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Stop blaming extremism on religions, but stopping invasions of countries can wipe out extremism – Zuhair

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Sri Lankans must welcome President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s assurance to the UN Chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday that the Tamil diaspora would be invited for talks with his government, former UPFA MP M.M. Zuhair, PC said, adding equally welcome is the UN Chief’s assurance of ‘full support to Sri Lanka in moving forward to promote unity among different communities’, as highlighted by a media statement issued by the President’s office.

The following is the full text of the statement issued by the former National List MP: “The multi- faceted problems and serious economic woes the country is facing, in addition to the Covid-19 complications, can never be overcome without promoting ‘genuine unity’ among the communities. The underlying issues that prevent unity and reconciliation need to be addressed and resolved. Sri Lanka’s President and government must talk not only to the Tamil Diaspora but also the elected representatives of the North and the East and the country’s religious cum civil society leaders.

Criminals, violent extremists and terrorists must not be allowed to change the course of the future or the history of the country. Repeated attempts to equate ISIS ideology with Islam need to be condemned. Such attempts will only multiply Sri Lanka’s problems. ISIS is an anti-Islamic ideology, whose handlers are widely believed to work for the Western arms industry.

The Sri Lankan President’s UN General Assembly ‘speech-script writers’ have dragged ‘religious extremism’ into the picture. The reports of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Easter Sunday Attacks and the Presidential Commission of Inquiry have blamed ‘Buddhist extremism’ nourishing ‘Islamic extremism’. What has Buddhism, Islam or other religions got to do with extremism or terrorism? Were those who massacred 33 Buddhist monks at Arantalawa in June 1987 and murdered 147 Muslims at worship in Mosques in Kattankudy in August 1990,‘religious extremists? Why blindly follow Western conversations on the matter? Who gave terrorists and criminals a religious face?

Buddhists in the Far East, Vietnam in particular and believers in Islam in the Middle-East and West Asia, Afghanistan in particular, have been the victims of US-NATO sponsored wars. Post 9/11 wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have resulted in nearly 3 million deaths and over 20 million rendered refugees cum internally displaced. Why was no appeal made to the US-NATO to stop unceasing invasions of third world countries, with the next theater of war said to be in South Asia, our region? Sponsors of wars manufacture weapons, so they need wars. Struggling nations like Sri Lanka need peace for their economic survival. We need to stop blaming extremism on religions but must declare that stopping invasions of third world countries by powerful countries rendering millions into refugees, can stop extremism.

The President’s initiative and the UN Secretary Generals support for promoting unity among communities could succeed substantially if we take the cue from New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden’s carefully crafted speech of September 3rd 2021 and desist from blaming extremism on any religion. There is no ‘Islamic Face of Terror’! There is no ‘Buddhist Face of Terror’ either as Time magazine years ago wrongfully but hysterically accused.”



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Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

 

 

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SJB MP: Most parents have to choose between food and children’s education

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By Saman Indrajith

Most Sri Lankan parents are compelled to choose between food for their families and their children’s eduction, SJB Matale District MP Rohini Kumari Wijerathne told Parliament yesterday.

Only a few parents were able to feed and educate their children the MP said, participating in the debate on Budget 2023 under the expenditure heads of Ministries of Education and Women and Child Affairs.

“An 80-page exercise book costs Rs. 200. A CR book costs Rs 560. A pencil or pen costs Rs 40. A box of colour pencils costs Rs 570 while a bottle of glue costs Rs 150. If the father is a daily wage earner he has to spend one fourth of his salary on a box of colour pencils for his child. A satchel now costs around Rs 4,000. A pair of school shoes is above Rs 3,500. The Minister of Education knows well how many days a child could use an 80-page exercise book for taking notes. Roughly, stationery cost is around Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per child, MP Wijerathne said, adding that only Rs. 232 billion had been allotted for the Ministry of Education by Budget 2023.

“After paying salaries of teachers and covering officials’ expenses, etc., there will be very little left for other important matters,” the MP said, noting that Sri Lanka would soon be known as the country that made the lowest allocation of funds for education in the South Asian region.

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All crises boil down to flaws in education system, says Dullas

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By Saman Indrajith

All the crises Sri Lanka was beset with were due to the country’s outdated education system, MP Dullas Alahapperuma told Parliament yesterday.

“The political and economic crisis we are facing is the direct result of our education,” he said.

The Sri Lankan education system had not changed with global developments. Our system is not even geared for employment. Our examination system is antiquated and our classrooms are in the 19th Century.

However, the students belong to the 21st century. How can you cater to 21st Century children under an outdated system?” he queried.

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