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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
There is an interesting article by Udaya Gamanpila in today’s
Ceylon Today. I too have experience, similar to his, of the fundamental
closeness we in Sri Lanka have with all the different communities, especially
in Urban Areas where we come into close contact with all races and religions,
as part of our neighborhood, and school. I do not agree with Udaya on most
issues but in this I agree for the most part on his sentiments, though he
pushes it too far, signaling a breakdown in this comity due to the halalization
in a formal sense of everything by Muslim fundamentalism. This can give rise to
a permanent loss of this great togetherness that we share. I believe all is not lost and can be salvaged, and our relationship will return to one of mutual trust and respect.
It is true that most of the recent trends in Islam brought
about by the rising consciousness of their economic power, both as Middle East
oil producers and the faith that encourages proselytizing, had created fear
amongst Non- Muslims in those countries, of a force that uses its wealth to firstly
tighten the noose on their own faith, by emphasizing a radical path espoused by
some such as the Wahabbis of Saudi Arabia or the Ayatollahs of Iran ( a degree of fundamentalism with Jihad as the standard) and later
on others, as a means to spread their ideals and beliefs. The discrimination of
those minorities has increased.
This has spread all over the world and Al Quaida is just one offspring of this attempt. Steps have been taken in different countries on different aspects that run counter to their own traditions and so the Burqa has been banned in France.
I know of Many Muslims who are horrified at the turn of
events in their faith, and completely disagree with their tenets, but within
their community prefer not to raise their voice, as the more Fundamentalist
mullahs may castigate them for being heretical! It is this sense of fear that
has overcome the usually very passive Buddhist to form an extreme section to
counter the Fundamentalism of Islam.
I completely denounce the spread of the extremism within
Islam as being the true Islam, and that which was practiced by Muslims for the
past 1000 years in SL as not. Halalization is one of those extremes. Only doing
things that are prescribed by their religious laws is Halal and if not it automatically
is Haram. So it is forcing adherence in a strict sense to this format, whilst in
the past 1000 years Muslims were 99% halal but unknowingly may have partaken in
the occasional Haram. Are you telling me that their God is going to damn them in
hell for so doing?
Not at all. I would therefore plead with the fundamentalists
to back off, and allow the Muslims to enjoy their lives in Sri Lanka with all communities,
without isolating them due to edicts from afar, backed by money. I feel for the majority in the Muslim faith, who do not subscribe to this, but after years of indoctrination are forced to adhere to a stricter form of Islam, that is not going to take them in a faster route to heaven.
In the end we will
all suffer and just as I damn the BBS for their racist lies, I request the Muslim
community to also balance their outlook firstly for the sake of their own community,
by the moderates taking control over madrassas and taming their extremist flank. I hope the BBS realizes that there is a silent majority in the Muslim community who are just as horrified by the new turn of events, as they have no intention of following this extreme, but who may be forced to do so by the hardliners, citing the BBS as the rationale.
It is religious fundamentalism of the misuse of the religion to suit personal objectives that is at the heart of irrational behavior, and all religions are culpable. In situations such as this atheism sounds like a good idea!
A moderate religious forum is the call of the hour to diffuse the bad blood created by the trouble makers.