By Muhammed Fazl –
How [can there be a treaty] while, if they gain dominance over you, they do not observe concerning you any pact of kinship or covenant of protection? They satisfy you with their mouths, but their hearts refuse [compliance]…. – Al-Quran 9:8
Blood was shed, lives were lost, businesses and property destroyed. While the fabric of society is being threatened, spells danger it does when the inclusion of Sri Lankan Muslims itself is seriously being questioned.
In a multi-religious multi-racial country, where unverified ancient history is only a myth, the question of ‘ownership’ of the country by a particular race need not arise when it serves no purpose or if it is detrimental to the development of the country. Considering the inclination measurements of the average Sri Lankan for change, chances of racist mentalities of the majority community embracing pluralism seems pretty remote as well.
Back to square one where the political demography stands divided on racial/religious lines, one cannot readily find fault with TNA and SLMC for pandering to Tamil and Muslim votes respectively. As much as I am a proponent of the ‘separation of the state and religion’, when communities are victimized solely due to their race or religion, loyalties to the same communities by their representatives cannot be avoided and need to be acknowledged and accepted.
Common it is now to play the ‘communal card’ by selfish politicians in seeking votes, power and wealth, but little do they realize the long term effects in doing so. Sri Lanka has had its fair share of ethnic violence in the last century, and sitting on a volcano waiting to erupt, the last thing this country needs is for one community to antagonize the other. If outfits like Bodhu Balu Sena (BBS), Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and Ravana Balaya (RB) stirs up nationalist/Buddhist passions all for the sake of supporting the despotic president Rajapaksa, the Muslims, the Tamils and the Catholics/Christians should be able to do the same in electing legislators from their own kind when electing a new government.
Being a Muslim and speaking on behalf of my community, what is NOT acceptable is when politicians with Muslim names, pretending to be looking out for the interests and for the well-being of the Muslims, continue fooling the faithful while working hand-in-glove with the racist Rajapaksa in order to diminish the powers and importance of the peace loving Muslim community of Sri Lanka.
Once again, might is not right, nor should popularity be construed as competence. While modern day elections have nothing to do with the Islamic system of governance, it does lead to confusion, personal ambition, favoritism, greed and disorder among others. If the need for legislators to represent the Muslims becomes crucial, candidates should be competent, qualified and most importantly they should have integrity.
Unfortunately, with the present lot, either the above traits are absent at the time of their candidature or lost once elected. Furthermore, the current Muslim legislators have failed to protect the Muslims, their property and their places of worship from closing or being destroyed by marauding Sinhalese mobs. They have failed to establish a modest dress code nationwide for the schooling weaker sex or to provide a higher level of education for the deserving and the downtrodden. They have failed to protect the community from unfair government taxes, enacted with the sole intention of specifically targeting businesses owned by the Muslims. The list is endless… yet the so-called ‘Muslim parliamentarians’ have the audacity to seek a further mandate or to stake a claim for the ‘right to represent’ the community.
With a history of being second-class citizens in their country of birth, I believe it is time for the Muslims of Sri Lanka to reclaim the lost glory and to take the fight to the enemy territory. The current ‘circus’ has to stop and stop now.
Call me a ‘modern day Saladin’ or an Iconoclast, but there should be NO COMPROMISE in barring the ‘old-guard’ from making a comeback. The ‘old guard’ in this case is in reference to the likes of Mr. Abdul Cader of Kandy, Mr. Fowzi, Mr. Alavi Moulana and the rabid canine A.H. M Azwer. Not knowing where the likes of Mr. Muzammil of NFF or Mr. Nawzer Fowzi Jr. belong, I could only sympathize with their plight should a new government is formed. For the sake of redeeming their lost integrity, I believe one final opportunity should be extended to the self-serving Mr. Faiszer Musthapha, Mr. Rishard Bathiudeen and to the rest of the crossed-over-to-government SLMC parliamentarians. Failure to be ‘righteous’ even at this decisive juncture, I believe they maybe ‘banished’ from the Muslims society in to oblivion and branded as traitors to the community for the rest of their lives.
The ‘enemy status’ of the Mahinda Rajapakse government in the eyes of the Muslim community has now been well established and no sweet words of the actor president will reverse their convictions, not now not ever. The ‘rattle snake’ that he is, Mr. Rajapaksa cannot rattle no more the steadfastness of the country’s Muslims. They may even appear as BBS, JHU or as RB, but look will the enemy for places to hide when/if the Muslim kind decides to ‘raise its head’. Also the cowardice of the likes of Gnanasaras was exposed by their absence when LTTE was running amok and I have no reason to believe they would act any different when facing the wrath of the Muslims.
Come elections or no, miscalculating the silence of the Muslims as a weakness could be indeed costly for Gotabaya Rajapaksa-led outfits such as BBS and for the present ruling class itself. The struggle for justice and equality should be only against corrupt, divisive and abusive politicians and their henchmen. Where they stand, the present enemies of the Muslims seems to be none other than the same politicians whom they elected from their own community and who happens to be well bribed by the devious Mahinda Rajapaksa, and NOT the peace loving Buddhist/Sinhalese majority. While history has taught us that a traitor is a bigger threat than the enemy itself, ‘mob justice’ may just be in vogue when dealing with corrupt politicians, especially when ‘fresh thinking’ is infused to the camps of the opposition forces.
On a conciliatory note, when Muslims and their legislators are found to be complicit in the continuous persecution of the same minority community they belong to, I sincerely hope the methods adopted in the event of a ‘mob justice’ would be humane enough for the guilty to endure. Should the existing ‘Muslim’ parliamentarians, thanks to their disunity, fail to see the signs of impending dangers ahead, my fear of an ‘Islamic Khilafa’ (Islamic Caliphate) styled movement rising its head within our shores may not be unfound after all.
*The writer is an independent social/political activist and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org and through FB (Fazl Muhammed Nizar).