Muslims expect positive overtures from President



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by Latheef Farook


Following the election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Dinesh Gunawardena said both "Rauff Hakeem and Rishad Bathiudeen will not be part of the new government." This was repeated by both Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila.


The Muslim community is not concerned whether the government gives Rauf Hakeem and Rishard Badurdeen ministerial portfolios or not. What the Muslims need is for the new government to understand their plight, stop violence against them, and attend to their grievances.


Time was when the Sri Lankan Muslim community was not interested in forming a separate party. As everyone knows, the Muslims were part and parcel of the two major national political parties—the UNP and the SLFP.


For example, respected Muslim leader Dr M. C. M. Kaleel was Chairman and Treasure of the UNP. Veteran Muslim politician Sir Razik Fareed, who spent his wealth on the community and fought for Muslim rights, while maintaining healthy relations with the Sinhalese community, was with the main political parties.


 It was the short-sighted racist politics of the two main national parties that forced Muslim to support when some ambitious individuals decided to exploit the helplessness of the community  by forming a separate political party.


Even in this case several Muslim politicians in the south warned the SLMC founder the late A. H. M. Ashraf of the grave consequences of starting a separate party to those Muslims who were living in peace and harmony in the midst of Sinhalese in the rest of the country.


Finally, it was the arrogant dismissal of Muslims  by the late President J. R. Jayewardene when he said that Muslims could remain in the government or leave when a delegation led by All Ceylon Muslim League leader Dr M.C.M Kaleel met him and appealed not to allow Israelis into the country in view of their century’s old hostility and crime records against Muslims. 


In the end, Jayewardene’s arrogance, Indian conspiracies to divide Tamil and Muslim communities and Ashraf’s desire to have a political platform led to the birth of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, SLMC, on 11 February 1988. 


The SLMC came with the slogan of Islam and unity. Islam disappeared at birth when Ashraf fled Kalmunai to seek refuge at a lawyer’s house in Colombo. The unity could be seen in the division of SLMC into more than half a dozen groups. SLMC politicians openly and shamelessly shifted their alliances during the recent presidential elections when they were all, as many accused, bought over by different sides.


Corruption has been an integral part of SLMC from its inception though Ashraf had done a lot to help the community. However the power struggle within the party after his death was exploited by the Sinhala leadership to throw baits—ministerial portfolios--and divide the SLMC. 


 Over the years today the SLMC and its splinter groups became notorious for selling the community for positions and perks, causing the Muslims to lose respect.


Muslims suffered immense during the ethnic war. Once the war ended in 2009 they expected peace and a return to normal life. However to their shock disgusting violence was unleashed against them under the Rajapaksa government. This violence continued with greater intensity under Maithri-Ranil’s disastrous government.


In the aftermath of Easer Sunday bombings and killings, while Muslims were subjected to violence, dogs were taken into mosques by soldiers wearing shoes and hundreds of Muslims were taken into custody for no valid reason, shameless Muslim politicians invited Maithri and Ranil   for their family functions.


In the same way, while Muslims in and around Kandy were fightened  expecting anything to happen due to the tense atmosphere built up by  fasting monk here in Colombo controversial moulavi was seen breaking Ifthar fast with  former president Sirisena.


Thus Muslims were fed up with their politicians and the equally controversial half-baked mullahs.


On the one hand, Muslim politicians abandoned the community in their rush for positions. On the other hand, implementing its evil racist agenda, government persecuted them.


This is the reason why the Muslims are least worried about ministerial portfolios for their politicians. All what they expect from the new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is to create an environment with new overtures where they could live in peace.


They are eagerly expecting positive signs from President Gotabaya and his government though it includes many known for their hatred towards Muslims.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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