Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sri Lanka - JHU's Hostility Towards MUSLIMS Creates Communal Discord


What's Government's Policy?


By Latheef  Farook


Our beautiful island Sri Lanka continues to bleed owing to the ethnic conflict created by politicians who used racism to win elections without thinking of the consequences. As a result we continue to lose precious lives .The island's limited resources, with this year's earmarked defense budget exceeding Rs 177 billion, which otherwise could be utilized for economic and social development, are inevitably wasted to the benefit of politicians, their side kicks and the merchants of death who thrive on our misery.


While the countries in the region have been moving ahead under the globalised economic environment our country has been stagnating owing to this irksome ethnic war. As a result Sri Lanka, a source of inspiration and role model for third world countries during our independence in 1948, has earned the sobriquet as a killing field.  


India which was far behind us is an emerging economic giant and even Maldives Islands which depended on Sri Lanka for almost everything is enjoying a per capita income three times that of Sri Lanka. We have all the required qualifications to perform more than India and Maldives Islands, but our time, talent and resources have been wasted.


Under the circumstance the entire population, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all others, are praying and dreaming for the day when they could live in peace.


In the midst of this time and again Minister Champika Ranawake and his JHU colleagues openly claim that this country belongs to Sinhalese and the Tamils and the Muslims should go to Tamilnadu and Saudi Arabia respectively. What has the Sri Lankan Muslims got to do with Saudi Arabia which is only the land of Islam and the site of   two of the three most important cities of Islam, Makkah and Madina?  


Minister Champika's latest claim is that "'The Sinhalese are the only organic race of Sri Lanka. Other communities are all visitors to the country, whose arrival was never challenged out of the compassion of Buddhists. But they must not take this compassion for granted. The Muslims are here because our kings let them trade and the Tamils because they were allowed to take refugee when the Moguls were invading them in India. What is happening today is pure ingratitude on the part of these visitors".


The question is who gave him the title deed of ownership to the island and the Sinhalese community? Is he speaking on behalf of the entire Sinhalese community? If so who gave him the mandate to do so? I am sure   Minister Champika  in no way represents the righteous Sinhalese community.     


This destructive ideology, in complete violation of Buddhist teachings, principals and values and the Sinhalese culture, is nothing but sheer racism which has all the potentials to beat the drum of communal discord and turn the country into a graveyard   jeopardizing the lives of the future generations. Moreover is it realistic to export a quarter of the island's population? Hitler tried on Jews and failed. Now Jews,   with the backing of the entire West, have been trying on Palestinians for more than three quarter century without success. Isn't it time for Minister Champika learn few lessons from history without fanning the flame of communal discord for petty political gains.  


If he cares to read his own history, Mahawamsa, he would realize that Sinhalese too came from India  and we are all migrants settled down  here during different periods. In fact the priest who wrote Mahavamsa was a Buddhist monk from present day Tamilnadu. So  how can the JHU describe Muslims and Tamils who have been living here for more than one thousands years as visitors. In that case Sinhalse, Tamils, Muslims and all others should leave the country handing over the island to its rightful owners-nagas, yakas , veddas and others. After all human civilisation began all over the world with migration of people for various reasons.


I am sure he is aware that civilized countries provide citizenship to even those migrants who have lived for a brief period of ten years. The mere thought of ethnic cleansing one fourth of the population demonstrates the outdated sick mindset which cannot fit into modern world-especially in a multi racial, multi religious, multi cultural and multi lingual country like Sri Lanka  


It appears that the cancer of racism has spread to bureaucracy too with reports of indifference and discrimination. There were even talks of some Muslim traders importing in the name of their Sinhalese friends to avoid harassments. They still remember how the despicable and disgusting kidnapping of Muslim businessmen sent shockwaves throughout the community.


In the east Muslims who were mainly involved in trade, fishing, cultivation and farming complain of numerous problems. Restrictions on fishing, inaccessibility to their lands for cultivation and the decline in trade threaten their very livelihood. They complain that the liberation of the east has not brought any relief but, instead,    replaced one set of oppression with another.


Citing an example they point out that the entire population of Mutur was a contented lot as farmers, fishermen and traders with a literacy rate of 95 percent. They did not demand anything from the government. All what they wanted was to leave them alone to live in peace.  But both the LTTE and the government fought their battle, bombed and destroyed Mutur whose population was overnight turned into paupers.


Do the Muslim parliamentarians who, for all practical purposes, no more represent the Muslim community, subscribe to Minister Champika's views? They have not even raised any question while the United National Party condemned it as violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution. As a result   the Muslims draw the inference that they endorse the views of Minister Champika! They were accused of being worried about their positions, powerless power, perks, Prados, comforts and   sacrificing the interests of helpless and voiceless community.  


Meanwhile the Muslims are keen to know whether the government subscribes to the JHU's   views as they are constituent member of the government and supposed to be in its driving seat.


Muslims have no problem with Sinhalese or for that matter even with the Tamils, though the LTTE mercilessly massacred eastern Muslims and driven the entire Northern Muslim population at gun point turning them within hours into penniless refugees. If the Sinhalese have any problems with the Muslims on any issue these could be sorted out in a civilized manner and help create a better understanding. This in fact is the need of the hour.


It should be noted that around 70 percent of the island's Muslims live below poverty line; ten percent of them live in appalling conditions in refugee camps in and around Puttalam where they are seething with anger, while around five percent of them turned refugees in their homes in Mutur and Pottur. Their mood is one of deep frustration as in the case of the Eastern Muslims as a whole. In the south the overall uncertainty and the gripping fear remain the most talked about topic in almost every social gathering from wedding parties to funerals.


Yet Muslims were steadfast in their support to the territorial integrity of the island and opposed separation. It was this policy that made them undergo immense sufferings in the hands of the LTTE. Despite all their sufferings, they remain a peaceful community which made the Chief Justice Sarath N Silva to pay rich tribute to them during YMMA anniversary at Mahaweli Centre last June.


Therefore, it is time, rather than provoking them, to take measures to undo the injustices and give them hopes in their life.


Enough is enough Minister Champika enough. We are all paying the price with blood, flesh and lives owing to all forms of chauvinism and racism. For far too long a small coterie of ruling elite who hijacked power since independence has been exploiting religion and racism to remain in or come to power. No Tamil or Muslim will ever leave this island. This is not what the silent majority of compassionate and peace loving Sinhalese want. Therefore, instead of provoking innocent people, please help unite communities and ensure peace and harmony to turn this country once again into a paradise. I am sure God will reward you and your colleagues. It is also time that the righteous and peace loving Sinhalese come forward to avert the rising trend of  racism and save the country.


  1. Well written article.
    This is the tragedy that SL is becoming.
    It is rapidly heading towards a Junta regime and many Sri Lankans are not waking up fast enough.
    Lasantha's killing should have been a wake up call.
    The LTTE may have been silenced, but the racist elements of the Sinhalese are becoming louder.
    Dangerous situation for all non-buddhists

  2. but according to my view there is group of muslim pepole (may not all) trying to chase out sinhalese from Dehiwala police area. There they bought almost all lands available for sale. now they try to use different tactics for the purpose it is, instil shame and fear on sinhalese to move out of their own lands and let muslims to buy already happened @ dehiwala and the entry loded @dehiwala police no.CIB 277/73 and 5th Dec.2009 reveals avery thing. but unfortunat situation is todate (18th Dec.2009)still no action. HOPE SINHALESE SHOULD BE AWARE OF THIS SITUATION


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