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  • Why Sri Lanka jailed a Muslim lawyer without charge for 6 months
                                      The Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, the EU and UN Human Rights Core Group on Sri Lanka have expressed their concerns on the arbitrary arrest and detention of Hizbullah [Photo courtesy: Family] Why Sri Lanka jailed a Muslim lawyer without charge for 6 months Rights groups and members of civil society have raised concerns over the continued incarceration of a Muslim lawyer in Sri Lanka, adding that his prolonged detention “had a chilling effect on anyone involved in peaceful dissent and advocacy”.

    Hejaaz Hizbullah, a prominent human rights lawyer, was arrested on “terrorism” charges in April and has remained in detention...
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  • Hejaaz Hizbullah case: CID misled public and Cardinal, says Counsel
    When the case of the arrest of Hejaaz Hizbullah was taken up yesterday, the Counsel alleged that the Criminal Investigations Department had misled the Cardinal and the public with regard to Hizbullah.

    “They lied to His Eminence the Cardinal and the public. The real culprits were never caught and they have instead found a scapegoat in Hejaaz,” the Counsel said.

    The CID submitting a report said that they were awaiting a Government Analyst report on three phones used by Hizbullah.

    “This is how they lied throughout. They said the investigations were to be completed and a Deputy Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department said it would be by 16 September. The CID lied to the Attorney General’s Department as well and is now seeking further time.”

    The CID said that transactions of...
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  • Sri Lanka has locked up this Muslim lawyer without charge for nearly five months
    The prominent Sri Lankan Muslim lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah, is being described by human rights groups as the latest victim of Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act.

    On April 14, Hizbullah, 40, got a call from the Ministry of Health saying they were worried he may have contracted COVID-19 and advised him to remain at home.

    A day earlier he and others had written to the Sri Lankan president about his government’s decision to ban Muslims from burying their dead, forcing them to cremate their remains instead – a violation of their right to freedom of religion, as protected by Sri Lanka’s constitution and its international obligations.

    Hejaaz Hizbullah was a lawyer at the Supreme Court and worked as a state counsel for the Attorney General’s department. Beyond his legal work, he was involved...
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  • “කවදා හෝ යුක්තිය ඉටුවේයැ’යි බලාපොරොත්තු සහගතව ජීවිතය ගෙවනවා විනා වෙන කිසිවක් කළ නොහැකි වීම ගැන මට ඇත්තේ නොදැරිය හැකි වේදනාවකි”: මගේ මල්ලි හිජාස්
    හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මගේ බාල සොහොයුරා ය. අගෝස්තු 25 වැනි දිනට එළඹුණු ඔහුගේ 40 වැනි උපන්දිනය ඔහුට ගත කිරීමට සිදු වුයේ පාස්කු ඉරිදා ත්‍රස්තවාදී ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ බවට අභූත චෝදනා එල්ල කරමින් අයුතු ලෙස අත්තඩංගුවට පත්ව අපරාධ පරීක්ෂණ දෙපාර්තමේන්තුවේ රැඳවුම් භාරයේදී ය. හිජාස් පිළිබඳව මට ඇති පැරණිතම මතකයන් අතර බොහොමයක් කළුබෝවිල සිට...
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  • Hejaaz Detention: Fort Magistrate Orders CID To Submit All Statements Obtained In Investigations


    Following submissions by Defence Counsel that the Criminal Investigations Department is selectively reporting facts to the Magistrate in order to malign Hejaaz Hizbullah, Fort Magistrate today ordered the Criminal Investigations Department to submit a report of all statements obtained by them from persons relating to the investigations of Hizbullah.
    When the case was taken up today. Counsel for the Defence informed Court that the Criminal Investigations Department had obtained statements from all persons of the Save the Pearls Charity and the Teachers and Board of Management of the Al-Zuhriya Madarasa.

    However, none of those statements had been produced to date.
    They said that the statements would reveal that all the allegations made by the CID are a fabrication and were made in order to malign Hizbullah and...
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  • Hejaaz Hizbullah: Symptom and symbol
    What made him more enigmatic was that unlike most others in his profession who shield their lives beneath a calm facade, he taught exceptionally well Apparently he called the Easter attackers “fools who died as fools.” I can picture Hejaaz saying that   There’s an image of Hejaaz Hizbullah I return to over and over again. It’s an image of him holding a placard at a protest in 2018. The placard reads, “Asilachaara parliamenthuwak wenuwata seelachara parliamenthuwak” (“A cultured parliament in place of an uncultured parliament”). The reason why it resonates with me is that, even in the ecstatic way he holds it, he is quite unlike the Hejaaz Hizbullah I once knew. But then I realise that the Hejaaz I once knew couldn’t have been the real guy. 
    I first encountered the man in 2013 at my law school. He didn’t...
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  • Niqab Ban In France Violates Human Rights Of Muslim Women: UN Human Rights Committee
    The United Nations Human Rights Committee said France’s niqab ban violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.” Women in France can be fined up to 150 euros for wearing the niqab, a full-face...
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  • Rathana At It Again; ACJU Is The Punching Bag For Everyone
    By Mass L. Usuf Mass Usuf Let this column begin with a Disclaimer. It is only an analysis and the writer is not holding a brief to defend or protect the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (
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  • Democracy Threatened: Impunity, Political Patronage & Rollback Of Devolution
    By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole – R. Sasilan: Assistant Commissioner of Elections Today we are opening new living quarters for our Election Commission’s man-in-charge in Batticaloa. I am so glad because R. Sasilan is a man I am proud of. He stands up for what is right without fear or favor. When a minister distributed gifts in elections some years ago, he confiscated a gift pack and filed a complaint with the police. The police, as often happens, disappeared the evidence. Sasilan sent a report to the Commission and that too disappeared....
    Read More...
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Message from Geneva: Know your sincere friends

By Latheef Farook

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By Latheef Farook 

In times of crisis in Sri Lanka, Muslims countries have always come to the island’s rescue   with no strings attached. This friendly gesture was demonstrated once again by Muslim countries   when they voted against the US sponsored United Nations Human Rights Council resolution against Sri Lanka.

While the European countries as a whole sided with the US, almost every Muslim country either supported Sri Lankan or abstained. For example Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bangladesh Maldives, Mauritania and Indonesia   voted against the resolution defying the US. Four more Muslim countries, Malaysia Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and predominantly Muslim Senegal abstained thus depriving the US of large majority.

Surprisingly our new found friend the Zionist state of Israel co-sponsored the US resolution.  

Under the circumstance isn’t it time that Sri Lanka begins to understand who the island’s sincere friends are and cultivate better relationships with them?

However support of Muslim countries has always been taken for granted by not only the island’s politicians and bureaucrats but also the mainstream media which never misses an opportunity to portray a negative picture of Muslims. In the local dailies, especially the English language ones, the three votes of Russia, China and Cuba were given a lot of fanfare on front pages while the larger number of Muslim votes did not merit even a single column space. Sadly this has been the traditional attitude of mainstream media in the island.

Muslims worldwide, especially those in the Middle East, have a fondness for Sri Lanka because of its   support for the legitimate Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation of Palestinians lands. From Yemen in the Red Sea to Egypt and even North Africa, the moment they come to know that you are a Sri Lankan a pleasant smile of recognition appears on their faces. The perfunctory response from people of all walks of life in the Arab lands used to be “Oh   Bandaranaike “in view of former Prime Minister Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranaike’s close ties with the Arab world.

Mrs. Bandaranaike pledged in her election manifesto in 1970 that she would shut down the Israeli Mission in Colombo if she was voted to power. On account of this pledge and departing from the established tradition of voting for the UNP, Muslims in large number voted for her United Front government. On assuming office, one of the first steps taken by her government was to fulfill the promise she gave in her manifesto. This decision was welcome with great appreciation and admiration by the Arab countries.

Pakistan was one of the first countries to respond to Sri Lanka’s urgent plea to airlift arms when violent political uprising by Janatha Vimukthi Permuna (JVP) erupted to topple the government. This timely help played a crucial role in crushing the uprising.

Later, as an influential member of the Non Aligned Movement, Mrs. Bandaranaike had been in the forefront of world events in highlighting Third World issues and thus was in the limelight in the third world countries .This put the tiny island on the international political map. Muslim countries like Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Algeria and others co-operated fully with her government when the island hosted the 1976 Non Aligned Nations’ Summit Conference in Colombo.

Muslim nations supported Ms. Bandaranaike with one voice in the United Nations General Assembly when she submitted the Non Aligned Colombo Summit proposal to declare “Indian Ocean a Zone of Peace”. Her speech at the UN General Assembly, as head of the Non Aligned Movement, was completely ignored by the Jewish controlled Western media while it received wide coverage  throughout the Muslim world.

Under strong Israeli pressure, when Britain threatened to boycott Sri Lankan tea, then Trade Minister T.B.Ilangaratne, said in defiance that “Sri Lankans may eat grass, but would not change the decision to close down the Israeli mission here”.

This firm policy of supporting the just struggle of Palestinian cause won the hearts and minds of people in the Middle East and elsewhere. Countries like Iraq, Pakistan, Libya and Iran emerged as some of the largest importers of the island’s tea and other products.

In the same vein as President of the Sri Lankan Committee for Palestinian People, President Mahinda Rajapakse supported the Palestinians for three long decades. He handed over that responsibility to Minister Athauda Seneviratne only after assuming office as Prime Minister.

Of course these friendly ties continued unabated though disrupted time and again during the pro Western United National Party governments. For example President J.R.Jayawardene declared arrogantly that he would bring the Israelis to crush the Tamil Tigers and the Muslim members could leave the government if they disagree.

He forced his foreign Minister A.C.S Hameed to support the move in parliament. Hameed did support the move in the parliament for   reasons better known to him    but never forgave himself for this act until he went to his grave. Dr M.C.M. Kaleel, the respected Chairman of United National Party who spent his life for the party was devastated and humiliated on account of this act of betrayal by J.R. Jayawardene. Fed up of Jayewardene’s arrogance, Muslims shifted their loyalties to the All Ceylon Muslim Congress which, further polarized the communities, and turned out to be a tragedy of Himalayan proportions to the Muslims in particular and the country as a whole.

However to   Jayewardene’s shock and embarrassment, instead of helping to wipe out the Tamil Tigers, the Israelis who thrive on others’ misery trained both the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lanka’s armed forces simultaneously   in the same area as stated in the Israeli spy’s book “By Way of Deception”.

In the footstep of Late President Jayewardene, equally pro western Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s government was perhaps the only third world government in the word to support the American invasion of Iraq which turned the hapless nation into a grave yard. When Muslim parliamentarians resisted Mr. Wickremasinghe, he in the same degree of arrogance as his uncle told them”you can leave the government if you disagree with party policy”. Despite Jayewardene’s and Ranil Wickremasinghe’s pro Western   policy of hob knobbing with Israelis, Muslim countries always continued their friendly ties with Sri Lanka. Israel has once again, true to form, has stabbed Sri Lanka by stabbing the nation in the back.

Meanwhile when the development boom began in the Gulf countries in the aftermath of the oil boom in the early 1970s, these countries opened their doors for the island’s workforce. Since then there are around a million Sri Lankans workers in the six member Gulf Cooperation Council countries which include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain. They remit billions and help our economy besides paving the way for better political, economic, cultural and social ties.

Muslim countries stood behind Sri Lanka and its people even in the recent effort to crush the LTTE. In fact many Muslim countries especially Pakistan, Libya and Iran helped the island a great deal during the island’s final assault in the defeat of the   Tamil Tigers. Moreover, Muslim countries like Pakistan, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf have given billions in aid   for numerous development projects. Sadly hardly any articles appear in the local newspapers, mags or TV giving due coverage to such positive stories. Instead, what we see are highly negative stories when a housemaid falls into trouble with her employers.

Ignoring all these facts many politicians, bureaucrats, professionals and the media in general openly hobnob with the Israelis paying no attention to the feelings of the Arabs or Muslim community in the island..

Some may ask “what is wrong in establishing ties with Israel as some Arab countries too recognized Israel”. Yes, some Arab dictators recognized Israel to please America so that their power could be maintained and keep the looted wealth of their people in Swiss banks.  However people in these countries treated these tyrants with contempt as they watch the atrocities Israel commits on a daily basis against the hapless Palestinians.

In fact traditionally the island’s mainstream media has been rather indifferent towards Muslim issues both here and abroad. This could be partly attributed to their being brainwashed by the Western media, an integral extension of the West’s war machine, for their international coverage.  The Western media has been employed by US led European war mongers to justify their invasions and destructions of poor Third World countries which include Vietnam and many South American, African and Arab nations. Inevitably the local media, depending on this propaganda machine, too come under their influence and thus fail to highlight the plight of the victims of US-European aggressions.

As a result  local media too have been influenced by the Western media’s evil campaign against Islam and Muslims .This perhaps may be  the reason why the local media fail to highlight Anglo-American genocides in Iraq, Afghanistan ,Palestine, Somalia  Yemen and now in  Pakistan to cite a few cases. Here too, except for a few, they are afraid to publish the victims’ sufferings even if they are provided with the facts as they are.

For example, wide publicity was given to around 300 Sri Lankans recruited to work in the Israeli agricultural sector. However more than a million Sri Lankans happily live and work in the Gulf States.  Do the local media highlight these positive developments?  Instead even before verifying the truth, media   scream highlighting incidents involving problems of maids projecting Gulf people as whole as heartless barbarians.

Isn’t it time that the country as a whole and the ultra nationalist who got into powerful positions, open their eyes and realize the reality and change their views on local Muslims and Muslim countries in their own interests and in the interest of the country?

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