Connect with us

news

PCoI recommendations will marginalise, ostracise radicalise and counter-radicalise communities – Muslim civil society

Published

on

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”.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

news

Toxic coconut oil scare trigger public wave of fear over aflatoxins in foodstuffs

Published

on

People now wary of buying certain products

By Suresh Perera

In the backdrop of a top official of Sri Lanka’s key standards body coming under heavy flak over her controversial claim that several other consumer commodities also contain toxic substances, public apprehension has shifted to many other products in the market following a wave of fear triggered over cancer-causing free radicals in foodstuffs, industry players said.

The Trade Ministry has already initiated a disciplinary inquiry into the assertion by Dr. Siddhika Senaratne, the Director-General of the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI), that aflatoxins are also found in certain other food items sold to the public.

Aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi found on agricultural crops.

As the SLSI scientist’s remarks during a television talk show ignited an uproar following the seizure of imported stocks of contaminated coconut oil, industry officials said that customers are now wary of purchasing certain food products as the social media, rightly or wrongly, painted a frightening picture, they said.

A committee will be appointed to examine Dr. Senaratne’s statement to ascertain the validity or otherwise of her claim of the presence of aflatoxins in some food products in the marketplace, authoritative sources said.

Though the Director-General didn’t identify any of the “toxic products” she claimed were being sold to consumers, her statement unleashed a cycle of fear and uncertainty as consumers, influenced largely by social media reports and hearsay, viewed many brands with suspicion, the sources noted.

However, there has been no credible scientific evidence so far to prove that products identified on social media contain carcinogenic properties, they said.

Dr. Senaratne’s contention was that identifying products with toxic substances could lead to the collapse of some local industries. The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has been informed to take up the issue with the relevant manufacturers for remedial action, she said.

It is no secret that many mills use copra with fungus to extract coconut oil. The perishable copra is dried outdoors but there is no proper cleaning of the fungi, which are common under tropical and sub-tropical conditions, before the oil is extracted, industry officials said.

Has it been established whether the shiny wax coating used on apples as an oxygen barrier to preserve freshness, particularly in consignments imported from China, belong to the safe food grade material?, they asked.

In the case of apples imported to Sri Lanka from the USA, the whole process of orchard to point of landing take many weeks. It is true that fruits are stored in cold rooms to preserve quality and slow the aging process by regulating oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. However, the question arises whether there are accredited processes to monitor the agro chemical and other toxic levels in imported apples and other varieties of fruits before permitting the stocks to be released to the local market, they noted.

Hoppers are a staple of Sri Lankan cuisine, but it’s common knowledge that many wayside eateries introduce plaster of paris (a quick-setting gypsum plaster consisting of a fine white powder known as calcium sulfate hemihydrate) to the batter to keep them fresh and crispy, the officials asserted.

“This is because customers insist on freshly baked hoppers and as a result, those that have gone flat cannot be sold”, they said.

Cleanliness of eateries is being monitored to some extent, but are there any quality checks for toxicity on the food served to customers?, they queried.

After the contaminated coconut oil scandal surfaced, people are reluctant to even buy traditional oil-based sweetmeats from the marketplace, they further said.

Unlike earlier years, there is a slump in sweetmeat sales, a supermarket official said. “Customers are wary about toxic coconut oil in the market”.

 

 

Continue Reading

news

Ceyleon Solutions launch Sparetime App to turn spare time into income

Published

on

Ceyleon Solutions, a leading mobile app solution provider, launched Sparetime (www.sparetime.lk), a special mobile app to make easy money using one’s spare time. This app helps to search for people providing domestic, official or personal services or earn an extra income by providing a wide range of services.

Services such as masonry, plumbing, computer related services, wholesale, distribution, medical & healthcare, teaching, legal, beauticians, cleaning, helping, babysitting and car wash can be either searched or provided using this app as it creates an online platform for such service providers and those who seek their services.

There are two apps compatible to android and apple phones, ‘Sparetime Provider’ for those who provide services and ‘Sparetime User’ for those who seek such services.

“This is an ideal option for those who find it difficult to make ends meet with their salaries. Using this app, they can make use of their spare time effectively to earn extra money. This creates a comprehensive service hub. For an example, a vegetable farmer can find both a whole seller and a transport service provider to transport his goods with just a click. Even students can find part time work for their financial needs”, said Chaminda De Silva, creator and owner of the Sparetime app.

“This app works as a platform for social workers to get together and mobilize people for tasks that they wish to perform. This is a very user friendly app. However, operating instructions can be obtained by calling our hotline 0706355450 or 0706355452. An instructor will come to help you if necessary”, he noted.

Regardless of being a service provider or a user, this app will be ideal. It will also pave the way to gradually reduce the unemployment rate in Sri Lanka and will subsequently contribute to the gross domestic product accelerating economic growth of Sri Lanka.

Continue Reading

news

“Zahran Hashim and his group were not Muslims; they hijacked the name of Islam to commit these crimes’

Published

on

Rishad Bathiudeen tells Parliament

The Muslims never called for separatism. The Muslims have been on the side of the nation for over 1,000 years in Sri Lanka as documented in the book of Dr. Lorna Devaraja titled, ‘The Muslims of Sri Lanka – One Thousand Years of Ethnic Harmony’. Even when the Muslims were threatened with eviction or death from the North, they risked their lives and the lives of their loved ones to be on the side of the State, Rishad Bathiudeen, MP, said.

Speaking in English during the fifth day of the debate on the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Easter Attacks in Parliament on April 7, he said: “Zahran Hashim and his group were not Muslims. They hijacked the name of Islam to commit these crimes. The report in Page 94 confirms that Zahran wanted to build tensions between the Sinhalese and Muslim Communities of Sri Lanka”.

The MP’s speech contained many points and references to matters in the report and events that transpired thereafter.

Some of the points raised by the MP were:

* The State is antagonizing the Muslim community in the manner that Zahran had wanted them to act. The State should not play to the tunes of Zahran. The State should not act in a way that would jeopardize national security. The State has already commenced the process of State sponsored oppression by prohibiting the import of Muslim books and are making plans to ban Niqabs/Burkas and Madrasas.

* The PCoI has exonerated Rishad Bathiudeen from all charges in connection with the Easter attacks. Only two charges remain to be investigated. First one is in relation to the phone call placed by Bathiudeen to then Army Commander General Mahesh Senanayake, concerning Ihsan Moinudeen. Secondly, the sale of scrap metal by the Industrial Development Board to Colossus (Pvt) Ltd. Rishad Bathiudeen visited the Bribery Commission on 8th of April, 2021 to request them to investigate the allegation in the report.

 

* The weight placed on the phone call made by Rishad Bathiudeen to General Mahesh Senanayake, was given far higher significance in the report in comparison to the actions of Dayasiri Jayasekara who released six persons from the Hettipola Police Station who were involved in torching and destroying Muslim owned shops and Muslim places of worship. The Commission Report had recommended investigation into the phone call but had not charged Dayasiri on any matter.

 

* The Government cannot have a law banning the Niqab and Burka without also banning medical masks, helmets, sunglasses, etc.

* Restriction of Islamic books being brought into the country is a violation of the Constitution.

* Bathiudeen quoted Page 331 of the Report:‘Reciprocal radicalization is the cycle of radicalization which promotes each other’s radicalized ideologies’. If the Government can keep politicians like Wimal Weerawansa in check, the de-radicalization program will be half completed. He also said that inciting racism will only provoke and radicalize more Muslims.

 * Killing of Fouzul Ameer Mohamed Salley in Kottramulla before his children in the aftermath of the Easter Attacks, was Genocide under Article 2 of the Genocide Convention, and all persons who were inciting racism could be charged for incitement to genocide. Subsequent charges of oppression too can have a detrimental effect on Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka must be careful as Sri Lanka is now a party to the Rome Statute and can be held accountable by the International Criminal Court.

 

* It was Azath Salley who indicated during a press conference concerning the criminal activities of Zahran Hashim in 2017, but he is alleged to have connections to the Easter Attacks. This is not fair. The Government is politically victimizing Muslims who are speaking up against the oppressive tactics of the Government.

* The One Country One Law Policy does not mean that Muslim Personal Laws alone should be targeted. Most people believe that Customary Laws should be removed. However, that logic would require the Government to abolish Provincial legislation too, as Provincial legislation is also territorially implemented and not countrywide. Several laws will have to be struck down. However, the right way of interpreting the One Country One Law policy would be to maintain all laws that are consistent with the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Continue Reading

Trending