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  • Justice for Hejaaz
    Frequently Asked Questions on Hejaaz Hizbullah Who is Hejaaz? Hejaaz Hizbullah is a prominent young lawyer and activist. After a stellar career at S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia and the Sri Lanka Law College—where he excelled in debating, moot court and represented Sri Lanka’s senior men’s waterpolo team—Hejaaz took oaths as a lawyer and joined the Attorney General’s Department. Since leaving the Department, he gained prominence as a bold and effective lawyer, taking on controversial commercial and constitutional cases. Besides his regular work, he also appeared pro bono in a number of cases involving minority rights and constitutional law, the most notable of which was his appearance for an Election Commissioner in the ‘Constitutional Coup’ case in October 2018. Hejaaz was also involved in activism...
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  • ‘‘ස්වාධිනව කටයුතු කරන් බෑ: තනතුරින් යනවා‘‘
    (විනීතා එම් ගමගේ)

    පාරිභෝගික සේවා අධිකාරියේ අධ්‍යක්ෂ ජනරාල් තුෂාන් ගුණවර්ධන මහතා සිය තනතුරෙන් ඉල්ලා අස් වීමට තීරණය කර ඇත.

    සිය ඉල්ලා අස්වීමේ ලිපිය පාරිභෝගික සේවා පිළිබඳ රාජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය ලසන්ත අලගියවන්න මහතාට ලබන අඟහරුවාදා භාරදීමට තීරණය කළ බව තුෂාන් ගුණවර්ධන මහතා ලංකාදීපයට පැවැසීය.

    දිගින් දිගටම එල්ලවන දේශපාලන...
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  • 76 individuals including Christian and Catholic priests call for the release of Hejaaz
    In a public petition signed by 75 individuals including Christian and Catholic priests, they have called upon members of the Human Rights Council and all members of the international community to urge the Sri Lankan government to release Attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah forthwith. They also urge the international community to call upon the government to desist from deploying the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) against Hizbullah. The public petition states the 26th August 2021 marks the 500th day of Hejaaz Hizbullah’s incarceration. Among the Christian and Catholic priests signing the public petition were  Bishop Duleep de Chickera, the 14th Anglican Bishop of Colombo,  former General Secretary of National Christian Council Rev. Dr. Jayasiri T. Peiris, Rev. Fr. M. Sathivel, Rev. Andrew Devadason, Rev, Marc Billimoria, Rev. Fr. Nandana...
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  • හිජාස් – අහ්නාෆ් නිදහස් කොට ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය සුරක්ෂිත කරන්න ! – විශ්වවිද්‍යාල ආචාර්ය – මහාචාර්යවරුන් 96 දෙනෙක් අවධාරණය කරති !
    යුක්තිය පසිඳලීම සඳහා කටයුතු කරන ආයතන පද්ධතිය පිළිබඳ ඇති විශ්වාසය තහවුරු කිරීම සඳහා ආණ්ඩුව කටයුතු කළ යුතු බවත්, අත්තනෝමතික ලෙස රඳවාගෙන සිටින හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා සහ අහ්නාෆ් ජසීම් නිදහස් කිරීම එහිදී තීරණාත්මක කරුණක් බවත් විශ්වවිද්‍යාල ආචාර්යවරුන් ප්‍රමුඛ ශාස්ත්‍රීය ප්‍රජාව අවධාරණය කර සිටී.
    මෙවැනි ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍ර විරෝධී...
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  • හිජාස්ගේ නඩුව මාධ්‍යවේදීන්ට තහනම් කරයි !
    අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන, රඳවා තබාගෙන සිටින නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලාට එරෙහි නඩුව පසුගිය 15 වැනිදා පුත්තලම මහාධිකරණයේදී පැවැති අවස්ථාවේදී මාධ්‍යවේදීන්ට එම නඩුව ආවරණය කිරීමට අවස්ථාව ලබා දී නැත.
    නිරෝධායන නීති නිසා වැඩි පිරිසක් අධිකරණ ශාලාව තුළට ගත නොහැකි බව පවසමින් මෙසේ මාධ්‍යවේදීන්ට ඊට ඇතුළු වීම පොලිසිය විසින් වළකනු ලැබ තිබේ.
    ඒ...
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  • Fmr STF Commandant Lattif appointed to SLC disciplinary committee
    Former STF Commandant Senior DIG (Rtd.)M.R. Lattif has been appointed to the disciplinary committee of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board. The SLC Executive Committee has appointed Lattif to the five-member committee headed by Ajith Weerasinghe. The other members of the committee are, Niroshan Perera, Nalinda Ilangakoon and Anura Chandrasiri.(DSB) https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Fmr-STF-Commandant-Lattif-appointed-to-SLC-disciplinary-committee/108-215300   Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
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  • ’’අනාෆ් ජසීම්’’ මුදාහරින්නැයි ගොනු කළ පෙත්සමට විරෝධතා ගොනු කරන්න සති දෙකක්
    අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන මාස 10 ක් තිස්සේ කිසිදු අධිකරණයකට ඉදිරිපත් නෙකර පොලිස් රැදවුම්බාරයේ රදවා තබා සිටින මුස්ලිම් ජාතික කවියකු වන අනාෆ් ජසීම් වහාම මුදාහරින ලෙස ඉල්ලා ගොනු කළ මූලික අයිතිවාසිකම් පෙත්සම සම්බන්ධයෙන් සීමිත විරෝධතා සති දෙකක් ඇතුළත ගොනු කරන්නැයි ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණය අද (06) නීතිපතිවරයාට නියෝග කළේය. සාහිත්‍යය නිර්මාණ හරහා...
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  • Contact Grama Niladhari to ensure your name in 2021 Electoral Register
    The Elections Commission requested people to contact the respective Grama Niladharis to include and ensure the name in the 2021 Electoral Register.

    It said the people could also check the inclusion of their names with the respective Grama Niladhari or to make alterations to the residences.

    "Only if your name isn't in the 2020 Register or if you want to change your residence, contact Grama Niladhari," the Elections Commission said.

    Also, people can check their name availability by visiting the Elections Commission website (www.elections.gov.lk). https://eservices.elections.gov.lk/myVoterRegistration01.aspx https://www.dailymirror.lk/latest_news/Contact-Grama-Niladhari-to-ensure-your-name-in-2021-Electoral-Register/342-215488 (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)     Please enable JavaScript to view the...
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  • නීතිඥ සංගමයෙන් ජනපතිට ලිපියක්
    (ඩයනා උදයංගනී සහ මනෝප්‍රිය ගුණසේකර) හිටපු පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී දුමින්ද සිල්වා මහතාට ජනාධිපති පොදු සමාව ලබාදීමේ දී ව්‍යවස්ථාව අනුව ලබාගත යුතු වාර්තා, උපදෙස් හා නිර්දේශ ලබාගත්තේ ද යන්න රටට හෙළි කරන්නැයි ජනාධිපතිවරයාගෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටින බව ශ්‍රී ලංකා නීතීඥ සංගමය නිවේදනයක් නිකුත් කරමින් කියා සිටී. ජනාධිපතිවරයාට එවැනි සමාවක්...
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  • “දුමින්ද සිල්වාට ජනාධිපති සමාව දීම අනුමත කරන්න බෑ’’
    හිටපු පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී දුමින්ද සිල්වා මහතාට ජනාධිපති සමාව ලබාදීමෙන් නීතියේ ආධිපත්‍යයට බලපෑමක් වන බවට ඇමරිකාවේ ශ්‍රී ලංකා තානාපතිනී ඇලයිනා බී. ටෙප්ලිට්ස් මහත්මිය ටුවිටර් පණිවුඩයක් නිකුත් කරමින් පවසා තිබේ. මිනීමැරුමක් සම්බන්ධයෙන් 2018 වසරේ ශ්‍රේෂ්ඨාධිකරණයෙන් දඩුවම් ලබාදුන් පුද්ගලයකු නිදහස් කිරීම අනුමත කළ නොහැකි...
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Burqa ban: Security, human rights and male chauvinism

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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 be at the other end. As civilized people, we denounce public nudity as indecent. But neither do we depict burqa as the highest form of modesty. Both extremes need to be shunned.


We are born naked but soon we are clothed by our parents or caregivers to protect ourselves from the elements and also as an adornment. As we grow up, we wear clothes also to cover our private parts. Scriptures tell us that Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover their nudity after they disobeyed God and discovered their shame. 
But there are tribes who wear no clothes. They are not ashamed of their nakedness. But such indigenous people live in isolation and remain deprived of the benefits of the civilization-building process.


The general understanding is that as human beings, we wear clothes to protect ourselves from the elements, as an adornment and to cover parts of our bodies which are sexually attractive to the opposite sex, depending on one’s threshold of modesty.  The consensus is that we should be clothed in public. As to how much to cover is a matter that is diversely defined, depending on culture, social norms and individuality.  In South Asia, saree is regarded as a form of modest clothing for women as it covers much of their torsos and the legs, but in the Middle East, saree is seen as not-so-modest as it exposes the midriff. 
Just as the choice of clothes is our right, one may argue that the freedom to be nude or the freedom to be scantily clad -- depending on one’s interpretation of modesty -- is also a human right.


However, even in liberal societies, where shortness is promoted by men as women empowerment after the miniskirt revolution of the 1960s, the freedom to be nude is curtailed. In those countries, although courts have recognised nudity as freedom of expression, they also recognise that nudity should be regulated through legislation as it causes public disorder. The consensus is that nudity should be disallowed unless it is the norm. 
Whether burqa, niqab or hijab – the scarf that covers the head and the chest -- is worn due to choice or coercion, human rights jurists have defended a person’s right to wear them. This was confirmed in the 2018 ruling of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The Committee ruled that France had violated the human rights of two women by fining them for wearing niqab.


It found that the French niqab ban disproportionately harmed the petitioners’ right to manifest their religious beliefs, and that France had not adequately explained why it was necessary to prohibit this clothing. The Committee said it was not convinced by France’s claim that the ban was necessary and proportionate from a security standpoint or for attaining the goal of “living together” in society.


The Committee acknowledged that States could require that individuals show their faces in specific circumstances for identification purposes, but considered that a general niqab ban was too sweeping for this purpose. 
The Committee also concluded that the ban, rather than protecting fully veiled women, could have the opposite effect of confining them to their homes, impeding their access to public services and marginalising them.
Recently, in Switzerland, people voted in a referendum in favour of a niqab ban, though the Government said it was not for the ban but would prefer a mechanism whereby the wearers would be required to reveal their facial identity on request for security purposes.


The ban on burqa and niqab in many countries is justified on the basis of public security, with these clothing types being seen as symbols of extremism and oppression or enslavement of women rather than expression of spirituality.  On security grounds, even several Muslim countries have banned burqa and niqab.  They include Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco. In Muslim Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, even hijab is banned. In secular Turkey, hijab had been banned in public institutions until Islamic-leaning Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan lifted the restriction in 2013.
While burqa and niqab have become serious human rights and security topics, there is a perennial debate among Muslims on whether Islam really pushes for burqa and niqab.  Islam accords prime importance to modesty and bashfulness -- known as Haya in Arabic – and it is part of faith.


Although from a security perspective, the full covering of the female body is being seen as a threat, the spiritually inclined in all major religions may say the more we make ourselves sexually less attractive to others with our clothing and behaviour the more righteous will be our conduct. Look at the nuns and the Bhikkunis. 
Interpreting the Quran and the prophet’s tradition, some scholars, especially those of the hardline Salafi and Wahhabi order, say rather unconvincingly that niqab or burqa is wajib or a must. They believe the entire body of a woman, including her shape, is her private part and therefore should be covered, lest she becomes an object of lust to be ogled by men.


But those who say niqab or burqa is not compulsory also put forward Quranic verses and prophet’s sayings. They insist a woman needs to cover her head and the bosom, but her face and hands could be exposed. Some progressive scholars point out that the problem is not with women but with men, for the Quranic command to ‘lower thy gaze’ or be chaste in thoughts and action is addressed first to men and then to women. Did not Jesus Christ ask men not to look at a woman lustfully, for if they do they have already committed adultery with her in their hearts?


There is much male chauvinism in the pro-niqab/burqa camp, with male scholars trying to impose their hardline interpretations on the females whose views are rarely sought or respected.  
Amidst views and counterviews between the human rights and security schools of thought, the golden means, perhaps, is to impose a temporary restriction based on the security threat which needs to be assessed from time to time with a view to lifting the ban. 
Ironically, at a time when we struggle to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the facemasks we wear to protect ourselves from the virus have made us -- women and men -- niqabis or niqab wearers. Hence the move to ban niqab may appear ridiculous.

http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/Burqa-ban-Security-human-rights-and-male-chauvinism/172-208057

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