Friday, 31 January 2014

What is your objective?

What is your objective?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.   We seek refuge in Allah, the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing, from the incitement of the Shaitaan.  And we start in the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Allah says in the Holy Quran: Chapter 16, Surah An-Nahl Ayat 125: Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and excellent admonition and argue with people in the best manner. Your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Way and who is Rightly guided.
Allah,The All-Seeing, All-Knowing, Knows Best our mission in starting this forum.   We swear by Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise, and Allah is our witness, and Allah Alone suffices to be our witness; that our one and only mission is to invite our brothers and sisters to the true deen of Islam, as revealed to our beloved Prophet Mohamed (saws) in the Holy Quran.   
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale-Imran verse 19: Indeed, Islam in the ONLY right way of life in the sight of Allah.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale-Imran verse 85: And whoever adopts any other than this way of Islam, that way shall not be accepted from him and in the Hereafter, he shall be among the losers.
Allah declares in His Glorious Book that Islam is the only Right Way of life in the sight of Allah.   Anyone who adopts any other way, that way shall not be accepted from him and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter.
Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 67 Surah Al Mulk verse 2: He (Allah) created death and life that He may test you, to see which of you is the best in deeds.
Here Allah states his mission in creating life on this planet earth. We were created and given this short period of life so that we can be tested by Allah Subhanah. At the end of this short test, Allah has promised to gather all mankind on the Day of Judgement and Judge each of us according to our deeds done on this earth. Those who are successful will be awarded the eternal Gardens of Paradise wherein they will live forever. And the ones who fail this test, their abode will be the everlasting torture of the Fire of Hell. In His Mercy and Grace, He sent us the Last Messenger (saws) and revealed the Glorious Quran for our guidance. Now whoever accepts, obeys, and follows the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Messenger, and does righteous deeds according to the Quran and Sunnah, he will be the one who will be successful, Insha Allah. The one who rejects these sources of knowledge, and forms or follows any other beliefs and paths, it will not be accepted from him by Allah, and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verse 31-32: Prophet, tell the people, “If you sincerely love Allah, follow me.   Then Allah will love you and forgive you your sins, for He is All Forgiving, All Merciful.”  Also say to them, “Obey Allah and His Messenger.”  And if, in spite of this, they do not accept your invitation, warn them that Allah does not love those, who refuse to obey Him and His Messenger.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 12 Surah Yusuf verse 108: (O Mohamed) tell them plainly, “This is my Way!  I invite you to Allah.  I myself see my Way in full light, and my followers see it too.  And Allah is absolutely free from defect, and I have nothing to do with those who invoke others with Allah.”
Prophet Mohamed (saws) was the Last Messenger of Allah, and there are no more messengers coming after him. Thus it is the duty of every believer to invite whoever wants to listen to reasoning and good caution, to the Way of the Holy Quran. Their duty is only to invite in the best possible manner. Allah has given every human being intelligence and common-sense, and if the invitee, with his own free will chooses to accept your invitation and follow the Path of Allah, fine. If not, he can follow any path he wills, to ultimately meet with his Lord.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verse 110: You (muslims) are the best community which has been raised for the guidance of mankind.  You enjoin what is right, and forbid what is evil and you all believe in Allah Alone.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 22 Surah Hajj verse 78: Exert your utmost for the cause of Allah, as one should.   He has chosen you for His service and has not laid on you any hardship in your deen.   Therefore, be steadfast in the religion of your father, Abraham.  Allah had called you ‘Muslims” before this, and has called you (by the same name) in this Quran also, so that the Messenger may be a witness in regard to you, and you may be witnesses in regard to the rest of mankind.   Therefore, establish the ‘salaat’ and pay the ‘zakaat’, and hold fast to Allah.   He is your ‘Maula’:  what an excellent ‘Maula’ and what an excellent Helper!
The first and foremost duty of every human being should be save himself and his family from the impending Fire of Hell by following the commandments of Allah and His Messenger (saws).  
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 66 Surah Tahreem verse 6: O you who have believed, save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel shall be men and stones; over which shall be appointed fierce and stern angels, who never disobey Allah’s Command, and they only do as they are commanded!
It is Allah who created us, sustains us, gives us life, ordains our death, and will raise us to life again in the Hereafter. He is indeed The All-Mighty, All Hearing, All Seeing!   Thus He Alone deserves our invocation and our worship. Thus whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger (saws), should call on Allah Alone for all his needs, for it is Allah Alone Who has the power to hear us and answer all our prayers.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 186: And if My servants ask you, O Prophet, concerning Me, tell them that I am quite near to them.   I hear and answer the prayer of the suppliant, when he calls on Me.  So let them respond to My call and believe in Me.  (Convey this to them), perhaps they may be guided aright!
The All Merciful has revealed the Glorious Quran for our guidance, and it is the duty of every believer to read this Message of the Merciful and understand it well, so that he can follow the path as ordained by the Holy Quran.   Contrary to whatever people say, this Quran is easy reading and shows the Path to Allah very clearly.   And our invitation to all our brothers and sisters is to read this Quran with understanding, and then formulate the Way as shown in the Holy Quran.
Allah says in Chapter 2, Surah Baqarah aayat 185: Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down: this Book is a perfect guidance for mankind and consists of CLEAR teachings which show the right way and are a Criterion of the Truth and falsehood.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 16 Surah Nahl verse 89: We have sent down to you this Book, which makes everything plain, and is a guidance, blessing and good news to those who have surrendered themselves entirely.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 43 Surah Zukhruf verses 43-44: So, hold fast to the Book that has been revealed to you, you are surely on the Siraat al Mustaqeem.  The fact is that this book is a great honor for you and your people, and soon you shall be CALLED TO ACCOUNT for it.
This is thus our mission and our sole motive in starting this forum:  To invite our brethren to read and understand the Message of the All Merciful.    We invite you to follow the Path as ordained by the Quran, so that you too may save yourselves and your families from the Fire.    We ask for no thanks or appreciation for this service; our reward is with the Lord of the Worlds.    We invite you so that we may be able to offer an excuse to our Lord on the Day of Judgement, that we fulfilled our duty as muslims, and did invite our brethren and everyone who wanted to listen to good caution.   
May Allah accept our humble contribution in the propagation of the Truth and save us, through His Mercy, from the torture of the Fire of Hell.  Ameen.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
May Allah guide you and us to read and understand the simple and plain words of the Glorious Quran.  May Allah increase our knowledge from the Holy Quran.   May Allah guide us to the Siraat al Mustaqeem.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

On Rajapaksa Practice: If You Cannot Win Them Over, Buy Them!

Tariq A. Al-Maeena
Tariq A. Al-Maeena
It has been industry practice in many countries for authorities to curry favors from news personalities.  Such a practice becomes more evident when their institutions are under fire and they need all the good press they can cultivate.  But a few independent news publications and individuals do stand out and do not fall for the financial windfalls doled out in exchange for good print.
One such publication is the Sri Lankan Colombo Telegraph whose motto says, “In journalism truth is a process.”  The news website which getsblocked from time to time for its critical and hard-hitting expose of corruption in the Sri Lankan government now highlights how Sri Lankan PresidentMahinda Rajapaksa is currying favors through a novel scheme of providing key media players and personalities with interest free loans.
Leaked files in possession of the Colombo Telegraph “show that the Rajapaksa regime has granted 547 journalists and media workers a Rupees 1,200,000 ($9,200) of interest free government loans from a state bank to purchase car or van, where the interest will be paid by the Treasury using taxpayer money.”
The Colombo Telegraph charges that “journalists from virtually every mainstream media in the country with the exception of the Sunday Times newspaper have accepted laptops and car loans or both from the Rajapaksa regime.”
Among the news persons were BBC journalists assigned to its Sinhala section.  The Colombo Telegraph’s exposures about “the serious conflict of interest issues and violations of standard journalistic ethics” compelled the BBC World Service to rule that “some of its Sinhala Section journalists have breached journalistic ethics and violated the BBC’s code of conduct by applying for interest free vehicle loans offered by the Sri Lankan Government.” The BBC has also stated that the staff in breach of the code would be sent for retraining.
But the BBC journalists who were pulled up apparently did not get the correct message from London headquarters.  Those who were granted the loan never withdrew their applications, according to the Colombo Telegraph. “They can go to the recommended bank and get the loan anytime” secretary to the Media Ministry Charitha Herath told the news site.
The news has not gone down well with many Sri Lankans alarmed at the course their current President is charting for their country.  Besides charges of systematic genocide that the Tamils have suffered or claim that they continue to suffer, a terrorist group of Buddhists calling themselves the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) have been focusing their crosshairs on the other minorities in the country including Christians and Muslims.
From the burning and pillaging of churches and mosques to an obvious lack of government determination to stamp out the terrorist BBS group, Sri Lankans today face an uncertain future as the country brims below the surface and could explode at any time.
Rosie Dimanno of the Toronto Star speaks of such assaults on places of worship and businesses of minorities. Such attacks are “incited in large measure by xenophobic rhetoric from Sinhala Buddhist extremists aligned with two fringe groups – Sinhala Ravaya (Sinhalese Roar) and Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force).” A few Buddhist monks were arrested at the time of the attack but released not long after. “Others saw it …as more evidence of how bigoted clerics operate with impunity from law enforcement and a government that values the endorsement of politicized monks.”
Rajapaksa’s modus operandi of buying favors from those who decline to report on such atrocities is not missed by the few credible and honest journalists who refuse to be bought.  And even citizens are not so forgiving.  As one commented, “Every month the government shamelessly takes close to 30 percent of my pay as taxes and a further percent in the name of EPF. Yet all I get is higher electricity bills and ever increasing CoL and the middle finger! These scribes get laptops and loans for free. Truly the wonder of Asia.”
The president’s generosity toward the news media to color over news events has not swayed foreign agencies from demanding the truth about the charges of genocide and war crimes committed by Rajapaksa’s government.  The Tamil Guardian reports that “Britain’s Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire once again reiterated that unless allegations of war crimes have ‘credible, transparent and independent investigations’ taking place by March, then Britain will push for an international investigation to begin.”
The Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) has also demanded a UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka asking for an independent international investigation into the genocide perpetrated against the Tamil nation, starting from Sri Lanka’s independence to the present day, and investigation into missing people.  They also demanded an interim administration in the Tamil homeland to ensure protection and compensation for all victims and witnesses, a recognition of the Tamil nation’s right to self-determination and complete demilitarization of their provinces.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is resorting to a practice that has served many leaders well over the decades.  But there are always the few honest exceptions who are not swayed by the glitter of gold and bring home the truth to their readers.  The Colombo Telegraph has demonstrated time and again that it belongs to this exclusive club of truthful and unbiased news reporting.
Now shouldn’t the New York Times and the BBC follow suit?
The author can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena - This article appeared in the Saudi Gazette on January 21, 2014

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Mob including Buddhist monks attack Christian centre in Hikkaduwa (+play...

Breaking: A Rohingya Village Under Assaults of Authority: Military and Security Force Open Fire, Plunder the Village and Carry Out Mass-Arrests

MYARF Report | Written by M.S. Anwar
14th January 2014
Maungdaw, Arakan: Around 3AM this morning (on 14th January @014 morning), a joint force of Military, Security Force (Hlun Hteins) and Police started raiding the village of Anthala village of east Kilai-Daung (Du-Chira-Dan) village tract, southern Maungdaw. They opened fire at the people. They started carrying out mass-arrests regardless of age and gender. During the operation, many people were injured, some say few people have died as well.
The whole account is as mentioned below.
“In Southern Maungdaw at 11PM last night (i.e. 13th January 2013), Police from Kaye-Myaing station together with Rakhine extremists from the village of Kin-Chaung were carrying out robberies at a few Rohingya houses in the nearby village of Kilai-Daung (Du-Chira-Dan). As they called out for help, the villagers rushed to rescue them from the robbers. So, the robbers and the villagers had fierce fights.
When the villagers realized that there were also police among the Rakhine robbers robbing their co-villagers’ houses, they backed off and left respectively. However, 4 hours later (i.e. around 3AM on 14th January 2014), a joint force of Military, Security Force (Hlun Hteins) and Police blocked and started raiding the village. They said that one of their Policemen died during the brawl with the villagers. But we don’t know how far their allegation is true. Neither anybody has seen the policeman’s deadbody nor they could show his dead body.
They opened fire at people trying to escape. Many people injured, while some say people were shot dead as well. They arrested innocent people en masse irrespective to gender or age. Rohingya girls, women, children, men and old people on two trucks were taken to unknown places subsequently. People around the region are struck with immense fear. Nobody knows how many his/her family members got arrested or died.
The village has been declared to be Red-Zone or No Entry Zone for Rohingyas. It is being seeing from a far place that Rakhine extremists are looting and taking away all the properties and goods from Rohingya houses. Numbers of houses and One Mosque have been destroyed till now” said a local from a nearby village.
“We don’t know why they are carrying such atrocities without any humane consideration through a malicious conspiracy. Maybe the authority do not want see the region somehow stablizing. Or the authority just want to divert people’s attention from the fact that they seized many piles of weapons of destruction at a Rakhine Buddhist monastery called Damma-Yun at Myoma Kayindan (Shiddafara), Maungdaw. Whatever the case maybe, we are extremely suffering in their cat and mouse game. As of now, we are unable to describe how much destruction they have done to the village and the villagers” he continued.
Stay with us for updates……

The Bodu Bala Sena = Myanmar 969

The Bodu Bala Sena is similar to the 969 movement of Myanmar. Their ideology, actions and speeches are virtually
identical. The only real difference is important. The Sri Lankan group has not actually committed violent acts. In Myanmar, the 969 group has been accused of inciting and then supporting attacks which have killed hundreds of Muslims, and burnt down villages and homes across the country.
In both cases, Buddhists should be dismayed at the abuse of their religion. The media reports from Sri Lanka identified the founder and chief pulpit-pounder of the anti-Muslim campaign as 37-year-old Galagoda Atte Gnanasara. He summarises his beliefs and bias concisely. “This is a Buddhist nation,” he says of Sri Lanka. “Not everyone can live under the umbrella of a Buddhist culture.”
The Buddhist Power Force was founded in 2012, as Sri Lanka was concluding a long, bloody war with Tamil Tiger separatists. Before that, there was no obvious warning that nationalist Buddhists even had a problem with the country’s Muslims. During the war, the Muslim community was reliably pro-government. Because of their Tamil origins, Muslims played an important part in the Sri Lankan intelligence service.
Muslims believe that the defeat of the Tamil separatists made a few people, including the monks, look for something else to oppose. Sri Lanka’s Islamic community, like in Thailand, is around 10% or less of the population. As in Thailand, a large percentage of Sri Lanka’s Muslims are ethnically different to the Sinhalese majority, and speak Tamil among themselves.
The difference, of course, is that in Thailand virtually every Buddhist not only believes that the nation can shelter those of other races and faiths, they are proud of it. Indeed, it is a mystery how Sri Lanka’s Galagoda Atte Gnanasara and Myanmar’s Bhikkhu Wirathu, as monks in saffron, came to become so strongly bigoted, racist and confrontational. Their words and their support for violent action certainly are not found in the teachings of the Buddha.
Like most bigots, Gnanasara, a fiery speaker, claims to see himself as a protector of the nation and the religion. He brags that, “The secret to my popularity is that I speak the truth.” The membership of his Bodu Bala Sena is a secret, but he has attracted thousands to his meetings, and to events in the streets where Muslims are derided, mocked and attacked.
Such profoundly anti-Buddhist actions are regrettable. Buddhists, both lay people and monks, must persuade both the leaders and followers of hate groups like this to cease and desist. It is they, not the peaceful Muslims of Sri Lanka and Myanmar, who do the most harm to their countries.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Mob including Buddhist monks attack Christian centre in Hikkaduwa (+play...

On the 12th of January 2014, the Assemblies of God and the Calvary church in Hikkaduwa (Galle District) came under attack by mobs while engaging in worship services, says the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri-Lanka.
According to the NCEASL, both churches were engaged in Sunday morning worship when at approximately 10.00 a.m., mobs of about 300 persons led by Buddhist monks stormed the respective churches. The first to be attacked was the Assemblies of God, followed by the Calvary church. Serious damage was caused to the two buildings. Stones were thrown at the premises while some worshippers were trapped inside.
The previous night, the pastors of both churches received information of the impending attacks. They went ahead with the worship services based on the guarantee that there will be police protection for the services, says the NCEASL.
The protesting monks included Buddhist clergy from a group calling themselves ‘Hela Bodu Pawura’ as well as monks from Hikkaduwa and nearby temples. They claimed the Christian presence was illegal. The protesters obstructed the Galle – Colombo main road, creating a tense situation in Hikkaduwa. The situation prevailed past noon, with the Police unable to disperse the mob. A senior police officer who arrived at the scene gave an undertaking to the monks that the churches will be closed for 2 weeks (until 10th February), during which time a solution will be sought. The mobs then dispersed.
24 suspects including eight monks have been identified the Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said today

Saturday, 11 January 2014


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — With a bloody civil war over and a cautious peace at hand, a group of hardline Buddhist monks is rallying Sri Lankans against what they say is a pernicious threat: Muslims.
In just over a year, the saffron-swathed monks of Bodu Bala Sena – or Buddhist Power Force – have amassed a huge following, drawing thousands of fist-pumping followers who rail against the country’s Muslim minority.
Buddhists have attacked dozens of mosques and called for boycotts on Muslim-owned businesses and bans on headscarves and halal foods. At boisterous rallies, monks claim Muslims are out to recruit children, marry Buddhist women and divide the country.
“This is a Buddhist nation, so why are they trying to call it a multicultural society?” said Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, the 37-year-old pulpit-pounding monk who co-founded the group in 2012. “Not everyone can live under the umbrella of a Buddhist culture.”
There have been few if any physical attacks on people, unlike in Myanmar, where Buddhist monks helped incite communal violence in 2012 and 2013 and even stood watch as Buddhist mobs slaughtered Rohingya Muslims. But many Sri Lankans and human rights workers are alarmed, saying the monks are creating communal divisions and giving Buddhism a bad name.
Nearly all of the dozen critics of Bodu Bala Sena interviewed for this story declined to speak on the record, fearing reprisals.
The Sri Lankan government only rarely steps in to defend or protect Muslims, who make up roughly 10 percent of the 20 million people on this Indian Ocean island.
Many see the silence as tacit approval, but Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said it’s intended to encourage community members to work out their own problems. He said the anti-Muslim rumblings are “minor agitations that are normal in any multicultural society.”
“If things get more serious, we will take action,” he said. “These kinds of things can ruin a nation, we are aware of that.”
In September 2011, Buddhists reportedly smashed a 300-year-old Islamic Sufi shrine to rubble in the ancient city of Anuradhapura, a UNESCO world heritage site. Police have denied that the incident happened, but photographs taken by locals show at least a dozen officers watching as young men hammer the shrine to pieces while a monk holds a burning green Islamic flag.
In April 2012, a 2,000-strong Sinhalese mob including monks ransacked Jumma Mosque in the north-central city of Dambulla as police looked on. The government later ordered the removal of the decades-old mosque, saying its location within a sacred Buddhist area was an affront.
In March last year, police watched as red-robed monks led a hollering crowd in trashing a Muslim-owned clothing store.
The U.S. Embassy spoke out after a stone-hurling mob attacked a suburban Colombo mosque in August, calling it “particularly troubling in light of a number of recent attacks against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.”
Muslims say they are also the targets of ludicrous conspiracy theories, including rumors that they spit three times in any dish before serving it to a non-Muslim, or that Muslim shops sell women’s undergarments tainted with chemicals that cause infertility.
Many Muslims feel they are being victimized because of their visibility in the economy – a role they have played for more than 1,000 years since Arab traders brought Islam to Sri Lanka and allied with the Sinhalese against Spanish and Dutch colonial forces. Today, they control at least half of small businesses and hold near-monopolies in the textile and gem trades.
Because most speak Tamil, and not Sinhala, they were key players in military intelligence during the civil war against ethnic Tamil rebels.
“We never thought the government would turn on us,” said Mujibur Rahman, a Muslim member of Colombo’s provincial council. He and other critics contend that the 2009 civil war victory left a triumphant Buddhist Sinhalese majority searching for a new target.
“The president needs to create a new security problem to avoid actually having to govern,” Rahman said. “He has built an image for himself as a Sinhalese Buddhist hero and savior. He needs a new enemy to keep that up.”
The government dismisses the idea as absurd, and Bodu Bala Sena denies any role in organizing attacks. But even some Sinhalese have their suspicions.
“The BBS is trying to push the country toward racial and religious conflict,” said a Sinhalese business owner who would only give his first name, Susantha. “Sometimes I suspect they are carrying out a contract for the government to turn attention away from issues such as the economy, health care and education.”
Gnanasara and Kirama Wimalajothi started Bodu Bala Sena after splitting from a group they said was not militant enough in protecting Buddhist interests in Sri Lanka.
The brawny, bespectacled Gnanasara said that, with about 70 percent of the population practicing Buddhism, the tropical nation has a duty to uphold the religion’s traditions, preserve its heritage sites and police against conversion to other religions.
“The secret to my popularity is that I speak the truth,” he said in an interview held within the Bodu Bala Sena headquarters, in a Buddhist cultural center set among twisted tree trunks and a lush jungle canopy near Colombo, the capital.
Gnanasara said there are “extremist forces trying to create divisions, buy our lands, marry our wives and recruit our children. The same thing happened in Malaysia, theMaldives and Bangladesh – all now Muslim countries. The same thing may happen in Sri Lanka if we’re not careful.”
At a rally in August, Gnanasara urged Sri Lankans: “Don’t vote for any politician who does not admit this is a Sinhalese Buddhist country.”
The aggressive tones have clashed with the country’s pledge to pursue postwar reconciliation, a pledge still largely unfulfilled as the government flouts international calls for an independent war crimes probe.
Analysts say radical Buddhism is just one sign of human rights being sidelined in Sri Lanka. With the nation reveling in postwar relief, lawmakers loyal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa passed a constitutional amendment in 2010 extending his term limits and revoking guarantees of independent police, judiciary and electoral commissions.
“We’re seeing a pattern of really severe human rights violations right across the board,” Amnesty International director Steve Crawshaw said. “The government can’t stand any forms of protest or criticism, and yet it appears to actively turn away from violence and lawlessness against other ethnic minorities and religions.”
The justice minister and Colombo’s mayor are both Muslim, but neither has made any public moves to address tensions.
Islam is not the only religion Buddhists have targeted. In September, a radical Buddhist monk led a group in attacking a Protestant church during a prayer service.
The country’s Tamils, who are mostly Hindu and account for about 11 percent of the population, have remained largely quiet and cowed since the army routed the Tamil Tiger rebels. But many Tamils today are frustrated, too, as they await postwar reconciliation measures including the return of all seized property and land.
Bodu Bala Sena monks make many accusations about other religions – Christian pastors making suicide bomb kits, Islamists taking children away to train in Pakistan – without offering supporting evidence.
“We are worried about our children. We are struggling with the government to stop these cons,” Wimalajothi, the group’s leader, said as Gnanasara nodded by his side. “We need the government on our side. And the government is doing its best jobpossible to handle this.”
Associated Press writer Bharatha Mallawarachi contributed to this report.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Abusing War Affected Children: Suspected Paedophile Buddhist Monk Was Granted A Non-Conditional Bail

In October 2013 Buddhist monk Kalyana Tissa of the Seth Sevana Lama Nivasa of Attambagaskanda, Vavuniya was arrested for sexually abusing a 9 year old child. The Buddhist monk was kept in remand custody and medical evidence confirmed the sexual abuse of the child on 12.10.2013. Subsequently the custody of the remaining 22 children of the children’s home was taken by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) on 15.10.2013. Fearing that the remaining children may have also been sexually abused the Vavuniya magistrate requested the medical examination of the 22 children. Through the court order the suspect remained in custody. However on 31.12.2013 the suspected monk was granted a non-conditional bail on the basis that the Attorney General Department (AG), on the instructions of the NCPA has informed court that it has no objections for the suspect to be granted bail.  The next hearing is to be on the 11th of February.
Kalyana Tissa
Kalyana Tissa
Most of the children at this home are victims of war. These children have been placed in this home to ensure their education, safety and care by family members who are unable to provide the same for these children. Some of these children have lost their fathers in the war, their mothers are daily wage laborers who work in jobs such as stone breaking and barely earn a living.  These mothers placed their children hoping they would have a better chance at life through education and hoping for their care and protection.  In such a context how far these children’s rights and lives are being protected by the head of this home is a question.  Even though the children in the Seth Sevana Lama Nivasa are Tamil, they have been enrolled in Kaatumankulam Govt.  Sinhala mixed school. Their right to learn their mother tongue, practice their religion and culture, the protection of their ethnic identity has been violated and they are being compelled to assimilate into a Sinhala Buddhist cultural and ethnic identiy. Upon receipt of complaint from the civil society and others an exhaustive investigation was carried out by Vavuniya NCPA child protection officer, probation officer, public health inspector and the police and they jointly submitted a report on 29.11.2010 to NCPA head office.  But due to NCPA’s irresponsible investigation it has risked a group of young vulnerable children continue to suffer emotional and psychological abuses.
In Sri Lanka child protection and care services such as the NCPA, Task force on child protection are under the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs.  Each province and districts have officers who have been appointed for the care and protection of children.  In the current incident the bail was granted due to the report given by the NCPA to the Attorney General. It raises serious concerns as to the evenhandedness of the NCPA in regards to children from minority communities.  Because even though complaints in regards to the said Buddhist monk have been made to the NCPA since 2010 actions have only been taken to protect the offender rather than the children. It must be noted that only after the protests of the child protection officers in Vavuniya in regards to the inaction of the NCPA that the arrest was made.
The NCPA’s vision and mission claims to create a child friendly and protective environment for children and to ensure children are free from all forms of abuse. There is a hotline no: 1929 that provides 24 hour service in all three languages. The reluctance of such an institution to push for the arrest of this monk and the subsequent report recommending his release places the actions of the NCPA in doubt.
The Lawyer, Mr. K.S. Ratnavel who is representing the victim states that ‘the AG should have taken further stringent action against the suspect. Requesting the bail of such a suspect places the independence of the AG’s department in question. Instead of protecting victims they are protecting the suspect thus there is a conflict of interest both in the role played by the AG and the NCPA. The NCPA was created for the protection of children. However the NCPA has come out in support of the suspect in this case, it has failed to submit the relevant reports of the 22 children to the court and instead submitted the same to the AG. It has claimed to have completed investigations while investigations are still pending and has thereby misled the court. Consequently it has caused the possibility of the intimidation of witnesses through the release of the suspect. This reflects on the failure of public institutions in working for the people. Instilling the rule of law and justice is difficult when judicial institutions themselves undermine these goals.”
Ensuring the protection of children especially those children who have lost their families due to war and undergone several rights abuses is the paramount obligation of governmental institutions, especially those created for the protection of children.  If children are to be refused protection due to their ethnicity and their abuse is to be ignored then the ability and intentions of such government organizations must be questioned.
The increase of violence against women and children has been on the rise since the end of the war. The recent abuse of a 4 year old child in Trincomalee by a person suspected to be a Navy officer who ran and hid in the navy camp reflects the impunity with which such abuses occur against women and children. It is with deep regret that we note that the NCPA has failed to protect children and this trend can be seen across the country through various reports of child abuse and long drawn process in investigation and prosecution of offenders.
As a country that has had a strong policy in regards to protecting children and has passed several laws and set up institutions for the same, the punishment of offenders, proper investigations and protection of children should not be a challenge for Sri Lanka. Especially when there have been officers appointed at the regional and district levels and women and children’s desks in these districts. It is indeed telling that women and children continue to suffer grave abuse and rights violations despite the existence of such officers and institutions.
At a time when the Sri Lankan government claims to be on a path of peace and development post war and calls Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia in international forums, it is imperative that the violence that is taking place against women and children is stopped, especially violence against women and children from minority communities.
* Filed by Women’s Action Network (A network consisting of 8 women’s organizations based in the north and east of Sri Lanka

Friday, 3 January 2014

Is kissing of tomb or grave allowed in Islam?

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Is kissing of any tomb or grave haraam?
(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)
Is kissing of tomb or grave allowed in Islam?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol,  no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam, no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Firstly, it is absolutely impermissible in Islam to make a tomb or shrine over a grave, or erecting any sort of a structure on the graves of the deceased.
Jabir reported: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, forbade the whitewashing of a grave, sitting on it, or erecting any structure on it." (Reported by Ahmad, Muslim, Nasa'i, Abu Daw'ud, andTirmidhi.)
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.425         Narrated by Aisha
When the Prophet (saws) became ill, some of his wives talked about a church which they had seen in Ethiopia and it was called Mariya.   Um Salma and Um Habiba had been to Ethiopia, and both of them narrated its (the Church's) beauty and the pictures it contained.  The Prophet (saws) raised his head and said, "Those are the people who, whenever a pious man dies amongst them, make a place of worship at his grave,  and then they make those pictures in it.  Those are the worst creatures in the Sight of Allah."
It is not permissible for a believer, who sincerely fears Allah and the Last Day, to kiss the grave of anyone, whoever that deceased person might be!   Kissing the grave or the tomb ofsomeone, would imply grave-worship; and the worship of anything or any being other than Allah Subhanah is considered a heinous sin in Islam.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your Brother in Islam,