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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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From where does holiness come to holy lands?

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by Usthad Rasheed Hajjul Akbar

Amir, Sri lanka Jama’athe Islami

Holy lands are indeed sacred and they exist on this earth as sites that are respected and that should be respected, not only by the people who believe in the particular faith but by every one in the civilized world. As people who live by Islamic faith, we have sensitivity over this delicate subject because Islam too has its own proclaimed sacred places. These places belong to every Muslim in world and it is their refutable obligation safeguarding and cherishing those places. The countries that have those sacred places within their geographical areas cannot proscribe Muslims coming to their countries for just about any reason.

Upon this reason, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which has two of the three Islamic holy places in its country, issues an exclusive Visas to pilgrims and does not levy any charges to grant these Visas if the visitor’s sole purpose is pilgrimage. At the same time, the Kingdom does not allow non Muslims to enter those holy places mainly to avoid them taking advantage of this Visa concession and also to protect the sanctity of the holy places. Since we Muslims have such phenomenon in our religion, we already possess capacity to understand this concept and do not have any difficulty accommodating the idea of holy sites and respecting stipulations related to them. Accordingly, we would like to approach the issue of attacking a mosque in Dambulla from this perspective.

Therefore, it is not an issue of inadequacy from our part to recognize the holy sites of another faith but the question is what the definitions of those sites are. And it is a question of the aspects of whom, when and what with regard to the globally accepted norms for such a proclamation. As Muslims we have explicit definitions for these matters. Each and every run away Muslim or a group of Muslims do not have the authority to proclaim holy places for Islam. Only the God Almighty has the authority for such proclamation which He did with the communication of His Final Prophet. And those places were declared at the very inception of Islam some 14 centuries ago and with globally acceptable credibility that are entwined with revelation and events of Islam.

As we mentioned there are three holy places of Islam in the world. Two of them are in the form of entire cities that are situated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, namely Makka and Madeena. The third holy place of Islam, which is a mosque, is situated in the city of Jerusalem called Baithul Muqaddas also referred to as Mosque of Al Aksa. No one has the authority to declare a fourth place as holy for Muslims and no one has ever tried it. Even if the entire world becomes Islamic, no one could make such a proclamation. In essence, sacred lands are essentially foundations of particular religions which should be pronounced by the founders or the highest authorities of those faiths to have unquestionable credibility. If a person, a group or even a government proceed to spontaneously declare places and sites as sacred, especially if the that person, the group or the government is distanced by several centuries from the original and phenomenal events of the faith in question then such a proclamation is very likely to end up as a religious arrogance and extremism that would only trigger trouble and unrest as we ourselves witness today in this very country. Also it would be yet another weapon given to the hands of evil elements that is always in the look out for ways to create disunity among different communities peacefully living in this country.

A group is trying to claim a particular place as sacred today inflicting distress among other religious people and tomorrow it could be yet another person or group in yet another place just because those groups do not have or do not care about definitions for such proclamations. Where would this propensity lead this multi religious country? Even a small group of fanatics could be tempted to make such a claim elsewhere purely to revenge an ethnic group living among them. When and who is going to stop this injurious trend? Islam has historic example for respecting other faiths. Umar, the second Kalifa of Muslims was speaking with some Christian theologians sitting in their church when he visited Jerusalem. Then the time for obligatory prayer occurred and the Kalifa stood up to leave the church to observe his ritual. Then the Christian colleagues offered him a place in their church to offer the prayer but the Muslim leader declined it and left the church to offer his prayer outside of the church.

The reason for this refusal stated by the farsighted Islamic leader is that if he prays in the church at least once while he was the leader of the Muslims, some insensitive one or a group coming in a future era might get the notion that it is necessary to raze the particular church and build a mosque, which would trigger unrest among communities. This was the stance of Islam and Islamic leaders on religious coexistence and upon the concept of holy sites. Similarly the Gouthama Buddha might have proclaimed holy places for Buddhists and he might have prescribed rituals pertaining to those scared places. And if so it is a top most duty to safeguards such places of sanctity not only upon the Buddhists but also upon us and every one in this world regardless of their religious orientations. And if Muslims have built inadvertently or otherwise mosques or any holy shrines in such historically existing original Buddhist sacred places, we do not have any objection whatsoever in razing and obliterating such buildings from those lands. And we also would like to be elucidated what purpose Buddhists are trying to serve by such actions of spontaneously claiming scared sites. And does anyone naively believe that this kind of supercilious actions would instill any reverence for a religion or help it proliferate.

We would like to remind once again that Islam which is among the biggest faiths in the world with 1.4 billion followers spanning over 56 countries in the planet has not proclaimed a fourth sacred place after its original three even after 1400 years and even when it is the fastest spreading religion. And the fact that Islam has been a super power in world for close to 10 centuries also should be weighed here. What would be the situation if Muslims have had started to declare sacred places wherever they ruled? They did not because they knew the meaning of sacred land concept in its most accurate form

(This is a translation of original Tamil article)

Courtesy: www.lankamuslim.com

 

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