22 October, 2017

Sri Lanka’s Muslims: The End Of The Road

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Sri Lanka’s Muslims are at an unprecedented and ominous crossroads. The community there is faced with an existential threat at the hands of an increasingly militant Buddhist minority, while the nation’s Muslim parliamentarians appear to be more powerless and mute than at any time since 1947. This impotence is startling because the current parliament holds the largest number of Muslim cabinet ministers and deputies (four in each category, respectively) in history, although the number of Muslim representatives in the legislature, eighteen in total, is slightly fewer than in 1989 or 1994. In the face of increasing violence against Muslim businesses, mosques, madrassas, and lives, allegedly by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)–a fascist outfit of the militant Buddhist political organization, Jatika Hela Urumaya (JHU), which is, like the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), a coalition partner in the Rajapaksa Government–the abject silence and weakness of these parliamentarians is difficult to comprehend.

How and why has Muslim politics descended to this level of ineptitude? And to what extent has the Muslim community of Sri Lanka enabled this impotent political leadership? When a few individuals from the most wealthy and prestigious Muslim families in Colombo entered politics in British Ceylon at the end of the nineteenth century, they were marked by rare leadership qualities like: honesty, integrity, courage, and dedication to service. They maintained these qualities even when confronted with an adversarial legislative, executive and judicial environment. They were, in short, bona fide statesmen. The four Muslim nominees to the then Legislative Council appointed between 1889 and 1912, M.C. Abdul Rahman, A.M. Sheriff, W.M. Abdul Rahman, and N.H.M. Abdu Cader, belonged to this esteemed elite (Cader M.L.A, 1999, pp.1 & 148). Dedicated politicians of this ilk, motivated by a kind of noblesse oblige and nurtured in the Muslim aristocracy, continued to serve the Muslim community even after independence. Names of leaders like Razik Fareed, T.B. Jaya, and Badiuddin Mahmud are still popularly remembered with great love and respect.

Although wealth and family background by themselves may count little toward successful leadership, in the past they provided a firmer substrate for the development of other necessary traits, such as: honesty, integrity, courage, and commitment, characteristics that were essential for politicians and social activists to serve effectively and maintain public legitimacy. Tragically, too many of the current crop of Sri Lankan Muslim leaders seems to suffer from a serious deficit in these areas. This does not mean that even if the community were to replace them with better quality substitutes the outcome would be vastly different. The political trajectory that the Muslim elite has chosen to lead the community may have reached a dead end.

Muslim Leadership in the Past

After the 1915 racial riots in which the Muslim community suffered huge losses at the hands of an orchestrated Sinhalese mob, Muslim leaders realized that unless they aligned themselves politically with the Sinhalese elite, the prospect of prosperity and peace for Muslims in Sri Lanka would be seriously jeopardized. This realization, which marked the beginning of the so called ‘politics of pragmatism’, established a set architecture for Muslim politics on the island. When the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy was introduced shortly after independence, it metamorphosed into a solid electoral strategy. Under this strategy, Muslims avoided establishing political parties of their own (until 1990); instead, they opted to join the two major national parties of that time, the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). A few of them even joined smaller parties –like the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP), and the Federal Party (FP)–to contest general elections. However, the notable phenomenon of their party allegiance was that it was not driven by any political ideology but by electoral opportunism. In whichever party the Muslim political aspirants joined, contested, and won elections, a majority of them eventually joined the party that captured power. It was only by being a member of the ruling party, the Muslim leadership was convinced, that they could gain any private benefit for themselves and/or public benefit for their electorates. Of course there were exceptions to this rule, like for example, A.C.S. Hameed and M.C.M. Kaleel of UNP and Badiuddin Mahmud of SLFP who never switched their party allegiance throughout their political career (Ali, 1986).

Another factor that strongly favoured this opportunistic behavior was the growing ethnic rivalry between the Sinhalese and Tamils. The perpetual conflict allowed the Muslims, the third largest ethnic community, a golden occasion to play politics with the division. While Muslim parliamentarians joined the ruling parties and coalitions in the interest of advantageous politics, the ruling parties also welcomed the Muslims into their fold in order to showcase to the world that their policies and programs were non-discriminatory towards minorities. Thus, the Sinhalese-Muslim unwritten political alliance that evolved after independence was a marriage of convenience which, after the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, appears to have outlived its usefulness.

Between the 1950s and 1980s the Muslim community was able to exploit this political marriage to extract substantial benefits from various governments, especially in the fields of education and culture (Ali A, 1986). However, their influence on policy was never dominant. Some of the socialist programs such as the Paddy Lands Bill and the nationalization of estates and wholesale businesses implemented by the SLFP-Leftist coalition in the 1970s disproportionately victimized the Muslim community. Furthermore, President Jayawardena decided in 1984, in strict defiance of Muslim popular opinion, to allow Israel to open a consulate in Colombo. In both instances, Muslim representatives in the Parliament could not voice their opposition for fear of being accused of ingratitude. In fact, Jayawardena openly challenged his Muslim parliamentary colleagues to quit the government if they did not like his foreign policy (Cader M.L.A. 1999 p.175). It was an embarrassing episode of humiliation for the Muslim leaders.

Eventually, despite the mixed successes, the Muslim electorate began to lose faith in their putative representatives. Being a community composed largely of petty traders and small farmers, with a firm religious commitment to the glory of a universal Muslim umma (religious community), the economic cost and political humiliation of the marriage of convenience was taking its toll. On top of this dissatisfaction came the 1978 Republican Constitution of Jayawardena, which introduced the principle of proportional representation with the deliberate intention of weakening the electoral strength of Muslim voters, a crucial factor until then in deciding the winners in a number of closely contested electoral constituencies. It was a shrewd move by President Jayawardena to kill an electoral system that until then favored the Muslim minority whose voting population was strategically placed. Under this new design, Muslim contestants to parliament would first need to get their names placed on top of the party list to be nominated as a candidate to contest elections. Given the ethnic dominance of the national parties this was obviously a difficult target to achieve.

Yet, as the Sinhalese-Tamil ethnic rift developed into open civil war after 1983, Muslim support for Sinhalese governments became even more crucial. It was in this altered political climate of declining electoral power on the one hand and rising strategic importance in a looming civil war on the other that a group of young Muslim activists, especially from the Eastern Province where Muslims account for one-third of the provincial population, embraced the idea of establishing an independent Muslim political party in order to turn the tide. In their view the strategy of aligning with the government in power had passed its usefulness, and all that it yielded to the community was not ‘rights enshrined in the constitution’ but ‘privileges’ which could be withdrawn at any time. These activists therefore wanted a change in political strategy. The idea of an independent Muslim political party named, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) was mooted in 1981 and was declared in 1986 as a registered political party under the leadership of M.H.M. Ashraff (Ali A, 1997), who was killed later in a helicopter crash in 2000.

Pragmatic Politics

Did the formation of a Muslim political party lead to any meaningful change in the destiny of the Muslim community? The country’s tenth General Elections of 1994 tested the electoral strength of SLMC. By that time even the LTTE had adopted an anti-Muslim stance; its overnight eviction of Muslims from the northern districts of Sri Lanka in 1990, coupled with a series of massacres of Muslims it carried out in the Eastern Province the following year, bolstered the appeal of SLMC to Muslim voters. However, of the 21 Muslims who represented in the 1994 parliament only 7 came from SLMC, and of the rest, 10 and 4 emerged from the UNP and SLFP respectively. Yet, because of the narrow victory of the Peoples’ Alliance (PA) of Chandrika Kumaratunga, which secured only 105 of the 225 seats while the UNP managed to capture 94, SLMC’s seven member support became crucial to form a government by either of the parties. In that bargain Ahraff and his SLMC decided to join PA and was rewarded with a ministry for himself and two deputy ministries and the deputy speakership for another three of his party colleagues.

The formation of SLMC did not change anything in substance within the ethnic political paradigm. The ‘pragmatic’ strategy of joining the ruling party was institutionalized by the SLMC. Before its formation, Muslim political aspirants individually assessed the odds of winning an election under different party tickets and made their choice independently. If no party promised victory they contested as independents and after victory joined the ruling party. What SLMC did was to repeat the same exercise en bloc. In every successive election after 1994 it did the same. The rationale was that profits from collective bargaining would be greater than from bargaining individually. Ironically, and as a supreme product of this bargaining strategy, all Muslim members in the current parliament, without exception, joined the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) of President Rajapaksa. This route chosen by the Muslim elite to capture political power, with its narrow ethnic vision, has come to a crashing end. The LTTE’s defeat at the hands of the Sinhalese army after almost a quarter of a century of military confrontation has exposed the political weakness of Muslims in Parliament.

Sinhalese Triumphalism and Buddhisization

With a decisive military victory over the LTTE and with the subsequent determination on the part of the Rajapakse regime to marginalize the Tamil political parties, military triumphalism has resuscitated a long cherished mythology that Sri Lanka belongs only to the Buddhist Sinhalese, and that the other ethnic and religious minorities could live in the country only at the behest of the Buddhist majority. The Jatika Hela Urumaya (JHU) or the National Heritage Party, which is a coalition partner in the Rajapaksa government, and JHU’s foster child Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) (or Buddhist Power Force), are the leading advocates of this distorted ideology. With an energized ‘political abuse of history’ and archaeology, the Buddhist militants of BBS are relentlessly seeking to destroy the existence of many non-Buddhist historical and cultural edifices.

From the 1950s onwards, the Tamil origins of sectors of Sri Lankan history and civilization have been deliberately distorted by ultra-nationalist Buddhist academics like S. Paranavitana, who has been accused of doctoring archaeological evidence and Pali legends to manufacture so called ‘truths’. (Sebastian, 2012: pp. 92-96) This tradition of distortion and denial is now being spearheaded by the JHU and BBS monks with respect to the Muslim history in the island. From the destruction of a Muslim shrine in Anuradhapura by “over 100 Sinhala Buddhist monks” in 2011 (Tamil Guardian: 15 Sep. 2011) to the recent attempt to destroy the centuries old sufi shrine of Daftar Jailani situated in the Ratnapura District (Bastians D, 2013), there is ample evidence documenting this mission of revisionist demolition. As one Sinhalese human rights activist wrote, Buddhisization of “multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural, multilingual Sri Lanka … is not an opinion to be debated, but a fact to be faced” (Senewiratne, 2012: p.7). What is clear is that the JHU and BBS with acquiescence of the Rajapaksa regime have hijacked Buddhist nationalism, and are driving it along an extremist and violent path.

What appears even more depressing is the unpreparedness of even the UNP political alternative to confront this militancy. Members of the Sinhalese petty bourgeoisie, motivated by short term economic gain, are also lending support to Buddhist extremism. In this climate of violence and animus towards Muslims, enabled by triumphalist euphoria, the Muslim leadership’s alliance with a government that is in essence a silent partner to anti-Muslim propaganda, seems of little use. Is there a way out of this predicament for the Muslim community in Sri Lanka? Before looking at this issue certain facts should be placed in their proper historical context.

A Harmonious Society

Any student of Sri Lanka’s history and Buddhist culture will realize that this phenomenon of extremism and hatred towards minorities is not a part of the island’s pre-colonial history. Under colonialism during its Portuguese and Dutch phases, it was the colonizers who discriminated against the minorities and not the Buddhist majority. Pre-colonial Buddhist Sri Lanka was an exemplar of inter-religious and inter-ethnic harmony in the Asian region. (Dewaraja L, 1994) It was the intrusion of commercial capitalism and a new wave of Christian evangelism under British that was instrumental in destroying inter-communal harmony on the island. While state patronage of Christianity under British colonialism deprived Buddhism of its historical supremacy in Sri Lanka, the plantation-based capitalist economy created social and economic inequities to which rural Buddhists became the unintended victims. The Buddhist revivalist movement of the third quarter of the 19th century was in essence a struggle to win back this lost supremacy and economic fairness by getting rid of foreign rulers. In that struggle the Muslim community for, religious and economic reasons, became a sacrificial lamb in 1915.

The 1915 Sinhalese-Muslim racial riots (Ali A, 1981) was a minority phenomenon confined to Colombo and a few urban centres, and the majority Buddhists were simply silent observers to this ethno-religious convulsion. After independence, however, apart from the political machinations of narrow minded elites who never missed an opportunity to exploit ethnic issues to achieve political power, the Buddhist masses always accepted the Muslims as equal partners in a harmonious society. The cordiality that prevailed between the Sinhalese and Muslims until after the 1970s was unique to Sri Lanka. There are no hard statistics to prove this point because of paucity of solid sociological research in this field. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence; if only one could have lived in a Buddhist-Muslim mixed village before the 1980s to observe how close the Buddhist-Muslim inter-personal and inter-familial relationship was. What happened since then? Before answering this question two other developments that impact upon Sinhalese-Muslim relations need elaboration.

Open Economy and Imported Islamic Orthodoxy 

The 1980s in Sri Lanka marked a turning point in the country’s economic trajectory. From an economic model driven largely by state control, the Jayawardena regime pushed the nation into the vortex of neo-liberal economics, hoping thereby to transform Sri Lanka into another Singapore. The new, open economy coincided with the emergence of several rentier-state economies in the Middle East flooded with petrodollars. These two independent developments had the unforseen consequence of adversely affecting Sinhalese-Muslim relations in Sri Lanka. While the open economy, with freedom for private enterprise and competition, rejuvenated the commercial instincts of Sri Lankan Muslims– who had been historically cast, somewhat reductively, as a business community—they also facilitated the growth of an extended class of Sinhalese petty-bourgeoisie who were willing to use political and public pressure to ensure that the government in power took actions to promote their class interest. In this competition between the two groups, which intensified after the 1980s, political organizations like the Jathika Vimukti Peramuna (JVP) intervened to support the Sinhalese bourgeoisie elements (Jayawardena K, 1986). It was the JVP, which originated as a Marxist organization, which made a chauvinist turn against Muslims in the 1980s and campaigned for a total boycott of Muslim businesses. What was started by JVP is now being pursued more aggressively by JHU and BBS. A vicious campaign to urge the Sinhalese not only to boycott Muslim businesses, but also to not sell any real estate to Muslims, has been taken up by the JHU. Furthermore, mob attacks engineered by BBS on two of the most successful Muslim businesses, No Limit and Fashionbug, in January and March 2013 respectively, were the latest episodes in this ongoing campaign.
The rise of the rentier states and petrodollar economies in the Middle East, with ostentatious plans for economic modernization, created a voracious demand for human resources which the ambitious Middle Eastern states sought to import. Third World economies saddled with vast reservoirs of unemployed and underemployed labour saw in the Middle Eastern projects a golden opportunity to export their surplus labour. To Muslims outside Arabia, the Gulf countries, and the Middle East became an employment magnet. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Sri Lanka, many of whom quit their private and public sector jobs, migrated to the land of the Arab haute-bourgeoisie. The foreign remittances from these expatriates helped to raise the economic welfare of expatriates’ families and became a boon to the cash-strapped Sri Lankan treasury. However, the very presence of these workers on short and medium term contracts in Saudi Arabia had unintended consequences. These Muslim workers came directly under the influence of a very conservative and purist Islamic orthodoxy that is native to Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi brand of Islam, which is the bedrock of Saudi ‘religious nationalism’, is the most inflexible and self-proclaimed purist religious model that the Saudi establishment is endeavoring to spread throughout the world in order to ‘homogenize’ an otherwise heterogeneous world of Islam (Al-Rasheed M, 2013).

In Sri Lanka, among the outward manifestations of Saudi religious influence are the changing attire of Muslims, both male and female, and the growth of elaborate and technologically equipped religious structures such as mosques and madrassas. These two and not the inner commitment of Muslims to their Islamic faith have become the bones of contention in the current and volatile relationship between the Sinhalese and Muslims. A third, the activities of Tabligh Jamaat, a missionary movement dedicated more to Islamize nominal Muslims than to win new converts, though not directly related to the Wahhabi phenomenon, also has a lot in common with that ideology. To the militant Buddhists supported by the Sinhalese petty bourgeoisie, the post-1970 cultural and religious changes in the Muslim community, combined with Muslim economic competition, appear a threat to their ideologically constructed Sri Lankan Buddhist identity. Having succeeded in vanquishing the Tamil threat militarily, they are now engaged in confronting an imagined Muslim threat. The Rajapaksa regime, which is overseeing this new development, has become for all intents and purposes a silent partner. By associating with this regime and by maintaining an unholy silence in the parliament against JHU and BBS activities Muslim parliamentarians have betrayed the trust placed upon them by their Muslim constituents.

As pointed out earlier, the BBS militants, like their predecessors in 1915, are a vocal political minority. The vast majority of Buddhists, who have dissociated themselves from the BBS, still find it difficult to channel their grievances through organic and dignified institutions, because as pointed out earlier, the BBS militants, like their predecessors in 1915, are a vocal political minority. The vast majority of Buddhists, who have dissociated themselves from the BBS, still find it difficult to channel their grievances through organic and dignified institutions, because the current regime undermines the voice of any qualified dissent in the democratic process. By militarizing the civilian and diplomatic sectors, by politicizing the judiciary, by censoring the private media, by arresting and killing journalists, and by employing paramilitary forces to subdue political opponents, the government of Sri Lanka has resorted to a rule of fear in the country. It was fear that ruled Egypt under Mubarak, Libya under Ghadhafi, Yemen under Saleh, and Tunisia under Abidin; but what happened to that fear and the men who employed it?

The Muslim community in Sri Lanka desperately needs a change of political strategy if they are to live as citizens, equal in status to all their compatriots. That strategy has to be devised by an enlightened leadership working in collaboration with the silenced majority. To do that the community has to change its attitude towards domestic politics, as a first step. The idea that Muslims can extract more and more privileges from the majority at the expense of the Tamils has lost its validity after 2009. Ethnic and religious based issues that overwhelmingly dominated the past have to be given up and switched to agitation for citizenship rights that are common to all Sri Lankans. When the SLMC under its founding leader Ashraff began its political campaign in 1990 to secure the ‘fundamental rights of Muslims’ one wondered what those unique rights were. There are no special rights to any community in a multilingual, multi-religious, and multiethnic democratic polity except the rights that are common to all its citizens. In a nationally competitive race for progress and development if a particular group or community had lagged behind for some reason or reasons beyond that group’s or community’s control then some affirmative action could be legitimized but only temporarily. Apart from that democracy demands equality of treatment to all citizens within the nation. Under the present regime even members of the Sinhalese community whether they are Buddhists or Christians are not receiving that equal treatment. The Muslims have to join hands with this silenced majority irrespective of who is leading it. Muslims must remember that they are Muslims of and not in Sri Lanka.

It was the Sinhalese community in the past that produced a number of enlightened political leaders who looked beyond narrow ethnic and religious confines and viewed the whole nation of Sri Lanka as a single family. Even when the language issue cropped up in the 1950s, which set to divide the Tamils and Sinhalese, it was the Sinhalese leaders like N. M. Perera, Colvin R. de Silva and other members of the LSSP who warned the nation that the choice before it was between ‘one language and two nations and two languages and one nation’. Unfortunately, the Tamils did not lend their support to those leaders but went instead behind their own leaders of the FP and Tamil Congress. What followed after that is all history now. The Muslims cannot afford to repeat that mistake. They have reached the end of a political road and need to change direction.

*Dr. Ameer Ali is a Sri Lankan born Australian lecturing in Economics at the School of Management and Governance in Murdoch University. He specializes in and publishes regularly on the political economy of Muslim minorities. He was the former chairman of the Muslim Advisory Council under the Howard Government. He can be contacted on a.ali@murdoch.edu.au. 

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    I wonder what the author means by “Muslims must remember that they are Muslims of and not in Sri Lanka.”?

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      is it a rhetorical question you are asking …. In case it isn’t … Muslims must realize that they are first and foremost Sri Lankans and so they are Muslims from / of Sri Lanka …i.e put country first….. not Muslims who just happen to be living In Sri Lanka .. Having the global Muslim identity as their priority … He is right in this aspect

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      You know the reason why he has stated like this because he is well settled in Australia with his offspring and his mouth is stuffed with Australian food which does not make him to speak on behalf of Muslims but as a jackal in the Muslim name. While I have my own criticism about the role of Muslim politicians in the current Muslims related affairs,who is this foolish Ameer Ali to point finger at and criticize late Ashraff. If this foolish Ameer Ali was really concerned about the Muslim community with a genuine feelings, being Muslim scholar, for what the hell he is living in Australia. If you prefer to be living in Australia as an Australian but not as a Kathankudiyan, you simply be like that. This crazy scholar should learn from the contribution of Tamil diaspora that is contributing immensely to safeguard the rights of its own community. But, this academic is like a “cat on the wall” who does not know which side he should jump. why cant Ameer Ali can come to Sri Lanka and meet with the Muslim leaders to discuss the possibility of drafting a strategic plan for Muslim community rather than criticizing the politicians.
      For me, in a way, this foolish academic is also pretty much similar to our foolish Rauf Hakeem whose mouth is also shut by Rajapaksha family for not revealing the amount he received from them, and who is already made as slave by Basheer Shehu Dawood who has sold the party to the present regime. The money received is well shared by both corrupted politicians.

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      Your brain works otherwise, for you a scum of a failed enterprise.

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      That means muslims must remember they are a part of Sri Lanka (sons of Lanka) and not merely living in it.

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      Anyway, as I see it, failure lies on muslim leaders. Hakeem is the minister of Justice of the country today. What has he been doing in the current abusive regime ?

      So long these muslims would not want to work honestly, nothing can help for the future of NOT ONLY MUSLIM SRILANKENS but also entire nation.

      I always wanted to read what Hakeem has to say- at the time, for e.g Rathupaswala people were gunned down lately. Also in the crime investigations like of Duminda Silva in Baratha Murder case and not forgetting the illegal Impeachment process against COUNTRY ‘s CJ Dr. SB.

      In all these issues, we thought there is no MINISTER of JUSTICE in this country under MR regime. It is all because of the spineless behaviour of Hakeem. He just stays as if he has no powers. So long he would stay like this, we have no future. – sad but the mere truth

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        Ben
        “so long these Muslims would not want to work honestly
        nothing can help.” Beautifully said.Just for a second,
        let’s all forget the politics and focus on our social
        and religious responsibilities towards creating a
        better and just society.What are we individuals just as
        individuals ready to do even for our own selves first
        and foremost?More than 99% of all our different
        communities are dishonest in their private lives.How on
        earth can they be different in public life? Our leaders
        are not formed from this same lot?No point lambasting
        only the politics.The tragedy is,people are so selfish
        today.I my self have lost a lot of fortunes trying to
        live and let live by personally resisting sometimes
        powerful pressure,against injustice.I give you one
        very recent incident where justice was completely
        ignored,not due to lack of knowledge but due to
        collective selfishness and those who did this included
        public officials,businessmen,religious personalities of
        almost all Muslim groups and politician.In this case,an
        innocent man died under a wall that was being demolished.
        This man was said to be hired for the job about 30 miles
        away from where he was living.First his family was
        informed that he slipped, hit his head and died and
        was later found out the wall fell on him.Postmortem was
        requested and done.What’s shocking here is,the man hired
        was a fellow Muslim who was mentally affected in an
        accident before.He was unfit for the job.The man who
        hired him and all those who did last rites, knew this.
        He was misled to this fate was nobody’s secret.This young
        man was a member of able family.But because of his mental
        weakness he was not under any control.The man who hired
        him should have been charged for crime.Not a single
        person present at the funeral was interested to do
        justice to the loss.See how life goes on for Muslims.

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    As we muslims say and believe

    ‘Wa la Hawla wa la quwwata illa billah’ – There is no might or any power Except with Allah.

    ‘HasbunAllahu wa niamal Wakeel. niamal Mawla wa niaman naseer’ -Sufficient for us is Allah, and He is the Best Guardian. The Excellent Protector and the Excellent Helper!

    There is no situation muslims have faced more dangerous than that by the Prophet PBUH. The dangers expressed in this article are not experienced by the average muslim in Sri Lanka. The situation here is not as bad as envisaged by those living in far climes.

    Most of the people in this country Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are living in harmony and it is just a handfull who are up to no good. These type of politics are of no use to anyone here. The less we mix politics with religon the better.

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      Is it possible for those who insist ‘there are no Gods but Allah’ and “There is no might or any power Except with Allah” to live in harmony with those who do not believe it. Reading Koran and Hadith, my opinion about Muslims is that a ‘True Muslim’ cannot live in harmony with others.

      Sharia rules those who insult Muhammad or Allah are to be put to death. And Hadith clearly record instances the Koran verses like 33:57 was put in to practice. Koran writing is not homogeneous; it is contradictory. With the aid of Hadith that blind cleric like Mullah who was send to jail in the US for 9/11 bombing could interpret the Koran to justify any attack against non-Muslims. It is because of that type of interpretation that Wahhabis are hell bend to destroy Sufis like Ahamadiyya.

      See, Taliban Muslims had abducted, tortured and murdered Sushmita Banerjee recently because she alleged that they mistreat women. Ahamadiyya interpretation of the Koran is not towards that way. So Wahhabis don’t like it. As for us, we have to take precautionary measures because Sri Lanka Muslims are fast becoming Wahhabi not Ahamadiyya.

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    I feel that the Sri Lankan socio-political framework can best be viewed from within the geographic domain of the country rather than from without.

    With the gradual assertiveness in dress code and practice of Islam, together with the proliferation of places of worship, the Muslim community became alienated from mainstream society.

    In attempting to form an identity separate from Sri Lankan, they seemed to have found that external forces were ineffective in forcing the agenda of the majority group.

    This created a fertile ground for racist rabble rousing and political expediency and manipulation by the unscrupulous or ignorant The Muslim political reps also prioritized their own progress and mobility in publicly identifying with their ethnicity rather than within the common social environment much to their disappointment at the outcome.

    While not condoning the sick actions of extremist groups I would suggest that Muslims must realistically engage with mainstream life in order to retain any semblance of acceptance and belonging within the larger society.

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      The world is fast becoming a global village. The geographic domain can be breached at will. Gone are the days Despots and Dictators kept a leash on their subjects. People are consciously evolving with access to education and culture at break-neck speed. As a result, a brand new world is emerging and either one adapts or dies/disintegrates. The dress code have changed and will continue to change; example take a look at what the Buddhists wore a hundred years ago or rather did not wear with today’s generation. What is alienating people is pure jealousy between the haves and have nots. The jobless robed bums cannot see the sight of luxury displayed in the streets.

      Sri Lankans should forget about politics and politicians and start developing their individual resources to the good of the country.

      It is a fallacy to believe that the Sri Lankan Muslims are influenced with what is native to Saudi Arabia. Every practising Muslims knows and follows the Noble Quran and the authentic sunnah of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and as for Imam Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab, those who inject periodic poison to the minds of the readers by ‘labeling’ Muslims as Wahabis / Tableeqis or whatever. Any group who steps out of Islam’s fundamental or core values cannot be called Muslims. Sects are formed and divided along the lines of Nationalism and Political ideologies. The ignorant; just blame Wahhabi without knowing the Islamic scholar Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s contribution to Islamic principles. Those who follow the explanations of these Islamic scholar’s are ‘Just Muslims’. One of the beauties of Islam is the diverse groups who follow the methodology of their chosen Imams. Every Imam / Scholar takes on a specific fundamental or core value as a theme to strive for perfection. Example the Sufi Imams on Zikr (remembrance), Tawheedi on Shirk (associating partners) Tableeqi on Dawah (preaching), All these groups may have faults, built in ignorance or some even might take it to the extremes, however who are we to judge them other than the One who created us.

      All these confusions and irregularities will be sorted out at the ‘Day of Reckoning’ Islam is perfect however people are not.

      Muhammed Abdul Wahhab made every effort to purify Islam by returning Muslims to the original principles of Islam, as exemplified by the Salaf (Companions of the Prophet (PBUH) First and Second Generation in Arabia) and rejecting what was regarded as corruptions introduced by Bid’ah (Innovation of new practices) and Shirk (Attributing Partners). Although all Muslims pray to one God, Muhammed Ibn Abdul Wahhab was keen on emphasising that no intercession with God was possible without God’s permission, which God only grants to whom He wills and only to benefit those whom He wills, certainly not the ones who invoke anything or anyone except Him, as these would never be forgiven.

      We should focus on our unity, economy, productivity as one nation blessed with the diversity in culture and religion.

      And lo! this your religion is one religion and I am your Lord, so keep your duty unto Me. (The Noble Quran 22:52) But they (mankind) have broken their religion among them into sects, each sect rejoicing in its tenets. (The Noble Quran 22:53) So leave them in their error till a time. (The Noble Quran 22:54)

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        Hello Brother, Enough of Sermons, We are looking for solutions here.

        With an attitude of referring to a thousand year back history to solve a current problem on earth, What is the use of your God given brain?

        Now you must understand why Steve Jobs or Bill Gates was not a Muslim ?

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          I feel sorry for your ignorance ; if not for Al-Khwarizmi, where would Bill Gates & Steve Jobs be ?

          The Islamic world made important advances in science, such as in algebra, chemistry, geology, spherical trigonometry, etc. which were later also transmitted to the West.[1][5] Stefan of Pise translated into Latin around 1127 an Arab manual of medical theory. The method of algorism for performing arithmetic with Indian-Arabic numerals was developed by the Persian al-Khwarizmi (hence the word “Algorithm”) in the 9th century, and introduced in Europe by Leonardo Fibonacci (1170–1250).[6] A translation by Robert of Chester of the Algebra by al-Kharizmi is known as early as 1145. Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen, 980–1037) compiled treatises on optical sciences, which were used as references by Newton and Descartes. Medical sciences were also highly developed in Islam as testified by the Crusaders, who relied on Arab doctors on numerous occasions. Joinville reports he was saved in 1250 by a “Saracen” doctor.[7]

          Contributing to the growth of European science was the major search by European scholars such as Gerard of Cremona for new learning. These scholars were interested in ancient Greek philosophical and scientific texts (notably the Almagest) which were not obtainable in Latin in Western Europe, but which had survived and been translated into Arabic in the Muslim world. Gerard was said to have made his way to Toledo in Spain and learnt Arabic specifically because of his “love of the Almagest”. While there he took advantage of the “abundance of books in Arabic on every subject”.[8] Islamic Spain and Sicily were particularly productive areas because of the proximity of multi-lingual scholars. These scholars translated many scientific and philosophical texts from Arabic into Latin.[9][10] Gerard personally translated 87 books from Arabic into Latin, including the Almagest, and also Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī’s On Algebra and Almucabala, Jabir ibn Aflah’s Elementa astronomica,[11] al-Kindi’s On Optics, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathīr al-Farghānī’s On Elements of Astronomy on the Celestial Motions, al-Farabi’s On the Classification of the Sciences,[12] the chemical and medical works of Rhazes,[13] the works of Thabit ibn Qurra and Hunayn ibn Ishaq,[14] and the works of Arzachel, Jabir ibn Aflah, the Banū Mūsā, Abū Kāmil Shujā ibn Aslam, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (Abulcasis), and Ibn al-Haytham (including the Book of Optics).

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          FYI, Steve Jobs biological parents were Muslims just in case your God given pea brain missed it. As for Bill Gates he works closely with Abu Dhabi on charitable missions.

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          Alchemy and chemistry in Islam

          Western alchemy was directly dependent upon Arabic sources.[15] The Latin alchemical works of “Geber” were standard texts for European alchemists. The exact attribution of these works remains a matter of some controversy. Some are undoubtedly translations from Arabic from works attributed to Jābir ibn Hayyān, including the Kitab al-Kimya (titled Book of the Composition of Alchemy in Europe), translated by Robert of Chester (1144);[16] and the Book of Seventy, translated by Gerard of Cremona (before 1187).[17] Whether these were actually written by one man (or whether indeed Jābir was a real historical figure) is disputed, but there is no doubting the influence on medieval European alchemy of the translated Arabic works. (A few of the Latin works are now attributed to a Pseudo-Geber, as although attributed to “Geber”, they have no identified Arabic source and appear to have been composed in Latin in the 13th century).[18]
          The alchemical works of Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes) were translated into Latin around the 12th century.[13]

          Several technical Arabic words from Arabic alchemical works, such as alkali,[19] found their way into various European languages and became part of scientific vocabulary.

          Islamic astronomy and Islamic mathematics

          The translation of Al-Khwarizmi’s work greatly influenced mathematics in Europe. As Professor Victor J. Katz writes: “Most early algebra works in Europe in fact recognized that the first algebra works in that continent were translations of the work of al-Khwärizmï and other Islamic authors. There was also some awareness that much of plane and spherical trigonometry could be attributed to Islamic authors”.[20] The words algorithm, deriving from Al-Khwarizmi’s Latinized name Algorismi, and algebra, deriving from the title of his AD 820 bookHisab al-jabr w’al-muqabala, Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala (“The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing”) are themselves Arabic loanwords. This and other Arabic astronomical and mathematical works, such as those by al-Battani [11] andMuhammad al-Fazari’s Great Sindhind (based on the Surya Siddhanta and the works ofBrahmagupta).[21] were translated into Latin during the 12th century.

          Al-Jayyani’s The book of unknown arcs of a sphere (a treatise on spherical trigonometry) had a “strong influence on European mathematics”.[23] Regiomantus’ On Triangles (c. 1463) certainly took his material on spherical trigonometry (without acknowledgement) from Arab sources. Much of the material was taken from the twelfth-century work of Jabir ibn Aflah(otherwise known as Geber), as noted in the sixteenth century by Gerolamo Cardano.[20]

          Fibonacci presented the first complete European account of the Hindu-Arabic numeral systemfrom Arabic sources in his Liber Abaci (1202).[13]Al-Khazini’s Zij as-Sanjari (1115–1116) was translated into Greek by Gregory Choniades in the 13th century and was studied in the Byzantine Empire.[22] The astronomical modifications to thePtolemaic model made by al-Battani and Averroesled to non-Ptolemaic models produced byMo’ayyeduddin Urdi (Urdi lemma), Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī (Tusi-couple) and Ibn al-Shatir, which were later adapted into the Copernican heliocentricmodel. Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī’s Ta’rikh al-Hindand Kitab al-qanun al-Mas’udi were translated into Latin as Indica and Canon Mas’udicusrespectively.

          A short verse used by Fulbert of Chartres (952-970 –1028) to help remember some of the brightest stars in the sky gives us the earliest known use of Arabic loanwords in a Latin text:[24] “Aldebaran stands out in Taurus, Menke and Rigel in Gemini, and Frons and bright Calbalazet in Leo. Scorpio, you have Galbalagrab; and you, Capricorn, Deneb. You, Batanalhaut, are alone enough for Pisces.”[25]

          Islamic medicine

          One of the most important medical works to be translated was Avicenna’s The Canon of Medicine (1025), which was translated into Latin and then disseminated in manuscript and printed form throughout Europe. It remained a standard medical textbook in Europe until the early modern period, and during the 15th and 16th centuries alone, The Canon of Medicinewas published more than thirty-five times.[27] Avicenna noted the contagious nature of someinfectious diseases (which he attributed to “traces” left in the air by a sick person), and discussed how to effectively test new medicines.[28] He also wrote The Book of Healing, a more general encyclopedia of science and philosophy, which became another popular textbook in Europe. Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (al-Razi) wrote the Comprehensive Book of Medicine, with its careful description of and distinction between measles and smallpox, which was also influential in Europe. Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi (also known as Albucasis) wrote Kitab al-Tasrif, an encyclopedia of medicine which was particularly famed for its section on surgery. It included descriptions and diagrams of over 200 surgical instruments, many of which he developed. The surgery section was translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the 1100s, and used in European medical schools for centuries, still being reprinted in the 1770s.[29][30

          Islamic physics

          One of the most important scientific works to be translated was Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen)’s Book of Optics (1021). Alhazen’s book was notable for his early use of an experiment based scientific method,[31] in which he developed a theory of vision and light which built on the work of the Roman writer Ptolemy (but which rejected Ptolemy’s theory that light was emitted by the eye, insisting instead that light rays entered the eye), and was the most significant advance in this field until Kepler.[32] The Book of Optics was an important stepping stone in the history of the scientific method and history of optics.[33] The Latin translation of the Book of Optics influenced the works of many later European scientists, including Roger Bacon and Johannes Kepler.[34][35] The book also influenced other aspects of European culture. In religion, for example, John Wycliffe, the intellectual progenitor of the Protestant Reformation, referred to Alhazen in discussing the seven deadly sins in terms of the distortions in the seven types of mirrors analyzed in De aspectibus. In literature, Alhazen’s Book of Optics is praised in Guillaume de Lorris’ Roman de la Rose.[36] In art, the Book of Optics laid the foundations for the linear perspective technique and may have influenced the use of optical aids in Renaissance art (see Hockney-Falco thesis).[36] These same techniques were then employed in European geographical maps made by cartographers such as Paolo Toscanelli during the Age of Exploration.[35]
          The theory of motion developed by Avicenna from Aristotelian physics may have influenced Jean Buridan’s theory of impetus (the ancestor of the inertia and momentum concepts).[37] The work of Galileo Galilei on classical mechanics (superseding Aristotelian physics) was also influenced by earlier medieval physics writers, including Avempace.[38]

          Fields of physics studied included optics and magnetism, mechanics (including statics, dynamics, kinematics and motion), and astronomy.

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          The simple Solution is ‘learn to Live and Let Live’ Muslims are expected to extract solutions from the sources revealed 14 Hundred Year ago which is applicable/workable to us in this day and age. Look at the trend/growth specially in Islamic finance. Perhaps it is too much to comprehend to an evolutionary brain.

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          [Edited out] Dummala

          Because, they never talked about it in the public.

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      Lasantha Well Said

      “While not condoning the sick actions of extremist groups I would suggest that Muslims must realistically engage with mainstream life in order to retain any semblance of acceptance and belonging within the larger society.”

      Likewise bold Sinhala leaders should make attempt to understand what ever silly temporary quarks of Muslims and genuinely accept that Muslims have lived peacefully over a thousand years with the Sinhalese.

      There could be no malice only misunderstanding just like in any family

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      Lasantha, You say:

      “I would suggest that Muslims must realistically engage with mainstream life in order to retain any semblance of acceptance and belonging within the larger society.”

      Can you please explain what the specific things you want the Muslims to do to/with the Sinhalese, which you may believe as the larger society?

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      You mean they too must tie their amude and talk illegibly like the 74%+17% crowd.

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    Quite right Dr. Ali: “Muslim parliamentarians appear to be more powerless and mute than at any time since 1947… This impotence is startling because the current parliament holds the largest number of Muslim cabinet ministers and deputies (four in each category, respectively) in history”
    This paradox is because the Muslim parliamentarian lack PRINCIPLES and ETHICS and are self-seeking and corrupt and only into making money and retaining their hand outs from the Rajapakse military dictatorship.
    The Muslim community like the Indian Origin Tamil estate community in Lanka is hostage to and trapped by their OWN politicians who are their biggest oppressors (like Prabakaran oppressed the Tamils) and the Muslims need a massive voter education campaign to vote for principled and un corrupt politicians!
    Of course, it is politicians of ALL communities and parties are the most corrupt and biggest law breakers in the country today so it the rotten political culture in the country that needs changing along with abolition of the executive presidency.

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    Why did that Humbug Colvin R. De Silva who spoke of, ‘one language and two nations and two languages and one nation’, did mot incorporate in the ’72 Constitution the facility, being the Chief Architect?

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      Dr. Ameer Ali is [Edited out], may be?

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    /* How and why has Muslim politics descended to this level of ineptitude?
    And to what extent has the Muslim community of Sri Lanka enabled this impotent political leadership? */

    they had become hostages of the leader.
    if they don’t obey the leader they will be convicted for the ‘wrongs’ that they had done before. see what happened to SF and ex-CJ.

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      Muslim ‘leaders’ are like bees attracted to MAR(UK)A honey! To be fair, there are UNP bees, CWC bees, Tamil bees and freelance bees!

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      You should reverse the question once, like, ‘what could the Muslim leaders do if their community is in trouble by a bands of thugs?’. Nothing, do you need the Leaders to kindle the community to resort to arms, or else to make vain talk in an assembly until the cows come home. Futile are all attempts until the goons wishes whats cooked in their agenda. Maligning a few Leaders for the vilification of their community by an uncouth behavior of the leadership infuriated by a little pack of adhoc villans does not seems to fit any sensible approach to dissent them.

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    “Muslim parliamentarians appear to be more powerless and mute than at any time since 1947… This impotence is startling because the current parliament holds the largest number of Muslim cabinet ministers and deputies (four in each category, respectively) in history”

    Dear Dr. Ameer Ali,

    What do you mean by powerless? Are the Muslim Cabinet Ministers incapable of managing the cabinet portfolios assigned to them? Or Do they need power to use the funds allocated to respective ministries for the welfare of Muslims? Mr. MH Mohamed and Ms. Ferial Ashroff always won with Sinhala vote but they never did any thing for Sinhala people who trusted them. They were always racists though you try to portray them as nationalists.

    You are in a way preaching racism while enjoying luxuries under protection on greener pastures down under.

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    Another load of bullshit by a Muslim as always. You need to realize that Sri Lanka is Sinhalese Buddhist country and not a multi ethnic, multi religious bull shit. If you can’t accept that go to a place where you are welcome

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      Cyril

      This island is not Sinhala/Buddhist country.

      Please get lost, anywhere in India whence your ancestors came by Kallathonies.

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        Vedda should know that half Yaksha Pandukabhaya, the sixth king after Wijaya started forming up the Sinhala race by assimilating Yaksha, Raksha, Deva and Naga with his other half, the descendants of Wijaya. Anyway can you tell us, how many of you Veddas are there now? To say it all in short, they too are taking up Sinhala names of late. Am I right?

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          Also they have become Buddhists on their own free will now and NV is living in a dream!

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        You bloody vedda…get out of my country you miserable piece of shit

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    Muslims are trying to dominate world. Only truth is once you go the peak you have go down too. It is not eternal. Allah won’t be able to hold you. At that time you will understand who allah was.

    Muslims are not considerate of others. Understand if we Buddhists get into your muslims country and start converting it. IF muslims are not killing animals, if muslims are not lying for the sake of the religion, If muslims women behaves more like free – women and not like some kind of oppressed human beings, what would you muslims feel.

    Muslims are thinking only their side. Your Quran is also not for peace and it is for creating social disharmony.

    In order to prove it Read and learn how your prophet behaved during his life time, and understand how some clerics in muslims dominated countries instruct their devotees to burn, kill and destroy devotees and the places of the other religions.

    YOu people never talk about those things.

    Don’t you understand you people are dishonest and lieng.

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      Sinhellists(BBS/JHU/SR)sympathisers should watch the link below.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1KOIZZYxKM

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      While sinhala radicals like you are trying to isolate other communities within the nation.

      I, as sinhalese, would not want this to happen. So long you radicalists continue these attacks, we would nt have the chance to see peaceful future in this country.

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    This writers assumption about JVP is ignorance, JVP never targeted Muslims individually their target was unscrupulous capitalists & corrupt political henchmen s & police informants of all communities.

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    Create problems in Sri Lanka that is the best way Muslims can survive. Now there is no war so business has dried out a bit.
    Ali you tried your tricks in Australia and got caught out and marginalized. So trying to open up his old shop in Sri Lanka. I doubt it is going to work. Sri Lankans has learnt all the Muslim tricks. Now they are coming for you.

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      lanka lair
      “men become old but they never become good” Oscar Wilde.

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    this time muslims will vote to TNA, they are better guts than these jokers around … i will vote for TNA… i have lost confidnce with these buggers. Ameer Ali is nut case. so dont just read his articles as its always talks of something irrelevent

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    Sri Lanka’s Muslims: The End Of The Road…..Dr. Ameer Ali
    THEN ITS TIME FOR THE MUSLIMS TO GO ON THE REVERSE

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    Mr.Ameer Ali – from your story, it looks only Muslims went to the Middle East but for every one Muslim ten Sinhalese went there. I went there in 1975 and still there but hardly hard Whabisim among Sri Lankan Muslims living here. We practice the Islam taught to us in our country, nothing more or less.

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      The doctor turned forensic expert, still bitten by the anti-wahhabi bug.

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      You Zain are a liar or an ignorant. Either way, Google ‘Wahhabi Sri Lanka’ read and learn what’s going on.

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        I am no muslim
        The ground reality in Saudi is,Wahabis fast losing their
        grip in Saudi society.We find from well informed sources
        that Saudi Royal family and Wahabis shared between them
        politics and religion respectively and non interference
        in each other’s affairs.The case is not the same anymore.
        One tacit example is,declaring Saturday holiday and
        Thursday work day.Many changes are starting to happen in
        line with international systems.Migration to ME has
        brought back nothing except new comforts and developments.
        Do not ever imagine, if not for the opening of millions of
        migrants eyes that saw massive developments in those
        countries and the West,We could still have been wearing
        Kerosene oil textiles!Wahabism came mainly through Medina
        University scholarships.It is true that sudden changes in
        ones lifestyle creates a kind of panic among other
        communities who think we Muslims are further distancing
        ourselves from the rest of the country in visibly
        creating a climate of disintegration in integration.But
        attack from all sides is not the right and meaningful
        answer to this because the whole Muslim community has not
        embraced this change.Except only a few high handed
        oppressive regimes with a clear agenda,rest of the Muslim
        world is very accommodating.Turkey,Egypt,Syria,Lebenan,
        Tunisia,Morocco,Malaysia,Indonesia and how many Muslim
        tourist destinations are there on the planet.Men of any
        culture and religion,whoever they are,they should be
        ashamed of themselves of depriving their sisters,mothers,
        wives and daughters freedom that they enjoy.Dictating to
        them only what we want is disgusting and being happy or
        ignorant about ones own selfish destructive behavior
        towards their own fellow beings is more disgusting.
        Create a safe and better environment for all women to
        move around free rather than wasting the time to find
        excuses to pick on something to satisfy ones racist
        rage.This is the real need of the hour.A Sinhala mother
        went to a school to get her child enrolled to a primary.
        What happened????? She was asked sexual favor by non
        other than the school head and even hotel booked for the
        job.Man was caught red handed by the bribery.In another
        incident,a man unable to pay back the loan and interest
        forced his wife to go with the lender for the money.He
        never got his wife back and the lender himself was a
        married man.With this kind of pathetic and selfless
        background, how can one find fault with another culture
        which sees a different approach could be a remedy? The
        gap between rich and poor is drastically widening
        endangering the lives of the weak in all aspects of life.
        Nothing works if you don’t have power and wealth.Please
        take this into account before discussing pressing issues.

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    a very enlightened letter

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    To say it all in short, I shall pick on this writer Ameer saying JRJ should not have allowed Israel to open a consulate in Colombo in 1984. What a cheek, the writer says JRJ should have made his decision solely on the sentiments of 7% or 8% Muslims at the time.

    For this type of Muslim writers, minority right means ignore the opinion of the vast majority to satisfy outlook of Muslims. Tongue in cheek, this fellow talks about multiethnic, multireligious, multicultural, multilingual Sri Lanka but he never touches on how those multithings function in Muslim majority countries. What about the minority rights or guest worker rights in Muslim majority countries? Its jizya (tax on non-Muslims) in those countries.

    This writer has quoted pages of some book by one Sebastian to condemn findings of archaeological evidence by internationally acknowledged scholar Paranavitana with the sole purpose of rundown our 2500 year old heritage. Imagine our plight if Muslims are allowed to increase their numbers by breading like rabbits. We are well advised to note that at 14%, Muslims in India have begun to flex their muscle beyond reasonable proportion. Read the current headlines in India and learn more about Muslim multithings.

    By design Muslims are raw opportunists. It is that charlatan like characteristics that made them prosper and increase their population wherever they have been a minority. As Muslims increase their numbers their list of minority rights become longer. But being conscious of karuna, muditha and upeksha the majority Sinhalas had been apathetic in the past for seemingly innocent list. Only when we learned that we are forced fed with ‘halal’ and we are contributing to jihadis cause through ‘halal’ we realized the extent we have been taken for a ride by ACJU. ACJU should know that what is halal for Muslims is haram for Sinhalas.

    Anagarika Dharmapala very accurately prophesied in 1933 the would be plight of the Sinhalas. Only with the demise of Ven Soma, however Sinhalas started to acknowledge that united they stand, divided they fall. And Mahinda Rajapakse has become the Diyasena, the light of Sinhalas whom they’ve been waiting for generations.

    After the defeat of LTTE terrorism more Sinhalas and patriotic Tamil and Muslims have joined MR to strengthen his hand to safeguard our hard won peace. We shall not allow few rabble rouses to upset the apple cart. This man is trying to take Sri Lankan Muslims on the road to Damascus. Good luck to him.

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      Patriot keep dreaming of Marasena Kumaraya, he will deliver very soon this Country to the Americans as the Pakistanis Patriots have done to Pakistan.

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        I see that you have been waiting for that day since 2005, didn’t you?

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    If the 18 muslim MPs return to the opposition as an independent group,the 2/3 majority will be toppled and many repressive legislation nipped in the bud.
    But they have all been ‘bought over’ and having enjoyed the perks and
    advantages,are reluctant.
    Even Hakim,the Minister of Justice had to look on while muslim shrines were targeted.
    Dr.Ameer Ali should advise them.

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    Dr Ameer Ali,

    The strikes on Muslim places of worship, madrasas and businesses were limited in nature and well controlled. Nothing like what occurred during the 1915 riots.

    BBS had to do what it had to do because of the rising control of our lives by Muslim activities. Take for instance the ‘Halal’ issue. From time immemorial we could eat and drink and use all kinds of utensils without fear or fervour. Then suddenly we were made to pay a ‘Halal’ tax for everything we ate and used – including paint brushes. Thankfully this issue has been resolved in favour of sanity.

    Muslims and the Tamils must learn the art of live and let live. Muslim fundamentalism may be good for the Muslims but is not good for the Sinhalese or any other minorities. If the Muslims identify themselves with the Saudis then they should all migrate there. If you choose to live in Sri Lanka then choose practices that are amenable to all Sri Lankans.

    To be fair I don’t believe that the Muslims in Sri Lanka are bound by a universal Muslim Umma. That is sheer nonsense. However there are worrying new signs of Islamic presence that is causing concerns. The Muslim ladies used to wear saris like the rest of the women in Sri Lanka but draped the tail end of the sari over the head. Muslim men used to wear sarongs with a thoppi. We were quite used to it. But now the Muslim ladies are wearing the gonibilla dress (not meant to ridicule) and the men are increasingly choosing a long dress similar to the Saudis and head gear like those worn by Palestinians. These sights are confronting to say the least. Then like you said in a previous article on CT the Kathankudi Muslims are growing date palms when they could grow palmyra or coconut trees. Didn’t you see that Kathankudi Muslims have also erected gateways to villages with crests of crossed swords? Such armoured crests are scary and make one want to know if there is any hidden meaning in such exhibitions.

    Well Mr Ali you are nostalgic when you talk about a golden era of Muslim politicians who you describe with unrestrained praise. You start in 1889 with Abdul Cader and ended with the more recent Badiuddin Mahmoud. I do not really believe that the Muslims in Sri Lanka share your love of these politicians nor hold them with such awe and esteem. I am surprised that an article written in an academic vein degenerates into language of emotional longing. Such praise is not worthy of academe and one expects a man in your position sticking to statement of facts only.

    You end your article by saying “they have reached the end of a political road and need to change direction”. I would like you to spell out what you mean. I for one feel that the political road still is best. I do hope the direction change that you meant is not akin to what LTTE took.

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      Your outdated ideology will see that the Sri Lankan economy will get further flushed down the toilet. It is sad and pathetic to watch that a few of your kind can destroy a country struggling to recover from years of conflict. Perhaps, the country is destined to remain with the ‘begging bowl’ while the rest in the region prosper.

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        From the inception, it has been obvious that the Sinhalayas are modayas !

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          Point of view,

          Religious and Ethnic ridicule and sarcasm will not lead us to a good outcome. Please engage in constructive criticism. Thank you.

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            It is a well documented criticism – dont shoot the messenger :)

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        I wish to ask you, is Islam not an outdated ideology? Child marriage, polygamy, conversion by the sword, killing non believers – is this current ideology?

        Ours really is not an outdated ideology. You can choose the middle path and live the life of laymen. You can marry, earn money, and adopt the attitude of mutual respect. And you can engage in meritorious acts. If you choose the path of a Bikkhu then you choose a stricter path to salvation. The begging bowl you refer to is the way recommended to the Bikkhu. The Bikkhus will always be a fraction of a population because of the stringent application of vinaya but there is no restriction in a country becoming prosperous on the modern world standards.

        With regards to destroying the country – you are sadly mistaken and taken in by the anti Sri Lankan Diaspora. We want to establish a Sri Lankan identity for all the people. If people want to turn Sri Lanka into a Saudi Arabia or a Tamil Nadu, therein lay the conflicts. When a group of people, minority or otherwise try and push an alien identity on the majority, that is when trouble begins. Let us forge a separate and unique Sri Lankan identity acceptable to all. Not easy given the present polarised situation but we must endeavour to establish a just and humane society.

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          We can’t help if one is consumed with propaganda and insists on spreading false information. Islam in fact permits marriages only at puberty. Polygamy in Islam has stringent requirements/qualifications, as for conversions;

          HISTORY MAKES IT CLEAR HOWEVER, THAT THE LEGEND OF FANATICAL MUSLIMS SWEEPING THROUGH THE WORLD AND FORCING ISLAM AT THE POINT OF THE SWORD UPON CONQUERED RACES IS ONE OF THE MOST FANTASTICALLY ABSURD MYTHS THAT HISTORIANS HAVE EVER REPEATED.

          DE LACY O’LEARY, ISLAM AT THE CROSSROADS, LONDON, 1923 P.8.

          Mutual respect is not forcing an identity of any people. The freedom to choose as one pleases as long as it does not intervene the rights of others. By the way in Islam there is a clear distinction between ‘freedom’ and ‘rights’. No one is capable of pushing an alien identity on others unless one adopts willingly. We own our MIND exclusively. On a recent visit to Sri Lanka we observed the Bollywood culture is thriving and how many Bhikkus have ever spoken against them nor the licensing of casinos. Is not the western attire an alien dress code? Perhaps one should revisit history and see what the early Buddhists wore.

          One can be in denial the direction the Sri Lankan economy is moving, however, textbook signs are that it is speeding in the direction of disaster unless the PEOPLE say NO to the filth of Hate speeches specially by the religious people.

          Islam is perfect, however people are not. There is so much Sri Lanka can learn from the Muslims and vice versa.

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            Mr.Maghribi,
            You say, ‘Islam is perfect.’ For every perfect verse in the Koran, I shall show you two nasty verses or verse that are not suitable for a holy book. Now don’t come with justification by excuses called ‘context’.

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              I am No muslim-Buddist,

              One needs to take the scientific method of properly referencing the various scriptures.

              It is true the believes, use belief, not reason, but going back the original scripture, will make everybody start from the SAME point.

              For Islam, go to the Quran.

              For Buddhism, go to the Tipitaka, the triple Baskets.

              For Christianity, go to the New Testament.

              For Judaism, go to the Old Testaent.

              This is how a Monk understands Islam.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1KOIZZYxKM

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              A twisted mind takes and extracts information from twisted sources. The message of Islam is applied as explained by the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) during his life time.

              We are all capable of showing nasty verses in holy books if they are taken out of context. To understand the context we should know the period, the circumstances prevailed at the time of revelation.

              Context is the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc. Without context, we remain blind to the truth.

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    Cut and pasted

    Sinhellists(BBS/JHU/SR)sympathisers should watch the link below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1KOIZZYxKM

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    If every one gets the opportunity to raise the flags of their faith and ethnicity at the same time,the overwhelming majority will be that of the Sinhala Buddhists.
    The oppotunity to raise the flag is the equality here and and not
    75 flags is equal to 15 flags or 10 flags.Muliticulturalims or multi anything should start from there.
    The majoritarism is not something one could shout down or suppress but overcome with wisdom and cooperation.

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    Dr Ameer Ali very correctly portrays attitudinal changes in the Sri Lankan Muslim community having closely observed the recent trends in predominantly Muslim towns like Kattankudy. In fact, I understand he comes from Kattankudy itself. In another article too he noted the outward manifestations of the Muslim community in Sri Lanka such as the changes in attire and numerous new mosques built with Saudi financial assistance. Ameer Ali correctly portrays how the Muslim community achieved poliical advantages at the expense of the Tamils at the time the latter were waging an armed struggle. I agree with his analysis that the advantage the Muslims had until the demise of the LTTE in 2009 is now over. When he says that the Muslims should now think of a new strategy, I believe he is not advocating an armed struggle as suggested by some readers in their comments here. The undeniable fact is that the present Muslim leaders have no option but to continue their role as members of the government of the day. They know very well that they will not be able to help their community if they leave the government and operate independently as an opposition party like the TNA. It will be suicidal for the Muslim leaders and the Muslim community to adopt a confrontational political stance like the TNA. The anti-Muslim agitation by BBS and other extremist Buddhist organisations may in the long run loose steam. I do not think there is popular support for these extremist Buddhist organisations among the majority Buddhists. Howevefr,Muslims should be better advised to abandon their stupid changes to their attire which in my opinion in no way suit the Sri Lankan climate.

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    Muslims should have equal right as embedded in Sri Lankan constitution to protect each one religion

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    you are so called educated man,just think what religion right for others in Saudi Arabia ?I do strongly support to have equal right to all citizen and all must respect others religion right and their faith.it is only community can works together and created society that respect each others.so you better thinks twice before making red line for this nature of issues while you live in another country.finally we need to create new law to secure any such action and secured our people irrespective of their religious believes.

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    Mr. Ali,
    you have made very negative message to the humanity .hence please try to be a good human.

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    I see the reality at some extent through the comment of Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The faith is something private in a democratic system and it used to be a private and harmonious thing some years back in time. However, today it has become the major race within all the religions and some are beginning to perceive the things with the extreme taste. The culprits of this newborn phenomenon, are ravaging the Globe as you hear from the news on daily basis. This is the country, we used to have a Muslim singer who sang about Lord Buddha and Muslim ladies and gents dressed like any other Sri Lankan without any differences. Seemingly, the social tolerance could not survive when the mass is differentiating themselves Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, or Muslims. Worship places now-days have become commercial venues that believes in figures from their client bases & height of its edifices. This erosion can be called the extremism where the division plays a major role to rule the blind minded ..

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    Dr,

    Sadly you are right. This is the end of the road for the Muslims in Sinhala Lanka. At least we Tamils have turned the corner through outside pressure but for you the countries who should be taking up you case with the GOSL are bedfellows.
    But let me give you an honest opinion and insight in to how some of the Countries view Sri Lankan Muslims.
    1) Many in Pakistan and some of the other Muslim countries dont even know Muslims exist in Sinhala Lanka and frankly dont care.

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      Kali, your bloodthirst is horrific.

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