Why there should not be an ethnic-based Arabic University in Sri Lanka
Posted on July 13th, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

The Minister of Education announced recently that the Ministry would do away with ethnic-based schools given its own ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-principledƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ stand we would next like to know how using the same logic of not allowing ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-ethnicƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ based learning, the education authorities have signed an MOU to establish the Malik Abdulla University College in Kattankudy, in Eastern Province.

When the announcement was given by the Ministry of Education that they would remove ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-ethnic-basedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ schools the first thoughts of everyone was whether leading schools that have been in existence for years, Government or Semi-Government would agree to changing their names. Ministers have a way of drawing public attention by announcements that provide no logic just as absurd as some came out with the need to change the national anthem and the national flag and now it appears someone has landed a lucrative deal to change the national ID card to include Tamil as well.

Obviously, objections would have been made with former schools, children, parents or past-pupils NOT wanting to change the name of their alma-mater that the Ministry quickly reversed its stand and declared ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-No NEW schools would be ethnic-basedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. What do authorities propose to do about the rising number of Muslim Only and Tamil Only international schools, day care centers springing up in every corner while there are no Sinhala Only universities? Does this fall within the oft quoted ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-multiƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ label?

So if the Ministry has decided to not allow no NEW ethnic-based schools what explanation can be given to allowing a MUSLIM ONLY university college?

The University College is to be funded by Saudi Arabia which is known for funding institutes that radicalize youth and draws them towards Saudi brand of Islam and Sharia law.

The newspaper announcements claim that the University was requested by Deputy Minister Hisbullah and is established as part of the Mahinda Chintanaya which clearly goes to show how authorities have a way of manipulating the system because no where in the Chintanaya does it say to create ETHNIC-based private colleges unless another Chintanaya is being practiced. But the college itself is earmarked to be inaugurated by the President himself. The announcements last line that it would ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-cater to the needs of all three communitiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ is obviously a whitewash.

The argument against the establishment of an ethnic-based university has nothing to do with being against learning but everything to do with the principle that if authorities are attempting to integrate the youth and not segregate them why are they establishing places of learning that is imparting a brand of education that distances them from other communities?

Students coming out of such universities end up mentally and physically alienating themselves out of choice (in view of their new Arabic attire and thinking) and disassociating themselves from those in their age group ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” this affects the team spirit, the ability to work as teams even when they join employment. Is this a healthy environment we wish to create?

Moreover, we cannot ignore the rise in Saudi-funded Islamic radicalism to be naƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚¯ve that while this may exist elsewhere it is unlikely to create similar catastropheƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s here in Sri Lanka too.

Recently wikileaks released US Embassy in Colombo cable identifying 4 such groups based in Sri Lanka – Jamthi Islam, ThauhidƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Jamath, Thableeq Jamath, and Jamathi Muslim. The cable was written by Ambassador Lunstead on 9 June, 2004. The cable also details training camps, while other youth are sent to Saudi and says that a Saudi-based NGO World Assembly of Muslim Youth fund these activities. The Ambassador cites that the Muslim youth initially started training to defend themselves against the LTTE. The cable also mentions the Muslim Congress being supported by the Islamic Unity Foundation which has military, intelligence, religious and political wings as well as weapons. Other groups mentioned in the cable include Knox group, Ossama group, Jetty group, Mujahadeen, Banda group all with Muslim Congress backing. Links to the underworld is also mentioned. Ambassador Lunstead also notes ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-very little insight into the veiled world of Muslim militancy in eastern Sri Lanka and the information provided is just one part of a vast puzzle that makes up the cultural/political/religious melting pot of Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ This clearly shows that we need to be alert to all Saudi-funded seats of learning because the outcome of these in other parts of the world have resulted in fatal consequences and have torn entire nations apart. The question is ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” do we want to invite the same in Sri Lanka when we have just come out of a 30 year chaos?

The argument is further strengthened by the fact that ALREADY there are 5 types of institutes offering Arabic in Sri Lanka ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” the GOSL conducts 2 types of examinations, there are the Madrasas (religious based schools) which offer 8 years Sharia courses, then 4 Government universities which offer degree level courses and the Jamia Naleemia in Beruwela which is also a private university. There is a rising number of children as young as 7 attending these madrasas instead of schools which raises the question of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s international commitment that ALL Children must attend schools ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” not religious based schools.

However, Arabic language courses selected by undergraduate students raises more questions than answers ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” normally in marketing the demand creates the supply ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” from what is happening is that the supply is been geared to create the demand.

University 2010/2011 2009/2010 2008/2009
1.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  University of Peradeniya 15 14 13
2.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Eastern University of Sri Lanka 11 15 14
3.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  University of Colombo 2 4 3
4.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  South Eastern University of Sri Lanka 22 27 20


There are 749 Muslim schools in Sri Lanka, and 205 Madrasas registered under the Department of Muslim cultural affairs which provide Islamic education though unregistered madrasas number far more.

For the 1.8million Muslims of Sri Lanka the number of already existing religious and educational establishments suffices to say the least. Authorities now need to work out a moratorium so that the demography of the country is kept intact and the peace dividends that 27,000 soldiers sacrificed their lives for is not eliminated by the shortsighted decisions taken by officials and public servants.


6 Responses to “Why there should not be an ethnic-based Arabic University in Sri Lanka”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    SRILANKA, now, does not have people of the calibre of Dr. C.W.W.Kannangara, who was the Father of Free Education. They were dedicated to the cause they served. There was consensus amongst the then, intelligentsia on Education Policy.

    Sadly, Politician Clowns, of the, now generation, introduced politics into Schools and Universities, brought in the sadistic side of Western Culture, lacing with the sadistic instincts of Sri Lankans. Each ethnic based Politician, subscribed his share of lunacy into Education Policy. Now the aforesaid statistics in this write up, reveals the miserable failure of their moronic thinking. There should be just ONE INTELLECTUAL MINISTER to muster consensus, on establishing Educational Policy. All aforesaid Lapses in allowing ad hoc Educational Institutions, should be totally reversed, to one mainstream policy, for all Sri Lankan Children, and be done with Ethnic or Relegious based Education.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    The issue here is that it is an announcement, but the article does not mention if there is a law or amendment in the constitution that does away with ethnic based centers. If there is no law then these minorities have the right to construct such ethnic based centers just as the Singhalese majority should do. But if there is a law then this issue should be taken to the courts for violating this law and these centers disbanded. If a law does not exist then it is time that a law or an amendment to the Constitution be formulated including grandfathering these institutes becomes the law or amendment of the land then this issue is solved once and for all. The law should rely on the concept of a “one nation one people” idea.

  3. AnuD Says:

    Democracy in every western country keeps in mind the needs of the majority culture. Sri Lankan leaders since 1948 did not have a true vision for Sri Lanka and because of that the majority cultures suffers. Very Soon when Sri Lanka becomes another Kerala every thing will be over. during the ancient times, Sri Lanka was supposed to be very rich with buddhist temples. Now it is the mosques and churches. what did the leaders do to protect heritage buildings or sites. Not very much.

  4. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    These fast multiplying muslims are carving out bit by bit of our country. This is what they did to every country they
    went. Afganisthan, pakisthan, malaysia, indoenisa, bangladesh, iran, maldives, etc. etc.

    They just multiply, multiply and take over area by area. With multiplying comes mps, ministers, mayors, etc. etc. and natives leave the areas to them and move out. Of course when that happens, there is no shortage of buyers. They will be paid more than the market price encouraging them to leave.

    While these going on they put up mosques, put up schools, introduce halal, buy land, take over towns, name roads after them etc. etc. All parts of the BIG agenda of taking over the country slowly. With multiplying they will have so many mps in the parliament and the government of the day has to dance to their tune. JOB WILL BE DONE SOON! Sri Lanka joins the club of stolen countries by religion of peace! Thanks to our greedy politicians who can’t see ahead no further than their nose!

    Only way to stop multiplication is limit 2 children to a family. If these muslim mps pulling the minister’s arm, at least stop FREE education after TWO CHILDREN. Stop FREE HOSPITALS after TWO CHILDREN. Put a stop to the multiplication. Ban religion based schools! OR LET SRI LANKA DIE A SLOW DEATH OF STRANGULATION!

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    The Law of the land should be amended to protect the country and the People.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    No ETHNIC based schools, says GoSL. Muslims are not an ethnic group, they are a group based on RELIGION (Islam). Muslims are the only RELIGIOUS group allowed to form political parties too. So do the Muslim people continue with their schools whilst others cannot ?

    Also, when the Tamil (ethnic) groups are counted for statistical purposes, the Tamils who have become Muslims are left out. This gives an inaccurate figure for the Tamil population of Sri Lanka, doesn’t it ?

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