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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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Sacred Cities and Sadus’ Interpretations

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A common question among many who possess a little knowledge of Islam is, why no non-Muslims allowed in Makka and Madina, two most sacred cities of Islam.  The instant answer, that goes usually is, what business do they have in these cities? Picnic? Leisure? Official? Religious visit?  Absolutely no need exists for a non-Muslim to travel to these cities.  In the first place, they have never been tourist attractions, neither for Muslims nor for others.  And for that matter, Muslims never travel there for the purpose of merry-making.  They are meant for pure and focused worship of Allah alone.

The Qur’an has very explicitly proclaimed that polytheists are not allowed in the precincts of these holy cities,  “Believers, those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity are unclean. So, after the expiry of this year, let them not even go near the Sacred Mosque” (Surah Al Tawba:28)

The above prohibition came into effect in the year 9 H, one year after the bloodless conquer of Makkah(Fatah Makka).  Until that time the performance of Hajj had remained polluted with practices of ignorance, to the filthy extend that men and women used to circulate the Ka’bah in the state of nudity.    When the message of Islam through its dynamic persuasive style penetrated the hearts of Makkan polytheists, they renounced their beliefs and embraced Islam.  With their own hands destroyed their former gods and cleansed the city for Tawheed (Monotheism).  The above declaration foremost meant for them not to return to the past.  The beautiful part history has recorded was that the Makkans themselves voluntarily cleansed the city of polytheism.

 

The conclusion is, Makkah and Madina are exclusive enclaves for the worship of Allah Almighty. No coercion was adopted at any time of the history to grant them this exclusivity.

 

Islam has never been intolerant to other religions.  Among numerous Qur’anic and Hadith injunctions on this subject, we bring only one below:

 

Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) said,

 

He who unfairly treats a non-Muslim who keeps a peace treaty with Muslims, or undermines his rights or burdens him beyond his capacity, or takes something from him without his consent; then I am his opponent on the Day of Judgment. (Abu Dawud)

A glamorous aspect of Islam’s tolerance was the way Khalifa Umar (R.A) behaved with Christians on the heels of Jerusalem’s conquest.  No history book can escape the truth of this episode.   The Christian officials of Jerusalem urged him to spread his carpet(For prayers) in the Church (of the Holy Sepulchre) itself, but he refused saying that some of the ignorant Muslims after him might claim the Church and convert it into a mosque because he had once prayed there. He had his carpet carried to the top of the steps outside the church, to the spot where the Mosque of Umar now stands.

 

Established history shows, so long as Muslims were truly practicing Islam they were tolerant to other faiths.  As the Qur’an says, there is no compulsion in religion, because Truth stands out clear from error.  Man has been given the faculty to distinguish right from wrong, hence true Muslims believed the need for coercing people to accept Islam does not exist at all.   Nevertheless, it is true there were scattered incidents of coercion by some ignorant followers.  The religion of Islam is not responsible for their rash actions.

 

Coming to the issue of sacred area of Dambulla Rajamaha Vihara, Sri Lankan Buddhists have every right to preserve the sacredness of their religion.  The issue should be viewed more objectively.  Did  lord Buddha or true Buddhist scriptures encourage violence as a means for acquiring a sacred area for his worship?  Can the Ven Sadus and their followers who are fighting so valiantly, put their hands in their chests and say that their effort is purely for the worship and preservation of Buddhism, devoid of any vested commercial interests?  Has religious bias and jealousy of Islamic practices played any role in pushing these followers against the worshippers at Masjidul Khaira? Have they thought for a moment how many liquor bars, kasippu dens, brothels in the guise of massage parlour and other arrangements for promoting promiscuous  behaviour are in operation in one of Sri Lanka’s finest tourism destinations neighbouring the sacred areas?  Do they think, infringing the religious rights of other people and hurting their sensitivities are lesser evil than fighting against the social evils that eat into every Sri Lankan’s family lives?

 

Is damaging social cohesion Buddhism?  Many Buddhist scholars have declared it is not Buddhism, but Sinhala chauvinism.

 

We quote Late Ven.  Dr. K. Sri Dammananda Thero on lord Buddha’s advice to Bhikkhus on compassion and tolerance:

 

Go ye, O Bhikkhus, and wander forth for the gain of the many, for the welfare of the many, in compassion for the world; for the good, for the gain, for the welfare of gods and men. Proclaim, O Bhikkhus, the sublime doctrine, preach ye a life of holiness, perfect and pure.'

Let us ponder over before another volcano of ethnic strife erupt.

Courtesy: ' THE TREND'  (Magazine) Gateway to Alternative Views

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