The Muslim Problem? – A Response

By – Latheef Farook

I wish to make the following observations on the article under the title “The Muslim Problem?” by Dushy Ranetunge in the Sunday Island on 24 August 2008.

This is the typical Zionist Jewish type propaganda of committing the worst of crimes and blame the victims .The prominent Sinhalese expatriate who toured the area failed to understand the plight of Muslims there and it appears that his English friends at the Italian restaurant in Winchmore Hill, North London were equally , perhaps deliberately , ill informed as the Sinhalese expatriate.

Contrary to what Dushy Ranetunge tried to project Muslims have been at the receiving end of successive governments and the Tamil militants and now the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP).Their legitimate grievances and the endless sufferings were highlighted in a workshop held at Taj Samudra Hotel on 19 Tuesday 2008.A report submitted at the workshop by the Eastern Muslims Peoples’ Assembly,EMPA,provided all the details about how the Muslims have been cornered- their lands acquired to settle Sinhalese brought in from south and Tamils in the east, their inability to cultivate their lands and continue their livestock I and fishing striking at the very root of their survival.

Their 16-year old daughter found the dress code of Muslim women as “scary” because she was not exposed to it. But a code of dress is a personal matter and as long as it is not offensive to others around it should not be a matter of concern.

The question is why people are so much concerned about the dress of Muslim women who pose no threat in any way to any individual or any society. Is it out of concern for Muslims women? Or is it simply to demonize Muslim women as part of the current Western global campaign against Islam and Muslims backed by the pro Jewish Western media which remains an integral part of Western war machine?

Did any Muslim anywhere in the world ever speak about the indecent and immoral dress of non Muslim women? Did they ever comment on the shameless parading of women almost naked in their so called fashion shows to promote commodities from perfume to cars? Did any Muslim ever comment on the trading of women in the red light areas of European capitals or speak about the problem of homosexuals, lesbians and gay marriages? NO!

It was disclosed during Pope Benedict’s visit to Washington in April 2008 that out of the 42,000 priests in the United States over 4,000 were accused of sexually abusing children and the damage settlements amounted to two billion dollars forcing some dioceses to sell off properties and declare bankruptcy.

Did any Muslim ever try to insult the church any where in the world? No. Insulting and ridiculing other religions, religious leaders and their religious rites is against the teachings of Islam. Thus it is not part of Muslim culture. This is the richness of the Islamic society which the West needs to understand. So the question is why the West and their lackeys in the third world always pick upon handful of Muslim women’s dress which even Muslims have been discussing? Is it out of ignorance? No. Rather it’s a deliberate attempt aimed to vilify Islam and Muslims in accordance with their evil agendas.

This is what Islam says about dress code for women as stated in the book ‘Muslim Civilization- The Causes of Decline and the Needs for Reform’ by Umer Chapra-

During the days of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) women played a crucial role in political, religious, social, educational, economic and all other activities. More than 14 centuries ago Islam accorded property and political freedom to Muslim women never dreamt of in the Western world until a few decades ago.

Some women used to cover their faces before the Prophet’s days, while others did not. In keeping with this humane attitude of not using coercion, the Prophet did not force them to uncover their faces. However, he did require them to leave their faces uncovered during prayers, Hajj and Umrah.

The verdict of a number of respected Islamic scholars of the past as well as the present is that while women are required to be dressed modestly in keeping with the teachings of the Sharia’h, they are not required to cover their faces or to be confined to their homes.

Women are well represented in the books of history, tafsir,hadith and fiqh.In the biographical literature devoted to the Companions over 1,200 female Companions are included, roughly about 10 to 15 percent of the total entries. During Umayyad and the early Abbasid periods too women enjoyed the same freedom. A number of them including Harun al Rashid’s mother, wife and daughter played very important roles in the society.

Even down to Ottoman period women owned property which her husband could not touch during her life time .Women established charitable endowments to support education. In fact 41 percent of such endowments in Ottoman Aleppo were founded by women who also worked as farmers, merchants, artisans and landlords .Quite a few women took care of their affairs without mediation of a male representative.

After reading the histories of thousands of women in 40 bibliographical collections dating from the ninth century, Ruth Roded, lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, did not find any evidence to support the view that Muslim women were marginalized, secluded or restricted’. She, therefore, concluded that ‘the role of women in traditional Islamic society has often been portrayed in extremely negative terms that are unjustified by historic reality”.

But the plights of Muslim women in many countries are not from the teachings of Islam. Women are illiterate, secluded and generally deprived of the rights, including the right to inherit property that Islam has given them. They have little role to play in the societies .In some Muslims countries the seclusion has become so strict that men and women live in two entirely separate worlds with little interaction between them except in the family. This has not only prevented men and women from playing their mutually supporting roles in society, but has also deprived women of education and economic independence. Women’s ignorance, confinement to the house and total dependence on their husbands for the fulfillment of practically all needs, prevents them from asserting themselves and obtaining the rights Islam has given them.

Now who is responsible for this sad plight of women in the Muslim societies? Isn’t it the degenerated and oppressive dictators, installed and protected by Europe and the United State, who keep their people illiterate and in poverty.

I hope by now Dushy Renetunga and his friend’s 16 year old girl have come out of their enforced ignorance and eradicated from their minds the unfounded fear of seeing a fully covered Muslim woman.

He raised the issue of birth control, rise in population and concern for social destabilization in UK and the East of Sri Lanka.If Dushy Renetunga lives in the same planet where I live, he should know what his adopted country Britain had done to millions of innocent Muslims all over the world including Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia and many other countries. In Iraq alone more than 1.3 million innocent Muslim men, women, the aged and even little children as young as his friend’s daughter have perished at the blood stained hands of disgraced former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his master George Bush. This slaughter continues unabated even today. More than four million Iraqis have become refugees in their own country, two million of them in Syria and almost a million in Jordan. Iraq was destroyed to fulfill the Zionist dream of greater Israel- from Euphrates in Iraq to Nile in Egypt.

What about the genocides of Muslim in the other Muslim countries by US and UK.How many articles have Dushy written that have highlighted the bloodbath of Muslims by British forces during the past decade and half? Yet he writes about the social destabilization of Britain and the Eastern Sri Lanka by increasing Muslim populations. What sheer nonsense.

If I were to write more about the British crime against innocent Muslims during the past century and half, instead of dining at Italian and Indian restaurants, Dushy will want to be with the victims of British crimes. On seeing their miserable condition, perhaps, a man with a conscience may even give up his British citizenship?

Oppressed and brutalized Muslims all over the world are rising up against American, British, French and even United Nations’ crimes on them as they do in Palestine which was robbed by the Europeans and given to migrant Jews and other such places. You call them radicals, fundamentalists and so on.

There is no such thing as ‘radical Islam, Islamic fundamentalists’, Islamic terrorism and the like in Islam which is a religion of middle path and moderation in everything in our day to day lives. There is only one Islam preached to us by our beloved Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) which means nothing but peace. These are phrases carefully coined by the Western media to mislead and prepare the gullible Western mindset against Muslims to falsely justify their designs on Muslim countries – to dominate and loot as they do in the Middle East now.

Muslims firmly believe that food is provided by Almighty Allah and, therefore, they do not concern themselves with birth control.

Muslims have lived in peace and harmony with Sinhalese for more than one thousand years and throughout this period they were not required to compromise their religious principles. Instead generous and far sighted Sinhalese rulers encouraged them to practice their religion without any restrictions. Historian Lorna Dewaraja’s book “The Muslims of Sri Lanka- one thousand years of harmony 900-1915’ speaks a lot about this harmony between Sinhalese and Muslims. This healthy relationship should continue despite efforts by a handful of racists to place road blocks and obstructions.

Dushy’s suggestion to understand the sensitivities at play and compromise what he describes as “antiquarian religious and cultural practices”, the practice of ones religion is a fundamental right of the individual and it is not for anyone else to comment on the religious and cultural practices. So it is not fair to point the finger only on Islam especially without even basic knowledge on Islam.

There was no need for Dushy’s sarcastic comments regarding the loudspeakers to announce the call of prayers. Such issues could be sorted in a civilized manner between civilized people. In fact this problem has been addressed to by the new laws on noise pollution which has to be practiced by all communities. So while one cannot stop the call to prayer, it can be modified to acceptable levels.

It is unfair to comment that of the three major ethnic communities in Sri Lanka, the Muslims are socially, culturally and religiously the most distant from the other two communities. Who is responsible for this? Who deprived them the opportunities which they deserve as a community?

The only way to ease the tension in the east is to stop the injustices against Muslims. Muslim parliamentarians have been subdued. They no longer represent interests of the Muslim community. In private conversations they express their concern over the unfolding events in the east. The situation is such that civil society led by mosques started to guide the community.

Extracting money from handful of wealthy Muslims, as you know, has been an on going affair though around 70 percent Muslims live below the poverty line, ten percent in refugee camps in and around Puttalam and around five percent are refugees in their own homes in the east, especially Mutur which was bombed by both the government forces and the LTTE.

It is either sheer ignorant or deliberate effort to mislead to state that the government doesn’t want to deal with Muslim issues in the East due to internal and external factors. In fact the government and neo nationalist elements that got into the driving seat of the government are most active in the east. Please read the EMPA report to enlighten your self.

With regard to external factors, yes, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and other Muslim countries have been the very same countries that are coming to the rescue of Sri Lanka in its hour of need to overcome the menace of terrorism with no strings attached unlike the Western countries. Besides, it is to these Muslim countries that we Sri Lankan as a whole flock to for employment and for the foreign exchange that keeps our own country float.

Isn’t it time we open our eyes and look around the country, region and beyond. Certainly you will realize we do not live in the Middle Age.

We proudly claim of our thousands of years of great civilization, but where do we stand today? This paradise of an island has been turned into one of the worst killing fields of Asia. How did this happen? Daily reports of crimes such as rape, murder, hacking and chopping, corruption and the moral degradation demoralize almost everyone from the time when we read the newspapers in the morning. Many years ago Hector Abeywardena said “we have become a nation of savages”.

Isn’t it time to rethink our policies of the past six decades, seek means to bring communities together and move ahead to ensure a better future at least for future generations. This is what average Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all others are dreaming of. This is what all the countries in the region are doing. Our giant neighbor India and tiny neighbor Maldives Islands were far behind us around the time of independence. Today where are they and where are we?

Isn’t it also time that we resurrect the belief that diversity of race, religion, culture and language are God’s blessing in this beautiful island home of ours?

Source : Muslimguardian

Source of Clip : YA TV

Fear in Sri Lanka’s Muslim communities – 14 July 07-  Al Jazeera


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