ABSOLUTE DISGRACE. This is how one could describe the shameful and disgusting attack on Muslims by Muslims during an Iftar gathering at Akkaraipattu in the eastern Sri Lanka on Monday 13 August 2012.
By all means this was a heinous crime committed by thugs, hooligans and gangsters who call themselves Muslims. The irony is that never in the centuries old history of Muslims in this country even non-Muslims ever committed such dastardly crime bringing unprecedented disrepute to Muslim community which was hailed by former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva as the most peaceful people in the island.
As we all know that Ramadan is the holiest of holy month in Islam when all Muslims spend most of their time in prayers, reading holy Quran, offering charity and many other such meritorious deeds seeking blessings of Almighty Allah-The Creator. The entire mood and the atmosphere change- be at home, workplace or any other gathering especially Iftar gatherings during this period.
Under such subdued and pious atmosphere if a group of Muslims violently attack Muslims breaking the day long fast indicate that all involved have gone far from Islam and sunk to the lowest ebb. One could even ask whether they are Muslims following Islam or those with Muslim names.
This unfortunate incident is also a clear sign the community is sinking under corrupt and degenerated so called Muslim politicians.
Some say it was during Iftar and some say it was just after iftar. However the attack has taken place injuring people who had just broken the day long fast, damaging vehicles and even property besides splitting the community at a time when they needed to be united.
God fearing and decent Muslims are horrified that politicians claim to be Muslims could indulge in such hooliganism. This is the tragic state of affairs of the island’s Muslims today.
What is happening in the east today is a struggle for political power between Sri Lankan Muslim Congress leader Minister Raff Hakeem and Muslim Congress Minister A.L.M. Attaulla.
Sri Lanka Muslims Congress, the outcome of racist communal politics of the two majority communities, came into being with the slogan Islam, Sharia and Unity.
Islam and Sharia disappeared at the birth of the party when the party leader escaped to Colombo describing it as “hijra”. The split of the party to around half dozen groups speaks volume for the so called claim of unity today.
No Muslim in the island wanted to know who is wrong and who is right. They now begin to feel that Muslim politicians, without any exception, have become a shameful liability on them.
The island’s Muslim community is passing through one of the most difficult periods in their history. As in the case of all others, Muslims too expected some solutions to their burning problems and years of sufferings in the aftermath of the defeat of LTTE terror gangs in May 2009.
Instead of relief they are facing problems which they never faced in the past.
More than hundred thousand Muslims who were evicted by the LTTE terrorists in the north heaved a sigh of relief hoping they could return to their lands and rebuild their lives. This hope was dashed as they face obstacles after obstacles from many quarters- from the indifference of the government and state officials to several others. Mosques all over being violently attacked by radical Sinhalese groups led by, unfortunately, Buddhist monks who are supposed to preach Lord Buddha’s message of peace and ahimsa. Their lands and properties are being arbitrarily acquired by the state under one or the other pretext. Some believe that more than 10,000 acres of Muslim owned lands were acquired in the east since the end of the ethnic war in May 2009.
Around 70 percent of the population suffers from poverty. Unemployment and illiteracy remain rampant. Their education in shamble. Their social and economic problems are numerous. They do not enjoy the state patronage which the majority community enjoys. They are not even wanted by most of the NGOs.
This is the pathetic plight of the community.
In the midst comes a vicious anti-Muslims campaign in the websites and even in some section of the print media demonizing Islam and Muslims poisoning the minds of mainstream Sinhalese threatening the very existence of the community. Growing hostility towards Muslim is such that a Muslim, Justice of Peace, was brutally assaulted by an OIC of a Police station and was forced to worship the Buddha statute. Sinhalese school principals are asking Muslim women not to enter school premises wearing elegant and gracious shalwar kameez covering head. However they do not object to minis and midis and what not?
There are more than two dozen Muslim parliamentarians. Do they, individually or collectively, raise these issues.NO. Instead they remain deaf, dumb and blind. They got absorbed into the government by putting deals collectively and individually and clinging on to their positions and perks. Instead they had become shameful and disastrous liabilities.
The community remains deeply disappointed, frustrated and disgusted with their politicians. So much so some are even thinking in terms of abandoning all so called Muslim parties and join hand with mainstream parties which, unfortunately, remain corrupt, communalized, criminalized and commercialized.
Under such circumstance what is the use of Minister Rauf Hakeem or Minister Athaulla fighting for power because they do not use the power which they already have to help the community.
The best service that these politicians, far away from Islam and lost their moral right to represent Muslims, could do to the community is to dissolve their so called Muslim political parties and leave the community alone which strongly feels that it will be better off without them.(Latheef Farook)