24 October, 2017

Unity Amongst Muslim Politicians, Need Of The Hour

By Aboobacker Rameez

Dr. Aboobacker Rameez

Dr. Aboobacker Rameez

Much has been written about what had happened in Aluthgama a few days ago. In short, a personal altercation involving a driver of monk and two Muslim youth did not cause for the Aluthgama riot. However, such a personal altercation politically and racially exploited by BBS and its thugs metamorphosed into a communal riot between Sinhalese and Muslims, following a rally and protest march going through the Muslim majority area. Much of the discourses on Aluthgama riot pinpoint the fact that irreparable damage caused not only to the innocent lives of Muslims, but to their properties worth millions and billions, places of worship-mosques, and houses could have been thwarted had law enforcement authorities acted swiftly or stymied the protest march held by the BBS marching through the Muslim majority area, chanting slogans against Muslims and inviting troubles. In fact, the speech made by Ven Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero at the rally was full of venom arousing the sentiments of Sinhala Buddhists against the Muslims. It is also reported that the curfew that was enforced to contain the violence had only confined the Muslims indoors while BBS thugs were seen looting and torching the houses and business establishments of Muslims in Aluthgama and Beruwala area. This suggests that the government and law enforcement authorities are complicit in what turned out to be a crisply outrageous pogrom against Muslims in Aluthgama. This point was further proven yesterday as even the most powerful in the country, His Excellency The President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa was not able to utter a word against or for that matter even condemn the actions of the ‘Bodu Bala Sena’ or the vitriolic speech made by its General Secretary Ven Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero at the meeting organised at the Beruwela Divisional Secretary office with the participation of both Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders.

Aluthgama MulsimsIt is also pertinent to note that the President and the Defence Secretary were both outside the country when these incidents took place including Ministers who had previously been outspoken against BBS especially Rajitha Senaratne, elected from Kalutara District who had been reported to have accompanied the President on his Bolivian tour. The Defence Secretary was a notable absentee at yesterday’s event where the President assured an impartial inquiry while pledging to “rebuild homes and businesses destroyed in Aluthgama, Beruwela and Dharga Town”. President has also said that compensation for the victims will be by way of security forces rebuilding damaged property. Given that the President has given several false promises to both minority communities in the past, it will be interesting to see whether he would keep up to his word in ensuring justice.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of all this, the Bodu Bala Sena, in its usual form is now making serious efforts to wash its hands in the whole episode with their main man Gnanasara Thero declining to speak to the media putting up an excuse that he is undergoing treatment for vocal difficulty! Its spokesperson Dilanthe Withanage has also told Al Jazeera Television that the BBS did not organise the particular rally in Aluthgama but it was their leaders who were invited to speak on the forum. As such, this seems to be a clearly orchestrated pogrom against Muslims waiting to unfold in the aftermath of the war.

Muslim politicians and their dilemma

It is pathetic that the so-called Muslim politicians, mainly in the ruling party, are politically fragmented even at a time where the security and existence of the Muslim society in Sri Lanka is seriously questioned and challenged, given the vitriolic anti-Muslim campaign undertaken by BBS and Sihala Ravaya with a tacit approval of the government. SLMC leader, the Minister of Justice, Rauf Hakeem expressed serious concern over the incident in Aluthgama and told Al-Jazeera that he was ashamed to be a Minister of Justice in a government that was impotent in ensuring the law and order in the country as well as safety and security of an ethnic group-Muslims. He is reported to have met some of the Ambassadors of Muslim countries in Colombo recently to brief them on the Alutgama riot. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has also registered his serious concern over the incident, despite being away on a foreign trip. It is also intriguing that requests have been made from various sections of the people, mainly the Muslims, upon the Muslims politicians in the ruling party, to leave the government forthwith that is instrumental in aiding and abetting a pogrom in Aluthgama and Beruwela. Particularly, a pressure is being mounted upon SLMC leader, the Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem as he holds much clout in the Muslim electorates. It is reasonable that the Muslims with utter frustration asking Minister Hakeem to resign his ministerial portfolio from the government, which is deemed by many, is complicit in the pogrom against Muslims. Even certain politicians in the present government including Sinhalese and Muslims are not comfortable with Rauff Hakeem occupying the ministerial portfolio and embarrassing the government in the cabinet and other forums. The government also found it, at times, odds with Minister Hakeem as he acted in the interests of his community. For instance, the government became incensed when Hakeem and his party submitted a document to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay detailing the attacks on mosques and business establishments of Muslims by the Sinhala Buddhist hardliners. Thus, certain politicians in the government would be at ease if Hakeem whose support was crucial to the passage of the 18th amendment to the constitution were to leave the government, given the status quo on Muslims.

Let us analyse what would happen if he were to leave the government at this crucial juncture.

1)     Unlike the TNA that enjoys the support of India and powerful Tamil diaspora around the world, it is a fact that Muslims in Sri Lanka do not have too much of authority outside Sri Lanka

2)     Despite the SLMC Leader explaining the situation to Ambassadors of few Muslim countries in Sri Lanka, it is still too early to project whether they would make sufficient calls to pressurise the government given the dent it might cause in terms of maintaining foreign relations

3)     Again, despite The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation representing 57 Muslim countries  issuing a statement condemning the attacks in Aluthgama, it is doubtful  that the matter will even be raised at the on-going Foreign Ministers conference

4)     Thus, leaving the government and sitting with the opposition will not necessarily mean that Hakeem and his team of members may be able to influence either the government or the international community on the plight of the Muslims

5)     Hakeem is also not sure if all members of SLMC would leave the government if he were to decide to do so, because of some their members are still day dreaming for deputy ministerial portfolios

6)     Hakeem is also in fear that if he decides to leave the government and support the TNA at the Eastern Provincial Council, the Muslims of Sri Lanka will be projected as traitors similar to what TNA is now being portrayed

7)     This projection could further increase the division between the Buddhists and the Muslims and strengthen the hands of the forces that are against Muslims such as the BBS at a time where it is more important to promote coexistence

8)     Meanwhile, Muslims in Aluthgama and Beruwela suffered physically, mentally and financially in an unprecedented way due to the riot. Thus, they need to be compensated, let alone the precious lives lost there that can not be compensated what so ever, by the government and it is the responsibility of the SLMC as a partner of coalition of the government to ensure that the victims are compensated fairly.

9)     Who would guarantee that the present dilemma that Muslims are subjected to and the pogrom that has begun against Muslims in Alutgama would cease if Hakeem were to leave the government?

What can Muslim politicians do?

Although Muslim politicians are part of the coalition government, they have unanimously articulated that BBS are the cause of Alutgama riots against Muslims. Ministers Hakeem, Rishard and even Athaullah have plainly subscribed to the view that BBS are cause of the Aluthgama riot. However, they are not prepared to be united in confronting and countering the BBS and its patrons. It is indeed significant to note that their petty political ideologies, regardless of their religious affiliation, that drive them apart from being united even at a time of difficulty that the Muslim society is subject to at the hands of Sinhala Buddhist hardliners. However, the TNA constituted with many different political parties with various political ideologies come together under a common platform during elections and other occasions to raise the legitimate concerns of the Tamil community in various political spaces, in and out of the country. This phenomenon is conspicuously missing on the part of Muslim politicians in the country. It should be noted that the unity among Muslim politicians, regardless of whether they are in the ruling, opposition or any other smaller parties, will definitely make the difference in countering the BBS and its ideology tacitly backed by the rulers in the country.

Rishad-Rauff unity

In my view, the wise decision that Ministers Hakeem and Rishard who are vehemently opposed to the BBS can do, as of now, is that they should stay with the government and at the same time create a new unity front (coalition) among Muslim MPs representing the ruling and opposition political parties who are against BBS and counter them with a full force. In this way, those politicians from the Muslim community who do not cooperate with this new unity front will be exposed among the masses.

Moreover, there are politicians from the majority and minority communities opposing the ideology of BBS and its patrons. These are the politicians who are at the receiving end of virulent rhetoric of BBS in its rallies. This unity front may be able to garner the support of those majority and minority politicians from the ruling, opposition and other political parties who are against the ideology of BBS and thereby counter the ideology of BBS and its patrons in and outside of the country.

Despite the fact that the rhetoric of BBS against Muslims targeting their dietary practices, attire, population, economy, cattle slaughter, and so on has not grabbed the attention of mainstream Sinhala Buddhist community as yet, however, their sustained propaganda campaign against Muslims, if not checked, has all the potential of reaching to the vast majority of Sinhalese Buddhist community in times to come and turning Sri Lanka into another killing field. Thus, it is also imperative on the part of Muslim civil society organizations, intellectuals, religious leaders and others to engage with the mainstream Sinhala Buddhist community and its civil society organizations to dispel fears, apprehensions and misconceptions of Muslims in Sri Lanka that the BBS and their ilk are beginning to cultivate in the minds of mainstream Sinhala Buddhist community.

Finally I would like to add a message sent by a Muslim to the President yesterday on Twitter.

“You can rebuild HOUSES, not HOMES. You can rebuild SHOPS, not BUSINESSES. You can rebuild LAW & ORDER, not TRUST!”

*The author is a PhD scholar at the National University of Singapore. He can be reached at aramees2001@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 10
    3

    Well written article and very good analysis. Will our leaders listen and act. Only unity can save our community from further calamity. It should be mentioned here a lot of so Sinhalse have indeed condemned this racist attack. More articles are written by them than by Muslims on this issue.

    • 3
      2

      Dr. Aboobacker Rameez

      1. “Much has been written about what had happened in Aluthgama a few days ago. In short, a personal altercation involving a driver of monk and two Muslim youth did not cause for the Aluthgama riot. However, such a personal altercation politically and racially exploited by BBS and its thugs metamorphosed into a communal riot between Sinhalese and Muslims, following a rally and protest march going through the Muslim majority area. “

      2. “In fact, the speech made by Ven Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero at the rally was full of venom arousing the sentiments of Sinhala Buddhists against the Muslims. It is also reported that the curfew that was enforced to contain the violence had only confined the Muslims indoors while BBS thugs were seen looting and torching the houses and business establishments of Muslims in Aluthgama and Beruwala area.”

      What does it TELL YOU and EVERYBODY ELSE?

      3. “This point was further proven yesterday as even the most powerful in the country, His Excellency The President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa was not able to utter a word against or for that matter even condemn the actions of the ‘Bodu Bala Sena’ or the vitriolic speech made by its General Secretary Ven Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero at the meeting organised at the Beruwela Divisional Secretary office with the participation of both Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders.”

      What more does it tell you.

      So who are the terrorists?

      1. BBS and their Goons

      2. Their Sponsors Gotabaya

      3. The Boss of Gotabaya, the President.

      However, the Muslims are divided both politically and ideologically, with the Wahhabis Dividing the Community. This has made the job of BBS easier.

      Muslims need to get the support of true Buddhists who follow the true Buddha Daamma, and expose the Mara and Devil Following BBS Racists, both locally and internationally.

  • 6
    3

    When Ashraff and others formed SLMC more than 30 years ago, some Islamic intelectuals and politicians in national parties warned them that Muslim communal parties would bring more harm to the society than benefits. But Ashraff was adament on making a short cut to the parliament which finally made a short cut for his own last rest. Now his wife is enjoying an ambassador post under the regime earned through his betrayal of the entire Muslim community. One can argue that SLMC is not the only reason for the emergence of BBS and other Buddhist hardline elements, but no one can reject that SLMC was one and foremost reason for augmenting the anti-Muslim hate among the Sinhalese.

    When Hakeem realises after all these losses that his being a Minister is useless for the community, he shamelessly asks the poor Fathimas to guarantee their safety if he leaves the government.

    But the safety of Muslims can partly be guaranteed only if he dissolves his party and asks other Muslim parties also to dissolve. That will weaken the anti-Muslim campaign of the extreme Budhists by more than half.

    The Muslim National Party politiciations like Fowzie and Hassim are more powerful in their parties and national politics and well placed to reach to the powers than Hakeem and Rishad like people.

    It is time for the Muslim community to identify Hakeem like self-centered persons and reject the Muslim communal parties.

    • 1
      2

      Excellent observation. We need to learn to sink or swim together, whoever we were born as.

  • 1
    13

    absolute biased article to hide astrocities committed by muslims….shame on you aboobaker [Edited out]

    simple solution – if muslims can’t live peacefully with majority honouring and respecting majority, then leave SL.

    • 3
      0

      Balu Kela Kolla, nobody asked for your advice. Go advise your incubator not to fornicate with every passing dog.

      • 0
        1

        navi fool, you’re better off sleeping with muslims in a mosque

    • 1
      0

      Thana Kolla, a “Dong” for this racist statement.

      • 0
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

      • 0
        1

        mike is as stupid as his comments

    • 0
      0

      ela kolla,

      You and your President is from a born breed of Alibabas,Looters, thugs and criminals.

      That’s why ex.President Madam Chandrika said the Pres.Mahinda Rajapakse is an uncivilized, uncultured and uneducated creature.

      She knew very well about his character and she regret now for been appointed as PM then.

      Now the birds of feather flock together. BBS + Mara = Loot, thuggery, corruption and distruction.

      Have a nice after party and create more headache to society.

      • 0
        0

        saman, MR aka mohamed rajapakshe is a multi ethinic multi religious president…he’s not a sinhalese buddhist president..

  • 2
    0

    Ahmed, you said the Muslim National Party politicians like “Fowzie and Hassim are more powerful in their parties” I think u implied its Kabir Hasheem?

    WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY IN THIS CALAMITY? Shouldnt they be in Aluthgama then doing something? You are just trying to play a myth. Fowzie, Alawi & Azwer and whoever you call as Muslim national politicians have not UTTERED A WORD mind you!

    The most powerful Muslim minister I know having close links to Def Secy is Faiser Mustapha..We learnt he was also stuck in Jamiah Naleemiah and since the IGP was with him, he was safely taken away that night.

    • 1
      0

      @Irshad

      “and since the IGP was with him, he was safely taken away that night.”

      But mind you this fox did not go there to protect the victims. He only went there to see if he could loot any gems from the muslim shops in Beruwela which were attacked by the Balu Sena thugs.

  • 4
    2

    How much of Islam does the Muslim politicians practice? It’s an utter waste of time and effort to put ones trust on any politicians. Muslims should put their trust in, first with Allah, then with themselves, start planning out a strategy to unite as one Ummah and take private means to protect their blood, honour and property. Build or extend overseas relationships with other Muslims around the world and start highlighting their plight of being ignored by the two face Ruling regime.

    • 1
      0

      Maghribi, Allah’s law is the rule of law. Koran and the Sunnah is fixed. Need I say then, Islam is incompatible with democracy. Besides, Muhammad ruled on Allah’s authority and did not submit his decisions to the will of the people. You’re right blame Muslim politicians for not practicing Islam. You should join Taliban with them and fight for an Islamic world.

      • 1
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        wathie

        Though impossible, try not to sit on your brain.

        • 0
          0

          Vedda is a separatist kallathoni from the east.

  • 2
    0

    “Unity Amongst Muslim Politicians”

    Heh! That is an oxymoron, mate.

  • 2
    1

    Muslim politicians like s[Edited out] Hakeem, Ela Pausi, Ass-whore from Puttalam and then Moulana etc are useless morons who will not do any good for the fellow muslims.

    Today, muslim grieviness are pointed by only Ranil/Sampanthan/Sumanitharan/Anura K etc and except for Asath Sally, all others are praising MARA for the speedy law and order etc.,

    Its hightime the Islamic shcolars and clergy come to a conclustion that Hakeesm/Fauzis and Ass-whores are not taken as their leaders anymore and ask them to resign immediately.

    lets see how Hakeem can resign from MARA as he will be exposed with Kumari Cooray and other sex scandals and this man is on his shell.

    Galaboda Atte Gnanasara machan (GAGM) is just a symbol who was hiding behind the real mastermind the White van goon – big Goat.

    This is another calculated gameplan from Medamulana rogues to keep the masses attention from other burning issues and get an advantage in a furture election as the crusadors of both Singhalese and Muslims.

    Hakeem will never resign if there is thousands killed by GAGS hate speeches as he simply cannot be exposed and then MARA have a good slogan for Muslims all over ‘see my minister of Justice is a Muslim and that is how much trust I have with Muslims and no one knows that there is not Justice in Sri Lanka except the Medamulana jungle law)

    SL Muslims cannot depens on Arabs as Arabs do not care any other muslims like subcontinent muslims and only they do care about Arabs.

  • 5
    0

    Matilda E

    You are right. Sam and co are the only one speaking on behalf of Muslims in the parliament.

    Dr Rameez – MARA doesn’t need SLMC at all. He has enough majority in the parliament without them. If Hakeem and others got the spine they will resign straight away. Your community needs some one like Azath Ally in the parliament.

  • 2
    0

    I find your opinion quite interesting, but some other others express completely different opinion on Muslim political fragmentation, thanks for posting these timely important ideas. Hakeem’s decisions are most probably suitable to manage present destructive situation. Anyhow, unity among the fragmented Muslim politicians is very important aspect today.

  • 3
    0

    The traitors of the Muslim community are the UPFA Muslim MPs. Its time for the Islamic supreme body to publicly call out the names of these MPs most notably the names of A.H.M.Azwar, A.R.M.A.Cader, A.H.M.Fowzie, Faiser Musthapha, and Mohammed Muzzamil should be published.

    Also I have a question to the Muslim MPs in the Parliament, why won’t they take part in a harathal to protest against the atrocities committed against the Muslims? Have they sold their soul to Rajapakse?

  • 3
    0

    Dear Brother,

    Not that muslims to get together against these rationalist all the Sinhalese should come forward to prevent these brutal violence.

  • 1
    0

    Don’t pin your hopes of compensation. This SOB does not keep his word.

  • 1
    0

    Anyone who calls for unity among the most corrupt and self-seeking Muslims around – Hakeem, Bathiudin, etc. etc – needs their heads examined. Why would you want to strengthen these people who are for nobody except themselves – certainly not for their ordinary Muslim brothers? This is like wanting to give the family of Colonel Sanders more training in the head-chopping department before putting them in the chicken coop!

  • 0
    0

    I don’t get why Muslims contributing to this thread are expecting honest behavior from their politicians? Are you guys stupid or desperate? There has been NEVER an honest Muslim politician! That does not mean the rest of the lot are pure. The relevant point here is Muslim politicians, and hence the focus on them.

    Since Ashraff figured out with the new PR voting system, the votes from Kalmunai can give him the edge, just the way the estate vote gave Thondaman the edge, there has been a long line of self-serving racketeers putting on the ‘thoppi’ to fool their own people. AND, the people have ALSO been RACIST to vote for any crook WITH A MUSLIM NAME. To complain now that Azwer, Fowzie, Hakeem, Rishard et al are time-servers is a little rich! You knew that all along, but you still voted them into power.

    Looking at the photos of shops closed heartened me. Because, the wheels of opposition are slowly turning. Money has been at the heart of all these BBS protests. The envy, jealousy, the stupidity, that others can have more than they can. Forget that others worked hard to have what they have. Let the Muslims do what they have to do to make their message loud and clear. The man on the street will understand how much he depends on his Muslim neighbours when this happens. Otherwise, he is also another person shouting Jayawewa, sadhu, sadhu, not realizing his own butt is on the line too!

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

      • 1
        0

        Banda

        We understand. Its a Himalayan task at your age, go for Durians, might help you for about few seconds.

  • 0
    0

    Is this writer saying that Muslim majority areas are no go areas for Sinhala Buddhists. This writer does not know that the mosque in Darga town lay along the road from Aluthgama to Pathirajagoda temple.

    See the video
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/video-who-started-the-riot/

    There were no chanting of slogans or a noisy protest march but a normal procession taking Ven Ayagama Samitha to Pathirajagoda temple after he was released from the hospital and at the end of the rally. You guys did exactly what your predecessors had done in 1915 in Kandy to start the first Sinhala-Muslim riot.

  • 0
    1

    No.

    The need of the hour is to ROOT OUT Jihadists from SL.

    Like we got rid of LTTE.

  • 0
    0

    Mechanic, After such an incensed rally which spilt out venom against muslims was it of utmost importance that the ‘injured monk out of hospital’ be taken to a Temple by way of a so called ‘peaceful’ procession. Cant he have been taken peacfully later since u very well know ur going to pass a muslim area? Doesnt that consist of malicious intent? And who told u the procession was silent? R U Deaf not to hear what they are chanting while walking? By the way Muslims in the area also say there were some new faces in the side of the mosque who started throwing the stones. if they are right who knows the culprits who started throwing may have disguised them as muslims? & looking at the events that unfolded therein where curfew imposed effective to only muslims, muslim shops burnt otherw strategically left out makes one assume this is a
    clearly orchestrated event..hence a mini pogrom!

  • 0
    0

    The only way to subdue Rajapakse government is to economically bankrupt them. Stop the investors and restrict trade. Game over.

    Already both stock market and the rupee starting to decline.
    If three shipments of OIL is stopped or delayed Sri Lanka economy comes to a grinding halt.

    Starting from fishermens protests to teachers and university dons strike to trade unions and doctors demands will send shock waves around the world and to the investors.

    Let China eat their Noodles Raw with no returns on their Investments.

    Yes the Rajapakse Alibaba looters and liars along with phony BBS thugs could find their way to Southern Hambanthota Nanthikandal lagoon pretty soon when majority community arise.

    Awaiting real war hero Gen.SF and the JVP to unite our country and to put it back on track.

    • 0
      0

      About a year back, I remember you were writing to say that planes are empty and no tourists were coming. Everyone can see the truth now. This year no of tourists will be over 1.6 million and earning will be more than 2 billion dollars.

      It seems you’re dreaming for ways to ruin Sri Lanka economy. I see you’re a traitor worse than Velu.

      Haven’t you read the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Takehiko Nakao said about growth in 2014. He said it’ll surpass last year’s rate of 7.3% and would achieve GDP $4,000 by end of next year. Google CIA facts on GDP and see whether they confirm the figures.

      ADB chief assured, “ADB is proud to stand by Sri Lanka and be a trusted partner in this process,”

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