The Muslims of Sri Lanka with their composition of business-people (big and small) through the educated and the peasants have one thing in common – that is their belief in the Oneness of God the Creator (Allah), seek help through supplication from Allah and Allah alone, and that everything happens – good or bad – from the Will of Allah, that is, one’s destiny is in Allah. This belief is fully ingrained in almost all Muslims (with some exceptions) irrespective of being a practising Muslim or not. In such a scenario one cannot expect the Muslims En-Masse to show outwardly a false pretention of being supportive or otherwise to contentious issues whether social, cultural or political.

This is how the Muslim public are articulating themselves towards the unfolding drama of the political aspects of governance though the Muslim politicians would act or behave differently for the sake of their own benefits while espousing as if they do so for the good of their people – and this is the behavioural pattern of all politicians. The question of ‘indifference’ as perceived by some Muslim writers has no significance whatsoever as that question does not arise or need not arise as the Muslims are fully involved trying to visualize what is taking place in the political aspects of governance and supplicating (to Allah) for the best solution He Wills.

Pundits in law and politics

From the evening of October 26, 2018 when the President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister when the sitting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was the functioning Prime Minister, the Muslim community became active ‘politically’ to know why this happened. While the pundits in law and politics were debating the constitutionality or otherwise of the appointment, the Muslim populace was debating casually irrespective of political party affiliations, the whys and wherefores of the President’s decision. To the Muslim public that was unthinkable. The sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe from the post of Prime Minister was unacceptable to the Muslims though they did not have much regard for Wickremesinghe after the Muslims were attacked in Digana and Kandy where he as the Prime Minister could have prevented the attack on the Muslims as soon as it started to unfold; further he did not forcefully condemn the riot either. There are various conspiracy theories on this violence against Muslims and that is a different issue and should be left at that.

The Muslims are not revengeful that they did not allow the above incidents (violence) to mar their independent thinking on the political issues facing the country. The Muslims, as any other community, expected their elected candidates to act as per the laws of the land and foremost upholding of the Constitution. They are disappointed by the turn of events and are rendering all possible assistance to each and every group that endeavours to undo the damage in the most legitimate ways possible.

Therefore, to brand the Muslim community as indifferent to the present political issues is, at best, not knowing the ground realities of Muslims vis-à-vis the roles they have opted to play as being patient and supplicative (to Allah) and, at worst, injurious to the stature of the Muslim community at large. This type of irresponsible branding of the Muslims is particularly done by those who do not get any chance of intermingling effectively with the Muslim community in Sri Lanka and therefore out of step with the attitudes and realities of the Muslim community in strategic national issues.

Shia dominant countries

One other aspect we notice among these Muslim writers is that they purposely and continually attack the Ulama (Muslim clergy) for no valid reasons – they pejoratively call the Ulama as Mullahs – a term which is never used in Sri Lanka, India and the Arab world but only in Shia Iran and may be other Shia dominant countries. These writers also engage in scathing attacks on the organisation that is home to most of the Ulama in Sri Lanka viz. All Ceylon Jameeyathul Ulama (ACJU) on the writers’ wishful thinking and not on specific religious (Islamic) misguidance and / or deviations. I have no attachment, liking or enmity to any Muslim / Islamic organisation of mainstream Muslims yet I show my reservations and opposition when organisations are involved in bidah (innovations) and Shirk (Polytheism).

The Muslim writers – I do not wish to name them – without exception call the ACJU as the apex body of decision making in the affairs of the Muslims of Sri Lanka which is not and never the case and – this is what ACJU had been trying to become and has miserably failed. These writers should realize that there are many other Muslim / Islamic organisations – Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaath (SLTJ), All Ceylon Thawheed Jamaath (ACTJ), Thihariya Jumma Mosque Thawheed Jamaath, Ceylon Thawheed Jamaath (CTJ) –which are rendering yeoman services to the Muslims (In Islam and related issues) and also to other communities (community development; social work etc.).

The Muslim community from the grassroots level to the top, like all other communities, is involved in politics and some are active members in the various political parties in Sri Lanka.

Then how does one say that Muslims are indifferent to political issues in Sri Lanka? The present political deadlock is a very complicated issue not only based on legal matters but also on personality conflicts, personal biases, power politics, group/party pressures and finally power capture.

In this scenario the Muslim community through patience and prayer (supplication) is seeking the Help of the Almighty God (Allah) to inculcate the minds of all the lead players in the political crisis to arrive at a sensible and workable solution so that Sri Lanka and its citizens will be relieved from the hardships they are facing now due to the present political crisis.



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