Sri Lankan Muslims And Power Of Vote: Some Reflections

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,MORE OPINION |
 

By Rifai Naleemi -

Rifai Naleemi

Dr. Rifai Naleemi

Provincial council elections are going to be held in some parts of Sri Lanka tomorrow. It is a democratic right of each and every citizen of this country to vote in this election so that people can have their representatives as they like. Muslims of Sri Lanka in this part of the country should vote to make their voices heard in this election. There have been some arguments about Muslim participation in this election. Unlike in the past Muslims are fade up this time to vote with any enthusiasm not because Muslims have no interest in politics rather recent anti-Muslim propaganda made to keep away from this government.  They feel that Muslim community is being systematically marginalised by this government wittingly or unwittingly. Some Muslims feel that they should totally boycott this election.  Some others feel that they should go to voting centres and invalidate their votes as a protest against this government. Some others feel that they should all vote for UNP candidates as a protest vote.

To this extend Muslims are frustrated in politics today. They do not know why and how Muslims are victimised in this communal violence and racism of BBS and its cohorts. Why do they target Muslims and what did innocent Muslims do to harm Buddhism in this country?  Without any reasons Muslims have been targeted by this BBS gangs in recent time. And yet, our politicians have done have done nothing to protect them and their religious places. So, what is the point in voting in this election and what is the point in voting for this government which has grossly failed to protect minority rights. This is the mindset of most of Muslims today in Sri Lanka. Voting or not voting that would not make any difference. This is the perception of some people about this election.

Yet, I strongly feel that Muslim should participate in this election with keen interest. They should exercise their democratic rights so that they could protect their basic rights. In Sri Lankan context as a second minority community we should cleverly use our vote bank. Individually some of us may vote or may not vote and yet, collectively as a community we should vote for candidates who look after communal interest with sincerity and honesty. He should be really supporting Muslim community and look after them and at least not harming them. This is the case when we are electing any candidate for any executive position or membership of parliament.

It is a collectively religious duty of Muslim community to choose the most qualified and most honest person for any public office or position in Sri Lanka otherwise, crook and dishonest people will come to power. They could misuse the mandate given to them by public.  We have seen many politicians in our community they have been cheating our community for a long time in Sri Lanka. This Sri Lankan government prefer to have inactive and incapable Muslim MPs to represent Muslim community in Sri Lanka. Look at some of our politicians who work with this government and they do not have any quality to represent Muslims.

Look at the pathetic status of our politicians today: they have no any political influence in today’s Sri Lanka. They could do very little for community today at this crucial movement. While Islamic heritages are destroyed they even can not open their mouths. Do you need such politicians for our community? What benefits community gets from these types of selfish politicians in SL.? If all these Muslim politicians are really committed Muslims, they should have crossed over to UNP or they should have resigned from their posts when they see all these anti Muslims activities that are perpetrated with the support of some MPs in parliaments.

It is not a big issue whether we vote or not and most of Muslim people will vote but yet the big question is to whom we vote and how do we vote? It is sad story that Muslim politicians are divided into many camps and parties. Muslims candidates are divided in between UNP, SLFP, Muslim congress, Muslims people’s congress and other parties. It is pathetic to see this situation. What will be dare consequence of this division? Muslim votes will be divided. Consequently, we would not able to elect enough people in this election? This is a political suicidal of Muslims community as a minority we should wisely select our candidates and wisely elect our representatives. We do not have unity among us.  I’m afraid to say some greedy people could be elected at the expenses of community welfare and interest.

The more our politicians are divided between political parties the more our votes will be divided and the more our votes are divided the less representation we will have in this election. That is what going to happen due lack of our unity and lack understating of this political systems. It is my humble request to Muslim politicians that they should join the national political streams and join the national parties such as UNP and SLFP and work in the national interest of country. I do not think that having communal party would help us any more and it is rarely viable today in Sri Lanka and Muslim people in north and East should work with Tamil political parties and reconcile with them and work to the betterment of Sri Lankans on this part of the country; Ethno- communal politics would destroy the unity and communal harmony in Sri Lanka. I wonder if all politicians realise this fact. On the part of Muslim community we should always have more committed people in politics. And more qualified people should be sent into politics. Once companions asked the prophet when will be the Day of Judgment? Prophet said when unqualified people are entrusted with responsibilities? It is one of sign of Qiyama to select and elect unsuitable candidates for any public office or post, what about this post to represent Muslim community? Definitely we should send the most qualified, most pious, most honest and most educated one to speak for us?

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15 Responses to Sri Lankan Muslims And Power Of Vote: Some Reflections

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    Islam came to achieve and complete what is beneficial and to ward off and reduce what is evil and harmful. Islam and democrazy can not coexist as it makes the vote of a scholar the same as of a layman. Democrazy puts issues of Islam for voting and changes the laws of Allah. No real Muslim would promote democrazy. But when people in non-Islamic countries are requested to vote, here Muslims should apply the rule. It would be illogical to ask Muslims not to vote when their vote can make a difference. If we can reduce evil and benefit people, our vote becomes a responsibility and this does not mean we approve of democrazy. We are amazed at how some Muslims are quick to denounce what great scholars have said on this topic. The Prophet(PBUH)said: I witnessed a treaty or a covenant in the jahiliyah (Perod of Ignorance) if I were to be invited to a similar one in Islam, I would have accepted. This treaty was to honour the vulnerable, set free the captives, help the indebted and protect the strangers from aggression.

    Maghribi
    September 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm
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      Yes. Islam and democracy cannot coexist. Lets please not dilute the teachings of the Messenger (PBUH).

      Fathima Fukushima
      September 21, 2013 at 5:08 pm
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      ISlam uses to establish a country as an Islamic country. Then it becomes a one like Saudi Arabia. See the Islamic societies all over the world. Sri Lankan muslims are good as long as a Sri Lanka is a majority buddhist country.

      JimSofty
      September 21, 2013 at 9:54 pm
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    Democracy has two sides: one is selection process or election process other one is legislative process: make laws as they like: to make haram into halal: what about selection all four caliphs : call it democratic process or call it Islamic selection : it is not name what should matter rather what process ? Islam and democracy are compatible in some selection process but differ in legislative mechanism: You need to read all before you go in line with al-Qaida to Taliban in understanding of democracy: Taliban and al-Qaida say same thing like you: of carouse, Islam differ from all religion but there are similarities as we’ll: difference in theology but in ethics and morals there are similarities

    NSA
    September 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm
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    Please don’t mislead Muslims. Nowhere I repeat NOWHERE in the Hadiths or Al Quran say Muslims must rely on votes or elections! This is a western method of ruling people. Muslims must reject these fabrications. Please get back to the basics of the Hadiths and Al Quran for guidance.

    Fathima Fukushima
    September 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm
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    Dear Sister Fathima. It seems that you have learned Islam from your wahabi agent. You know this wahabi agent created al-Qaeda, Taliban, Afghanistan muhjideed, al Shabab. and now what happened to them? do not become Saudi agent in the name of Islam. In the name of Islam see what Saudi do: tell me is there any place for kingship in Islam? How could your Wahabi Ulama support this ruthless Saudi kingdom which spreads corruption in the world, how could you support this Suadi Wahhabi rule who discriminates between people. for Wahhabi election of four caliph namely Abu Bakr, Omer, Ustham and Ali is not democratic it is inheritance as Wahabi Do in Saudi. Shame on you and Wabahi who support this ruling the name of Islam.

    real Islam
    September 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm
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      gay rights/marriages, abortion and host of other moral and financial corruption in the banking and financial systems are spread by forces in the West & US even Lankans are affected by those followed this corruption e.g. Sakvithi, Golden Key, Ceylinco etc. When you say Saudi or any other country is spreading corruption in the world you should be able to prove with facts. Islam is all about the believers submitting his/her will to ONE GOD ALLAH (SWT), our beloved Prophet (pbuh) he is the final messenger of ALLAH and he preached and practiced this he is known as a “mercy to mankind”.

      MhM
      September 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm
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        I must tell if you do not corruption Saudi: first read how this so called Saudi government formed: secondly where is evidence from Quran and Hadith for this kingship ? Thirdly how many kings and princess live on public money in Suadi? You are blind but your heart is blind that is why you can not see the cupprupted nature of this elite rulers ? Do not you know who created al- Qaidia / Taliban and al shabab: they created Fitna in other people lands and yet, they do not want any demonstration in Sadui? Do you want to about corruption in Saudi read more books about it . A lot of books in English and Arabic : who created latest mess in Egypt? Who waited until people are killed in Irqq/ Syria and Palestrine? Do not tell me about Wahhabi tricks and currption Read this book The great theft : wrestinling Islam from extremist by prof Abu fadl .

        Real Islam
        September 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm
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          looks like you’re an expert on Quran & Hadith, terrorism, conspiracy theories, govts. and its Rulers and everything, you can start writing your own books rather than writing on Forums like this, try also to use some decent language to match your pseudo name. cos it doesn’t sound so Real.

          MhM
          September 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm
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            You Wahhabi agent know only one sided dogmatic Islam : you all bother about grave worshipping, blida , so called shirk, and so on: but in reality you all angent to Saudi dictators, and looters umma’s wealth and money. I’m sorry if you got my language wrong but I did mean to hurt you: it’s Wahhabi who use fault languages It is Wahhabi who spread Fitna in the world It is Wahhabi who make trouble for Muslim everywhere It is not other groups

            Real Islam
            September 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm
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              thanks for not meaning to hurt me; you know all these ideologies are much too bigger for u and me to handle and sort out, the more you dwell on it the more you get confused, so leave it as it is. Islam is pure and simple let’s do what is right. Good luck.

              MhM
              September 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm
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    Dr. Rifai, I welcome your request to Muslim politicians to join the national parties. It will help to reduce the misunderstanding with the other communities. I am writing this comment after reading about three major incidents of the past weeks, two in our neighbouring countries. Over forty Muslims were killed in India over an eve-teasing issue. Over seventy Christians were killed in Pakistan Church attack. Over sixty people were killed in Kenya shopping mall shooting. All three involved, unfortunately, Muslims whether they are majority or minority. Sri Lanka has not gone to that extent and we don’t want that either. The writings of people like you just remind me the speeches and poems of Tamil politicians and academics in the seventies. The seeds of intolerance, provocations and hate they sowed later brought on the Tamils indescribable sufferings. I don’t like educated Muslims like you sowing the seeds of communal intolerance within the society. BBS and other likes are a menace to social integrity, but, they do not represent the majority of the Buddhists. If you think on communal lines on everything that happens, then the majority Buddhists also will be compelled to think like that. Sri Lanka has too many mosques, Alhamdulillah. Those mosques would not be harmed if they were like the mosques built and used by the Prophet: simple and without the loudspeakers and are used consciously. In my opinion, the Muslims should walk to the mosques even if it is one kilometer away and should not use loudspeakers. Friday traffic chaos, beggars and inconveniences caused to others in-front of the mosques are very very ugly and uncivilized act. Still, I don’t understand how you would find the most qualified, most pious, most honest and most educated Muslim leaders to enter politics. Because, such people, if any, will be decent guys who don’t think in communal lines like you. And, they will be unsuitable people in your standards. I think the Sri Lankan Muslims should leave the politics to politicians and concentrate on social development through Sakath and Sadaka.

    Ahamed
    September 23, 2013 at 12:16 pm
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    Dear Ahamed: you are little bit confused about my writing: I do not like think on communal line : I like see national identity prevail and All Srilankan should think first as Srilankan as a one family not communal line: of course theologically we have difference in religion yet as human being or As Sri Lankan we could be like a one family: it has been like that in the past and it should be like that I future as well. I wonder how Muslim politicians came into parliament by Sinhalese vote: it is my humble opinions that Sinhalese people one most kind and polite people on earth: I do have lots of Sinhalese friends and I know well them from my childhood: please read my article on communal and co- existence in SL to know my views on this : What you like you have politicians like cheats in our politics : tell me among. Muslim politicians now who is honest and who is working for our community tell me what these politicians done to SL Muslims rather they accumulated money and wealth in the name of politics: no. Difference between Muslims and Non- Muslims on this: I wonder if you work as an agent to some politicians: it appears like that : that is why you do not know who is honest/ pious and educated one among our politicians look at some of our politicians today: tell me about their qualifications I do not mean just paper qualification tell me what are their accomplishment and achievements in our community: look at great contributions of Badi? Look at great contributions of our previous politicians: if you want to know read their contributions at national level: what these cheap politicians have done today : they have no guts and eloquence to argue with anti- Muslim forces: why are they dump heads? Why are they scared? I’m worried if something happened like that of Burma our politicians would not do any things to protect our community : these are cheap politicians and I do not say in SL all over the world we have cheap politicians: look at what sadam did and Qaddafi did and Mubarak did: you seems to want people like them in SL too? What a pity politics is this ? Shame on these politicians and may curse of Allah be upon these cheats:

    Nas
    September 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm
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      Sorry Nas. I am not confused about your writings though I did not read your every comment and I wanted the above my comment to reach Dr. Rifai and not addressed to you. Nevertheless, I know that you have the right to read and answer my above comment as well. If you read between the lines, you can understand that I am not telling that every Muslim politician in Sri Lanka is an honest and blah blah and that I am not their agent. What I am telling is that do not waste time in trying to get a solution to Muslim’s problems through politicians. If you do not want a Burma-like situation here, then you should learn to live with the majority non-Muslims without hurting their sentiments and believes. Formation of religion based SLMC definitely increased anti-Muslim feelings in Sri Lanka and the party utterly failed to address Muslim’s problems even after 30 years of existence. Badi, MH, Ashraf and Hameed all helped Muslims when they were in power, but, it doesn’t mean that they were the most qualified, most pious, most honest and most educated Muslim leaders. They were able to help mainly because of their loyalty and commitment to respective party/coalition and party/coalition leadership. Politicians are politicians irrespective of their religion and they are making a living through politics. Instead of analyzing their qualifications and suitability, why shouldn’t educated Muslims like Dr. Rifai concentrate on finding a way to uplift the lives of underprivileged Muslims through Islamic ways of Sakath and Sadaka? Why can’t they contact Muslim countries and get jobs for unemployed Muslim youths?

      Ahamed
      September 24, 2013 at 11:20 am
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    To save Sri Lanka, the cancer called Wahhabism/Salafism should be erased. Most Sri lankan Muslim interllectuals have stuck their head into the sand about the encroachment of this backward and violent ideology of Saudi Arabia.

    Imran
    October 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm
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