenge of transitioning from a protracted conflict to one of sustainable peace. The country has endured a bitter and long drawn-out war that has created multiple ruptures, polarized society and formed ethnic enclaves. There has been only limited progress in achieving substantive reconciliation, and much remains to be done by the major stakeholders – first and foremost the State – to address the fears and divisions between ethnic and religious communities. Processes for healing and trust building among communities, are few in number and have to function in an extremely challenging environment. There have been few attempts to celebrate the diversity and pluralism of our peoples.

Instead, we are witnessing efforts to drive freshly formulated communalistic divisions along ethno-religious lines.  The first five months of 2013, for instance, have seen a significant surge in problems for the Muslim community in the form of an insidious hate campaign resulting in violence against and harassment of the Muslim community and in creating tensions between the Muslims and Sinhalese Buddhists in particular. Although some political leaders have spoken out and up against this campaign, there is also self censorship and insufficient expression of outrage. Therefore, we call upon others, like Mr. Sumanthiran has done, to speak up. In turn, we also call upon political and civil society leaders from the Muslim community to play their part in reconciling Sri Lankan society, including in highlighting the challenges and problems faced by communities other than their own, and to putting forward common solutions to problems shared with other communities.

As the country attempts to transition from war to peace there are a whole range of issues that need to be addressed including resettlement and reintegration of war-torn communities in the North. There have to be greater efforts by both Muslims and Tamils to recognise each other’s histories. Northern Muslims are finding it difficult to return, integrate and rebuild life in the north and are facing discrimination at the hands of some elements of the Tamil leadership and administration in the Northern Province. Hence, it is important for Tamil politicians and civil society to play a role in re-building ties and recognising the suffering of the Muslim community. Tamils also complain of Muslims being prioritised in assistance programmes. Muslims and their leaders in particular need to be more sensitive to the losses suffered for decades by the Tamil community:  the many deaths and disappearances of loved ones, the brutalisation of social life and the devastation of the northern landscape.  In order to move forward, Muslims and Tamils in the north must find a way to live together and again celebrate the common heritage shared through the Tamil language and their strong linkage to the land they both call home, while also ensuring the due place of the Sinhala community in the province.

We all need to invest more time and energy in finding ways to speak to each other across our divisive politics and histories of suffering in order to ensure a future of coexistence and wellbeing for all Sri Lankans.

By the Secretariat for Muslims

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Latest comments

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    Was this Sumanthiran’s private view or do the rest of the TNA subscribe to it? Is there an official stand on this they are prepared to state on their election platforms?

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      It could be noticed from various speeches made by Sumanthiran that he is taking the initiative to charter a new course for the Tamils in moving towards meaningful reconciliation between all the communities in Sri Lanka and he believes that reconciliation between the Tamils and Muslims should be the first step. In this direction he voices his concern on all issues that affects the Muslim community when Muslim politicians have failed in that respect. Sumanthiran is steadily becoming a strong leader of the Tamils community and, therefore, his thinking could become the policies of the TNA itself, particularly in regard to Tamil- Muslim relations, whatever the present thinking of the TNA could be on such matters. It now matters for the Muslims to reciprocate Sumanthiran’s approach and find ways to interact with him and the TNA.

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      Sumanthiran is in the TNA, but he is a statesman who rises above politics. He is a statesman for the whole nation and all peoples who are opposed to clan rule and those who like healing, fairness, the rule of law and democracy. This is the man who is going to be at the forefront of restoring all of those things for Sri Lanka. Sumanthiran transcends political party, religion and ethnicity. He stands for common sense and what is right. Thank you for being our there Mr. Sumanthiran!

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      As a reciprocal gesture, The Secretariat for Muslims must recognize ethnic cleansing of Tamils in Eastern province carried out by Muslim home guards and Muslim politicians. Will they ever do it.

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      Kamals,

      1. TNA is the local surviving representative of LTTE. So, TNA is equally responsible like the LTTE, the Racist Tamil movement,that was formed in opposition to the Racist Sinhala Buddhist State,

      2. Let’s look at the discrimination done by the Tamils especially Muslims and then Sinhala. For Tamils, both are alien, even the Tamil Speaking Muslims.

      3. Over 100,000 Tamil speaking Northern Muslims expelled from 5 Northern Districts, Courtesy of LTTE.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbhskKMnYlA

      On this program Sanjana Hattotuwa talks to Dr. Farzana Haniffa, Senior Lecturer, University of Colombo.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrzv4m9NfAA

      Interview with Dr. Farzana Haniffa | P2

  • 0
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    The need for a real reconciliation have to be recognized by all parties. We had a good relationship between Tamil speaking Tamils and Muslims for long in the North East and there are many factors that contributed to the deterioration of this relationship. These factors include internal factors such as competition for resources and employment within the region and external factors such as divide and rule policy of the state. These factors are inter related and difficult to finger point this is the factor responsible for that deterioration. Both Tamils and Muslims should openly recognize and accept that both communities made mistakes in the past and publicly apologies for their mistakes and work together towards facing the threat faced by Tamils and Muslims.

    If both Tamils and Muslims get together and work in the interest of the people of North East, it is not possible for the majority community to make unwarranted and unlawful acts against the Tamil speaking communities in the name of religion, language or race.
    For this to happen, we need more people like Sumanthiran to evolve from both Tamils and Muslims.

  • 0
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    Mr Sumanathiran should have gone the whole hog and tendered a public apology on behalf of his TNA mates, especially its leader Sambandan who was part and parcel of the LTTE political wing.

    • 0
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      Doi sumana monk, all tamils part and parcel of fighting for freedom from stone age mongrels. They fight different ways, all united one think freedom…ltte gone but struggle will go on until we reach our goal…

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        J.muthu

        “ltte gone but struggle will go on until we reach our goal…”

        Which is……….

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          Freedom for my people, called tamils of great ealam….

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            Freedom from what? Your people…are u the elected head? since when?? And where is this mythical eelam??

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            J.muthu

            “Freedom for my people, called tamils of great ealam….”

            Does your imagined Eelam consist part of greater Bharat?

            How did you arrive at this so called name Eelam? What is the basis for it?

            My elders tell me Freedom and Tamils don’t mix.

            My elders also tell me Freedom and Sinhala/Buddhists don’t mix.

            My elders also tell me Freedom and Muslim don’t mix.

            Can you please explain your version of freedom?

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              Dont you see the problem. The real problem is your elders. Pretty nasty lot. Dont believe them they are a dirty lot

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      It is a matter for Tamils and Muslims of North East who are inhabitants of that land to resolve their issues.

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        Ajith

        “It is a matter for Tamils and Muslims of North East who are inhabitants of that land to resolve their issues.”

        What are you talking about?

        When did the Tamils and Muslims as inhabitant of North East get to decide/resolve anything by themselves?

        Either the Sinhala/Buddhist state or the armed groups of Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese determined everything for the people.

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      K.A Sumanasekera

      “Mr Sumanathiran should have gone the whole hog and tendered a public apology on behalf of his TNA mates”

      So you mean his apology was uncalled for?

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    Yes, Both Tamil muslims and Tamils should unite together for betterment like Tamil muslims and other Tamil communities in TN. Both should prosper and share mutual good-will.

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      manisekaran

      You may have a good relation with Tamilnadu Muslims but you don’t seem to be having good relation with your own Tamils.

      Why do you continue to burn down Dalit huts, homes and rape their women? Do your men have special license to rape women if so who granted them?

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        This is very minimum and happening mostly southern part of TN. The atrocities have been for last 200 years, somehow in last 20 years we eradicated 90% of them, it will stop soon one day. Now dalits and scheduled tribes have mcuh improved life and they work asdoctr, engineer, scientist, even as enterprnuer.

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          manisekaran

          Their lively hood may or may not have improved but you should be ashamed of your own people for committing atrocities against the Dalits.

          Even though their economic status have improved (it is out of their own hard work against all odds), their social status still remains the same.

          When will you accept them as fellow human beings? What are you doing about it?

          What is your opinion about Ramados and his party?

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            I partly agree NV.

            The issues you mentioned are restricted to few districts, like Theni, Tirunelveli, some part of Madurai and viluppuram. In most other parts in schools and colleges we share friendship and slowly things have changed. Yes I agreed that few casteist minded parties are against inter-caste marriage and people started rejecting them. Did you not notice that Ramadoss in jail and nobody cares.
            I rely on ever improving education of my land and that will put in another 20 years, the status will be soley on economy than any mythical caste. After all 2000 years of menace and practice, we need some time to eleminate this menace. Poeple priortites are changing with urbanisation.( Please note TN is urbanised to the extent of 46%). Now people want IT job,IIT education,IIM MBA, US visits, not petty fights.

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              manisekaran

              Only this afternoon my elders informed me that no action was taken by cops on torture by caste Hindus, according to dalits.

              This what they read from today’s Indian Express:

              “However, recently the police allegedly said that they are not in a position of taking action on the caste Hindus since they had the backing of political leaders. A group of dalit leaders met the Collector, who had assured of action on their petition”

              Why aren’t you fighting for their rights? I don’t think you are doing enough to stop inhuman treatment of Dalits, may be it is their problem and not yours.

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              Manikasekaran,

              You need to admit that the Core Caste Problem lies with Hinduism and its beliefs. Brahmins on Top all the way to the Dalits at the bottom. But all came from East Africa 70,000 years ago.

              https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/

              In the West, they took the Black People as slaves. However,,after 500 years, a Black man becomes a President in a country that is 85% white, because Christianity and many other religions do not have this problem in their religions.

              You can believe in your Myth. Are you a Brahmin to defend these Myths? Until these Myths are expunged, the problem will linger.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mythology

              A mythology is a body or collection of myths (a mythos, e.g., Inca mythology) as well as the study of them (e.g., comparative mythology).[1] In folkloristics, a myth is a sacred narrative usually explaining how the world or humankind came to be in its present form,[2] although, in a very broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story.[3] Bruce Lincoln defines myth as “ideology in narrative form”.[4] Myths may arise as either truthful depictions or overelaborated accounts of historical events, as allegory for or personification of natural phenomena, or as an explanation of ritual. They are transmitted to convey religious or idealized experience, to establish behavioral models, and to teach.

              DeJa Vu…..

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              Amarasiri,

              Where I defended caste system? In fact I, alongside my educated friend in TN are aspiring for its elemination. Did my post convey a different meaning?

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    In the absence of a charismatic leader for Muslims, Tamil National Alliance M.P., Hon. Sumanthiran could be a formidable choice to lead the Muslims until such time they come up with one of their own.

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    Is it time for “TNA” to drop the “T”?

    TNA was formed by uniting different parties to have a strong voice for NE. That objective was met although has not got much in the form of rights.

    With time we have seen the south too has lost the basic rights it had and unfortunatly for them their disunity so great that they dont have a direction.

    So why not “TNA” drop the “T” and call it NAP (National Alliance for Progress)and join hands with the south and go nationally.

    One issue is I cannot think of a party in the south that could be trusted. :)

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      That might very well be an excellent idea….

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        I second this proposal.

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    Other leading politicians can also learn from this speech.

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    Emerging gentleman politician.

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      A lot of people are starting to see it to, but we have known all along!

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    Thank you Sri Lankan Muslims for doing this. I hope M. A. Sumanthiran uses the credibility that Muslims have helped build upon to unify the nation, restore democracy and the rule of law, heal and get rid of clan rule. I think the article was well written and it shows that Muslims in Sri Lanka want unity and peace. Please assist M.A. Sumanthiran in any way you can to give him a chance to be president.

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    Mr.Sumanthiran is never going to be president this is not his fault nor is it the fault of anyone in particular. Whether we like it or not Sri Lankan culture has dictated for generations to look at ourself by race or religion not nationality.

    For anyone other than a Sinhala Buddhist to be president the country should have a real reconcilation in fact and spirit then citizens become equals race and religion does not matter.

    This is where people like Mr.Sumanthiran become real assets to the country bringing intergrity to parliament showing every citizen is an asset irrespective of race.

    Before crooks entered into politics to scam the country there were honest politicians who truly believed they had a calling to serve not be served. So lets hope we see some new faces in politics of people with honour and intergrity.

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    It is sad to see that Mr Sumanthiran does know the history of the Tamils Struggle.

    The LTTE in 2002 excused themselves of their past mistakes to the Muslims and even asked them to come and resettle in their homeland.

    If needed I can provide you the documents for this

    So calling this as ethinic cleanising is stupid.

    Sumanthiran is playing cheap politics as he is a cheap chap thinking he will win the support doing this
    We Tamils respect the Muslims living in Sri Lanka.

    So please stop playing politics and be truefull.

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      Last year a group of “concerned citizens” (mostly Tamil) called for the resettlement of the evicted Muslims and the ethnic cleansing practiced by the self-appointed “sole reps” of the Tamils of that time. However, they did not go onto also call for the re-settlement of the singhalses who were evicted from the North during the period prior to 1983. It has been argued that many of the Sinhalese who were evicted from the North languished in the Colombo suburbs (ignored by the UNP govt.) and some were part of the goons who turned on the Tamils in 1983.
      Mr. Sumanthiran should call for the resettlement of ALL those people who were evicted (irrespective of race), and who still desire to go back to where there were, before these programs, based on the claim of “exclusive” Homelands began. We as tamils can claim a homeland, but not an EXCLUSIVE homeland. Some of us live in a Colombo suburb and call that our home since about 1910, when we moved to Colombo from the North.

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        The Tamils claim homeland in the North –East but they do not say only Tamils can live there. The Tamils are NOT against the free movement of all Sri Lankans from coast to coast of Sri Lanka. They are against the state sponsored colonization/Ethnic cleansing, which is against the international laws and constitutes a crime against humanity. The government shouldn’t be in the business of social engineering. The Tamils living in the South are not settled by the government. They moved there voluntarily with their own money for economic reasons and to escape the carpet bombings of the Sinhala air force.

        If the Sinhalese want to live in the land mine infested, arid land of Jaffna with no employment opportunities, leaving the lush green areas of the Sinhala South, they should buy the land by paying the market price. The Tamils have no qualm about that. :)

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        //they did not go onto also call for the re-settlement of the singhalses who were evicted from the North during the period prior to 1983.//

        First of all, the North –East is the historic habitat of the Tamil speaking people not the Sinhalas. But the government have been settling the Sinhalese more than ever before in the North – East. There is no need for the Tamils to invite the Sinhalese.

        (Please see the Video).

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZhS9_ubJFA

        The LTTE didn’t evict any Sinhalese but the Sinhalese who came to make a living in Jaffna left their own and returned to their huts in the South- Sinhala homeland. The Sinhalese left Jaffna, because it is not their original homeland but the Tamils remained there with the Sinhala bombardments and atrocities of the occupying mono ethnic Sinhala military, because the North -East provinces belong to them and they have nowhere to go.

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          thivya

          “The LTTE didn’t evict any Sinhalese but the Sinhalese who came to make a living in Jaffna left their own and returned to their huts in the South- Sinhala homeland.”

          Sinhala student who were at Jaffna University were mercilessly attacked and put on trans and sent back to south in 1977 just after riots.

          A situation/atmosphere that was created in the north which was not conducive for Sinhalese to live there.

          The last Sinhalese to live in the north Gamini Navaratne, the Saturday Review editor was forced to leave by the LTTE.

          Even the other Tamil groups never had a chance to open their Eelam stalls and were mercilessly massacred and banned by your vanguards.

          Did Muslims leave the north on their own accord?

          In the East babies were smashed on the walls and killed and many border villagers lost their lives to the brutal LTTE.

          Tamils are not better racists than the Sinhala/Buddhist.

          Sinhala/Tamil revisionism cannot hide their own racism.

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            native Vedda You are a true native of Sri Lanka. You speak the native language “Lie”. A true Sri Labnkan. All your facts are written in the native language – the language of lies. Why you failed to to say “Sinhala student who were at Jaffna University were mercilessly attacked and put on trans and sent back to south in 1977 just after riots – and it was heavily snowing in Sri Lanka at that time.
            and
            It was the LTTE who created the tsunami which mercilessly took away many Sinhalese unborn children who were living in lands as far as Indonesia.
            It was also the LTTE you forcibly removed your brain when you were fast as sleep isn’t it,
            See I too can speak Sri Lankan – who is a better native now you decide.
            Lie Lanka Matha Upe Lie Lanka …..

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    Mr. Sumanthiran is just a nominated MP. First of all he should get the mandate of the Tamils by contesting in Election in the North or East before apologizing to the Muslims on behalf of Tamils. Prabahakran apologized to the Muslims, Did any Muslim apologize for the Veeramunai, Arugambay & other massacres of Tamils by the Muslims.

    The truth is the Sri Lankan Muslims were not just innocent bystanders in this Sinhala war against Tamils. They were active participants in the killing of Tamils. Many massacres of Tamils were committed by the Muslims home guards with the help of the Sinhala army. There is enough independent recorded evidence for that, even online.

    The Sinhalese have been trying to divide the Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka to weaken the Tamil speaking people. They have succeeded in that, once the East is fully colonized by the Sinhalese, the Muslims won’t be any use for the Sinhalese. Only then will the Muslims realize this was a divide and rule game the Sinhalese have been playing with the Tamils and Muslims.

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      thivya

      “The Sinhalese have been trying to divide the Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka to weaken the Tamil speaking people.”

      Do Sir Pon Ramanathan and aftermath of 1915 riots ring a bell?

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        //Do Sir Pon Ramanathan and aftermath of 1915 riots ring a bell?//

        The same Sir.Ramanthan who foolishly helped the Sinhalese was backstabbed by them a few years later. He tried his best to unite the Tamils and Muslims. He tried to embrace the Muslims as his own brethren and said they were the same race as the one he belonged to. In short, the Muslims were really a group of Tamils who had embraced a new religion, Islam.

        Sir Ramanthan, a scholar, based on his research and advancing physical, social and cultural evidence as his support, came to the conclusion; the Muslims were Tamils whose religion was Islam in the same way as other Tamils were Hindus or Christians.

        Just like now, the leadership of the North- Eastern Muslims was hijacked by the Carpet baggers from the South. The Southern Muslims, mainly the Malay Muslim leadership, was the main reason for this Tamil – Muslim divide in Sri Lanka. They are the ones who should be blamed not Sir. Ramanthan. The Sinhalese exploited this Tamil – Muslim divide, that’s why we the Muslims and Tamils, the linguistic brethren, are at each other’s throat.

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