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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....
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  • Coronavirus funerals: Sri Lanka's Muslims decry forced cremation
      Image copyrightEPA Image captionSri Lankan Muslim women wait for a Covid-19 test. Some in the community are fighting cremation rules Sri Lankan authorities are insisting on cremation for coronavirus victims - a practice forbidden by Islam. The nation's minority Muslim community says they are using the pandemic to discriminate, writes BBC Sinhala's Saroj Pathirana. On 4 May, Fathima Rinoza, a 44-year-old mother of three from Sri Lanka's minority Muslim population, was admitted to hospital with a suspected case of Covid-19. Fathima, who lived in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, had been suffering from respiratory problems and the authorities feared she had caught the virus. On the day she was admitted to hospital, the family was "set upon" by the authorities, her husband Mohamed Shafeek said. "The police and military along with...
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  • ජිනීවා මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සිලයේදී රටවල් 5කින් ලංකාවට චෝදනා
    පාස්කු ප්‍රහාර සම්බන්ධයෙන් සැකපිට අත්අඩංගුවට ගෙන සිටින නීතිඥ හිජාස් හිස්බුල්ලා රඳවා තබාගැනීම, විශේෂ බළකායේ සැරයන් සුනිල් රත්නායකට ජනාධිපති සමාව ලබාදීම ඇතුළු කරුණු ගණනාවක් පදනම් කරගනිමින් එක්සත් රාජධානිය ඇතුළු රටවල් 5ක කණ්ඩායමක් එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ මානව හිමිකම් කවුන්සිලයේදී ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට චෝදනා එල්ල කර ඇතැයි ජිනීවා තානාපති...
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  • මුස්ලිම් නීතිඥයාට එරෙහිව 'ත්‍රස්ත සාක්කි' ගෙතූ රහස් පොලිසියට විනිසුරු විරෝධය

      පාස්කු බෝම්බ ප්‍රහාරයට සම්බන්ධ යැයි ජනමාධ්‍ය මගින් ප්‍රචාරය කරමින් ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත යටතේ අත්අඩංගුවට ගනු ලැබු මුස්ලිම් ජාතික නීතිඥවරයකුට එරෙහිව ව්‍යාජ සාක්ෂි ගෙතීමට රහස් පොලිසිය විසින් දරණ ලද උත්සාහයක් විනිසුරුවරයකුගේ මැදිහත්වීම නිසා ව්‍යර්ථ වී තිබේ.

    නීතිඥ හිජාස් ඕමර් හිස්බුල්ලාහ් රඳවා...
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  • Gnanasara Thero Once Again Inciting Sinhalese Against Muslims
    Malicious campaign pushing discriminated and frustrated Muslims to wall Few weeks ago Ven Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thero, known for inciting Sinhalese and unleashing violence against Muslims, said he would dissolve his organisation Bodu Bala Sena as it has achieved its target of setting up a Sinhala Buddhist government without minority support. Latheef Farook Following the election of the present government to power on 15 November 2019, he was rather quiet. Now that the parliamentary election is forthcoming, he has started his campaign once again pitting the Sinhalese against Muslims.There were reports that during the presidential elections in November 2019 Buddhist monks and temples were used to demonize Muslims to win Sinhala votes assuring security. As part of this campaign to win Sinhala votes, he attempted to brand as extremist, several...
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  • Hejaaz: A lawyer for all seasons

    A year has passed since the deadly Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka. Victims, survivors, and the general public still await answers. Amidst these desperate demands for accountability, Hejaaz Hizbullah, a prominent Muslim lawyer, is suddenly – and most unexpectedly – arrested and detained.

    I met Hejaaz during the first-ever debating tournament I participated in. He led the team from S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, and I represented St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. Our teams made it to the finals that year. I recall Hejaaz as a fierce competitor with the rare gift for conveying an argument with charisma and conviction. He also had a great sense of humour, taking friendly banter in good spirit. The Thomians triumphed that year, and deservedly so.

    What strikes me now is...
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  • Muslim writer in jail for 60 days without "explicit evidence"
    A group of activists in Sri Lanka has called upon the government for the unconditional release of a Muslim writer who has been held in detention for more than
    sixty days without “explicit evidence being produced”.

    In a letter to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim activists say that Ramzy Razeek arrested on April 09 for allegedly violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Cyber Crimes Legislation has also been denied medical treatment and legal access in detention.

    “Despite orders from the Magistrate to allow him access to medicine, reliable sources state that his health condition is deteriorating due to lack of access to specific medicines of which he is in dire need. A lawyer attempting to visit Razeek this week, was also denied...
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  • அடையாள அணிவகுப்புக்கு முன் ஹிஜாஸின் அடையாளத்தைக் காட்ட சிஐடியினர் முயற்சித்தார்கள்
    இரு சிறுவர்களிடமிருந்தும் வாக்குமூலம் பெறுவதற்கு முன்னர் சிஐடியினர் தனது அறையில் வைத்து ஹிஜாஸ் ஹிஸ்புல்லாஹ்வின் புகைப்படத்தை அவர்களுக்குக் காண்பிப்பதற்கு முயற்சித்தார்கள் என கோட்டை நீதவான் ரங்க திசாநாயக்க தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.

    புத்தளம் மத்ரஸாவொன்றின் மாணவர்களுக்கு தீவிரவாதத்தைப் போதித்தார் என சிஐடியினர்...
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  • CID attempted to show photograph of Hejaaz to children before ID parade: Fort Magistrate
    Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayaka said in open court that officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had attempted to show photographs of Hejaaz Hizbullah at his chambers prior to the recording of statements from two children.

    When the matter was taken up before Dissanayake on 24 June, he told Hizbullah’s lawyers that prior to the recording of the statements from the two children, this attempt had been made: “I want to reveal this. The CID officers tried to show pictures and I had to tell them to leave the Chamber.”

    Two children had made “voluntary statements” on 12 May to the Magistrate on camera regarding Hizbullah. An identification parade was to be held including Hizbullah with 10 children being summoned as witnesses to identify Hizbullah.

    Nawarathna Bandara PC, appearing with Harshana...
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  • Magistrate disallows ID parade for detained lawyer
    Counsel for Hejaaz Hizbullah objects to ID parade Says children lined up to identify suspect have been shown his photograph during questioning Magistrate uploads objections, fixes 1 July for next hearing Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake yesterday disallowed the Police from presenting detained attorney Hejaaz Hizbullah for an identification parade after counsel for the suspect objected to the move. Hejaaz Hizbullah   President’s Counsel Wasantha Navaratne Bandara, who appeared for Hizbullah, said that the 10 children lined up to identify the suspect have been shown his photograph by the Police when they recorded a statement from them, and hence objected to holding the identification parade.

    CID officers who appeared in Court however...
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Reply to Dr Ameer Ali’s biased criticism of Islamism in Srilanka.

Opinion

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The primary purpose of this short review of Dr Ameer Ali’s subjective article (titled POINT OF VIEW: An aggressive brand of state religion vs. others) in Lakbima News paper (20/05/12) - which was also republished here - is to clarify some misperceptions about basic teaching of Islam. It is unfortunate today that many Muslim and Non-Muslim academics with their western educational training write about Islam and Muslim communities subjectively without proper Islamic educational background and trainings. These so called academics in Muslim names have learned about Islamic teachings and doctrines through the writings of western anti-Islamic scholarship. Consequently, these people’s writings and mentality reflect bias western prejudice against pure Islamic teachings and spiritual development of Muslim community. These people see Islam and its teaching through mere materialistic and secularist perception and consequently Islamic revivalism and activism is seen as a threat for their materialistic philosophy of life.

Ameer Ali vaguely hypothesises that rise of Islamism have contributed to the rise of Militancy among Buddhism. He asks (Are the Muslims also contributing to the rise of militancy among Buddhists?) While materialistic secularists see the rise of Islamic renaissance as a threat to their world view, the majority of Muslim people see such Islamic renaissance as a pure submission and return to the divine commands and prophetic traditions. After all, Islam and Islamism is pure submission to divine will as enshrined in the texts of Holy Quran and Traditions. What Tabligh Jamath does is nothing to do with evangelical works rather they make connection between people and their Lord: Almighty Allah: They invite people to mosques to pray five times and they make religious awareness. They guide people to spiritual enhancements. Do they engage in any evangelical work as Christian missionaries do among innocent Buddhists? Why is this bias attack on Innocent Tabligh jamathe people? They have nothing to do with militancy or politics. They are mere spiritual and religious group whose aim is protect humanity for the punishment of Hellfire? I do not know how Dr Ameer Ali misread the vision and mission of this spiritual group so wrongly?

Moreover, he argues that Muslims people have been alienated from main stream Srilanka due to the influence Tabligh Jamath and Salafi groups in recent times. His contention is that (Muslims are fast losing their national identity without realising it). What does this mean? What is a Srilankan National Identity? It is a fact that Sirlanka is a multicultural and multi-religious country and each community while preserving its own religious identity shares a common national identity as Srilankans born and brought up in Srilanka. Muslims like all other community have been loyal citizens of this Island and indeed, they have showed their patriotism and nationalistic feeling in times of hardship and difficulties since the time of colonization until recent times. Srilankan Muslims love Srilanka as other communities do and our roots are deeply rooted in Srilankan sail as others. Our nationalistic patriotism does mean that we have to loose our cultural and religious identity to show our loyalty to this country. What does Dr Ameer Ali expect from Muslim community to protect their national Identity in Srilanka? Do we have to sacrifice our religious identity and assimilate into non-Islamic way of life to show our national identity in Srilanka? It seems that Dr Ameer Ali willingly or unwittingly calls for such cultural suicide of Srilankan Muslim community.

He argues that ( The attire of Muslim men and women who have embraced the teachings of the Jamaat and Salafism for example is foreign to the country in which they live and so are the names and architecture of some of their institutions and building structures. The manner in which some Islamic religious practices are observed, quite contrary to the teachings of the original sources, disregard the sensitivities of other communities…… Why should Muslim schools have a religiously determined school calendar separate from other national schools? These issues, some of them may sound trivial, are obviously isolating the Muslim community). What types of religious practices of Muslim people are quite contrary to the original sources of Islam? And who are those people who disregard to the sensitivities of other communities. These are some of ambitious questions Dr Ameer Ali should clarify these questions. It is basic teachings of the Holy Quran that we should not scold deities of other religious faiths at all. If some groups act against this basic teaching it is our duty to condemn such behaviours. Yet, Muslims have been getting on well with other religious people for many centuries.

Islamic code of dress for women is clearly stipulated in the Holy Quran and Prophetic traditions? It is an Islamic way of life and it is a fundamental human right of Muslim people and what is wrong in showing this Islamic identity in Srilanka? Does this contradict national Srilankan Identity? What is wrong in showing Islamic cultural identity in our Muslim architectures and buildings? Do not we have equal rights like other religious people? Is Islamic religious manifestation alien to Srilanka? We have been preserving our religious identity for many centuries in this country without harming any community? Why should we bow down to some extreme elements now? Of course, We Muslims have a lot of economic, political and social grievances in Srilanka. But this does not mean that we should achieve these at the expenses of our religious identity. Dr Ameer Ali is so concern about losing some lands in Easter province yet, he forgets to note that losing our religious and cultural identity is more dangerous than losing our lands. We know well what happened in former soviet block Muslim countries under soviet rule. Islamic identities and heritages were eradicated and Millions of people lost their religious and cultural identity. Millions of Muslims in those countries came to know their true religious identity only after those former soviet blocks were disintegrated from Russia. Exposing our own religious and cultural identity is not only a religious duty it protect us form total cultural annihilation.

Manifestation of Islamic identical residual, customs and traditions in Srilanka is not a new social phenomenon. We have been an identical religious group for more than 1400 years and our religious exposure does not pose any threat to the Srilankan integrity and national identity rather we enrich Srilankan national identity with our cultural and religious heritage and traditions. What more is that we have a collective responsibility as Muslims to guide and show humanity right path in order to save them from the punishments of Hellfire. Rather than showing them right path unfortunately we engage in mere materialistic arguments without proper understanding of our religion.

Dr RIFAI Naleemi.

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