27 September, 2020

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Sri Lanka’s Journey To A Foreboding Future

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Tariq A. Al-Maeena

At a time when the Sri Lankan government should have seized the bull by the horns and ensured ethnic harmony, the opposite is seen as unfolding with very little interference from the government.

Today, there are verified charges against that form of complacency by a government not willing to act against a rising terrorist force in the form of an extremist Sinhalese Buddhist group that calls itself the Bodu Bala Sena, or the Buddhist strength force. It has in recent times focused its target of racial hatred against the peaceful Muslim minority of the island.

A Sri Lankan Muslim had this to say: “We have been inhabitants of the land for centuries. We have assimilated with the culture and consider ourselves Sri Lankans. Unfortunately, we do not get cooperation in return. Many of us are denied job opportunities in the government because of our religion. There are many educated Muslim Sri Lankans, yet they are not preferred for good posts. There is discrimination in all walks of life against us, but we manage, hoping for the day things will change.”

She continued, “When the war against the Tamils was over, we thought that now the country would mend itself and become strong.  Instead, it seems that the victory has given some of these extremist Buddhist groups more courage to carry out further carnage against all minorities including the Muslims and Christians of the island.

“The government seems to be going along with these militant groups as they have not carried out their steps for reconciliation. We are not supported for quality state education, nor does it seem lately that our safety is something which concerns the government. Our places of worship have been attacked, our people assaulted, and the terrorism continues unabated.

“There are a number of militant groups operating openly in Sri Lanka and spreading their message of rabid racism and intolerance. The government can put a stop to all of this if they want. Not only the government but also the country’s security forces have got into the act and are cooperating with these thugs.”

She goes on, “As you know, Muslim camps remain open and around 130,000 Muslim refugees from the north of the island continue to languish in refugee camps in appalling conditions three and a half years after the war. The irony is that this is happening three years after the 30-year ethnic war ended. What lessons have we learnt from the past carnage? Absolutely nothing!”

Events took a more sinister turn recently when thousands of supporters of the militant group Bodu Bala Sena joined in a rally calling for the boycott of halal foods. The rally that took place in Colombo drew thousands who heard the calls of ethnic divisiveness and nationalist speeches by the group’s monks. These exhortations come at a time of mounting religious tension in the country. In recent times, there have been many recorded attacks on both mosques and churches, and Muslim-owned businesses and the clergy have not been spared either.

A three-member BBC team who were covering the rally was “seriously threatened with violence by some members of a mob of more than 20 young men who told us not to drive off.”   According to the team leader Charles Haviland of BBC News, “Some police arrived and looked on as my Sri Lankan colleagues were verbally abused in filthy language, described as ‘traitors’ and accused of having ‘foreign parents’ and working for a ‘foreign conspirator who was ‘against Sri Lanka’”.

“Some of them warned us that if we returned to the location – the mainly Buddhist suburb of Maharagama – it would ‘be the end’ of us.  The police held back the more aggressive youths but appeared to comply with the mob by barricading our vehicle, calling us ‘suspicious’ and ordering us not to leave until they got the go-ahead from their superior. That was worrying.”

A news agency reported that the leaders explicitly called for a boycott of halal meat and demanded shops clear their stocks by April or else. This message was loudly cheered by the attendees at the rally sporting T-shirts denouncing the Muslim halal method of slaughtering animals prior to eating.

Mujeebur Rahuman of the opposition United National Party worries that at “any moment, the ethnic riot will start between Sinhalese and Muslims. They are now working freely. Nobody is talking about this organization and the government is not trying to stop their activities.”

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse is again giving tacit support to communal provocations against Sri Lanka’s minorities to deflect attention from the country’s deepening economic and social crisis. But that is a dangerous strategy, one guaranteed to backfire.

Meanwhile, GCC countries with their economic muscle and the OIC should begin to sit up and take notice of the events happening on the island. A message should be sent to the Sri Lankan government that the widening of racial and ethnic hatred against the Muslim minority or any other will not be tolerated. Failure to heed that message should bring economic and political sanctions into consideration.

We wish the island well, but not under the present circumstances.

The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Courtesy Saudi Gazette

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    – Despite all claims to the contrary Islam does have a bad record with other faiths. They have had violent conflicts with all other faiths ( Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs (killed 2 of their gurus), Zoroastirans, BAhais and even with communists.

    – Then they have violent conflicts among their own sects as seen in Pakistan etc, ( Sunnis shias Ahamadiyas ) When anyone in their own religion disagrees with the teachings they explain it way by saying “oh they are not “real” Muslims.” Who decides who is a real muslim or not. The Sunnis ?”

    – Most other religions do not take their religion too seriously. If a Buddhist criticizes Buddha or throws a buddhist book away most he might end up getting is a fine or a jail sentence. But anyone who criticizes Mohammed or the koran in any Muslim majority country has a good chance of getting killed.

    – Buddhists are not used to being compelled to pray or go to temples or being told what women have to wear etc. If a Buddhist has an affair the maximum will be a divorce but in Muslim society he/she might end up being killed.

    – I can go on but the harshness of pure islam is scaring others to a degree that they do not want anything to do with Islam.

    – In my view this the reality Islam is facing in the modern world

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    Senguttuvan @ 1:38 pm “I shall say no more. As Nehru concluded in his charming “Letters to Indira” in Persian (Farsi) Tamam Shud (It is ended)”
    Senguttuvan @ 4:46 p:m .. See this thread above
    Senguttuvan @ 4:54 p:m ..
    To our good and liberal friends in CT,
    Obviously we are not the only ones subject to distasteful abuse and vitriolic garbage from guttersnipes. Now we have an idea of who finances you – going by the following :-
    “This is obviously one of those hate Islam web sites that are controlled by Zionists…”
    You see he cannot even decide honestly. He says I shall say no more but the diarrhea cannot be controlled I presume. LIAR !
    BTW to the Editorial Staff the above reference was certainly not to CT . Please forgive Senguttuvan, in his dotage he seems to be going bonkers. This was in reply to Native Veddahs February 23, 2013 post at 10:24 am above and the URL referred to therein. Either due to dotage, or indolence or absolute mischief he has attempted to get me off his back by trying to fool CT and get me blacklisted. As for my reference to Salman Rushdi’ s judgement,Sengu’ s bigotry seems to have no bounds. I am a little confused however if it is his bigotry alone or bigotry coupled with his mendacity. You see when I referred to a higher judgement, in a nut shell I meant that as mortals we can do nothing, and we should not attempt to hurt Rushdie in the manner of Sengu’ friend the Ayatullah and his followers did. Anyway Rushdie is a British Citizen and no Muslim has the right to enter a foreign Land and abuse the conditions of the Visa or Citizenship as this will be a breach of Trust. This is Fundamental Islam as per those who follow the Quran and Sunnah. All the deviational arguments on the cut and paste culture, they are not worth replying to. I found the articles well written and thought the CT readership could benefit by them. If CT had no objection to it what irks Sengu? As for my entry into the US I have nothing to lie about. Why should I? I have never ever been questioned about my integrity ever, and this covers a wide spectrum of people of all ethnicities ( including Jews of whom I had a close friend) till this charlatan, the pseudo intellectual, this Islamaphobe, this Liar Senguttuvan alluded to me as such! But in the true spirit of Islam I forgive him! I also pray that God in His Grace will remove the bitterness in his heart and guide him to search and be able to distinguish Truth from falsehood.
    As for the other correspondents who persist in maligning Islam, I think AYMAN’S letter above has raised salient questions to ponder. A BBC program stated that in a year ( I do not remember if it was 2011 or 2012) 5000 converted to Islam in Britain alone. Of this 75% were women most of whom opted to wear the Hijab! Disconcerting News to the Islam bashers isn’t it? The question is why with such negative publicity, Zionist funds and an umpteen number of islamaphobic websites they cannot arrest this trend?
    ” they were plotting and Allah too was planning, and Allah is the Best of the planners. ” Surah Anfal v 30

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    Brother Jamal,

    Thank you for your thought provoking comments. I’m not sure whether Islam bashers such as Leela or Senguttuvan were able to grasp the true beauty of Islam but I gained more from your so called “cut and paste” comments.
    So don’t worry. Barking dogs never bite. BTW, you know Senguttuvan is the name of a tamil king of from the Chera dynasty who forced to the defeated kings Kanaka Vijayan to carry stones on their heads to humiliate them. Compare that to our noble kings like Salahudin (Saladin) who treated the defeated kings with respect and dignity.
    Sengu mentioned about Lingam and keep on saying that we mere mortals can never understand it. Which barbaric society will allow their womenfolk to worship their Siva’s Lingam instead of enjoying their husband’s Lingam?
    Hindu kings used to perform a religious rite called Aswametha Yaaga in which the King’s wife has to have sex with the horse. Even Rama’s wife Seetha had to perform this.

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