26 May, 2022


Time For Tamil Politicians To Think Of Suffering Jaffna Muslims

By Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

Latheef Farook

Despite criticism at the slow pace of fulfilling election promises, tribute should be paid to President Maithripala Sirisena for allowing the singing of the Tamil version of national anthem during the island’s 68th Independence Day celebrations. Addressing the ceremony to mark the event he called on all citizens to work collectively in harmony, friendship and brotherhood to face the decades ahead.

This was a welcome gesture especially at a time when desperate racist political forces led by defeated president Mahinda Rajapaksa making every possible effort to regain power by exploiting such a move by rousing anti Tamil feelings.

In fact only a year and half ago one could not even dream of such a move in the highly corrupt, communalized and criminalized political environment under Rajapaksa regime.
Calling for unity and brotherhood during his address to the nation President Sirisena said that, “almost every government which came to power gave priority to develop physical resources to build the economy. However had they concentrated on building unity, reconciliation and friendship, terrorism that affected the country for 26 years could have been avoided”.

National anthem of the country “Namo Namo Maatha” was adopted in 1952 .It was translated into Tamil by M. Nallathamby, a famous Tamil poet. The words were changed from “Namo, Namo Maatha” to “Sri Lanka Maatha “in 1961.

Tamils in general expressed their emotions freely on the singing of national anthem in Tamil. Tamil National Alliance and Opposition leader R. Sampanthan and Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran were in tears. Columnist D.B.S Jeyaraj said he was in tears on seeing school children singing national anthem in Tamil language.

After watching the National Day ceremonies Chief Minister Wigneswaran drove straight to Sri Naga Vihara in Jaffna and offered lotus flowers to Lord Buddha and lit oil lamps. He said there that if the Sinhalese took one step the Tamils were ready to take ten.

President Sirisena, by allowing the singing of the Tamil version of the National anthem, has set in motion the path towards the long and arduous journey to reconciliation.

His efforts need to be supported by all communities as extreme positions only brought disaster and misery. For example extremists among the Sinhalese think that this country solely belongs to Sinhalese as they were the first to arrive in the island. Under today’s circumstance this is unrealistic and disastrous as almost one third of the population constitute of non Sinhalese.

Meanwhile some Tamils still consider north and east of the island as their exclusive homeland while living all over the island. This attitude is equally disastrous. However large majority of people wanted to live in a united Sri Lanka recognizing the plural nature of the society and respecting each others’ religion and culture.

For example a group of Sinhalese intellectuals, professionals, activists and even Buddhist monks took the initiative to organize a forum of the three communities to explore means to bring about reconciliation. The initiative was taken by political analyst and former Daily News Editor Jayatilleke De Silva .The meeting was held at the Mahaweli Centre in Colombo on 14 December 2015.

First to speak was a Sinhala senior attorney at law who explained in brief the proposed constitutional reforms .Then a member of Northern Provincial Council who was a lecturer at Colombo University made a lengthy speech reiterating that North and the East of the island was Tamil homeland and they should be allowed to live in their own soil with all rights.

Throughout his speech he did not utter a word about the presence of Muslim population in the North and East though they constitute around 40 percent of the total population there. He also failed to understand the reality that east is a region where Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese live.

The need of the hour is for flexibility on the parts of all taking into consideration the changed political situation and the emerging destructive racist forces which have all the potentials to turn this country into a killing field again.

His speech reminded me of the speeches often made in the 1970s by late TULF leader A. Amirthalingam stating that Tamils who once ruled should rule themselves again. Such speeches contributed a great deal for the radicalization and militarization of Tamil youths especially in the context of Sinhala leaderships’ arrogance and indifference towards their legitimate aspirations.

However third speaker, a Muslim journalist, had to point out some home truths especially in the context of the ethnic cleansing of the entire Muslim population from North who still languish in refugee camps in an around Puttalam and other places ignored by almost everyone including their own politicians.

Reconciliation is a comprehensive process and not confined only to Sinhalese and Tamils .In this context aspirations of Muslims need to be taken into consideration. Thus harmony between Tamils and Muslims is essential especially in the north and east while there should be reconciliation among all communities in the country.

Thus while president Sirisena provides hopes for Tamils, isn’t it time for Tamil leaders to give some hope for ethnic cleansed Jaffna Muslims in refugee camps as reconciliation must be comprehensive covering all communities.

Isn’t it a moral obligation of Tamil community to undo the sufferings of ethnic cleansed Muslims? Of the ten steps Chief Minister Wignerswarn promised to reconcile with Sinhalese isn’t it time that he takes one step to heal the Jaffna Muslim refugees’ plight?

Isn’t it time that Tamil political leaders take some initiative to help Muslims return to their lands and homes and rehabilitate themselves.

Muslims were part and parcel of northern soil and society. Over centuries this was their only place and their Tamil neighbors were the only people whom they knew. Most of them often felt alien when they visited the island’s south due to different social environment especially when it came to speaking in Sinhala.

Their main activities were retail and wholesale hardware trade, lorry transport, jewellery and tailoring besides agriculture and fisheries. They owned houses and properties besides paddy lands and fishery boats. Muslims dominated the trade at one stage to such an extent that two-thirds of the blocks in the new market in Jaffna, built by the late Mayor of Jaffna. Alfred Duraiappa was monopolized by them.

Condemning this President of TULF Mr. V Anandasangaree once said; “Championing the cause of the Tamils the LTTE even drove every Muslim out of the Northern Province. The Muslims, merely because they are Muslims, had to leave all their possessions and the land where they lived peacefully with the Tamils for several generations. They are now languishing in refugee camps in the south, with the Sinhalese, in Puttalam and Anuradhapura Districts, without privacy and their basic needs met. As long as refugee camps exist in our country, whether the inmates are Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims or of any other group, we have no moral rights to boast of democratic principles. With one section of our people undergoing untold hardships, being deprived of their democratic fundamental and human rights, we can’t boast of our country as one enjoying full democratic rights. Loss of democratic rights, fundamental rights and human rights amount to slavery. I am convinced that the time has come for the country to find a solution reasonable enough and acceptable to the minorities and the international community.”

Ignored by all, including their wheeler dealer politicians, their own community and the government, more than a quarter century later today these unfortunate Muslims continue to rot in the refugee camps where they try to rebuild their lives within their means.

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Latest comments

  • 29

    The author is trying to create more division among the Tamils and muslim communities by his unwanted, illiterate and communalistic comments. CT should not give room for such articles. Freedom of speech should be preserved but articles trying to spread communal hatered should never be published.

    • 21

      Just few years ago, Tamil leaders offered chief minister post of eastern province, but Muslim leaders opted to join with Sinhala leaders.


  • 32

    Latheef Farook

    The headline said it all and I did not read the article.

    ‘Time For Tamil Politicians To Think Of Jaffna Muslims’ Sufferings’ — Tamils paid a heavy price compared to the Muslims. Tell me one Muslim being killed by the LTTE when they were ejected them from Jaffna? Though I do not agree with the LTTE’s idiotic mission, it is a fact.

    When will the Muslim politicians think of the Tamil sufferings? Whatever suffering the Muslims underwent, they are the real beneficiaries of the war.

    Rauf Hakeem and Rishad Badiudeen are the biggest frauds. Rauf was Minister of Justice during Mahinda regime. He could not get justice for a single Muslim but was doing Patha Pooja for Mahinda who declared that not a single civilian was killed in the final war.

    Rishad was involved in the colonization of the Mulims in the Tamil areas and illegally selling war damaged metal of the army and the LTTE to fatten his purse.

    Muslims politics swings like the tail of the kullas for their own benefits. Muslims do’t care about the Tamils and will pull through with the Sinhalese to fatten their own purse and breed like mosquitoes.This is what the predicament of today’s world.

    When the middle east oil is overwhelmed by US fracks. the Muslims will turn their kullas to face Washington and say ‘Alhahu Akbar’.

    • 3

      K Sundaram

      “When will the Muslim politicians think of the Tamil sufferings? Whatever suffering the Muslims underwent, they are the real beneficiaries of the war. “

      The Tamil Sufferings are due to the stupidity of the Tamil Leaders and Sinhala Leaders. As a result the Muslims and Sinhala also suffered.

      However, the Tamil and Sinhala Leaders did not care about the Muslims.

      Any Muslim, even idiotic Muslims, who thinks that Stupidity is a Virtue know that.

      Forgotten People – The Evicted and Displaced North Muslims of Sri Lanka (English)

      Published on Jun 1, 2013

      The Evicted and Displaced North Muslims of Sri Lanka. The expulsion of the Muslims and other nations from the Northern province was an act of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Tamil militant Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organization in October 1990. In order to achieve their goal of creating a mono ethnic Tamil state in the North Sri Lanka, the LTTE forcibly expelled the 72,000 strong Muslim population from the Northern Province.


      • 8


        I am not supporting the methodologies adopted by the LTTE against the Muslims.

        My argument is that the Muslims as a whole do not care about others. Sinhala speaking Muslims or Tamil speaking Muslims, they have this inwardly attitude of intolerance towards others and deep down religious based eccentric behaviors.

        We feel and share the pains of the Muslims but Muslims are so inwardly that they will not come forward to share the pains of the non Muslims.

        Muslims were made home guards and were given guns in East to target the innocent Tamils under the pretext of fighting the tigers. They are now on the rampage in the East to establish a bigger territorial control by buying landscome hell or high water they are breading in multiples.

        Look at Rishad and Rauf – Both are on the inwardly Muslim crusade. Did they foul cry when the other communities were deeply hurt in the war?

        • 2

          K Sundaram

          “My argument is that the Muslims as a whole do not care about others. “

          They did care.

          When those many riots against the innocent Tamils by the Sinhala Mobs, many Muslims Protected the Tami;s.

          Whether they cared or not, that is no reason to kill them and ethnically cleanse them.

          So, you want to be an apologist for the LTTE?

          • 0

            “Whether they cared or not, that is no reason to kill them and ethnically cleanse them”
            Fair enough

            LTTE apologists are not mainstream any more. But I have serious doubts on the genuineness of sri lankan muslims in general in accepting their role in the war.

            Once that is kickstarted then we can care more on “Time For Tamil Politicians To Think Of Suffering Jaffna Muslims”

  • 36

    Most Muslims have decided to permanently settle down in Puttalam and Colombo, just as many Tamil have put down roots in Canada and Europe.

    Nothing stops the Muslims from returning to the north, except perhaps for Rajapakse’s forest gazette. Many Muslims have in fact returned north. Others have bought land and built houses in the so called refugee camps in Puttalam.

    Hakeem and Kabir Hisham are quiet for this reason alone. Time to stop shedding crocodile tears.

  • 29

    Latif farooq

    You are missing the point in many places in your article. firstly muslims don’t constitute 40% of the combined north east population but approximately 20% only. Like the contents of the rest of your article you have exaggerated the percentage of muslims living in the north and east by double figures. I am a Tamil Hindu and it is my view that Hinduism and Budhism belong to this part of the world but not Islam.

    Your culture and way of live full of deceit and double standards is something we hindus and Budhist have problems accepting as compatible with our cultural norms. We only marry one woman and it our philosophy that one man for one woman not one man of four women or our religions don’t teach us of martyrdom in the name of almighty who will reward you with 100 virgins in heaven. What a ridiculous and foolish philosophy is it? How can you expect Hindus and Budhist to live with you animals.

    Srilanka / Elam has only been either ruled by the Dravidian Tamils or Dravidian Sinhalese but never by a Muslim. You are not an equal partner in Srilanka it is only we Tamils and our co-religionists and ethnic Dravidian cousins Sinhalese are. Your game of playing one against the other ( Tamil vSinhalese ) is over.

    • 3

      Religions are meant to be universal and not confined to one land or the other. Muslims have been a part of the peaceful community of Sri Lanka for centuries and if that is not all – a lot of Muslims have Sinhala or Tamil blood in them. Furthermore it is unwise to declare them not fit for Sri Lanka just because you percieve them to have adopted a different conflicting culture, because then you have no right to yourself hold any different opinions.

      And talking about polygamy, don’t you see that India has not outlawed it cause the majority doesn’t want it outlawed?

  • 12

    @Latheef Farook, I am a Jaffna Tamil and I am very sorry for what happened to our Muslim brothers and sisters. The bloody LTTE not only chased all the Muslims out of the northern province but also murdered the entire northern intellectual community. It is time and I hope you all will go back to the north and claim your land back. Good luck friend.

  • 22

    Dear Mr Farook

    why do you all identify you as muslim, i mean why do you identify your ethnicity from your religion.

    as far as I am aware arab/parkistani/indian traders whose religion was muslim, did not bring women as far as i know and my best friend who happened to be a muslim (my former classmate) told; they married largely sinhala woman and balance tamil woman who settled down in the north(I believe) . Now that your all are decendants who came i do not know may be 600 years back all these generations are descendants of some arab/parkistani/indian , present day generations either are 95% sinhala or tamil ,because all maternal side sinhala or tamil.
    so like sinhalese and tamils ,identify them as sinhala (buddhist/christian),and Tamil (hindu, christian) ,what harm in identifying yourselves as sinhala-Muslim and Tamil-muslim .
    I do not mean any offence.
    in my view ,your identification by religion may be one reason for present problem you all are facing with sinhalese and tamils.
    mr farook ,i like your view of the matter to understand better.I may be wrong. pl do not misunderstand.I am a sinhalese who happened to be a buddhist as my parents were buddhists.but i respect all irrespective of religion or race if he or she is good

  • 19

    When did Latheef advocated the displaced Tamils of 1983 black July should be rehabilitated back on their palaces?

    • 22

      I think LAtheef Farook is suffering where he is in the west. His suffering he sees through the muslims living Sri Lanka.

      But, he needs to understand that Sri Lankan muslims are doing better than how he so doing.

  • 24

    LAtheef Farook does not want to understand the reality.

    First chek out how Rishad Bathiuddain has done.

    He had come to Colombo, just his word, with a plastic bag full of goodies.

    Now, he has 3000 acres of lands. HOuses in colombo Seven, and Rathmalana. His extended family is very rich land owners. Some of the lands he owns are in the name of people who does not exist on this earth.

  • 20

    Mr Farook
    Where were you when Muslim spies and Muslim intelligent officers in the army helped the Sinhalese to massacre the Tamil civilians. Where were you in 1983,when Tamils were killed ,maimed and chased out of Colombo while the Muslims were happily grabbing Tamil businesses and homes. In the 25 years of war did you ever raise your voice in defense of the civilian victims?

  • 22

    The Muslim politicians licked the feet of Sinhalese leaders just to get a Ministry in whatever govt. There is no policy or respect for electoral mandates for the Muslims. Power and money is only what mattered. Ask your Raul Hakeem who was in power for last several years. Why didn’t he take care of Jaffna Muslims? Why are you asking the powerless Tamil politicians who cannot even help their own war victims.

    How about your Badiudeen Mahmood who brought the law that Tamil students had to score more marks than Muslims and Sinhalese to enter the university. Also he allowed Muslims to study in English medium while Sinhalese and Tamils were compelled to follow Swabasha.

  • 21

    Dear Latheef
    You said Tamils are “living all over the island”. There are good reasons for that. In the last 30 years most Tamils had the only choice of living in the bunkers and trenches of the bombarded north and east or get out towards the south.The north and east are occupied by the army from 1960 onwards. No parent with young daughters can live in these provinces amidst the dangers of rape,kidnapping and torture by the army. Further Standardization of university admissions made Northern Tamils to move to south to get a better chance of entering the university. If you do a referendum tomorrow more than 80% of Tamils will want to be in their homeland of north and east provided there is no army rule and oppression.

  • 12

    Mr Latheef Farook

    You are expecting ” Tamil political leaders to take some initiative to help Muslips” .

    Are you living in srilanka or in Iceland? Don’t you know that these Tamil political leaders do not take even a slightest care for the welfare of their own electorates, Tamil war victims, political detainees and family members of the disappeared and leave them suffer. Haven’t you read in Tamil newspapers the number of Tamil poor civilians committing suicide or starving to death. When they don’t help their electorates you are expecting them to help displaced Muslims. This is a biggest joke!

    I would not call them “leaders” .They are bunch of liars and cheats. I am still waiting to see when Sumanthiran is going to engage in fasting with Tamil detainees, as promised.

  • 3

    The Muslims from the northern Province should be given back their homes and rehabilitated immediately. The contribution made by the Muslims to civil life, culture, trade etc has been tremendous. The Muslims need an apology from the Tamils for the mistakes of the LTTE. Bensen

  • 18

    “Meanwhile some Tamils still consider north and east of the island as their exclusive homeland while living all over the island. This attitude is equally disastrous.”

    Mr Latheef Farook,
    You are utterly wrong and the above statement is baseless. You cannot deny some facts. Tamil speaking Hindu, Islam, Christian and Buddhists are living in the North East of Srilanka for hundreds of years. It is a fact similar to that Sinhalese speaking Buddhists, Islam,Hindu & Christians living in the rest of the Srilanka. We Tamils should have the same right as Sinhalese speaking people or Hindus shouldhave the same right as Buddhists. However, Since 1948 the power of this island fallen into the hands of Sinhalese and Tamil speaking people were treated differently undermining their rights. You yourself acknowledge that Tamils couldn’t sing the national anthem in their own mother tounge until now.
    I fully agree that Sinhalese should have their right to do their business, administration, religious ceremonies whereever they live. Similarly Tamil speaking people should have the same. During this period of war, Muslims have been expelled from homeland. It is true. Similarly Tamils have been expelled from from their homeland. Sinhalese have expelled their homeland. Do you know why all this happened only since 1948?

  • 22

    Latheef Farook

    Who raped and killed Mrs Anita Annalingam of Kokuvil in the army camp and dumped her body in Kottadi in a derelict house. It is your senior Muslim army officer. Did you cray against the dastardly act. Even the state backed you by not doing anything against the despicable Muslim military man.

    It is time for Muslims to think of Jaffna Tamils suffered in the hands of the Muslims.

    We cannot allow the Muslims to eat the whole cake. If that happens, they will swallow all the non Muslim humans on the earth of Sri Lanka.

  • 16

    Lateef should stop showing the beggar’s wound and beg. As per Hakeem, it is not in the muslim culture.

    When the North was free anybody bought lands for legal migration, business, retirement, or other entertainment purposes should be allowed to return back. After North was occupied and Tamils were chased from South pogroms, any land bought by non Tamils must be reviewed. Any land occupied, captured, misappropriated, cleared and occupied wild and forest lands and bought for unreasonable prices by Rishand must be handed to NPC, without compensation. Any houses out of Indian Project of 50,0000 homes allocated by Rishard to his people must be vacated and given back to war torn families. Rishard has to pay compensation for the families suffered outside, interest on the investment and penalties to wrongful deed. Latheef should spearhead of taking these back from Rishard.

  • 15

    Hi Latheef Farook

    what about Muslim leaders?

  • 12

    This is not the business of Tamil leaders ..

    It is the responsibility of so called Muslims leaders who get cabinet posts by changing their caps whatever the government rule..

    Tamils specially in the East have not forgotten the murders..looting…burring of villages .grabbing of lands owned by Tamils ..looting temples by Muslims ..still this thuggery is going on…

    There were no Muslims in North-East before the arrival of Portuguese…..

    Pity one day when these Muslims will float in the sea ….certainly the guardian of Islam Saudi Arabia will not take these traitors because all Muslims in Asia were once Hindus …Arabs know this well this is why they treat you all as shits


  • 3

    Latheef Farook

    Keep up the good work, may you be rewarded well for the good intention and effort for the community, compared with the so called modern leaders, you are doing a much better job.

    But remember for more than a 100 hundreds years, every one is trying to put down the Muslim of Sri Lanka, but however much they tried to marginalize, the Muslims are going onwards and upwards, this is a proof that those who put their trust in the Almighty will eventually succeed.

    Surely the earth belongs to God Almighty.

  • 11

    While appreciating the concerns expressed by Latheef on the plight of the displaced Muslims it must be said that the blame for the inaction by whoever is responsible to attend to the problem cannot be cast on others. It is the self-motiviated political positions taken by the different Muslim polticians that is the cause of the this issue and others confronting the Muslims of Sri Lanka. It is these Muslim politicians who should be taken to task and stripped of their fake Muslim leadership garb.

  • 13

    Latheef Farook

    Rauf Hakkem escapes from SL to Turkey.
    Do you know when the UNCHR Chief Zeid Hussain came every minority community was ready to present pligh their and the atrocities committed on them.

    What did the Muslim leaders do.

    The self claimed Sri Lanka Muslim leader Rauf Hakkem escaped sharp at time the UNCHR Chirf arrived to Turkey
    To avoid presenting the plight of the Jaffna Muslims and Beruwala Aluthgama pogrom during the RajasRegime.

    Did he get a bribe or an award for doing this.

    • 2

      Abdul salam

      We must call him Lord Rauf Hakeem.

      He is progressively becoming an elusive and invisible man.

      Probably fearing that fate of Yositha will befall on him to share the bedroom with Gnanasara in the Bogambara prison.

  • 8


    • 7

      There is a news item that even the money that was due to Rizana’s (who died in Saudi) family was not handed over.

  • 7

    How many tamil were murdered by muslim homegurds in the past 20 years. in Mutthur, Batticlaoa. Karaitive( by muslim kundas even before LTTE)

  • 9

    For heavens’ sake Lathief, there are others )than Muslims_ in this world. They have problems too.

    Stop your shameless, racist plea for Muslims’ rights ognoring all other issues of the world.

    You make non-Muslim, decent people sick.

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