Is Sri Lanka heading towards another July 83? By Latheef Farook

Is Sri Lanka heading towards another July 83 type pogrom? This is the growing fear in view of the repeated attacks on mosques and madarasas provoking Muslims. In the midst of this turbulence the Criminal Investigation Department’s, CID, call for list of mosques and madarasas sent  shockwaves among  beleaguered Muslims especially in the absence of  such calls on other worshipping centers.

Desecrating mosques is last thing a Muslim would tolerate. However, Muslims maintained remarkable restraint in the face of vandalism in Anuradhapura, Damdulla, Kurunegala and now in Colombo and Dehiwala. 

As we all know Muslims worldwide are sacrificing their lives to preserve their religious rights and dignity from the vicious global campaign unleashed jointly by the Zionist Jews , Evangelical Christians and India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak  Sangh, RSS, under the guise of fighting a so called war on terrorism.

Under such circumstance, if these provocations continue some infuriated Muslims may inevitably respond and create a potentially dangerous situation with unpredictable consequences. Certainly any sensible person would realize that Sri Lanka cannot afford such a disaster especially after the 30 year ethnic carnage.

Since the LTTE’s military defeat in May 2009, a sinister campaign demonizing Islam and Muslims has been underway poisoning the minds of the majority community.     Muslims suspect that ultra nationalists who managed to get into influential positions in the government, perhaps, backed by Israel which managed to sneak into the country, have been behind this campaign which has all the ingredients to tear apart the country. In fact hatred towards Muslims has been the only binding factor between ultra nationalists and the Zionist racists.

It all started with a website campaign involving eight Sinhalese language and ten English language sites, portraying the island’s Muslim community as a threat to Sinhalese, Buddhism and the country. They raised controversy over Daftar Jailani,  Kuragala, 15 miles off Balangoda, which they claim is a Buddhist holy place.  

They also started publishing articles and books inciting Sinhalese against Muslims.  Hand in hand there began a campaign against cattle slaughter to rouse anti Muslim hysteria.  

It is common knowledge that these elements who, openly demand that   Tamils leave for Tamilnad and Muslims go to Saudi Arabia, often said that “we will first deal with the Tamils and then take care of Muslims”. Now that the Tamils are weakened following the LTTE defeat, it appears they are turning their guns on the Muslims!  

On 14 June 2011 mobs led by Buddhist monks attacked more than four centuries old shrine of Sheikh Sikkandar Waliullah at Anuradhapura under the watchful eyes of the police. Later mobs, led by a monk, tried to destroy the Dambulla mosque on Friday 20 April 2012, in violation of all laws of the country.

Since then it is almost a month and half the beleaguered Muslims await justice while the mob, encouraged by government’s inaction, entered a mosque off Bullers Road in Colombo and threatened people there not to pray.A similar incident had taken place in a mosque in Ariyawatta, Kurunegala. Yet another mosque near the Dehiwala zoo was attacked on 25 May 2012 by a mob led by monks.

Widespread feeling among Muslims is that the Government’s failure to bring perpetrators to book, Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratne’s order to shift the Dambulla mosque, decision taken by Sinhala government officials without Muslim participation to postpone a decision on the issue for six months and now the CID’s calls for list of mosques and madarasas indicate government’s patronage to mobs and its indifference towards the rights of Muslims.

Now comes the report that the government is preparing to present regulations to apply sanctions on individuals and entities associated with al Qaeda and Taliban. The question is where do one find individuals associated with Al Qaeda and Taliban in Sri  Lanka? Isn’t this the global Zionist agenda implemented by US and Europe?

The island is passing through one of its most difficult times in the independent history. There are numerous burning issues, both local and international, to be dealt with. The West in general has been   hostile towards Sri Lanka since the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. Muslim countries on the other hand are the only friends of Sri Lanka as proved time and again and even during the final stage of the war against LTTE.

Muslim countries   remain sources of employment to almost a million Sri Lankans   besides having friendly relations with the island. Only a week ago Saudi government signed an agreement to set up a $ 40 million nurses training centre in the island. Under such circumstance why to antagonize the island’s Muslims and thereby antagonize the Muslim world? Do the mobs realize that we are not living in medieval stage isolation but in a globalised modern world as part of the world community?    

After 30 years of ethnic killings this is the time to bring communities together to move the country ahead. Instead of concentrating on these issues ultra nationalists started putting forward  monks to lead attacks on mosques where one only finds Holy Quran and books on Islam. Don’t they realize that they are  bringing disrepute to their own community which they claim to protect?

Instead of attacking mosques why not they campaign against ever rising crime, corruption, lawlessness, rape, incents, murder, arson, liquor trade, casinos, prostitution, massage parlours and the like to clean up the society?  

The unanswered questions are who are these vandals? From where did they emerge?  Who is financing their websites and all other expenses involved in gathering, transporting and feeding the mob to attack mosques?  

However, mainstream Sinhalese community as a whole from politicians, journalists,  Buddhist monks and all others distanced themselves from this campaign.  

Sri Lanka was a shining example for the entire third world, during independence in 1948, for its political, economic and social stability and ethnic unity with an enviable intellectual community known for its honesty and integrity. Where are we today? How did this happen? 

Politicians from all shades of opinions, before and after independence, exploited racism to either retain or gain power. They flourished on promoting chauvinism. They created the ethnic war and flourished in it while innocent people sacrificed their precious lives.

Unfortunately for the country the majority community has failed to produce a national leader who could have brought communities together and move the country to turn this into “truly a paradise which it is”.

Isn’t it time the mainstream in the majority community reassess racist politics? This is the need of the time because Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all others will continue to remain  as long as this island remains in this planet.

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