Several of the measures recommended in the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Easter Sunday attack will put the majority community on a confrontational course with ethno-religious minorities, specially the Muslims.
Instead of winning over the Muslim community and establishing unity and peaceful co-existence with all others, most of the recommendations will marginalise, ostracise, radicalise and counter-radicalise communities. Implementation of some of the recommendations will create an unacceptable situation worse than the presently reversed enforced cremation policy implemented for nearly one year.
The problem is primarily because the report is inspired by unsubstantiated and unproven speculative narratives, which the right wing extremists in the West, at war with Islam had been marketing since 1992 and not based on critically evaluated evidence led before the Commission taking the Sri Lankan situation into consideration.
Sri Lanka will become trapped further in communal confrontations that will be to the detriment of the economic advancement of the country. Of course the Commission has also made some positive recommendations. We will refer to some of them in another discourse.
But it will not be acceptable to punish the Muslim community or Islam or its time-tested institutions for the crimes committed by NTJ’s deviant terrorists. Such extended assault on the community will be similar to the US Government penalising the Sri Lanka’s Army Commander’s family for the Commander’s alleged wrongs or US indiscriminately bombing Afghanistan for the 9/11 attacks committed allegedly by the Saudis.
We need to draw attention to some instances amongst several in the report. The report recommends “preventive detention” (page 454) of persons alleged to be “religious extremists”. The country’s criminal law provides for the preventive detention of Island Reconvicted Criminals (IRCs) at times of visits of foreign dignitaries and serious emergencies.
Can we treat religious dignitaries or intensely religious persons on par with IRCs possibly on someone’s allegation that some amongst them are extremists? Unlike violent extremism, it is not an offence to have extreme views because that is a universally recognised limb of the freedom of expression!
In a country which gives ‘foremost place’ to Buddhism, sadly liquor bars, night clubs, gambling dens proliferate without any objection while those engaged in religious activities and invite people to desist from wrongdoing are recommended to be possibly detained like IRCs! This may lead to open conflicts and must be avoided. The report wrongfully attempts to blame Islam (at page 18, “threat posed by Islam”) for the Easter Sunday attacks. It is a shocking accusation that will inevitably be firmly resisted. There is no credible evidence before the Commission to make such a serious, unacceptable and flawed insinuation on Islam with a 1,500 year history. Such recommendations will only lead to conflicts and not solve even existing problems! It will be used as cannon fodder in international fora.
The Archbishop of Colombo in a globally quoted speech on 21/07/2019 at Katuwapitiya said that the Easter Sunday attacks were an international conspiracy and not merely the work of Islamic extremists. He said Islamic ideology was being used to create mayhem all over the globe.
Blaming Islam is undoubtedly a travesty of justice. Was the Commission regrettably misled by years of malicious propaganda against Islam by the world’s notorious war mongers and its agents supported by sections of the international media?
The Commission has also referred to “exclusivism” as the first step to terrorism (page 11). Questions will naturally arise whether priesthood, monkhood, abandoning worldly life, celibacy or even meditation are also evidence of the bizarre theory of ‘exclusivism’? Of course there is no priesthood in Islam. These new dimensions laid through agents of the Western arms industry are in conflict with Asian historical norms. They are aimed at conflict creation.
It has also referred to ‘Sufism’ and its ‘meditation centre’ at Kattankudy being attacked (page13) quoting journalists. Sufism is a well-recognised facet of Islam as much as ‘monotheism’ or ‘thowheed’ or ‘oneness’ of Allah as distinguished from the Christian concept of ‘Trinity’. Any attack on Sufism or Thowheed is an attack on Islam.
The attempt to lump the Muslims with terrorists while seeking to divide the Muslims as Sufis, Thowheeds, Thablighs and Jamaaths or more importantly from the other communities in Sri Lanka will be seen only as an extension of the West’s war on Islam. It will end as a costly exercise that can destructively contribute to the dismemberment of Sri Lanka on ethno-religious lines that might soon be exploited by the West.
Sri Lankans should read in this regard the many great works and speeches of Sri Lanka’s eminent jurist Dr. C.G. Weeramantry of International Court of Justice (ICJ) fame or John Perkins (US), ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’.
(M.M. Zuhair PC is a former MP; Latheef Farook is a journalist and author; Mass L. Usuf is an Attorney-at-Law and Advocacy Columnist; and Mansoor Dahlan is a Theology Scholar.)
Disclaimer: Was the Commission misled by malicious Islamophobicpropaganda by the world’s war mongers and its agents? - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view