STOP STEREOTYPING AND BREAKING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS AMONG THE COMMUNITIES
Posted on February 5th, 2013

Sawmeer Khan

These days we are witnessing the spread of disturbing information and news which could cause disharmony and disunity among communities, especially between the Sinhala Buddhist and the Muslim Community. These “ƒ”¹…”misinformation’ campaigns seem to be targeting the Sri Lankan Muslim community. In this brief writing I wish to clear certain misconceptions contained in these misinformation campaigns.

The reference of words “Islamic Extremism” or “Islamic Fundamentalism” appears all over the media including in the local media recently. Fundamentalism according to the Oxford dictionary means a strict adherence to the basic principles of any subject or discipline: free-market fundamentalism. Even the professionals who normally follow their professions fundamentally could be brought under these definitions. When the word fundamentalism is referred to strict religious adherence it is termed as “ƒ”¹…”religious fundamentalism’. Although the term religious “fundamentalism” has its roots in the Niagara Bible Conference (1878″”…”1897) which defined those things that are fundamental to Christian belief, it was used at first to describe some people in the Protestant community in the United States in the early 20th Centaury because they stood by a set of fundamental religious values.

In recent times both Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries also made reference to Islamic fundamentalism. If the religions preach righteous precepts like justice, brotherhood, unity and peace, then following any religion fundamentally will not harm anyone. It is the right (sometimes become duty) of any follower of any religion to follow his or her religion fundamentally. However, following a religion fundamentally should not cause any harm to anyone or to the followers of other religions. The word “ƒ”¹…”fundamentalism” is not a word to cause anxiety and fear as long as the person who follows the religion fundamentally is an innocent and sincere follower of his religion without causing any form of harm or injustice to others.

Those who attempt to equate Islam and Muslims with violence are attempting to show that word “ƒ”¹…”Jihad’is harmful and a threat to others. They conveniently borrow their contention from the Western media who are engaged in overt and covert operation of misgiving and misleading campaign to tarnish the good name of Islam to sustain their own political and economic goals.

No war against Brothers

The word “ƒ”¹…”Jihad’ derived from Arabic Jahadun means “ƒ”¹…”struggle’. It does not indicate to give a meaning of fighting or holy war. The concept of holy war is alien to Islam and nowhere in the Quran or Hadees is the concept found. The Prophet (PBUH) said “your first “ƒ”¹…”jihad’ is a struggle against your desire and evil thoughts.” This struggle could be against injustice and struggling against injustice is an accepted norm by mankind and even by the international conventions. Islam does permit killing, injuring or hurting anyone unjustly and further it does not provide justification to any aggression which is committed or intended to be committed in the name of any labels or isms. Some misguided elements attempt to portray Sri Lankan Muslims as violent and concoct a false and manipulated story to show that they will fight against other communities especially against the majority Sinhalese. This is utter nonsense and a fabrication to mislead people.

For Muslims, Sinhalese and Tamils are brothers and sisters and what is the reason or purpose on earth for Muslims to fight against their brothers and sisters? In fact, Sinhala Buddhists, Sinhala, Tamil and Burgher Christiains, Tamil Hindus and Muslims are the children of this soil. Why should one desire that they should fight each other? No one should be allowed to destroy the centuries old close relationship between Sinhala and Muslim Communities. There is no reason whatsoever for these communities to strain their good relations. It maybe some forces are attempting to create divisions by relying on poisonous propaganda against Muslims in the media and websites which were especially created by divisive global forces who are bent on creating divisions and destructions in other states. The history and record is very clear, Sri Lankan Muslims have never engaged in rebellion against the state in the Sri Lankan history

Religious extremism and Non Compulsion in Religion
Religious extremism is not what Islam preaches though Islam pursues Muslims to be extremely good and to love others and to be extremely just and fair. In the question of practicing religion extremely, Islam is very clear and stresses moderation in worship and practice. Al-Quran Says: “We will ease you to the Easy Way”(AlQuran 87:8). Ibn Kathir says in his commentary on this verse.” We shall make easy for you the easy way ) meaning, “ƒ”¹…”We will make good deeds and statements easy for you, and we will legislate such Law for you that is easy, tolerant, straight and just, with no crookedness, difficulty or hardship in it (Tafsir Ibh Kathir)
The Prophet said: “This Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded. Gain strength by worshipping in the mornings and afternoons and during the last hours of the night.”(Abu Huraira(Ral))

The Quran says “ƒ”¹…”There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path’ (The Quran Chapter 2: 256 ) meaning “Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear.

Brotherhood and Solidarity

If we are united by respecting each others’ religion and culture, no external forces can interfere in our internal affairs. We can show to the world our brotherhood and solidarity. If we cannot appreciate others religious practice and cultures at least we need to tolerate it. Only through mutual understanding and tolerance the communities can peacefully coexist. In a multi-racial and religious society like ours every community may have problems and grievances but these should be resolved in a very civilised and democratic way.

If we start stereotyping communities by picking up from the biased international media, blogs and internet sites which in most cases are fabricated, manipulated or half baked truth, it will turn into unending misunderstandings and mistrust among communities and also will contribute to intensify the campaign of vilification and hate against each other. If we start accepting all the hearsay and slanders as conclusive facts, it will not only bring disharmony among us but it will also degrade our intelligence to a low level.

There are references of Wahabism, Salafism and Sufism in the several articles that appeared in the newspapers these days. Nowhere in the Quran and the Prophet’s tradition are these “ƒ”¹…”isms’ mentioned. These “ƒ”¹…”isms’ were firstly referred by the western writers and media to describe different groups, political affiliations and these “ƒ”¹…”isms’ do not have any religious significance. Every child knows that the imperialistic powers created instability and a volatile environment in the Middle East for their political, economic and military ends. For this purpose they also create divisions among the people on several grounds. Only eminent Islamic scholars and experts could give the right interpretation to Islamic preaching.

Muslims do not follow any “ƒ”¹…”ism’. According to their faith, they have to follow the Quran and the Prophet’s tradition for their salvation. Despite all the anti propagandas the message of the Quran and Prophet’s tradition indisputably stands clearly with the message of peace and universal brotherhood. In conclusion I wish to quote from Lord Buddha’s saying “Hatred will not cease by Hatred but with Love”

The writer is PhD (Hawaii) LLM (Aus) MA (Sri) LLB (Sri) BA (Sri), Post Graduate Dip-International Affairs and International Politics


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Sawmeer Khan

18 Responses to “STOP STEREOTYPING AND BREAKING STRONG RELATIONSHIPS AMONG THE COMMUNITIES”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    “For Muslims, Sinhalese and Tamils are brothers and sisters and what is the reason or purpose on earth for Muslims to fight against their brothers and sisters?”

    Oh yes! Look at Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, etc, etc. Muslims KILL their brothers and sisters!! Rizana was a Muslim and she was beheaded by her Muslim brother in Saudi!!

    “Islam does permit killing, injuring or hurting anyone unjustly and further it does not provide justification to any aggression which is committed or intended to be committed in the name of any labels or isms.”

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH. At last you admit. The ONLY true statement.

    I’m serious. Please read the paragraph

    “No war against Brothers

    The word ‘Jihad’ derived from Arabic Jahadun means ‘struggle’. It does not indicate to give a meaning of fighting or holy war. The concept of holy war is alien to Islam and nowhere in the Quran or Hadees is the concept found. The Prophet (PBUH) said “your first ‘jihad’ is a struggle against your desire and evil thoughts.” This struggle could be against injustice and struggling against injustice is an accepted norm by mankind and even by the international conventions. Islam does permit killing, injuring or hurting anyone unjustly and further it does not provide justification to any aggression which is committed or intended to be committed in the name of any labels or isms.”

    Praise be to Allah (PBUH) for helping the believers tell the truth for once for a change. It is not an accident but the direction by the Mercyful G~d.

    I too worship Allah (PBUH) (called in a slighly different name in my religion. The problem is not Allah (PBUH) but the violent Arabic religion.)

  2. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    Sk pl answer my question what provoked muslims to burn down nalanda? you cunningly avoid unpalatable questions pl answer or we shall call you a wahaabi in sheeps cover lorenzo i doubt nanda is dham nanda possess female genitalia which i excite time to time my friend editor has a proper screening process in place no one can creep in unless they use a different ip address pl also i need your support and others to kill this ungulates’ language english before it kill sinhala and tamil the indian fool has swallowed the bate its very clear in bollywood pl decapitalise english at least that will hurt the anglo we have to fight on all fronts wahaabis tigers and anglos

  3. Nanda Says:

    sunil ayya please don’t say bad things. whether I am female or male I like both you and lorezo (malli or ayya).
    difficult ot undestand when writing only in simle letters without comas fulstops sinhala also have full stops comas.

  4. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    The Qur’an contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.
    The verses of violence in the Qur’an are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Qur’an.
    Most of today’s Muslims exercise a personal choice to interpret Qur’an’s many calls to violence according to what their own moral preconceptions find justifiable. Apologists cater to their preferences with tenuous arguments that gloss over historical fact and generally do not stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is important to note that the problem is not bad people, but bad ideology.
    Unfortunately, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed. Warlord Muhammad’s own martial legacy – and that of his companions – along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Qur’an have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.

  5. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Where Islam is dominant as in the Middle East and Pakistan religious minorities suffer brutal persecution with little resistance. Where Islam is in the minority as in Thailand, the Philippines and Europe there is the threat of violence if Muslim demands are not met. Either situation seems to provide a justification for religious terrorism, which is persistent and endemic to Islamic fundamentalism.
    The reasons are obvious and begin with the Qur’an. Few verses of Islam’s most sacred text can be construed to fit the contemporary virtues of religious tolerance and universal brotherhood. Those that do are earlier “Meccan” verses which are obviously abrogated by later ones. This is why Muslim apologists speak of the “risks” of trying to interpret the Qur’an without their “assistance” – even while claiming that it is a perfect book.
    Far from being mere history or theological construct, the violent verses of the Qur’an have played a key role in very real massacre and genocide. This includes the brutal slaughter of tens of millions of Hindus for five centuries beginning around 1000 AD with Mahmud of Ghazni’s bloody conquest. Both he and the later Tamerlane (Islam’s Genghis Khan) slaughtered an untold number merely for defending their temples from destruction. Buddhism was very nearly wiped off the Indian subcontinent. Judaism and Christianity met the same fate (albeit more slowly) in areas conquered by Muslim armies, including the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe, including today’s Turkey. Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of a proud Persian people is despised by Muslims and barely survives in modern Iran. So ingrained is violence in the religion that Islam has never really stopped being at war, either with other religions or with itself.
    Warlord Muhammad was a military leader, laying siege to towns, massacring the men, raping their women, enslaving their children, and taking the property of others as his own. On several occasions he rejected offers of surrender from the besieged inhabitants and even butchered captives. He actually inspired his followers to battle when they did not feel it was right to fight, promising them slaves and booty if they did and threatening them with Hell if they did not. Warlord Muhammad allowed his men to rape traumatized women captured in battle, usually on the very day their husbands and family members were slaughtered.
    It is important to emphasize that, for the most part, Muslim armies waged aggressive campaigns, and the religion’s most dramatic military conquests were made by the actual companions of Warlord Muhammad in the decades following his death. The early Islamic principle of warfare was that the civilian population of a town was to be destroyed (ie. men executed, women and children taken as slaves) if they defended themselves. Although modern apologists often claim that Muslims are only supposed to attack in self-defense, this is an oxymoron that is flatly contradicted by the accounts of Islamic historians and others that go back to the time of Warlord Muhammad.

  6. rohanana Says:

    Sawmeer, I appreciate what you are saying but remember that there are reasons most of the time to start things like this. As the saying goes “No smoke without a fire”. No one needs to look too far, just go to Gampola, Bibile Road and see for yourself what the Muslims surprisingly relegious leaders have done. That is not what a decent RELIGION does. How long people can tolerate these injustices. There is always a limit to the tolerance otherwise they will be taken as weak and will walk all over you. If Muslims are really honest about having peace with others, first they have to respect other religions and people. Think how they will react if Buddhists, Christians or Hindus do that to them. That is where things have to start. People like you must campaign and force these Muslims to behave and not to antagonise others. Get them to demolish that Mosque immediately. Remember “What goes around comes around”. So people like you should start that soon and educate these truoble makers in your religion.

  7. Leela Says:

    I agree with the writer that Koran 2:256 says ‘not force anyone to become Muslim ….’ I am sure he also knows that’s the only verse in Koran that command Muslims not to force their religion on others. As Nalliah says above there are over 100 verses that order Muslims to fight nonbelievers for the sake of Islam. And Muslims are doing it all over the world.

    Once you are in to Islam there is no way out. Today, Christians can change their religion. Jews can. Hindus can. Buddhists can. But death is the penalty for apostasy in Islam. Koran 4:89 says, “They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and slay them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper.”

    During these later years of Muhammad, when his sworn enemy Abu Sufyan went to seek peace with him, Abu was ordered to embrace Islam. Did Muhammad abide by Koran 2:256 s this writer says. No. In Hadeeth, Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 814 says as Muhammad said to Abu Sufyan, “Submit and testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the apostle of Allah before you lose your head”. And he did.

    Even though the residents and leaders of Mecca detested Muhammad and had resisted his preaching from the beginning, entire city followed Abu Sufyan. Meccans who would not change their religion were forcibly expelled from the city following that last Haj (Koran 9:5). The Christians and Jews living in Arabia at the time suffered the same fate on Muhammad’s deathbed order. Sahih Muslim 19:4366 says, they were given the choice of either accepting Islam or being forced off their land.

    Muslims cannot cover most verses of Koran and Hadeeth and show us only some verses as the word of their God and tell us their ‘religion’ is benign. They must frankly discuss those violent verses and justify them or reject them openly.
    Leela

  8. Voice123 Says:

    We will NEVER get a straightforward answer from these people because even to question them leads to the accusation that we are RACISTS. How can you trust Muslims when they act in this manner. Sawmeer, just answer the questions STRAIGHT please. We will NOT accept this racism diversion. Its just rubbish. STRAIGHT answers please.

  9. sawmeer Says:

    Apostasy in Islam.
    As we clearly see from the Noble Verses above, apostates are no longer to be killed in Islam. I am not here promoting apostates, but there is no reason to kill someone who doesn’t deserve to be killed. Certainly if the apostate is hostile toward the Muslims and joins the enemy in a war against them, or tries to corrupt the Muslims in the Muslim lands by trying to convert them to his/her new deviant religion, then the matter becomes different. But if a Westerner today for instance embraces Islam for a while and then changes his position due to the overwhelming false anti-Islamic media, then certainly killing that person would be a grave sin and a big mistake.

    The following verse from Surah Taubah is very often quoted by critics of Islam, to show that Islam promotes violence, bloodshed and brutality: “Kill the mushriqeen (pagans, polytheists, kuffar) where ever you find them.”
    [Al-Qur’an 9:5]

    Context of verse is during battlefield

    Critics of Islam actually quote this verse out of context. In order to understand the context, we need to read from verse 1 of this surah. It says that there was a peace treaty between the Muslims and the Mushriqs (pagans) of Makkah. This treaty was violated by the Mushriqs of Makkah. A period of four months was given to the Mushriqs of Makkah to make amends. Otherwise war would be declared against them. Verse 5 of Surah Taubah says:

    “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most merciful.”
    [Al-Qur’an 9:5]

    This verse is quoted during a battle.

    Example of war between America and Vietnam

    We know that America was once at war with Vietnam. Suppose the President of America or the General of the American Army told the American soldiers during the war: “Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them”. Today if I say that the American President said, “Wherever you find Vietnamese, kill them” without giving the context, I will make him sound like a butcher. But if I quote him in context, that he said it during a war, it will sound very logical, as he was trying to boost the morale of the American soldiers during the war.

    Verse 9:5 quoted to boost morale of Muslims during battle

    Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Qur’an says, “Kill the Mushriqs where ever you find them”, during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Qur’an is telling Muslim soldiers is, don’t be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them.

    Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer

    Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer to the allegation that Islam promotes violence, brutality and bloodshed. It says:

    “If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum,grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge.”
    [Al-Qur’an 9:6]

    The Qur’an not only says that a Mushriq seeking asylum during the battle should be granted refuge, but also that he should be escorted to a secure place. In the present international scenario, even a kind, peace-loving army General, during a battle, may let the enemy soldiers go free, if they want peace. But which army General will ever tell his soldiers, that if the enemy soldiers want peace during a battle, don’t just let them go free, but also escort them to a place of security?

    This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an to promote peace in the world.

    jumps from verse 5 to verse 7

    The staunchest critics of Islam in India. He quotes the same verse, Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 in his book ‘The World of Fatwahs’, on page 572. After quoting verse 5 he jumps to verse 7 of Surah Taubah. Any sensible person will realise that he has skipped verse 6.

  10. sawmeer Says:

    Please send your all question most welcome to discuse because its difficult to answer each every question we have deal one by one.

    [email protected]

  11. Nanda Says:

    Leela,
    You said “I agree with the writer that Koran 2:256 says ‘not force anyone to become Muslim ….’ I am sure he also knows that’s the only verse in Koran that command Muslims not to force their religion on others.”

    You have to take it in the correct context. It is simply saying, “do not take prisoners , just kill them”.

    Swameer,
    Whatever the context if one says “Wherever you find Vietnamese, kill them” , how on this earth or heaven can this murderer(pbuh) be mecriful and a riligious head ? Even in war Americans did not kill every Vietnamese whenever they find. They wer much much more merciful than Mohamed the barbarian (pbhu).

  12. Nanda Says:

    Nalliah or Leela,
    How did Mohamud die in the end ?
    Can one of you disclose it. Old age or like Prabahkaran(pbhu).

  13. sawmeer Says:

    Ananda where every you find you kill him its on the battle field, in the battle field you will find only army (enemy) not innocent people because they were fight in desert open place. If you read the hadith of prophet he command his followers not to killed any innocent human including, women, children, old people even not to destroy the use full trees and animal.

  14. Insula Says:

    Nanda Says:
    February 7th, 2013 at 7:43 am
    Nalliah or Leela,
    How did Mohamud die in the end ?
    Can one of you disclose it. Old age or like Prabahkaran(pbhu).

    *******
    COMMENT: Last 3 months

    In March 632, Muhammad made his last pilgrimage to Mecca. On a hillside he spoke to tens of thousands of his followers and reviewed the main points of Islam. He reminded that all Muslims are brothers and sisters, whatever the tribe or race. He concluded by asking the crowd ” Have I delivered the message” ? and when the Muslims roared their approval, Muhammad said, “Oh God, bear witness.”

    Three months after his last pilgrimage, Muhammad suffered a terrible fever and headache and died, possibly of pneumonia, with his head in Aisha’s lap in her hut in Medina on June 8, 632. Before dying, he insisted several times that only his old friend Abu Bakr lead the prayer services. His last words were. ” Lord grant me pardon and join me to the companionship in Paradise.” He was sixty two.

    Reference: Pages 35-36, Prophets and Princes, Mark Weston

  15. Voice123 Says:

    “…he command his followers not to killed any innocent human …”

    It seems only THE Prophet (PBUH) decides who is innocent and who is guilty, who lives and who dies.

  16. MuhammadFS Says:

    Racists can put on the fitting cap.

    Muslims and Sinhalese in Srilanka only want to live in peace. We didn’t ask for Sharia or homelands.

    Don’t be fooled by Tamil Tigers pretending to be ultra Sinhala extremists. Ask them about the Srilanka national anthem and you will see their tiger stripes.

  17. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    nanda – point taken and thx for decapitating english – well i will have commas and fullstops. bloody lazy man i am.

  18. Insula Says:

    MuhammadFS Says:
    February 10th, 2013 at 12:27 am
    Racists can put on the fitting cap.

    Muslims and Sinhalese in Srilanka only want to live in peace. We didn’t ask for Sharia or homelands.

    Don’t be fooled by Tamil Tigers pretending to be ultra Sinhala extremists. Ask them about the Srilanka national anthem and you will see their tiger stripes.
    **********

    COMMENT: So you are claiming that the Sinhalese Extremists on this board are actually Tamil terrorists out to discredit the Sihalese Buddhists? Interesting. Or is it Real Sinhales e extremists?

    Are they also against India as well?

    Again, do you have the data on stupor of this hypothesis?

    Need to apply the Scientific Method in support of your Hypotheses.

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