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  • Niqab Ban In France Violates Human Rights Of Muslim Women: UN Human Rights Committee
    The United Nations Human Rights Committee said France’s niqab ban violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.” Women in France can be fined up to 150 euros for wearing the niqab, a full-face...
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  • Rathana At It Again; ACJU Is The Punching Bag For Everyone
    By Mass L. Usuf Mass Usuf Let this column begin with a Disclaimer. It is only an analysis and the writer is not holding a brief to defend or protect the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema (
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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
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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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Unconditional Muslim Support Facilitated Island’s Independence - By Latheef Farook

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Crucial Muslim support facilitated the process of Sri Lanka  gaining  independence from British in 1948 and help end almost four and half centuries of European colonial rule in the island. Many still remember the leading role played by Muslims leaders such as Dr T.B.Jayah, Sir Razik Fareed, Dr M.C.M.Kaleel and Dr Badiduddin Mahmud in the constitutional reforms of this country and their enthusiastic support for the demand of the Dominion Status and   independence. They never obstructed the political progress of the country.

For example when the demand for independence began gathering momentum World War 11 broke out in Europe. The British government urged all its colonies to support them assuring that they would be given independence after the war.

In the aftermath of the World War 11, agitation for political reforms and independence began to gather momentum. However the British government insisted that three quarters of the population should support the demand for independence to ensure the rights of minorities were protected. With the Sinhalese community as a whole constituting less than three quarters of the population this was an impossible demand to fulfill unless the minorities supported.

Tamil Congress leader G.G.Ponnambalam demanded equal representation, better known as fifty –fifty. However the Muslims stood fully behind the majority community and help to meet the British demand for the support of two third of the population despite past sufferings and disadvantages.

 

Addressing a gathering at Zahra College grounds under the chairmanship of Sir Mohamed Macan Markar to protest against the inadequate representation of Muslims in the Legislative Council Dr. Badiduddin Mahmoud, the Secretary of the All Ceylon Muslim Political Conference said on 5 March 1939;

“Let me assure my Sinhalese countrymen that I am one among them in demanding complete freedom for our country. They can count on me as one of the most ardent admirers of their legitimate national and cultural aspirations. In me and in my community, let them know that they find the most trusted friends and kind neighbors in this island. They would never find wanting in me or in my community that unflinching loyalty and patriotism that this little island would demand one day from its sons and daughters to carve out a niche of fame for itself as a self- respecting unit in a world federation. Let me also assure my Sinhalese friends that the brave community to which I belong shall never consider any sacrifice too great to make Lanka a happy, prosperous and glorious country in the world where not one section of its populationtbjayah but every son and daughter of her soil shall legitimately take pride in her glorious destiny”.

In keeping with this policy the three Muslim representatives in the State Council extended their whole- hearted support for the “Dominion Status Bill” – a Sri Lankan bill sponsored by the late Mr.S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike when it came for the vote on 9 November 1945.  T.B.Jayah and Dr M.C.M Kaleel spoke in favour of the bill while Sir Razik Fareed and Dr Kaleel voted in favour as Jayah was not present during the time of voting.

During his speech Razik Fareed said” “the All Ceylon Moors Association   pledge their support to the resolution of the Hon Leader under discussion today. Nothing  else would at the moment give me great pleasure to do so, and to express my whole hearted support to the Hon leader’s proposal. As my community and I have always stood by them, I must say that in the hour of his triumph we join hands with him in the forward march to the goal of the proposal to which he aspires”…

Supporting the Sri Lankan Bill despite its disadvantages to Muslims and defining the attitude of Muslims towards the bill Mr.T.B. Jayah said:” I am glad, Sir, that it has been stated that this is not the moment for jubilation or exultation or even for mutual recrimination. I certainly think that this is not the occasion to speak of the discomfiture of the minority communities’ or of the victory of the majority community”.

“As far as I am concerned, I speak with the full support of members of the Muslim community. I saw to it that the Ceylon Muslim League, representing the Muslim community of Ceylon, consulted Muslim representatives   in different parts of the  country on the important issues before the house and I am in a position to say that the Muslim members of this Council have the fullest backing of the Muslim community in this island”.

“When the Muslims of the Council decided to take a definite stand at the time the Sri Lanka –Bill was introduced, they did so for one and one reason only. The reason was that where the political freedom of this country was involved, they were prepared to go to any length, even to the point of sacrificing advantages and benefit as a result of such action”. As far as I am concerned, Sir, I do not consider any right greater than the right of political freedom and therefore, although I am fully conscious of those disadvantages of the Bill, looking at it from a narrow point of view, yet I am prepared to support this Bill”.

razikfreedExpressing his gratitude to the Muslim members on behalf of the Sinhalese community, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike assured that he would consider any reasonable request by the Muslim community. Bandaranaike said:” I say that if any member has brought closer the achievement of agreement among the various sections of the people of the country by an attitude of generosity where even those with whom he is concerned to differ, I say the fullest credit must go more than anyone else among us to the Honorable nominated Member, Mr. T.B. Jayah. He has made a speech today that will have a great effect in bringing unity among the people of this country in bringing some sense of reality to this struggle, however it may shape, that we are going to undertake to obtain a satisfactory measure of freedom”..

“ What have the three members,T.B.Jayah,Dr M.C.M.Kaleel and Razik Fareed, have done? There is provided in the Bill a Scheme of Representation under which the Muslim community in this country might suffer in the form in which it appears, but yet, he himself so sincerely determined to work for the main idea of freedom that he was prepared to vote for the principle embodied in the Bill”.

“But I can give the Hon Nominated member, Mr T.B.Jayah, this assurance on behalf of, I think, the vast majority, at least the Community that I represent, that in the struggle for freedom whatever may or may not be the recommendation of the Soulbury Commission on our representation, he may be rest assured that we will be quite prepared to consider any reasonable point of view that, might be put forward.

Thus the Muslim support provided the required support of two third majority of the population paving the way for the island’s independence on 4 February 1948 when Mr. D.S.Senanayake lowered the British flag and hoisted the Sri Lankan National Flag and declared the island’s independence.

Muslims have lived in harmony and peace with the Sinhalese and Tamils for centuries and they wanted to continue to do so. As stated by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva rightly  that “Muslims have been a peaceful ethnic group interacting with other religious and ethnic groups, cordially interlinking those cultures with their own culture. They never organized themselves for armed insurrection or destruction”.

They were not party to the ethnic conflict. However their sufferings were immense.

What many conveniently forget is the crucial role played by the Muslims in preserving the territorial integrity of the island. For example, during the early days, Tamil militants' call for a separate state had the full backing of India and the island's armed forces were not equipped or trained, as they are today, to deal with them.

From the very inception, Muslims throughout the country   vehemently opposed calls for the division of the country and firmly stood for territorial integrity and unity. Nevertheless, they were entangled into this unfortunate and unwanted ethnic conflict only to face death, devastation, loss of properties and livelihood and displacement with no appreciation. Around 130,000 Muslims driven out from Jaffna have been still languishing in refugee camps in appalling conditions and their plight is nobody’s business for more than 20 years.

Had the Muslims joined the Tamil militancy during its early stage the island's fate would have been sealed and the history would have projected a new political landscape. It is unfortunate that   these sufferings and sacrifices have never been highlighted in its proper perspective. I am sure the Muslim community is prepared to take ten steps if the authorities take one-step to take them into confidence to pave the way for cordiality and communal harmony.

By Latheef Farook (published in www.latheeffarook.com)

 

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