Colombo Telegraph

Unity Of Muslims In Sri Lanka

By Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”  ― Winston S. Churchill

“Negative and vicious forces are currently engaged in serious attempts to destroy the unity of Muslims to alter the current political stability, said SLMC Leader and Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Rauff Hakeem recently. The reference by the veteran Muslim politician could have been directed not only at those orchestrating implied treacheries from within but also perhaps alluding to the notorious ones indulging in traditional sniping, genre characterized by remote-control ploys through agents within executing a well-conceived modus-operandi.

Being a seasoned politician, having countenanced and survived many attempts on his long and illustrious career, he must be weighing in the implications revolving the latest attempt to introduce purported instability. It may be opportune for Mr. Hakeem to re-energize his sense of perspicacity and circumspection in anticipation for another bout of shadow sparing with forces and faces only known to him. He is that kind of guy with a unique sense of style irksome to many and inviting an avalanche of displeasure to an army of detractors.

Minister Rauff Hakeem further said “every party had within its ranks negative forces who subverted party unity and progress from within” “Sinister motives could be defeated only by vigilance, open discussion and harmony among the rank and file” Very reassuring words but not sustainable. It may come as a surprise to the minister, the world has passed that threshold. Betrayal, duplicity, deceit is today very much woven intimately to the fabric. You can never separate or eliminate them. Symptomatic of the times we live. You only have the tools of vigilance and management as available coping techniques. Ofcourse faith to those who have it. Even the most robust rope of loyalty has its price today. I am nether a cynic nor a pessimist but an informed and indomitable realist. Sir Winston S. Churchill’s haunting observation “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” is indeed true if not prophetic.

Muslims in Sri Lanka would welcome the sentiments expressed by the minister. He had talked about unity – a commodity very much in need for the Muslims. Though negative in context its derivable attributes meaningful. Diluted and diminished Muslim unity is an awesome reality politically for the main two parties of Sri Lanka. Perpetual disunity of the Muslims is to their advantage. They would love to entrench the status-quo, you cannot blame them for that. It’s all about maximizing opportunities for navigation for them. They have in their arsenal alternate antidotes for every discerning need. To those initially obstreperous or to the one readily making his claim. Many lubricating oils had been used in the past to entice an entire salivating species.
These tactics nothing new but an integral and “wholesome” part of the evolving neo universal democracy stridently and subvertingly practiced by third world and first world politicians alike regardless its legality, Democracy though well-meant and assigned benign attributes at its genesis pollutes, contaminates and reeks. The stench today has reached high heavens. Its subtle, scheming and systematic emasculation of the voter only heightens the junk known as representative or participatory democracy. Incidentally Donald Trump is more keen today of building a Trump Tower in every popular city of the world than going ahead with the much-touted wall he so raucously clamored during electioneering.

As one wise guy said “Nations have progressed through bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence, back into bondage.”

Its interesting Minister Hakeem said what he said. Since the advent of SLMC in the late eighties under the charismatic late leader A H M Ashraff and his untimely death Rahimahullah (may Allah have mercy on him) the party had given birth to bubbly quadruplets twice over through its many libido-rich detractors and dissenters which is certainly not the epitome of unity. A myriad of new political parties sprouted. Each one vocal and vociferous to unite Muslims and firm in working for their upliftment. The reality is they’ve carved their own fortunes whilst being champions of disunity in the process.

This is not something unique to Muslim politicians or Muslim political parties. In essence the worse losers are the majority Sinhala Buddhists. They’ve been reduced to mere numbers, securely kept in data mining repositories. Retrieved just before an election analyzed, extrapolated, imputed and manipulated to evince a favorable outcome. Some over-ambitious politicians in the past had embraced the art of violence by unleashing the mob against minorities just to confirm and comply with an opinion of a trusted Data-Mining expert. This does not in any way mean that these politicians are communal or averse to working in a coalition environment. But one thing it does mean is that man has become distanced, desensitized, diabolical, deranged and distinctly dangerous.

Dividing to seemingly unite, downgrading, undermining and subverting the constituency for one’s own upliftment though a blatant irony and against cherished principles of democracy seems the norm and very much consistent with contemporary values.

Its time Muslim leaders of Sri Lanka made a firm resolve towards unity based on strong Principles. Let’s not forget the Muslims of Sri Lanka did demonstrate historically this spirit. It was their unity that prevented this country from being divided. They paid the ultimate for this in blood and corpses, who can deny this? So why then would Muslim leadership not unite and project the actual and real strength so that none will try to play games next time around.

It’s your own people who connive and betray and it’s your own people who acknowledge and praise. It’s very much within you to earn either. Global political changes and attendant Islamophobia had made it easy for Muslims not just in Sri Lanka but in most countries where Muslims are minorities to be targeted and victimized. The rise of the far left and disgraceful political opportunism too had contributed to this end. No Muslim parliamentarian in Sri Lanka consistently stood out to voice strong opposition during a time Muslims most needed their leadership except for a handful outside of parliament. It was an opportunity missed for the Muslim parliamentarians of Sri Lanka. They could have done a lot with the confidence of the state. The importance of unity can never be overrated, whether its communal unity or national unity.

I started this piece with an excerpt of Sir Winston Churchill and appropriately end with one. “The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground”

Back to Home page