30 September, 2020

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Some Thoughts On Muslims & Constitution

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The debate over a yet to be published new constitution or amendments to the existing constitution has reached such a hyper ethnic sensitivity that any room for a rational analysis seems to have been conspiratorially edged out. Any mention of the term federalism or its sanitised parallel devolution in assessing the merits of various constitutional measures to protect and maintain the territorial sovereignty and societal plurality of Sri Lanka has become so poisonous to sections of the Sinhalese Buddhist electorate that any Buddhist who does not support that electorate has automatically become a traitor just as the LTTE viewed its Tamil opponents. The fact that Sri Lanka had never been a unitary state but a federal one until the British artificially made it unitary in 1815 has somehow been forgotten conveniently. In fact, Buddhism and the Buddhists prospered more under precolonial federalism than under the colonial unitary polity. 

As far as the Muslim community is concerned it has never been an active participant until now in any constitutional structuring of the island simply because of its historical nexus to trade and commerce on the none hand and almost a religious sprezzatura towards political matters. Whatever the form and nature of the constitution Muslim leadership was only concerned with how many seats in the parliament that the community could capture and how many cabinet positions could those parliamentarians gain. The ubiquity of Muslim population and the decisiveness of its voting power enhanced that possibility. Even when the JR constitution was introduced, instead of fighting to repudiate that adversarial constitution by joining the opposition at that time the community was concentrating to form an ethnic party of its own to maximise its chances of capturing seats and cabinet portfolios in the parliament. The politics of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress since then speaks for itself. Surprisingly, even in the current constitutional debate the reigning SLMC leader according to news reports appears to be worried more of the prospect of reduced number of Muslim parliamentarians in the post-constitutional parliament than anything else.

However, the one issue that is dominating the constitution debate within the Muslim community is that of the north east merger. In spite of the historical linguistic and literary confluence between the Tamil and Muslim communities in the two provinces the political spasm between them has been widening since the time of independence. While the hegemony of Tamil leadership in the north and east was feared by Muslims the political opportunism of Muslims was frowned upon and hated by Tamils which kept the two communities politically apart. While the Tamil leadership ignored the Muslims and concentrated its energy and effort to achieve an independent “Tamil Arasu” in the traditional Tamil areas, which metamorphosed into “Tamil Eelam” under LTTE, the Muslims were left to fend for themselves to win their rights in the face of a raging ethnic majoritarian Buddhist hegemony. To the Muslims therefore the issue of merger or demerger is a choice between two hegemonies, whether to live under the national hegemony of the Buddhists in demerged north and east or under the regional hegemony of Tamils in a merged north-east. 

The post-civil war anti-Muslim aggression and violence unleashed by a section of the Buddhists led by a few un-Buddhist monks with covert sympathy from the MR opposition but unchecked by the MS regime on the one hand and the un-readiness of the Tamil leadership to treat the Muslims not as a junior partner but as an equal partner in their struggle for constitutional rights and safeguards on the other is making that choice depressingly difficult. When hearts don’t agree of what use is a marriage contract even if it is written in gold?

This is the tragedy of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese don’t trust the Tamils, Tamils don’t trust the Muslims and Muslims don’t trust both. Because of this mutual mistrust the country has become a playground for foreigners who are stealing the nation’s wealth in broad daylight. The real and immediate issue is not the constitution but the economy and sovereignty of the country. Power hungry politicians thriving in unbridled corruption and nepotism, a relentlessly widening wealth gap, mounting national debt, a dangerously deteriorating natural environment and the emerging threat of foreign stranglehold on national assets have not only ruined the economy but also hollowed the country’s democracy and devalued national sovereignty. What is more pathetic in the midst of all these unsavoury developments is that the religious leadership which did at one time work to create a healthy plural society in Sri Lanka has taken a partisan approach to destroy the nation’s pluralist heritage. 

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School, of Business and Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia  

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    Tamil politicians , who are for the merger should come with the list of disadvantages under the partitioned provincial councils of North and East. And Muslim politicians , who oppose the merger should produce a list of disadvantages of councils being merged for peoples to get a clear picture.

    If Muslim politicians keep complaining that we are sidelined by the Sinhalese politicians then why cannot we have a go with merged North-East provincial council on a temporary basis for 5 years to find a final decision. .

    After all it’s peoples decision of the regions matter and not politicians’.

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    Dr. Ameer Ali

    RE:Some Thoughts On Muslims & Constitution

    “This is the tragedy of Sri Lanka. The Sinhalese don’t trust the Tamils, Tamils don’t trust the Muslims and Muslims don’t trust both. Because of this mutual mistrust the country has become a playground for foreigners who are stealing the nation’s wealth in broad daylight.”

    Thanks for a well-written succinct article.

    This is the tragedy of the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, illegally occupied by the Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils, and Para-Muslims is that Para- Sinhalese don’t trust the Para-Tamils, Para-Tamils don’t trust the Para-Muslims and Para-Muslims don’t trust both, and the Native Veddah Aethho. don’t trust any of the Paras.

    There are many good reasons as to why the Paras from India should get back to their Para-Homeland, India, Bengal, Bihar, Kalinga, Orissa. Andra-Pradesh, South India, Tamil Nadu, Kerala Nadu etc. Of course they are going back home, home to their Para-homeland.

    Reference -Genetics

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258335458_Mitochondrial_DNA_history_of_Sri_Lankan_ethnic_people_Their_relations_within_the_island_and_with_the_Indian_subcontinental_populations
    Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people:

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      “and the Muslims don’t trust both”??!!##??? Laughter gives a belly ache! Who doesn’t trust who? Come again. You Muslims have a funny way of trying to get what you want. Total control of our country. WILL NOT WORK THAMBY.

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        Lankaputra ,

        “and the Muslims don’t trust both” and other Muslims, courtesy of Wahhbi-Salafis, because they follow the Satan, Devil, Iblis.

        Reference:

        Al Azhar Scholar: ‘Wahhabism/Salafism is a Satanic Faith, the Horns of Satan’

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZOA3Ho9AUk

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      MODA AMARASIRI: SHENAL asked where those Sinhala Peoples’ original place in India. did you answer that. I also like to go back to my original homeland.

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        Jimsofty the dimwit

        “SHENAL asked where those Sinhala Peoples’ original place in India.”

        The answer is South India. You can relocate to any part of South India and claim your right to live in that part of the region. If you want to live in the Exact Place, please ask specifically for “Erivira Pattinam”. Or contact Prof R. Champakalakshmi who knows the exact place of Sinhala Settlements near Thanjavur.

        You can visit an old temple called Simhala Nachchiyar temple.

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      Thanks god you did not come with ‘Hadithof Najd’. Aynway your usual Mitochondria is there. Are you sick? Or an Humty Dumpty paid well until fall and break apart?

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    You can not see hope I’m Sri Lanka if we all think in communal line ..it is a madness to think in communal line in this modern world ..
    Had it been the case we would not see Singapore like this ..many countries like that of Malaysia ..
    Today muliticultrailism is a reality of modern world ..so; we can not go against to it .
    Do you think sinahslese can wipe out all Tamils from Sri Lanka?
    Do you think Tamils can carve out North and East as they think ?
    No so only way is to live sides by side in peace and harmony…
    I do not support any idea of separation from Sri Lanka..
    Even if Tamils are separated they will keep fight among themselves.
    Cast system is deeply rooted in jaffna .
    Jaffna Tamils look down Baticalao Tamils.
    Trinco Tamils look down Batica. Tamils…all look down up country Tamils..
    So that is why most of Tamils do not like separation of any kind .
    So; make it all different 8 province under control of central government of Sri Lanka..

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    “The Sinhalese don’t trust the Tamils, Tamils don’t trust the Muslims and Muslims don’t trust both”. Has to be rephrased to”
    The Sinhalese don’t trust the Tamils AND Muslims, Tamils don’t trust the Muslims AND the Sinhalese and Muslims don’t trust Singhalese AND Tamils.
    This provides a golden opportunity for a solution. Just derecognise existence of different ethnicities and religions as far the Constitution is concerned.
    Demographic distribution of ethnicities and religions fortunately has made it impossible to form realistic federal units. If Muslims join hands with Tamils to a merged North East while majority occupying other parts Sinhalese must put Muslims on notice that they will be required to be relocated into North East.
    Soma

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    Amarasiri!

    Don’t forget your “Native Veddah Aethho” is also from mainland India, thus he has been a PARA in Sri Lanka. No Sri Lankan is ready to buy your very old stuff, except Native Veddah. You being a Sri Lankan with an IQ level of 79 cannot cheat other Sri Lankans, who may have better IQ level than you.

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    Muslim practicing Islam and Majority speak Tamil then they should consider as Tamils the same talk Sinhalese practicing non Buddhism and they are Sinhalese only politicians are creating the mess for their own gain keep bringing the past and destroying the country

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    Dear Dr. Ameer Ali,

    I read this many hours ago, and wondered what sort of reception it would get. You have analysed clearly, acknowledging the failures of Muslim politicians, speaking rationally of the two other communities. Not all that many comments; I feel that it is because you have not really spelt out a plan for the future. Many comments on ethnic affairs are auto responses; I expected those, and also thought the Wahabis would denounce you, tht hasn’t happened. Good. In not presenting solutions you are not unique. We can all see the dangerous trends, and still await the coming of Godot – or some action from MS.

    *
    Hopefully, more clear articles from those in many communities may goad this government to action. We seem unable to repose much faith in the UNP. So little effort to get new thinking from young people who are NOT carrying on family traditions. The growing chasm between rich and poor, the debt trap etc. We keep carrying on regardless.

    *

    Thanks for being a decent human being who talks sense, but who is going to inspire the country. MS seemed to have it, but he MUST quit in 2020, unless he wishes to complete his dwindling in to a typical politicians. There are silver linings like his visit to the North during which he attempted to reach out to the people more that others before him.

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    I think the discord in SL is due to mixing of politics with religion as understood by its populous. The average IQ in SL is estimated to be 79, well below the “normal” of 100.The various religions have subsects with different interpretations and disagreements causing dissent and difference in the form of worship e.g. the Muslims have two major sects, the Sunni and the Shia and then again various subsects and other variations of religious practice which cause friction in one way or the other .The same applies to other religious groups in SL; and among the Buddhists, caste plays a significant political roll.
    The supreme law of the country which is the constitution cannot favor one religious group over another in a multiracial and multi religious country.
    The present attempt for a new constitution is an exercise in futility. All religions in SL are guilty contributers.

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    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. Unfortunately, the resulting schism between the members of the Majority Community and the members of the Muslim Community continues to deepen and widen, sharpening further the ‘Us vs Them’ syndrome.

    The Muslims have and will always vote for candidates who, in their opinion, will look after the interests of the Muslim Community – specifically, the non-violation of the basic need of Muslims for Physical Safety. The ethnicity and religion of such candidates do not matter to a Minority Group which constitutes less than 10% of the total population. It is time for the National Parties to once again, as in the pre-1978 period, ensure that there are in their ranks, men and women of standing who can regardless of their race or religion, win the confidence of the Muslim Community.

    The voting patterns of the Muslim Community to date does not indicate a felt need among the Sri Lankan Muslims for Electoral Reforms along ethnic lines. It therefore behoves the SL Muslims to demonstrate without any ambiguity their support for the restoration of the maximum possible number of seats under the First-Pass-The-Post system in any future Electoral Reform. We should not be misled or blinded by the actions of various self-styled ‘Muslim Civil Society’ groups and organizations purportedly acting on behalf of our Community with regard to such reforms . Many of these groups have been hijacked by the Muslim Political Parties who see the proposed Electoral Reforms as a vehicle to ensure their maximum representation in future Parliaments

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    Sinhala Chauvinism started wedging within Tamils based on origins, then Religion and, at last Sirimavo used V.Ponnampalam and Shanmugathasan to split on the line of caste. SJV attempted to unite all Tamil speaking society. But perk based wedging is powerful. Those who were easily sold out left Tamils and quickly built their fortunes on the demise of Tamils. Ashar said to Mano Ganesan to do Suneth before talk about Dambulla Mosque. The apparent meaning of it is “You Tamils are jealous of our quick achievement, so trying to split us from our friends the Sinhala Dictators, who see you as their enemy”. But North East Tamils still remaining united to convince the IC and seek justice from them. They believe if they achieve it, they will reverse the country back to 1950s and build it from there on with crashed programs.

    The new influencing factor, Muslims countries want to use their new Oil wealth to convert poor South Asian countries into Wahhabism. The material flows for this purpose from Middle East is many times stronger than the perks Sinhala Governments can offer. In fact the Muslim politicians are now managing well to bring in their own perks to buy Sinhala leadership. Sinhala Leadership who operate on commission finding this new offer from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, Iran… as non-resistible.

    From Thero de Silva in 2009 to through Hakeem in 2012-2014 to Mangala from 2015-2016 the Muslim-Sinhala governments had been fooling International Community very successfully by spreading false promises of devolving power with Tamils. Hakeem worked against EPC by working with Old Royals on Devinegumba and shuttling to Mrs. Clinton with NAP. Through Sirimavo, Athulathmuthali, Chandrika, Old Kings.. …Muslim Leadership offered excellent servitude for the money they were receiving.
    But Yasmin Sooka’s small trial has raised in the minds of Muslim-Sinhala Government of their permanency of their success.

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    So these uneasy partners who united to maximize the perks and Commissions are falling into a self-trap and starting to look at each other with distrust.
    From the time of DS’s MMDA, never in the history on Muslim-Sinhala governments, this much of mistrust had invaded bet between Muslims and Sinhalese. The uncertain minded Muslims leadership, to protect them not falling down to Tamils’ poverty, now asking for Special Unit. They are not sure what they earned is now deserve protection, or risking for new earring is good for them,
    It is visible that there is new enlightenment in Muslims side because they feel they need to protect their quickly built fortunes. Tamils have no point in reversing their course as they are distant third, nothing left with them to lose. Understanding this clearly, Muslim leadership is not seeking support from Tamils, but crying through the nose that the Tamils are not taking care of them. Muslims leaders who had claiming fighting along with Sinhalese to keep country united against Tamils are openly asking to change the constitution and give them their special unit in the East. The Ceylon Muslims, who one time worked only for religion is now sold out for Wahhabi money. This is the confusion Muslims writers and leaders are facing at this juncture. Muslims Leadership ignored Tamil and started to build religion, now in controversial situation of not for language, not for religion, not for Sinhala governments’ mini perks, not for country & Sovereignty , not for Easter Special Unit, but want to bet on the OIC and Wahhabi influence to manage Lankawe politics. Yet, even for this action, they are still naming as they are protecting along with Sinhala Chauvinist, the sovereignty of the country from Tamils.

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    Ameer Ali . Can you explain why the Muslims of Sri Lanka who share a common ethnicity , heritage origin culture ( until they decided recently to give up their almost 1000 year old Tamil Islamic culture and become and look like some pathetic carbon copy of Wahhabi/Salafist clones) and language with the island’s Tamils are afraid to live under a united Tamil North Easter province but never complain of living under the racist chauvinistic Sinhalese down south , who look down on them and constantly abuse them. Strange that despite being ethnically Tamil .No one really believes they are of Arab or Moorish heritage. If there is it is very negligible, that only a few families partially have. Just look at you and every Muslim commentator who posts here , nothing Arab or Moor , Typical Tamil South Indian Dravidians , that 99% of the Sri Lankan Muslims really are. Strange they only want Islamic units in Tamil majority areas but not in Sinhalese areas , where more than 70% of them live. Why. It is not because they fear the Tamils but because they feel the Tamils are now weak and the Sinhalese to further weaken and divide the Tamils will pander to the Muslim demand of Separate Wahhabi style Islamic units( Kattankudi is a good example) in the Tamil east or even give the entire historically Tamil east to the Muslims, despite the Tamils still being the largest community and the Muslims only arriving in the ancient Hindu Tamil east , as refugees a few centuries ago. The Sinhalese will never entertain Islamic units in their areas but will in the Tamil areas.

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    Contd. compared to the Tamils harming the Muslims it was the Muslims who constantly backstabbed and harmed the island’s Tamils immensely from the time of independence till now. In the name of their religion and for political and economic opportunism they denied their actual Tamil origin and heritage and claimed an imagined fake Arab/Moor origin that only miniscule minority partially have. A little bit of Arab does not make you Arab, We all have a little bit of something. Unlike other Muslim people, who mainly emphasise on their ethnicity as their prime identity and then their religion , the Sri Lankan Muslims only emphasised on their religion and denied their ethnicity or claimed a fake ethnicity , thinking it will save them from Sinhalese anti Tamil racism and to make matters worse , overtly and covertly joined the Sinhalese establishment , racists , armed forces and police t discriminate and commit war crimes on the Tamils. Muslim minister introduced Standardisation to deny Tamils higher education. Muslim children , Muslims thugs and criminals organised by Muslim politicians and ministers , join Sinhalese mobs to burn loot Tamil homes and businesses down south and also to kill and rape Tamil civilians. In the east Muslim home guards armed by the Sri Lankan army were killing raping and ethnically cleansing thousands of indigenous Tamil Hindus and Tamilised Hindu vedda from their villages. Resulting in the tragic expulsion of Muslim civilians from the north by the LTTE. Even now in the east the Tamils were denied government ,despite wining the largest amount of seats, by the illegal Sinhalese racist settlers and the Muslims ganging up . Now this Muslim led provincial government is very busy marginalising the Tamils in the east. Tamils never did this when they ruled the north and east. They were fair.

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    R S S.
    There is some truth in your analysis,
    The basic problem in SL is 1.) the low IQ of 79; well below the normal of 100.2.) the system of governing, colonial hangover; partial to one ethnic group over another and some religious groups over others; the rule of divide and rule
    3.) prevailing significant religious caste and class divide among the populous; 4.) unprincipled politicians prone to bribery and corruption and easily gullible people easily swayed by these mostly “lying” types 5.) the judiciary and the people responsible for law and order being unprincipled 6.) and many more.
    The attempt of having a locally baked constitution is an exercise in futility; the local “folks” are attempting to reinvent the wheel which is beyond their ability as past experience has shown.
    The answer is to seek help in drafting a new constitution from a long standing democracy with an emphasis of separation of powers as is in well functioning democratic governments and voted on by the parliament and then the people
    After all the constitution is the supreme law of the country; it’s a tough call.

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