The letter written by Tuan Riza Rassool in the Daily News of July 21
makes interesting reading. It is amusing as it is from someone living in
a Western country.
Westerners use short forms for names because they have a problem with
pronunciation of our names. I do not think it should cause a inferiority
complex in us as mentioned by Rassool.
He says that black was considered beautiful until Europeans colonised
lands. I wish to say that black is beautiful always and (most Sri
Lankans are dark skinned) Europeans have no problem with that. He
implies that alcohol, gays nudity, violence, promiscuity, idol
worshipping have originated from the West.
These vices are present in all societies but may be more prominent in
Western countries due to openness and media freedom.
We need to understand that the Western countries are the richest and
most developed, we have much to learn from these countries, and
incoporate what is good into our society.
I would like to remind Rassool that most modern developments, (the
list is endless) have come from the Western countries. Due to the
respect of human rights and freedom of speech people are able to
critizise values of the Western countries and continue to enjoy all the
benefits in these countries.
There is quite a bit of agitation around for the release of Rizana, a
17-years-old girl who went to Saudi as a housemaid and is accused of
murdering a four months old infant. While it is pathetic to see a young
girl being sent for execution, we should not lose sight of the bigger
In the first place, she should not have been there. It is prohibited
for a Muslim girl to travel abroad without a mahram (a male chaperon,
non-marriageable to her). She was sent by her father, who is around 40
years of age and is a woodcutter.
Poverty is blamed for this transgression but a Muslim knows that his
rizq, i.e., his daily provision is written by Allah and it will reach
him somehow; if one wants it by halal means, it will come to him by
halal means, if he seeks it by haram means, it will come to him by haram
means. The parents should not have resorted to haram means. The father
could have tried to get a job abroad.
Her age was falsified in her passport by the agent obviously with her
consent and her parentsâ consent. So they lied. Again a major sin.
Even now the parents, like many other Muslims may not recognise these
are wrongdoings in Islam. They say that âeveryoneâ in their village,
Muttur, does it - therefore it is justified.
Whose fault is this? The ulemas - the Muslim learned men of Sri Lanka
have to take responsibility for having failed to stop this destructive
habit of sending our mothers, sisters and daughters to earn, while the
men sit at home and enjoy their income.
It is argued that she was a minor (17 years) when she committed the
âcrimeâ. According to Islam, a person becomes an adult when they attain
puberty and are responsible for every action they commit. Therefore that
excuse does not hold water.
She obviously was not prepared enough to do the work expected of her.
She was overworked and under trained. Is the Foreign Employment Bureau
truly aware of what is in store for our girls who go abroad to send back
revenue? Apparently not, or there are a lot of loopholes in our system.
Rizana was in jail for two years. What did our embassy, FEB and the
parents - do all this time? Why wait till the judgement is passed and
then run hither and thither the last moment? Didnât they foresee this?
Typical of our attitude.
E-mails flying around are preparing petitions to stop âthis unfair
judgementâ - How can we say this is unfair? We really do not have
knowledge of what actually happened.
Anyway, a person who goes to another country has to obey the rules of
that country. Saudi has the rule that if murder is proved the punishment
is by death, unless the wronged party agrees to forgive with or without
blood money. Even the King has no say in the judgement.
Besides, this is the ruling according to the Islamic Shariah.
Superficially this may look barbaric but this is the most effective way
of preventing further incidents of similar nature.
If we have the death penalty in Sri Lanka actually being carried out,
we would not have those accused of murder becoming politicians nor do
the politicians befriend the murderers. We feel sorry for one life,
thereby allowing thousands of other lives to be lost.
The parents of the child also are to be blamed for the death of the
infant. On one hand, they should not have brought in a housemaid into
their household from abroad, and on the other hand, the mother should
have been vigilant enough to find out whether this new housemaid is
trained to feed an infant and also whether she is mentally stable to
look after him.
On the other hand, the Saudi Government allows a major sin to be
committed on its soil by thousands of its citizens by allowing
housemaids to be brought in. This is clearly against the Shariah
principles and they justify it saying âthis is a necessary evilâ. There
are no necessary evils in Islam and they know it.
Finally the Asian Human Rights Association and other organisations
have raised 40,000 US dollars as legal fees alone - imagine how one
thousandth of this could have helped Rizanaâs family if it was given to
them? Why not try to find justice to thousands who resort to illegal
methods of income rather than try to help a single person just because
she is tried in a Muslim country?
For mistakes made by all of us - one child paid with its life and
another young girl is going to pay.
Who should be executed?