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  • A country obsessed with racial and religious conflicts
    Sri Lanka, as a nation has been wasting time debating sensitive racial and religious issues for the past several years, without gaining anything. Only thing the country has been witnessing as a result is communities distancing themselves from each other, while portraying a false unity among them. 
    The situation seems to have come to a head with people of various communities being emotionally charged over these issues subsequent to the attacks on three Christian churches and three major tourist hotels by the Islamic terrorists on April 21, 2019, which was also the Easter Sunday.
    The terrorist attacks which caught the nation off-guard demanded united action by all communities and political parties to handle the immediate situation and to prevent future recurrence of...
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  • Burqa ban: Security, human rights and male chauvinism
    A few years ago, on a Turkish beach exclusively for women, a bikini-clad woman offered her prayers. The video clip of the woman going through the postures of the Muslim prayer went viral and created a major debate among the Muslims.  Some censured her for not adhering to the dress code for prayers, but others said what mattered was her piety and not the dress.
    Following the release of the Easter Sunday terror attack commission report, Sri Lanka is mulling whether to ban burqa – the Muslim dress that covers a female body from head to toe – and niqab, which only shows the eyes of the wearer, but the issue needs to be looked at from human rights, security and spiritual angles to come to a right decision.
    If at the one end of the spectrum is public nudity, burqa will...
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  • South African Muslim bodies seek intervention over burqa ban in Sri Lanka Foreign Minister of South Africa urged to intervene
    South African Muslim organisations have called on the country’s foreign minister to intervene in the proposed Sri Lankan ban on the burqa and closure of hundreds of Islamic schools. This followed the announcement by Sri Lanka''s minister for public security, Sarath Weerasekera, during the weekend that his country would ban the traditional full-face covering worn by some Muslim women because it posed a threat to national security. This was quickly followed by a statement from the Sri Lankan foreign ministry, which said a decision would only be taken on the proposal after consultations and further discussion. The United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) has now asked South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor to intervene in the matter. UUCSA had earlier also called for such intervention when...
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  • Banning Burqas and Madrasas illegal: Fmr MP
    Former MP M.M .Zuhair said yesterday it would be unlawful to ban Burqas and Madrasas. Issuing a statement, he said some observations and recommendations of the Commission on Easter Sunday attacks are invasive of the absolute protection given to every person under Article 10 of the Sri Lanka Constitution. He said the Commission’s report though good in parts, can be seen as an attempted assault on Islam for the heinous crimes of a dozen suicide bombers. The right to the freedom stated in Article 10 is ‘assured to all religions’ under Article 9. No one, not even Presidential Commissions can invite or promote the State or any limb of the Executive or Judiciary to violate the freedom guaranteed under Article 10.This protection is guaranteed notwithstanding any national security concerns, as the law stands today. In this constitutionally...
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  • Pakistan says likely ban on Niqab in SL to serve as injury on Muslims
    The Ambassador of Pakistan to Sri Lanka, Saad Khattak today said the likely ban on Niqab in Sri Lanka will only serve as an injury to the feelings of ordinary Sri Lankan Muslims and Muslims across the globe. In a tweet, the Ambassador said that at today’s economically difficult time due to COVID-19 pandemic and other image related challenges faced by the country at the international fora, such divisive steps in the name of security, besides accentuating economic difficulties, will only serve as fillip to further strengthen wider apprehensions about fundamental human rights of minorities in the country. Minister of Public Security Rear Admiral (Retd.) Dr. Sarath Weerasekera said today that in addition to banning the burqa, the cabinet proposal would also include banning the niqab which covers the face of the wearer except the eyes. The...
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  • යුරෝපයේ රටවල් 8 කින් හිස්බුල්ලාට සහාය
    මානව හිමිකම් වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටින ප්‍රමුඛ නීතිඥවරයකු වන හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා මහතා වැනි මානව හිමිකම් ආරක්ෂා කරන්නන්ට ගරු කරන ලෙස ශ්‍රී ලංකා රජයෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිමින් යුරෝපීය රටවල් අටක මානව හිමිකම් තානාපතිවරුන් ඒකාබද්ධ නිවේදනයක් නිකුත් කර තිබේ. නෙදර්ලන්තය, ජර්මනිය, එංගලන්තය ස්වීඩනය, එස්ටෝනියාව, ලිතුවේනියාව, ලක්සම්බර්ග් සහ ෆින්ලන්තය...
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  • Eight EU HR Ambassadors raise concern over Hejaaz Hizbullah
    In a statement issued today, Eight Human Rights  Ambassadors of Europe including the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden called on the Sri Lankan government to " respect human rights defenders such as Hizbullah". The statement issued by the Ambassadors of the United Kingsdom, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and the Netherlands said that after ten months of Detention, Hejaaz Hizbullah was being accused of speech related offences. Prominent Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department on the 14th of April 2020. He was thereafter accused in the media of various activities related to terrorism. He was thereafter produced on the 18th of February 2021 where the Attorney General informed court that the entire case against Hizbullah was to be based on purported statements made by children. Hizbullah...
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  • Circular on burial of COVID-19 victims issued
    The circular containing the guidelines with regard to the burial of COVID-19 victims has been issued, the Health Ministry said. Some key guidelines are as follows, The relatives of the deceased should inform the Director/ Head of the health care institution (Where the death has occurred) of their desire to bury the corpse without delay. The Director of the hospital/ Head of the health care institution should obtain a written request from relatives for burial. The relatives need to provide a coffin in advance. It is the duty of the director/ Head of health care institution to transport the corpse in a coffin provided by the relatives to a designated location in Colombo Institute of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (office of JMO) / BH Welikanda where the corpse will be received by the designated officer. The vehicle transporting the...
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  • Muslims to raise concerns over Iranaithivu burial with global bodies
    A leading Muslim organisation in Sri Lanka will this week send an official letter of concern to the global Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the World Muslim Congress, seeking their intervention to urge the Sri Lankan government to allocate a decent land for the burial of Muslim COVID-19 victims. The Daily Mirror learns that the Sri Lanka Islamic Centre, which is a member of the World Muslim Congress will raise serious concerns with the global bodies and will also send a letter to the World Muslim Congress office in Geneva urging for immediate intervention after the government announced that burials of the COVID-19 dead would take place on the Iranaithivu Island, in the Gulf of Mannar. Senior Muslim officials said they were disappointed at the government’s decision to allocate the Iranaithivu Isle for the burials and instead urged...
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  • Hizbullah and Madrasa School Principal further remanded
    Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullah and Principal of Madrasa School Mohammed Shakeel were further remanded till March 18 by the Fort Magistrate’s Court today. They were earlier remanded under section 2 (1) (h) of the PTA and section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act.   http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Hizbullah-and-Madrasa-School-Principal-further-remanded/108-206945 Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
    Read More...
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Order to demolish Dambulla Mosque

By Latheef Farook

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Why raise this explosive issue now?

By Latheef Farook

Prime Minister D.M. Dayaratne’s order to demolish a 65 year old mosque in Dambulla and instead build a mosque in another place strikes at the very root of religious freedom .It also shocked and hurt the island’s Muslim community. Responding to the order and expressing the community’s mood Muslim Congress Secretary and parliamentarian Hassen Ali said the “community will not accept a mosque in another place even if it was built of gold”.

Hassen Ali had stated that if the places of religious worship of the minorities are being attacked while the police and army are idly watching, it implies that they are supporting the marauders and providing security to them, instead of the law abiding people.

The claim by the Prime Minister Dayaratne that an order was given to demolish the mosque with the consent of Muslim politicians insults the prime minister’s office. This was described as “blatant manufactured lie” and vehemently rejected by Senior Minister A.H.M.Fawzie, Deputy Minister M.L.A.M Hizbulla, Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana and Parliamentarian Abdul Cader all of whom pointed out that they never attended such a meeting in Gampola.

Refuting the Prime Minister’s charges former deputy mayor of Colombo Azath Salley stated that “it is misleading to say that the mosque was in existence for two years as it has been there for more than 65 years. We have all the documents to prove that it is a legally constructed mosque under Waqf Act. Therefore the statement by the Prime Minister claiming that the unauthorized construction of the mosque has been stopped is totally false. The land on which the mosque was located was bought by a lady in Jaffna from Englishmen. From that time, this mosque has been in existence. Later the adjacent land too had been bought by the mosque authorities in 1995. The mosque has been in existence and there are no construction works underway now. This statement by the Prime Minister is misleading the Buddhists in the country. Prime Minister should not make such irresponsible statements as the Waqf Board comes under the Prime Minister and he is contradicting his own statement. Besides the statement by Ven Inamaluwa Sumangla Thera that he will ensure that Muslims will not have a place to urinate is not only irresponsible but very dangerous too”.

Though the UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe is yet to comment, UNP’s Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa described prime minister’s order as” law of the jungle and nothing to do with the Buddhism”. Sajith asked “  how could we develop the country when the prime minister’s office issues such false statements”?

In any civilized society one would expect unruly elements who vandalize a mosque while worshippers were getting ready for Friday Juma prayer to be arrested and brought before justice. Instead they were rewarded in violation of all canons of human decency.

Muslims in the area suspect that Sinhalese in Dambulla were not involved in the hooliganism .Instead hired people, including monks, were brought from outside to vandalize the mosque What they failed to understand is that we are not living in the medieval era today as the world is watching us especially when the country is accused of war crimes against one minority community.

The irony is that this happened less than a month after most Muslim countries voted against the United States sponsored and Indian supported United Nations Human Rights Commissions resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva and rescued the island’s dignity.

In fact the day the mosque was vandalized the government started bilateral discussions with Israel, known  international pariah, sworn enemy of Muslims and the architect of the  US sponsored  global campaign against   Muslims under the guise of fighting a war on terror.

Demolition of the mosque means the end of Muslim support to the government. Western Province governor Alavi Moulana has already gone to the extent of hinting that“he would strongly consider vacating his position if the government goes ahead with the plan to demolish the mosque”.

The manner in which   the politicians and so called muftis who started hob knobbing in politics were insulted and intimated at the meeting held in Colombo to discuss the Dambulla Mosque is a clear indication of the mood among the people.

To Muslims all over the world Mosque is Allah’s House. It is everything to them. They turn to mosque for their prayers.  Moreover Muslims posed no problem or threat to anyone in Dambulla or anywhere else. They never interfered with the religious affairs of other communities. Under such circumstance what is the need to raise this issue.   The question is do we need to precipitate such an unwanted crisis now?

As pointed out by former Chief Justice Sarath N .Silva Muslims in the island have been the most peaceful community”.

Muslims never failed to rise up to the occasion to support and protect the country.

For example when two-third majority was needed to obtain independence in 1948 the Muslim community wholeheartedly supported the bill which was detrimental to their own interest. It is time all involved in mosque demolition read late Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike’s passionate and emotional response and assurance to Muslims which were conveniently forgotten later.

Ultra nationalists who claim and behave as if King Vijaya and Kuveni had given them the title deed of sole ownership to the island and now hand in glove with the Israelis have forgotten the historic role played by Muslims in preserving the territorial integrity of the country. For example from the very beginning Muslims opposed tooth and nail the LTTE claim for a separate state. Had they joined hands with the LTTE then the country would have been divided decades ago as the island’s armed forces were not equipped then, as it is today, to meet the challenges posed by the LTTE backed then openly by India.

Muslims paid a heavy price for this. They were slaughtered in village after village and even while praying in mosques. Their paddy lands acquired, businesses closed and their very means of survival deprived. The entire Jaffna Muslims population was kicked out within two hours and their belongings and property were looted.

In return Muslims expected some relief after the military defeat of LTTE. Instead they have been simply dismissed   and sidelined. Though they remain deeply frustrated, yet they only expected some peaceful solutions to their problems .It was in this atmosphere comes the move to destroy Dambulla moque.

The country has ended up in Geneva due to its failure to deal with one community- Tamils. Is this the time to provoke Muslims without any rhyme or reason  especially, when Zionist Jews, Evangelical Christians together  with RSS Hindu extremists have unleashed a global campaign killing Muslims and destroying Muslim countries? Under such circumstance who can predict the consequences of short sighted move to demolish the Dambulla mosque?

In the aftermath of the LTTE defeat all in the country-Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others- looked forward to a period of peace and harmony. However move to demolish Dambulla mosque shows that reconciliation, peace, harmony and progress are nothing but distant dreams

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