By Rushdy Nizar –
Today anti-Minority campaigns are rampant in Sri Lanka, and the responsible religio-political leaders remain silent. Thus, it is pivotal to understand the rudimentary political ground realities in the island. Hence, to understand this dilemma of violent non-state-actors aggressive role towards minority, and the given response of political representatives of Muslim community is much fitting to focus. The political behavior of SLMC is extraordinarily significant in today’s Sri Lankan politics, since SLMCs silence over rising Sinhala Buddhists fundamental behavior and attacks against minority religions escalating greater than ever on daily basis. Today, the Muslim and Christian minority (previously Tamils) concern in Sri Lanka has become a discourse and the paradigm-shift has taken place once again in the hearts and minds of Muslims in Sri Lanka. Apparently, Muslims are puzzled, having no notion with whom to tie hands and bandwagon in absence of a strong anti-status-quo. Unlike demised SLMC supremo, Mr. Ashraff, the current party leadership has no understanding what realpolitik is (Not disregarding moral or principals by realpolitik). Therefore, it is important to observe the role and political behavior of SLMC in today’s politics, as the party claims to defend the Muslims course in the island. While on the other hand, being an ally of President Mahinda Rajapakse led ruling autocratic regime the Muslim Congress is bound to speak and raise voice against the well-architectured anti-Muslims campaign proliferated by Jathika Hela Urumaya, Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balaya and other anti-Muslim elements.
If take a glance at the official website of SLMC one will be able to notice, that “In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” in green colored verse on it. Which means, to the Spread “The Truth of Islam” represent and protect the Muslims in Sri Lanka within the Islamic teachings by accepting popular democratic culture of Sri Lanka (or any nation). No Muslims in Sri Lanka have ever demanded or expected any politically organized Muslim parties to spread the religion, and launch war against any non-Muslims, except a proper political representation for them. And the historical political documentations have evidently proven this peaceful and coexistence nature of Sri Lankan Muslims. Yet, the SLMC patronized by Mr. Rauff Hakeem apparently neither represents Muslims no raise voice against any anti-Muslim activities taken place in Sri Lanka.
Having clearly stated in SLMCs official website that “Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is a political party that is totally focused on giving voice to the Muslim minority who comprises 8% of the island’s population”, party’s chief philosophical manifesto is clearly disregarded by the Muslim Congress today under Rauff Hakeem. It is clearly observed that Mr. Hakeem is much active in bashing BBS and other racist elements only prior to election. People in Sri Lanka could witness that wave of attacks on Muslims and its indiscriminate nature, could only be carried by the silence of Muslim leaders in the isle. Mr. Rauff Hakeem’s self-centric political decision to remain in power has today become an instrumental to spilling-over anti-Muslim campaign across the country. Consequently, Mr. Hakeem has aided and abetted anti-Muslim elements in Sri Lanka to attack, destroy and disgrace the Muslim Mosques, business shops and ultimately the Islam and Prophet. Importantly, the SLMC official website management has failed to update the exact ratio of Muslim population in the country, according to world Factbook and Wiki sources (though wiki is regarded as much un-authenticated) the Muslim ratio is 9.2%. Similarly, the GOSLs official website states the same. Therefore, one can easily fathom and see through the dormant political nature of Mr. Hakeem by looking at SLMCs official website. Simply, one can arrive at a conclusion that self-centric, egotistic and inactive nature of a leader invariably reflects on his followers, thus the same case goes with SLMCs website management.
Moreover, the website says that “Abdul Rauff Hakeem is the National Leader of SLMC” which is quiet dubious, and at the same time true. SLMC only represent the eastern Muslims, but not Muslims as a whole. Even though, Muslims from different parts of Sri Lanka have voted him and his party. There have been many anti-Muslim attacks taken place throughout the country, yet no such an incident taken place in eastern part of the country. Further, website says that “He is presently engaged in building a rapprochement between the state and the Tamil minority party TNA to arrive at a political settlement and National reconciliation”. Isn’t it much advisable if Mr. Hakeem first of all bothers about the people who sent him to parliament than putting his utmost effort to engage in so called ‘reconciliation processes? We are today living in a post-war era of Sri Lanka, so one way of the other the GOSL has to make certain a solution for these burning political issues.
It is Important to articulate, than expecting Hakeem to safeguard Islam is almost like “Gala Mirikala Thel Gannawa Wagey” situation. Thus, Mr. Hakeem at least should wake up from his longtime enjoying COMA stage and look around what is happening for Muslims constitutional rights, and how Muslim Mosques are covertly and diplomatically destroyed by GOSL. Holding the portfolio of Justice Minister has a responsibility to lift up his voice against the evil anti-Minority campaigns. If incapable at least to defend the constitutionally stated rights of Muslims, he should resign from politics. As, in politics one should possess know-how to play his cards, if not he will go down. So, if Mr. Rauff Hakeem is incapable of handling the situation and face the challenges, should walk out from the politics. Simply, the General Secretary of Jathika Bala Sena, Watareka Vijitha Thero has been playing a significant role against recently emerged racist elements in the country. Which, truly has to be played by Mr. Hakeem as an elected Muslim leader by Muslim votes, but today he is silent.
The organized anti-Muslim elements started their evil campaign from a single incident, and today have engulfed the whole country. Thus, sharp and a visionary leader could have realized the futuristic political dynamics by observing evolving political situation around. If he is incapable of raising his voice for the Muslims in Sri Lanka, as his party says that “Address the grievances of the Muslims in the country”, at least he should detach from the government or hand over the leadership to someone who is capable of fulfilling responsible duties.
The formation of SLMC encouraged as a result of conventional Muslim politicians demand to stand for the Muslims through two established national political parties, the SLMC emerged as a force providing a platform giving voice to the Muslims in the island. This series of incidents ended up with forming SLMC under the leadership of Mr. M.H.M. Ashraff, and he filled the void. Would Mr. Rauff Hakeem be able to fulfill what its founding leader M.H. M. Ashraff has achieved and delivered?