Need to rescue Muslims from Islamists
By RISHVIN ISMATH
One witnessed that certain media portrayed the attackers, merely as Muslims, while they were reporting about an attack a few days ago in Stuttgart, Germany; when a group of activists were commemorating the death anniversary of French school teacher Samuel Paty, who was murdered in 2020, for the allegation of displaying a picture of Prophet Mohamed in the classroom.
The news reporting of the Stuttgart attack was an ample example of the common ambiguity among the precise meaning of the terms Muslims, Islamists and Jihadists. The ambiguous usage of these terms can widely be witnessed on public space, such as political, media and social media platforms. Improper usage of such sensitive terms can clearly lead to hatred against the innocents. Muslims are ordinary people, just like others, following Islam as their religion. Muslims live the same as every other ordinary people, other than the specific instances when they do their religious rituals. They make up the majority of those who are commonly identified as ‘Muslims’ in the censuses. Some of them pray five times a day, some others pray once or twice a day, there are still others who pray only on Fridays, while some others pray twice or thrice a year. Regardless of the interval in which they engage in religious rituals, all of them are identified as Muslims in general. According to them, their day-to-day life is not dominated by religion in toto.
There’s a small dominant group within the Muslim community that uses hegemonic powers to control the community. The small dominant group is identified as ‘Islamists’. The facts about them are still hardly exposed to the public. Islamists hold threatening and dangerous hidden ideas such as, ‘Only Islam should rule the whole world — Islam is the only solution to all the problems in the world — every activity in the world should be carried out according to the Islamic teachings — all Muslims should follow Islam in toto — Islam should be propagated to everyone in the world — Jihad should be declared against the people who do not accept Islam — sacrificing the lives for the sake of Islam is the greatest honour, etc. They work in different platforms, performing different roles with long-term agendas. It is wrong to imagine that all such people have long bushy beards and are dressed in Arabian attires. Most of them present themselves in stylish appearances, and they intrude various fields and platforms methodically. They do not normally directly involve in violence and terrorism, however, they are well capable of producing persons who can engage in direct violence and terrorism. They possess the ability to engage in violence and in terrorism, only when it is highly necessary for them to do so. They are so subtle as to use the leftists and the progressive forces, which are concerned about the oppression of Muslims, to achieve their own targets as well as for political lobbying.The Islamists are well capable of subtly justifying violence, sexual discrimination, scientific contradictions and superstitious beliefs, etc., found in Islamic scriptures, with appealing words and tactics; they believe that they do Jihad by the pen. Whenever the Jihadists carry out terrorist attacks, Islamists take a well-analyzed stand to suit the developing circumstances and the emotions of the masses. They would design their stand in accordance with public opinion. ‘Islam has nothing to do with this’ is one of their widely used rhetoric for cover-ups. They do not hesitate to exemplify freedom struggles to justify terrorist attacks, when they decide to do vise-versa. They are mostly highly skilled in carrying out the tasks they are assigned according to the long-term agenda. Their intrusion into the country’s key sectors such as education, administration, media, non-government organisations, etc., is a well-planned, and methodically executed one. Insertion of extremist and harmful materials into the school textbooks that are capable of creating hatred and spreading violence, accreditation obtained by Sri Lanka Jamaat E Islami’s students wing from the government department for the residential training, conducted by them under various bogus titles, to establish an Islamic State in Sri Lanka, and permission obtained by Sri Lanka Jamaat E Islami’s student wing to use the state emblem for the above said residential trainings, are some visible examples of the results of the methodical intrusion by Islamists into the key state sectors.
The third group, ‘Jihadists,’ generally evolves from among the Islamists. Jihadists are the people who use violence, terror and assault weapons to achieve what the Islamists believe, and what Islamists ploy to achieve through long-term agendas. Jihadists remain to be Islamists until they are prepared to carry-out terror attacks. ‘A non-Islamist Muslim’ directly becoming a Jihadist, is a very rare phenomenon. A Jihadi suicide bomber can blow himself up only one time, but every single Islamist is capable of creating a countless number of Jihadi suicide bombers.
I do continue to expose Islamists and their secret ploys until this very day within my capacity, but I do not mean that they will blast bombs immediately. They, too, will take their own time and act only when the right time comes. Therefore, it cannot be predicted to happen immediately. I made my first detailed statement to the intelligence about Zahran and his ISIS affiliation in July 2016, but nothing happened straightaway. It took nearly three years for Zahran and his bunch of terrorists to launch the suicide attacks on Easter Sunday in 2019. It is not easy to predict when Islamists of the present day will carry out attacks. I am not aware of any official records that mention anyone else has made a statement to law enforcement regarding Zahran’s ISIS affiliation, prior to my statement registered in July 2016.
Immediately after the Easter Sunday attacks, a number of Islamists deleted their previous posts on social media platforms, such as Facebook, and suddenly started to share anti-Zahran posts with the idea of hoodwinking the law enforcement and the public, to pose that they too were opposed to Islamic terrorism. When Mohamed Thaslim was shot in Mawanella following the destruction of the Buddha statues in the area, I exposed the background of the attackers via Facebook, but individuals connected to Sri Lanka Jamaat E Islami tried to silence me. Sri Lanka Jamathe Islami is a Jihadist as well as an Islamist Organisation that operates in Sri Lanka with a long-term agenda. They are the pioneers in sending Sri Lankan Muslim youth to places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir for Jihad fighting and Jihad training. Most of the Islamists who are currently operating in Sri Lanka, were trained and moulded by Sri Lanka Jamaat E Islami. Even though the fact that the ordinary Muslims and the Islamists are not the same, the Islamists never allow the fact to be known by the public. The Islamists prefer to mingle and hide among the Muslims, pretending to be part of the Muslim community. The Islamists are well experienced and very proficient in using the term ‘Islamophobia’ very effectively, to silence the criticism and questions against them.
The ‘Islamic State’ was part of the statement of Hajjul Akbar, former leader of Sri Lanka Jamaat E Islami, before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on 26th October 2020. Sri Lanka Jamaat E Islami works with a secret long-term agenda to form an Islamic State in Sri Lanka. When Hajjul Akbar was questioned about the secret agenda of Sri Lanka Jamaat E Islami, he made the above statement in response. The above statement of Hajjul Akbar can be considered as an attempt to portray their own secret agenda, as the agenda of Sri Lankan Muslim community, at a point when their agenda was exposed and questioned. This statement is a good example of how Islamists try to make Muslims a scapegoat for protecting themselves and their own interests.
This is the main reason that the Islamists do not want the world to know that Muslims, Islamists and Jihadists are not the same. Islamists are well aware that their survival solely depends on as long as they are mingled together with Muslims. Regardless of the subtle attempts of the Islamists, the Muslim Community should become strong enough to come forward to identify, expose and expel the Islamists. Otherwise the Muslim Community may face hardships over and again.
A popular belief has been forming among the Sri Lankans, following the Easter Sunday Suicide attacks, that Sufi Muslims are peaceful people and there’s no danger to the country from them. Hence nowadays, many Islamists attempt to disguise themselves as Sufi Muslims and share the quotes of famous Sufi Saints like Moulana Rumi, on social media. All parties, including Sufi Muslims, should be vigilant about this chameleon attitude of the Islamists.
As an ex-Muslim and ex-Islamist, exposing secrets about Islamists that have not yet been exposed to public is life threatening to me, but I will not become silent unless I am silenced. I will continue to expose Islamists, jihadists, terrorists, extremists and their secret agendas, plans and teachings and will continue to strive for it until my last breath. During the eras when the Muslim community was led by Muslim leaders, it achieved and gained many successes and privileges in the fields such as law, education, employment, industry and sports. Many of the privileges and rights enjoyed by the Muslim community at present were bestowed during the period of Muslim leaders. Muslims were highly respected by other communities during that period. But when the Islamists began to highjack the leadership of the Muslim community from the Muslim leaders, the Muslim community has become a community looked down on by suspicion and hated by others.
When it comes to the leadership of Islamists, indoctrination of extremist ideology, brainwashing Muslim youth to introduce international Islamic terrorism, exposing the Muslim youth to international terrorist organisations and creation of Islamic terrorism within them were the many harmful things Islamist leadership feed to the community. Islam had been practised as a peaceful religion, until the arrival of Islamist leadership; once the Islamist leadership took control of the community, it reintroduced Islam as a fascist ideology that thinks it should rule the whole world alone, by destroying all other political, religious and social ideologies.
As long as Islam was practised only as a religion in a peaceful way, things were calm, but Muslims and others lost their peace of mind from the moment when Islamists started to present Islam as a fascist ideology.
It is the responsibility of all those who love humanity to rescue Muslims from Islamists. It is unfortunate that many leftists and progressive thinkers do not understand, or do not want to understand, the difference between Islamists and Muslims. Therefore, those who claim to be in support of the Muslim minority, are actually helping promote the cause of Islamists, who oppress the Muslims. Let’s come back to the Stuttgart incident, with the understanding of the differences between the said three groups for the conclusion of this article. It is appropriate to call the murderer of French school teacher Samuel Paty as a jihadi, and to call those who attacked the participants of the commemoration of Samuel Paty as either jihadists or Islamists. It would be entirely wrong to generalise such people as Muslims, and it would lead to the making of Muslim hatred or Muslimophobia. Therefore, it would be appropriate to use the terms ‘jihadist’ and ‘Islamist’ in proper context, instead of generally referring to them as Muslims.
Ven Ajahn Brahmavamso visits Sri Lanka in May
by Nanda Pethiyagoda
The next month, soon to be upon us, is of special significance to the majority of Sri Lankans since we Sinhalese and Tamils celebrate our New Year, with festivities continuing for a week or more in mid-April. The month of May is significant to Buddhists as the three major events of the Buddha’s life are commemorated at the Vesak full moon poya. This year, May carries another significance, joyful and to be grateful for. Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso arrives here towards the end of the month for about two weeks. The Ajahn Brahm Society of Sri Lanka (ABS) has completed all arrangements for the visit which is full of great good happenings.
The last time Ven Ajahn Brahm was in Sri Lanka was 2017. I well remember the day long sessions of his speaking to the audience in the BMICH, delivering so easily and absorbingly the Word of the Buddha and conducting meditation. 7000 persons were present to listen to the venerable monk from Australia, spreading themselves in all the BMICH halls and a few even seating themselves in the corridors. The sessions, with Ven Ajahn Brahm moving from hall to hall, with of course TV presentations in them, were deep in significance and of immense benefit to us. However, as is his manner of presentation, the gravity of what was being imparted was tempered by Ven Brahmavamso’s informality and constantly smiling, benign face. One indication of his informality is shortening his religious name to Ajahn Brahm.
This time it is one session on May 30 that the monk will conduct at the BMICH. Passes were available at announced venues from the 15th of this month. I am certain they were all snapped up, so eager are we to listen to this great teacher.
His programme, most efficiently arranged and made widely known by the ABS under the guidance of Ven Mettavihari, includes a resident meditation retreat from May 22 to 30 in Bandarawela for 150 participants inclusive of bhikkhus, bhikkhunis and lay persons.
A singularly unique forum will be held exclusively for professionals and business persons at the Galle Face Hotel on May 29. These sessions are by invitation, sent out well in time by ABS.
The much looked forward to Dhamma talk and meditation instructions for the public will be at the BMICH from 7.00 to 11.00 am on May 30. Anticipatory of the large crowds that will flock to the BMICH on that day, the ABS has organised sessions with the venerable monk moving from the Main Hall to Sirimavo Halls A and B so all can see and hear him. He will speak in English, followed by summarizations in Sinhala.
More information could be obtained by emailing email@example.com. For WhatsApp messages the number is 0720735837. The filled applications are to be submitted before 10th April 2023.
It seems superfluous to give details, even brief facts on Ven Brahmavamso, as he is well known in this country of ours. However, it appears pertinent to mention facets of the life of this very blessed Bhikkhu.
He was born in London in 1951. Having read widely on Buddhism, at the tender age of 16, this promising student and keenly interested teenager considered himself a Buddhist by conviction. When in the University of Cambridge following his undergrad course in Theoretical Physics, his strong interest in Buddhism and gravitation to meditation went alongside his studies. After earning his degree he taught for one year, He then decided to follow his greater interest in Buddhist philosophy and practice and so proceeded to Thailand. He followed meditation under a couple of Thai masters. Convinced of his future as a Buddhist Bhikkhu, he was ordained a monk at the age of 23 by the Chief Incumbent of Wat Saket. He then went for further training to the famous meditation teacher – Ajahn Chah. He spent nine years studying and training in the forest tradition. In 1983 he was invited to help establish a forest monastery near Perth, Western Australia. Within a short period he was Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, Perth. He is also the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia and Spiritual Patron to the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore. These are but two of the spiritual responsibilities he undertakes. His pragmatic approach and his deep conviction in Dhamma have made him a much sought after Buddhist teacher throughout the world.
We Sri Lankans are truly blessed to have him visit our land and share his knowledge, his conviction in the Buddha Word and his encouragement to meditate.
The team that calls itself the Ajahn Brahm Society Sri Lanka of multi-talented and multi-skilled men and woman are all deeply dedicated to helping us, the public of Sri Lanka, benefit from Ajahn Brahm, acknowledged as an excellent teacher and exponent of the Dhamma. We are most grateful to them and Ven Mettavihari who guides the ABS.
One of best development administrators SL ever had
Mr. K. Thayaparan (KT), who retired from the government service after serving as a development administrator for more than thirty years passed away on Jan 05 at the age of 86. He was born in 1937 in Malaya, which was then under the British rule; his father had migrated there in 1916 for employment. His father was employed in the Malayan Railways, and the family was living a happy life. In the late 1940s, there erupted a terrorist movement launched by Communists of Chinese origin. To fight with the terrorists the British Government had issued a conscription order for all school leavers above the age of 17 years to join the military. Many families with male children over 17 years fled to Ceylon to avoid conscription. Since KT’s family also had a male child who had been noticed to report for military duty, his family members too other than his father left Malaya in 1951 and came to live in Ceylon. In Jaffna, KT resumed and completed his school education. In 1958 he entered the University of Ceylon at Peradeniya to undertake studies in geography, economics and history.
During the university days, KT had won university colours in badminton. He graduated in 1961, and served as a school teacher in the Matara district. In 1962, after sitting a competitive examination, KT joined the Government Divisional Revenue Officers’ service. In 1963, together with the other officers of the DROs’ service and comparable services, KT was absorbed into the Ceylon Administrative Service that had been created in place of the Ceylon Civil Service, which had simultaneously been abolished.
Till 1975 KT served in the district administration in the northern districts, first as DRO, then as Asst. Government Agent and as Addl. Government Agent. From 1976 to 1979 he worked in the Ministry of Fisheries as Deputy Director Planning, and contributed to the development of the National Fisheries Development Plan 1979 – 1983. The Fisheries Development Plan, among other activities had concentrated on exploitation of the fish resources in the Sri Lanka’s exclusive economic zone, which was proclaimed in 1977, and utilisation of irrigation reservoirs and village tanks for development of inland fisheries. The Government made a policy decision to implement an accelerated programme to develop inland fisheries and aquaculture. For this purpose, a new Division called the Inland Fisheries Division was set up in the Ministry, and KT was appointed its director.
The accelerated development programme had a number of activities to perform. Establishment of fish breeding stations in different parts of the country, recruitment and training of scientific and technical officers to serve at fish breeding centres, import of exotic fish species suitable for culture in Sri Lankan inland waterbodies, training of youth in inland fishing and aquaculture, promotion of investments in shrimp farming, etc. Funding agencies like UNDP, ADB and individual countries on bilateral basis came forward to support the accelerated inland fisheries development programme by providing funds for development of infrastructure, providing technical assistance, providing foreign training for the scientific and technical staff who were mostly young people without experience, and providing advisory services. It was heavy work for KT, but he managed the Division and its work smoothly.
KT was a firm believer in team work. He knew workers in all outstation inland fisheries or aquaculture establishments by name. He distributed foreign training slots offered by donor countries or agencies to every scientific or technical officer on an equitable basis. He listened to everybody, and was quite loved by his staff. KT was quite neutral in politics. However, in spite of his hard work to develop the inland fisheries sector, he was transferred out of the Ministry in 1985 to the SLAS Pool.
In 1979 when KT took over the responsibility of developing inland fisheries and aquaculture in the country, the total national inland fish production in Sri Lanka was 17,400 tons. During his tenure of nearly six years, the national inland fish production steadily increased and in 1985, the year he was transferred it had increased to 32,700 tons, showing an increase of nearly 90%. Also, there were 4,500 inland fishing craft operating in reservoirs, and the number employed as fishers, fish collectors, fish traders, etc. was over 10,000.
After leaving the Ministry of Fisheries he served different assignments such as Director Regional Development, National Consultant or the World Bank funded Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Project, Secretary to the North-East Provincial Council Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, and Secretary to the State Ministry Hindu Religious and Cultural Affairs. In 1995, he was appointed Addl. Secretary Development of the Ministry of Fisheries, but his stay in this post was brief since the then Minister replaced him with one of his political supporters. His last government assignment was as Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Plan Implementation, National Integration and Ethnic Affairs. In 1997, he retired from the government service, but continued in a few foreign funded projects as institutional development consultant. He once told that his most productive period in the government service was as Director Inland Fisheries. After retirement he authored several books, Reminiscences of Malaya 1937 – 1951, Stories of Some Brave Men and High Achievers, and Introduction to Some Known High Achievers.
Although he was quite suitable to be appointed the Secretary to a Ministry, he was never considered for such a post. In the final years of his career, he was compelled to serve under his juniors. But he carried on regardless and did the best in whatever the capacity he served.
It was not Central Bank bond scam
I was surprised and sorry to read a journalist attached to The Island writing about a central bank bond scam: surprised because, the editor of The Island, in his inimitable editorials, consistently refers to a treasury bond scam; sorry, because it is simply factually wrong. I have driven home that point several times in The Island and assumed that that canard was dead. Would you permit me to flog a not-so-dead horse?
There never was a central bank bond scam; there could not have been, because there was no market in central bank bonds. The central bank has not issued its own liabilities at least since 1967. The currency notes issued by the Central Bank are liabilities of the government (aanduva/state?) of Sri Lanka. (Should you not clear up that mess confusing ‘state’ with the ‘government’? It is one thing to have faith in the state of Sri Laska and quite another to have faith in the government of Ranil Wickremesinghe.) The Central Bank issues those bills (it does currency) on behalf of the state/government of Sri Lanka and they are not the liabilities of the Central Bank or the Monetary Board. There was a scam in government bonds in 2015 as well as in 2016.
As became clearer in the course of the Chitrasiri Commission, the then-governor of the Central Bank and a few other officers of the Central Bank were parties to that financial fraud involving government bonds. The Central Bank is simply the agent of the government/state who markets government liabilities. Those liabilities do not become the Bank’s liabilities. When you carry Sri Lanka currency, you carry liabilities, much like government bonds, of an entity whose credit is low. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is not in the picture.
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