A response to the possibility of Islamic violence in the region
Posted on August 30th, 2010

Written by M Rizvi.

Dear Editor, I thank Lankaweb and Mr Kumar Moses for the opinion piece titled – The Dangerous Possibility of Islamic Terror in Sri Lanka. It contained many new insights to a subject matter that is rarely taken up in the openƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ though media around the world talk about it at lengths. As a Muslim hailing from Sri Lanka I think it is appropriate for me to add my two cents on the subject. As anybody would know Muslims have been a fairly peaceful community in Sri Lanka. A number of Muslims fought alongside Sinhala and Tamil brethren to win Independence from the British monarchy. There were senior Muslim politicians on both sides of the political divide. They were highly respected not only by their own community but by the entire nation. TB Jayah, Sir Muhammad Macan Markar, Sir Razik Fareed, Al-Hajj Badurdeen Mahmood and MCM Kaleel were some of the prominent ones. They always put the country first in politics and never followed an ideology based on race and religion. What we see today is the opposite. Certain Muslim politicians are arousing an ethnic identity over the national identity Muslims were always used to. What are they trying to do? Where will all this end if every ethnic group start making demands? Until late 1980s there never was a Muslim political party.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Muslims participated in national politics of the UNP (green) and the SLFP (blue).

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Throughout my life I have seen the Islamic World change right in front of my eyes. Sri Lanka too changed. It is with sadness that I silently observe the violence engulfing the world and the Sri Lankan society. By the time of the end of the Second World War, violence was not associated with Islam at all. Persecuted by the Germans, the Jewish population in Europe dreamt of going back home to Israel. A very large number of Jews flooded Palestine supported by powerful nations. Soon their action turned against the poor Palestinians. Unspeakable horror was unleashed on them in the name of creating an ever increasing country for the Jews. Muslims felt powerless and were pushed to the edge of tolerance. Seeds of hatred and conflict were spread by powerful nations. At first the Soviets sympathised with the Palestinians and Arabs in general but by now they too have joined the Americans in matters relating to Muslims. Powerful countries armed violent groups to attack each other. Soon the Middle East that is blessed with the worldƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s most sought after commodity was turned into a blood pool. Islamic nations were set against one another and powerful nations sold nasty weapons to both parties instigating them to fight. Fight for what they asked but they were overpowered by shrewd tacticians and spy networks that conduct without any regard to morals. Scores have been killed in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Islamic countries in Africa and elsewhere. George Soros masterminded the economic collapse of the worldƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s largest Islamic nation Indonesia in 1998. A peaceful country was turned into a conflict zone. Now they are after Iran as they cannot stand the development of this proud nation against all odds. False allegations in the like of weapons of mass destruction used to attack Iraq needlessly are fabricated by the aggressors. With all due respect, how can Mr Moses not mention any of these?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ A radical type of Islam is spreading fast around the world fuelled by the hatred created by anti-Islamic elements ably supported by short-sighted sections of the Muslim community. Islam is a very tolerant religion. Islam tolerates and encourages different views. A true Muslim would never get worked up for someone holding a different view of things. Islamic warriors have been most exemplary in history. It is a record that will not be matched by modern super powers. Millions of children perished in Iraq and Afghanistan separately over the cause of 4 wars. All these wars were imposed on them. Yet again, I donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t deny the emergence of a radical Islam which is completely different to what was taught under the guidance of the God a millennia and a half ago. Both parties must share the blame.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ During my young days people from Sri Lanka went to Pakistan to engage in business. Pakistan was a very prosperous country with plenty of business activities, food, entertainment and joy. It was a proud new member of the Islamic World. Something went wrong somewhere and today we have a totally different country. Various armed terror groups roam the streets; there is no law and order at all; vital national assets are plundered by various groups and uncertainty is what prevails everywhere. Extremist groups backed by rich individuals dragged this prosperous country to doom and gloom. Unless GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s grace falls upon Pakistan, I do not see a future for her. India too has gone through many violent acts in Bombay caused by extremist Islamic forces. China, Indonesia, Thailand and Somalia are seeing a rapid increase in violence. The more violent some small sections of Muslims become, the more hatred it creates in non-Muslim countries. You can see this in the UK, America, Australia, Canada and Europe where opinions about Muslims a few decades ago have changed completely by now. It leads to more suspicion and wars. It is a vicious cycle. It has to be stopped.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Over the years I have seen the emergence of a different kind of Muslim politicians, social behaviours and violence in the Sri Lankan Muslim society. These were never seen forty years before. Then Batticaloa District which is two districts today comprising Batticaloa and Ampara was extremely tranquil and peaceful. However, today tension and a difficult atmosphere of tolerance have emerged. Time to time violent acts take place. Following the Provincial Council election a few years ago a violent killing spree occurred which was unthinkable half a decade ago. Burning of mosques by rivals in Beruwala which was a very peaceful and beautiful place is unbelievable. Times have changed and I can see a definite change sweeping across the Muslims the world over. Sri Lanka is no exception. Only a fool would deny this.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I am with Mr Moses on the mere possibility of Islamic violence in Sri Lanka and the world. It is only a possibility and not a reality. There definitely is this possibility in Sri Lanka. All around Sri Lanka is burning as well. Every Sri Lankan should do his part to avert a Pakistan or Bombay like calamity. Pakistanis never saw it coming and it swept across their prosperous nation. However, there is no need for paranoia. Fearing more than what is required is not the way to handle problems. It leads to unnecessary suspicion and guilt. Suspicion is not good for friendship and must be done away with.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ I donƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t agree with managing the problem for political gains. The LTTE problem was ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-managedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ by politicians for 3 decades and what happened? A problem needs to be resolved as soon as possible with least damage to the society. Preventing the rise of the problem in the first place is the best cause of action. With GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s grace able leaders of Sri Lanka will be able to anticipate and resolve problems before they hurt the people and destroy peace of our pearl of the Indian Ocean. I appreciate the concern shown by the likes of Mr Moses on the safety of our beloved nation. May his prescience be an eye opener for all concerned Sri Lankans to avoid yet another unwanted war in this land of peace.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Peace in Sri Lanka is not enough because Sri Lanka is part of the world. Everyone should work for world peace in every little way they can. This rash world order or rather disorder has to change. Humans cannot go on like this assuming that might is right. Might is not right. It is the other way round. If all the small countries genuinely get together and form an international organisation with honest intentions, they can tame powerful countries. These powerful countries laughed when the OPEC cartel was formed but soon they realized what a bunch of small countries can do if they work together. Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s long term peace will be protected only in a peaceful world.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Thank you Editor.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Written by M Rizvi.

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