By Alhaj A.H.M. Azwer(Former MP / Minister and General Secretary Sri Lanka Muslim Progressive Front)
Deaf, dumb and blind – this is the slumbering mood of the present government towards the anti-Muslim attacks unleashed throughout the island. It is sweeping the landscape like a Tornado. Aghast!
That inflammatory and vitriolic speeches now going viral on the social network internationally delivered by that Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, had literally providing a handle to rabble-rousers, hooligans and looters who are causing damage, destruction in Muslim villages everywhere today.
The citizenry are almost daily awake to hear the heart breaking news of attacks on mosques, madrasas, and boutiques. The apathy of the Yahapalanaya Rajaya is not only a mystery but utterly bewildering. Shame!
Pious promises given by the government to get rid of such gangsterism and hooliganism against the Muslim community – and even other minorities – to woo their votes at the last presidential and general elections – have been cast away into the now proverbial “Meethotamulla garbage mountain.” Nauseating!
Bodu Bala Sena
If the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and its associates are not banned (the ministers are asking for it), it would very clearly expose the hypocrisy of the Yahapalana Government that proclaims peace, but really harbours an inimical, hidden agenda towards destruction and death, diametrically opposed to the vision of transforming this island into the Wonder of Asia!
I am reminded of a salient passage in an article written by that historian cum political analyst, S .Effendi (of Ottoman fame), during the Aluthgama mayhem, which is currently so important. I quote: “that inflammatory and vitriolic speech, now going viral on YouTube internationally, delivered by Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera literally roused the hooligan rabble, the looters who caused such damage, destruction and murder. His ranting on that podium in Aluthgama reminded me of a potty Julius Strecher, the Nazi Jew-Baiter, raving like a mad dog in the precincts of the Reichstag in Berlin in the 1930s, and who was sentenced to death by the international War Crimes Tribunal and hanged with the other criminals on 16 October, 1946.
The latest – rather breaking news – comes from Kohilawatte (at a kissing distance of Meethotamulla), Panadura, Eluvila, Wennappuwa, Onegama in Polonnaruwa (President’s home district), Maharagama, Elpitiya, Kahawatte..
It is a perfect scenario for a Beverly Hills film-maker to shoot a Hollywood picture.
After coming to power on the back of 95 per cent of Muslim votes (as they claim), the first episode was shot at the Borella Jamiul Alfar Jumma Mosque on 30 May 2015.
There onwards, the attacks on Muslim habitations continued unabated without a single case being probed or any culprits being taken into custody (so much for the indebtedness shown to the Muslims by the Maithripala Sirisena Yahapalanaya. During the 24 days from 16 April 2017 to 23 May 2017 alone, 22 such attacks have been reported (BBC Channel 4 Macrae/NCC/Al-Jazeera take note). It runs like the falling of wickets at the ongoing Indian Premier League Twenty-20 matches. Hold your breath and read on.
16 April 17 – Early in the morning, petrol bombs were thrown at Muslim boutiques in Godapitiya, Akuressa (the place where the last LTTE bomb explosion was recorded, near the Mosque called Poruwa)
17 April 17 – Walls around the Ziyaram of Sheikh Salih Waliullah at Fort-Galle (a national heritage site, protected by the army) were damaged.
20 April 17 – 2-1/2 acres of land belonging to the Muslims at Mayakkalli in Irakkamam, Ampara, were forcibly occupied by elements shouting anti-Muslim slogans.
25 April 17 – Ven.Gnanasara visits the place and makes a vitriolic speech in which he even attacked Allah and the Holy Quran.
3 May 17 – HMM Haris, Deputy Minister of Sports visits the area and calls for the arrest of this monk to avoid disturbances in the area.
8 May 17 – The Thera calls a media conference and alleges that the Myanmar Muslim refugees be deported as they had come to invade this country in the garb of refugees.
10 May 17 – Defamatory speeches were made at the same place on the day of Vesak, a sacred day for Buddhists.
14 May 17 – The said Thera visits Onegama,Polonnaruwa, the President’s home base, demolishes huts and other dwelling places of Muslims who were living in peace and harmony in the area since the days of the Sinhalese kings, and demands that the Muslims leave the place under threat of being repatriated to Saudi Arabia.
15 May 17 – A Mosque in the Panadura town comes under a petrol bomb attack in the early hours of the morning (thahajjud time).
16 May 17 – Attacks on Al-Ibrahimiyya Jumma Mosque in Kohilawatte by a gang of eight people, causing damage to the windows and doors.
16 May 17 – Muslims at Neenakerny, Selvanagar, Toppur (in Trincomalee District}, were forcibly evacuated by a gang of 200 persons (this was the area recaptured during the Mavil Aru Operation during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s watch, and Muslims were resettled, as promised by him, just before the Ramazan Fast began that year).
17 May 17 – A bakery and telecommunication centre belonging to the Muslims in Eluvila, Panadura came under the familiar petrol bomb attack.
18 May 17 – The Last Chance Electric shop at Wennappuwa was attacked and set on fire at 2 a.m.
31 May 17 – At 3.30 am six goons who came on three motorbikes flung seven petrol bombs at the Jumma Mosque in Mallawapitiya-Kurunegala, causing damage to the rear of the Mosque and its windows (This has been recorded in the CCTV cameras fitted at the place.
21 May 17 – A perfumery shop belonging to a Muslim at Elpitiya-Bentota was set on fire and completely destroyed (this too is recorded on CCTV camera footage)
22 May 17 – A Carpet sales centre on the Maharagama-Nugegoda road belonging to a Muslim was broken into in the early morning hours.
23 May 2017 Two shops belonging to a Muslim and Tamil respectively in Kahawatta in the Ratnapura district was set on fire and completely destroyed.
How many more atrocities before even a pretense of action is taken?
The Muslim Minister and MPs have expressed their vehement protest. Muslim organizations are hurriedly summoning their membership at emergency meetings to discuss this dangerous situation. The Jammiathul Ulema has issued a call to all Muslims to recite Qunooth in their five-time daily prayers to save Muslims from further disaster caused by racial hate mongers. The international community is disturbed. Deeply alarmed, loved ones of Muslims domiciled or employed abroad are making frantic calls to their family members in Sri Lanka, concerned about a worst-cae scenario that could erupt. Muslims spread out in far flung villages throughout the country have pleaded with the Police to guard their houses and public places of worship.
In actual fact, the Muslim community is gripped today in a fear-psychosis as never experienced before. Why should this be?
Here is a community that has lived in complete harmony with the majority community throughout history. Although they lived among the Tamils (in the North and East) speaking the Tamil language, they never clamoured for a separate state (Ealam). As a result Prabhakaran masterminded the biggest ever ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the North ever witnessed in any part of the country.
What is the solution? The Muslim ministers and Members of Parliament are performing acrobatic dances – they are daily conducting media carnivals to ask the President and the Prime Minister to stop this criminal anti-Muslim drive. It is comical because it is they who sustained the Rajapaksa- bashing during the last election campaign and blinded the Muslims to the truth and got President Maithripala and Prime Minister
They elected Wickremesinghe and their Yahapalana government. So, it is their moral and Islamic duty to put up a joint effort (forgetting their political, regional and other differences) to meet the President and the Prime Minister and demand that they issue firm orders to the Army and police to quell this dastardly mayhem that is being unleashed against the Muslims, right now.
If the 21 Muslim MPs in Parliament feel shy to do so, we of the Sri Lanka Muslim Progressive Front, request them to address a joint communiqué to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and give it to us to present it to the two of them to get them an appointment to thrash out this issue.
This is a huge national imperative.