PCoI recommendations will marginalise, ostracise radicalise and counter-radicalise communities – Muslim civil society
Several of the measures recommended in the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attack will put the majority community on a confrontational course with ethno-religious minorities, specially the Muslims, a group of Muslim civil society activists alleged yesterday (10).
Instead of winning over the Muslim community and establishing unity and peaceful co-existence with all others, most of the recommendations will marginalize, ostracise, radicalise and counter-radicalise communities. Implementation of some of the recommendations will create an unacceptable situation worse than the presently reversed enforced cremation policy implemented for nearly one year, the group alleged. The following is the text of statement issued by M.M. Zuhair, PC former MP, Latheef Farook, Journalist and Author, Mass L Usuf, Attorney-at- Law and Advocacy Columnist and Mansoor Dahlan, Theology Scholar: “The problem is primarily because the report is inspired by unsubstantiated and unproven speculative narratives, which the right wing extremists in the West, at war with Islam, had been marketing since 1992 and not based on critically evaluated evidence led before the Commission taking the Sri Lankan situation into consideration. Sri Lanka will become trapped further in communal confrontations that will be to the detriment of the economic advancement of the country. Of course the Commission has also made some positive recommendations. We will refer to some of them in another discourse.
“But it will not be acceptable to punish the Muslim community, or Islam, or its time-tested institutions, for the crimes committed by NTJ’s deviant terrorists. Such extended assault on the community will be similar to the US government penalizing Sri Lanka’s Army Commander’s family for the Commander’s alleged wrongs or US indiscriminately bombing Afghanistan for the 9/11 attacks committed allegedly by the Saudis.
“We need to draw attention to some instances amongst several in the report. The report recommends “preventive detention” (page 454) of persons alleged to be “religious extremists”. The country’s criminal law provides for the preventive detention of Island Reconvicted Criminals (IRCs) at times of visits of foreign dignitaries and serious emergencies. Can we treat religious dignitaries or intensely religious persons on par with IRCs possibly on someone’s allegation that some amongst them are extremists? Unlike violent extremism, it is not an offence to have extreme views because that is a universally recognized limb of the freedom of expression! In a country which gives ‘foremost place’ to Buddhism, sadly liquor bars, night clubs, gambling dens proliferate without any objection while those engaged in religious activities and invite people to desist from wrong doings are recommended to be possibly detained like IRCs! This may lead to open conflicts and must be avoided.
“The report wrongfully attempts to blame Islam (at page 18- “threat posed by Islam”) for the Easter Sunday attacks. It is a shocking accusation that will inevitably be firmly resisted. There is no credible evidence before the Commission to make such a serious, unacceptable and flawed insinuation on Islam with a 1,500 year history. Such recommendations will only lead to conflicts and not solve even existing problems! It will be used as cannon fodder in international fora. The Archbishop of Colombo in a globally quoted speech on 21/07/2019 at Katuwapitiya said that the Easter Sunday attacks were an international conspiracy and not merely the work of Islamic extremists. He said Islamic ideology was being used to create mayhem all over the globe.
“Blaming Islam is undoubtedly a travesty of justice. Was the Commission regrettably misled by years of malicious propaganda against Islam by the world’s notorious war mongers and its agents supported by sections of the international media?
“The Commission has also referred to “exclusivism” as the first step to terrorism (page 11). Questions will naturally arise whether priesthood, monkhood, abandoning worldly life, celebacy or even meditation are also evidence of the bizarre theory of ‘exclusivism’? Of course there is no priesthood in Islam. These new dimensions laid through agents of the Western arms industry are in conflict with Asian historical norms. They are aimed at conflict creation.
It has also referred to ‘Sufism’ and its ‘meditation centre’ at Kattankudy being attacked (page13) quoting journalists. Sufism is a well- recognized facet of Islam as much as ‘monotheism’ or ‘thowheed’ or ‘oneness’ of Allah as distinguished from the Christian concept of ‘Trinity’. Any attack on Sufism or Thowheed is an attack on Islam. The attempt to lump the Muslims with terrorists while seeking to divide the Muslims as Sufis, Thowheeds, Thablighs and Jamaaths or more importantly from the other communities in Sri Lanka will be seen only as an extension of the West’s war on Islam. It will end as a costly exercise that can destructively contribute to the dismemberment of Sri Lanka on ethno-religious lines that might soon be exploited by the West. Sri Lankans should read in this regard the many great works and speeches of Sri Lanka’s eminent jurist Dr C.G. Weeramantry of International Court of Justice (ICJ) fame or John Perkins (US) “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”.
SF claims thousands of police and military personnel leaving
By Saman Indrajith
Thousands of police and military personnel had left the services recently as they did not want to carry out illegal orders, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament yesterday. According to the war-winning army commander 200 policemen have resigned during the past two months and 25,000 soldiers have left the army during the last two years.
“We urged the law enforcement and military officials not to follow illegal orders. We will reinstate them with back pay,” he said.
Fonseka also urged the President and the government MPs not to take people for fools.
“Sri Lanka owes 55 billion dollars to the world. Ranil’s plan is to borrow another seven billion during the next four years. So, in four years we will owe 62 billion to the world.
Ranil and his ministers ask us what the alternative to borrowing is. These are the people who destroyed the economy and society. They must leave. Then, we will find an alternative and develop the country,” he said, adding that the IMF loans had made crises in other nations worse.
“Ranil says that by 2025, we will have a budget surplus as in Japan, Germany and South Korea. These countries are economic power houses, and this comparison is ludicrous.”
CEB hit by exodus of technical staff
By Shiran Ranasinghe
At least five technical personnel of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) resigned daily for overseas employment, a senior CEB official said.They included electrical engineers, electricians and foremen, he added.
“Most of them are quitting due to the economic crisis while others are simply disillusioned. Trained and experienced technical staff are in high demand in many countries,” he said.
CEB United Trade Union Alliance President Ranjan Jayalal said that the CEB had lost about 2,000 employees in recent times due to the above reasons.
“We had about 24,000 such personnel a few months ago. Now the number has come down to 22,000. A number of people had to retire on 31 December, 2022.
Sajith questions sudden decision to charge Rs. 225,000 from students following NDES
By Saman Indrajith
The government had decided to charge Rs 225,000 from those enrolling at the Institute of Engineering Technology, Katunayake under the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday in Parliament.
Premadasa said that the institute awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences (NDES) and no fee was charged from students until 2023.The IET awards the National Diploma in Engineering Sciences under the three major fields of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, and eight sub-fields.
“This is an institute that has created over ten thousand tier two engineers. NDES is a four year programme,” he said.
The opposition leader said that the sudden decision to charge 225,000 rupees from students at a time when the average Sri Lankan family is facing significant economic challenges is unfair.
“This institute offered free tuition. We should continue this tradition. A large number of engineers are leaving the country and we need to ensure that we have a continuous supply of engineers to ensure we can maintain our essential technical services,” he said.
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