ASHRAFF A SAMAD
COLOMBO : Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, under its new leadership, has started a program to interview senior Muslims journalists in the island about their life history.
The first such program was held at the YMMA Conference Hall at Dematagoda Road, Maradana on Saturday, June,18 .The first journalist to speak about his life history was veteran journalist of internati0nal repute and prominent author Latheef Farook.
The immediate past president of the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, N.M.Ameen introduced the speaker to the audience at the meeting chaired by its new President Furkha Bee Ifthikar.
Born at Madawala Bazaar and studied at Madawala school,Wattegama Christ Church College, Matale St Thomas College and Matale Zahira College, Latheef plunged into the field of journalism as a free lance writer with the now defunct Sun Newspaper company where he worked both for SUN and its Tamil daily Dinapathi .
Since then it was progress after progress before ending up as Dubai based English language daily Bureau Chief in Bahrain looking after Saudi Arabia too.
Latheef Farook began his journalistic career with the now defunct Independent Newspapers in 1966 before joining the Lake House Group of newspapers in 1971. At Lake House he worked with the Ceylon Daily News and the evening daily Ceylon Observer covering local politics and foreign affairs besides finance and economic sectors
Simultaneously working as the Sri Lankan correspondent for Middle Eastern news agencies following local response to developments in the Middle East, he also concentrated on economic developments in the international scene, especially in the developing world.
In 1976, Ceylon Daily News nominated him for the United Nations sponsored Dag Hammarskjöld Scholarship for Third World journalists. In 1979, he led a group of Sri Lankan journalists to Dubai where he re launched English language daily “Gulf News”.
A year later he joined the Khaleej Times where he covered for seven years almost every aspect of United Arab Emirates’ development program, besides covering the Indian elections of 1979, which brought Ms. Indira Gandhi to power.
Rejoining the Gulf News in 1987 he worked as the Gulf News Bureau Chief in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where he filed regular articles on the Gulf’s and Middle East’s sensitive political scenes, economy, finance, banking and social problems besides extensively interviewing visiting world leaders.
Using the information gathered he wrote a book on Dubai, but remain unpublished to date.
After almost a quarter century living and working in the Gulf, he returned home in March 2003 where he began supplying feature articles on almost every aspect of Sri Lanka aimed at catering to Sri Lankan expatriates in the Gulf region, Europe, the Americas and the Far East.
He also wrote articles on developments in the Muslim world especially Middle East.
Hand in hand he also began writing books on the current local and international scenes. His first book ”War on Terrorism-The Untold Truths” published by Malaysia based Strategic Information and Research Development deals in detail with the conspiracy of associating terrorism with Islam and Muslims to justify the US-European and Israeli invasions and destruction of Muslim countries.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed wrote the foreword for the book which contains comments by well-known British playwright Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter. It was later published in Colombo. His second book “Nobody’s People-The Forgotten Plight of Sri Lankan Muslims” highlights the sufferings of Sri Lankan Muslims due to the ethnic war between the Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam. His third book “America’s New World Order-EXPORTING WARS” deals in depth with the Israeli sponsored and United States led British, European and Russian invasions and destruction of Muslim countries since the collapse of former Soviet Union in 1979 and the planned massacre of millions of Muslims which continues to date.
The book documents the genocides committed in many Muslim countries from the never ending Israel atrocities on Palestinians, wars in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Iraq, Libya, Algeria and Syria to Yemen. It also deals with the ongoing Islamophobic campaign against Islam and Muslims worldwide
This book has comments from Nobel Laureate Tawakkul Karman, well known American journalist Paul Craig Roberts who was former Assistant Secretary to United States late President Ronald Regan, Chicago based journalist Stephen Lendman, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Secretary of State for International Development Clair Short, Malaysian intellectual Dr Chandra Muzaffar and Indian writer Ram Punyani.
His book “Muslims under Siege” deals with the atrocities committed by former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse regime on the island’s Muslims. He also compiled a book “Mayhem during Curfew” on the attacks on Muslims at Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Beruwala in the west coast of Sri Lanka in June 2015.
Simultaneously he worked as a member of the board of management of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Affairs, BCIS, in 2014 and 2015.
In May 2015, he was invited on a lecture tour to Britain. During the month long tour he was honored at the Sri Lankan Muslim Cultural Centre (SLMCC) in the London Borough of Harrow, for his services in highlighting burning Muslim issues in the island and abroad and creating awareness both within the community and the country as a whole.
Pinnacle of his career was when the Sri Lanka Press Institute awarded him the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for journalism at a glittering ceremony at Mount Lavinia Hotel in July 2015.
His book “India lost Kashmir“, launched in Colombo in 2016, is a collection of articles on the Indian occupation and the endless atrocities committed by Indian armed forces on Kashmiri Muslims to crush their struggle for freedom since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.
He compiled a book on articles from writers from all over the world on the Myanmar government sponsored genocide of Muslims in the fertile and resource rich Rakhine region. This book, “Genocide of Rohingya Muslims” sponsored by a well-wisher, was distributed free to professionals, intellectuals, universities and libraries in the island and abroad.
His book, HOPE SHATTERED-Maithri-Ranil’s Promises and Failures- on the unwanted and shameful racist violence against the island’s Muslims under the present government was released in March 2019.
His book “Foreign Presence in Sri Lanka” published by Sri Lankan Journalists for Global Justice” in January 2020 provides a clear picture of the penetration of foreign forces and its overall impact in the island. Forceful Cremation of Muslim Corona Dead-Playing with Fire-No Lesson Learnt, deals with the unnecessary cremation of Muslim corona dead bodies was released in February 2021.
He also compiled a book on articles from leading Indian writers and others on Prime Minister Narendra Modi government sponsored violence against Muslims, Christians and Dalits- the so called scheduled caste.
He has just completed his long awaited dream project- a book on the complete and unbiased history of the conspiracy of British and French Imperial Powers later blindly backed by United States and former Soviet Union to plant lawless and evil Israel in peaceful Palestine in the heart of the Muslim Middle East.
He maintains a website, latheeffarook.com, supplying his regular feature articles on local and international scenes from Muslim world point of view.
Disclaimer: Veteran journo shares experiences with youths at the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view