25 September, 2023


Speak Out ACJU!

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The battle over 20th Amendment appears to be heading for a victory to one person, and that person is neither Gotabaya nor Mahinda but their brother Basil Rajapaksa who, with one leg in Sri Lanka and the other in US, is set to enter the parliament. Even though the Supreme Court has virtually given the green light for 20A, with minor changes at the committee stage, trouble is brewing both from inside and outside the Rajapaksa camp. The apparent split in the Sanga demonstrated by the outspokenness of three prominent prelates against the motion is a healthy development, and it is heartening to see the Catholic Church joining in to make the voice of protest louder. The Tamil community except its native informers has already raised its opposition. Alas! where is the voice from the Muslim community?    

After all the agony, sufferings and losses incurred by this community in recent times at the hands of elements that are now supporting the current regime, and wanting to strengthen the President’s power through 20A, the silence of Muslim organizations and their leaders is shocking to say the least. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), the so-called apex religious body of the community and the nerve centre of Islamic orthodoxy has so far not spoken a word either in favour of or against this motion. Why? 

Is it because ACJU does not want to embarrass the Muslim Minister of Justice, who is among the architects of this amendment? Or, is it to sit on the fence and watch which way the wind is blowing to support the winning side? Or, is it because of its otherworldly outlook and general disinterestedness in mundane matters? Whatever the reason may be, it reflects once again the self-alienating trend that crept into the community at least since 1980s.  

This amendment, if goes through the legislature, will destroy the golden traditions of democracy built over more than seventy years, turn the country into an autocracy of the Stalinist kind, and will throw the nation’s plural polity into chaos. It is the Muslim community that will lose most by this change.

Sri Lanka has a proud record in this region of successfully managing a plural society. It is because of that success Muslims were able to survive and thrive for more than a millennium under Buddhist monarchs. The community is certainly indebted to that unique tolerance and freedom extended by Buddhist rulers of that golden era. 

Today that tolerance and freedom is in danger of being destroyed by a powerful cartel of Buddhist supremacists whose agenda is to homogenise the society and mold it to fit into their own image of Buddhist rule. To achieve that they want an autocratic president with unlimited powers. Unfortunately, Covid-19 came as an unexpected shock to their machinations. The economic cost of this pandemic is immense. Not only the country is financially bankrupt and peoples’ livelihood and survival are under threat, but also the territorial sovereignty of the island is in danger of being compromised.  As situation worsens the regime fears that the very people who put them to power at the last election will bring them down at the next. It is to prevent that happening 20A is proposed.  

When situation becomes desperate, rulers will not hesitate to use communal and religious issues to divert the attention of Sinhalese masses. Tamils have already gone through this experience and next will be the turn of Muslims. ACJU must be aware of this danger. This is why it is incumbent upon it to come out of the shelf and join the growing wave of opposition against 20A. Its silence is treacherous.

While ACJU is keeping silent, Muslim intelligentsia is behaving shamelessly cowardly. In a few recently organised public functions to thank the services of the army and to encourage the community to come forward to protect ancient Buddhist heritage, members of the intelligentsia who addressed those gatherings did not have the guts to speak out about how security forces looked the other way when Muslims were attacked by thugs and hooligans and destroyed and burnt down Muslim businesses and properties. These so-called dignitaries did not have the courage even to mention incidents like what happened in Pottuvil when the President’s Task Force to protect and manage Buddhist ruins arrogantly encroached into lands owned and cultivated by Muslim farmers. Why is this fear to speak out the truth in front of power? 

This is a sickness that seems to prevail within the community which debilitates its soul. ACJU’s silence demonstrates that sickness and debility. Muslim leaders must realise that the country has reached a critical cross road. Which way it turns will decide the future of minority communities. Will ACJU wake up, speak out?                       

“Pity the nation whose people are sheep

And whose shepherds mislead them

Pity the nation whose leaders are liars

Whose sages are silenced

And whose bigots haunt the airwaves

Pity the nation that raises not its voice

Except to praise conquerors

And aims to rule the world

By force and by torture

Pity nation oh pity the people

Who allow their rights to erode

And their freedoms to be washed away

My country tears of thee

Sweet land of liberty.

(Lawrence Ferlinghetti)  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 9

    Ameer Ali asks, Or, is it to sit on the fence and watch which way the wind is blowing.
    What is the surprise!

    • 3

      Muslim M.P’S/leaders have always been selfish, self-centered and self seeking like the Tamil Arasu Kadchi MPs’ during the yahapalanaya government. Unfortunately the Muslim leaders were always in that game from 1948 onwards. While campaigning for their election victory they promise to do the best for their community. But from the moment they are elected they compete with each other in look for avenues to join the ruling party and obtain ministry ship. Thereafter they continue in the party in power and get the best for themselves and earn enough to contest the next election. Thus they do not care whether they are fish, fowl or vegetable.

  • 3

    Mr. Amir Ali,

    “The battle over 20th Amendment appears to be heading for a victory to one person, and that person is neither Gotabaya nor Mahinda but their brother Basil Rajapaksa who, with one leg in Sri Lanka and the other in US, is set to enter the parliament”.
    The above opening statement in your article is ridicules. There is no need for the government or Rajapaksa brothers to make this “hullabalo0” with the 20th., amendment just to bring back Basil Rajapaksa back to parliament as an MP. He is already having mor admistrative power and authority in the government. If they feel that much of a need for Basil Rajapaksa to enter parliament, like his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he can simply give-up his US citizenship and become a fully fleged Sri Lankan citizen, rather than being a “DUAL CITIZEN”. Mr. Basil Rajapaksa has already publicly stated that he is “NOT” interested in becoming an MP. So all what you have writted following your opening statement is null and void.

    • 1

      Hey Nizam,
      What do you think when come to know it was Hakeem’s idea and leadership all 22 Muslim Ministers and MPs resigned objecting bring Rishard under legal investigation? If Hakeem provide leadership again after he becomes shipping minister will you and Sabre resign with the rest of the 20?

    • 3

      Wonder what happened to this Noor Nizam’s “Muslim Voice.”

      Well, Basil Rajapakse may not be interested in becoming an MP but will he say NO to becoming the President after GR retires in 5 or 10 years? Basil taking over from GR means Namal will have another 5 or 10 years which should mean him becoming more mature and ready to continue the Rajapakse dynasty. Being a Rajapakse acolyte, this guy Noor Nizam will love that won’t he?

  • 1

    In Old Royal time’s, it was Hakeem and Rishard went to Geneva to say that they were never happy in Lankawe like under Old Royals. Then, additionally, Hakeem said Tamil beggars are showing their beggar wounds(Genocide) and begging in UN. They two wanted a grand scale observance this October under this Royal government. But things changed. Instead of remembering of moving out of Mannar, Rishard is observing hiding in Vaalaiththodam house, this October. Hakeem is thrilled of thinking of getting Shipping Minister post for supporting 20A. The new additions Nizam and Sabre are cramming over the essays they need to read in UNHRC in the coming March.

  • 5

    Keep on whitewashing Muslims and pointing finger at Sinhala Buddhists.

    “turn the country into an autocracy of the Stalinist kind, and will throw the nation’s plural polity into chaos.”

    What if the country turn into an autocracy of the Lee Kuan Yew kind?
    You are worried that Muslim politicians will not be able to become ‘King Makers’ and make Sinhalayo dance according to the tune of Muslims.This is what happened during ‘Jadapalana’ Government leading to Muslim terrorist attack. In the new constitution the cut-off point should be raised to 12.5% reversing Premadasa blunder.

  • 1

    “Tamil community except its native informers “

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    Have anyone ever see a Muslim spy or deep penetrating force going into Vanni’s Tiger fortress?

    What is that question? It is so unnatural to them!

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

  • 6

    To date, a few members of the Buddhist Sangha and the Catholic Clergy have publicly voiced their opposition to 20A. These individuals have been consecrated / ordained to such sacred offices in accordance with the tenets of their respective religions and have the right to speak on behalf of the members of their respective communities.

    Islam has no such priesthood. Ulemas are mere Scholars who have achieved a high level of education in Islamic Jurisprudence. They are not members of some spurious ‘Islamic Clergy’. Their duty is to provide guidance and advice to the Muslim community regarding matters pertaining to the practice of Islam. They do not represent the members of Muslim community in any way nor are they spokespersons for the community.

    Why is Ameer Ali attempting to boost the local Ulemas to a position on par with the members of the Buddhists Sangha and the Catholic Clergy by calling upon the ACJU (of which he has been critical in the past) to issue a public statement critical of the proposed 20A ? Or, is Ameer Ali focussed on creating space for the re-emergence of anti-Muslim sentiments by projecting the Muslims as being anti-Pohottuwa ?

    • 4

      Well said ekelbroom. ACJU is this guy Ameer Ali’s betenoire. He must keep on hurling mud at them on a regular basis. Once, he even faulted them for Not criticising the Saudis over the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey when Not even Muslim countries bothered to comment. Obviously, his comments are NOT objective but subjective, particularly when it comes to ACJU.

  • 0

    Rishard arrested early morning 3:30. His smart use of SIMS cards did not help him to remain hidden while using a cell. Probably this SIMS number was released by Vaalaiththodam to police. Equally criminal is Batticola Hisbullah. He has 3,000 cores in bank account. So neither Yahapalanaya nor Royals are willing to arrest.
    Mubarak said Tamils are Modayas because when a Tamil was the Governor to East, they complained to government and had changed him. Mubarak probably knows the list of those who are going to be honored by the visit of CID. So, before the Rishard’s fate comes to him also, he is trying to hide his treasure inside a Tamil Vetti. If Mubarak or Hisbullah receives the same honor Rishard received, Tamil will treat them as one in Tamils because that is what these spies rewarded Tamils with. Best wishes for Mubarak!

  • 0

    True colors of the ACJU has come out.. they were silent on the 20A as they knew about the cross over so they did not comment on the negatives of 20A.

    Hakeem and Badurdeen; to avoid been castigated stayed on the loosing side, after sending enough votes to get it passed… !!

    No balls to decide on what’s right and wrong (even a pig’s have more ribs and spine) then our brotherhood – MP’s sold their soul for LKR 20 RS.


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.