Friday March 15, 2013
Fourth response to Shenali Waduge :
MUSLIM PHILOSOPHY : People convert to
this religion of peace
Hameed Abdul Karim
Amidst her usual racist ranting and hypothetical hyperbole that somehow Islam will subtly subdue ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ in Sri Lanka, Shenali Waduge (Daily News February, 28, 2013) challenges me to show her if there is ‘any Christian or Muslim country in the world where the State has contributed to building a Buddhist place of worship’.
What I want to know is does Shenali Waduge think that a Christian or Muslim nations’, standard or place in civilisation is to be gauged as advanced or otherwise depending on whether they had built a Buddhist temple or not. This is absolutely silly. What kind of logic is this if logic is the word I want? I know what she’s getting at. She will now tell us that the Sri Lankan government is constructing mosques for the Mithya Drusthika variety called Muslims. Well, the fact of the matter is that the government is repairing mosques and in one instance rebuilding one which was completely destroyed during the war.
If, and I say this as a Muslim, the government abandons its funding for repairing mosques, then I am sure we Muslims can raise the funds needed for this purpose. We don’t need government funding.
Shenali Waduge says that the kovil in Dubai I referred to had been demolished in 2005. This is a blatant lie as any recent Hindu visitor to Dubai will tell you. If the good editor chooses to publish Waduge’s response to this piece of mine then I request that she apologises for misleading the public not only this time but on previous occasions as well. Since I have always felt that one of the agendas of ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ supremacists is to cause rifts between all minority communities, this blatant lie is one such effort in that direction.
Christians, Tamils and Muslims continue to be harassed and all of us in minority communities, which include non-racist Sinhala Buddhists like my bosom pals Rohith Dias, Ajith Bodinagoda, Nanda Kaluthanthri, Arunika Wickremasinghe, Tissa Jayasinghe and Mahinda Hattaka to name just a few, feel like tourists who have overstayed our visas in Sri Lanka. With all this hate speech we are on pins wondering whether we’ll be kicked out once the patience, charity and goodwill of the ‘magnanimous majority community’ reaches its end.
Let me tell your readers, if not Ms. Waduge, that the Taxila institute of Asian Civilisations, under the leadership of Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Khan, of the Quaid-i-Azam University has commenced archeological excavations on a newly discovered Buddhist monastery in Badalpur. Among the exciting finds so far are remains of an assembly hall, kitchen, stores and steward rooms. A good number of antiquities dating between 1st century and 4th century CE were also discovered. So there you are Muslims are not the iconoclasts that Shenali Waduge accuses them of.
There are hundreds of Buddhist temples spread all over Malaysia. There are at least two Sinhala Buddhist temples in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and they have been repaired over and over again by the state. These two temples are run by Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist monks. In Kelantan where the Buddhist population is barely 3 per cent there are nearly 200 Buddhist temples. One of the temples boasts of the largest reclining statue of the Buddha in South East Asia. A noteworthy feature is that the reclining Buddha was built in the 1980s while the state of Kelantan was and continues to be governed by PAS which is an Islamic political party.
So there you have another example about Muslims not being iconoclasts. Hope your readers will get a better perspective of Muslims with this bit of information. And for sure I will be the first to say that the Taleban were iconoclasts just as much as those ‘Sinhala Buddhists’ who destroyed the Muslim shrine in Anuradhapura or those who want to destroy Daftar Jailani in Balangoda are. On the one hand we have Shenali Waduge tell us she and her fellow travellers have no scruples with ‘Sufi’ Muslims and on the other they want to destroy a Sufi shrine! Or is this an attempt to split Muslims on the lines of Sufism and Wahabism or any other ism?
Quoting Mullah Omar, like does our friend Shenali, is like quoting the head of the Bodu Bala Sena to support anyone’s arguments against Buddhism! From what I gather the BBS does not have any support from among practicing Buddhists.
I am so happy that Shenali Waduge agrees with me that there were Arabs and Persians and Yona womenfolk here before the advent of Islam. This is what I have been telling her all along, and by extension, all your readers when she accused me of distorting history to gain an advantage when I grieved over the destruction of the Sufi shrine in Anuradhapura. In her rebuttal she said there were no Muslims during the Anuradhapura era.
Now she seems to agree with me that Persians and Arabs were here before the birth of the beloved Prophet Muhammad (pboh). She seems to hate Arabs so much that she is hesitant to accept history which clearly says that they married Sinhala as well as Tamil women and as Lorna Dewaraja says the King of that time helped the Arabs get Sinhala brides.
He had advised the Arabs to ‘abduct’ Sinhala girls and helped them hide the lasses in his palace. That’s how close the Sinhala Buddhist kings and Muslims were! When the parents of the girls came to a complaining the king persuaded them to let their daughters marry the Muslims. Have a change of heart, Ms Waduge. Start loving people. It will make your life happy.
Have a look at the 1,000 rupee note issued during the J.R. Jayewardene presidency. It depicts a man wearing a cap leading an elephant. The man is a Muslim and he gifted ‘Raja’ to the Dalada Maligawa where he ‘reigned’ supreme during every Esala Perehera till he died. The name of the Muslim was Umar Lebbe Panicker and he was from Eravur. That’s how close Muslims and Sinhalese are. Why the this need to bring Muslims to heel using ‘halaal’ as a pretext? Or does Ms. Waduge see in this gesture of goodwill yet another attempt to ‘subtly subdue’ ‘Sinhala Buddhism’?
I have noticed that Shenali Waduge always refers to Muslim countries like the Maldives, Malaysia and Indonesia as ‘former Buddhist countries’ and not include India in her tirade. After all virtually the whole of India was Buddhist at one point in history. And then the Brahmins came and gradually grabbed their lost power back from the Buddhists. Is it because she doesn’t want to upset Delhi - Tel Aviv –Washington axis? Or does she not want to upset the Brahmins? Or is because hitting out at Muslims is her only pursuit in life?
Sinhala Buddhist country
I would the happiest person alive if somebody took Shenali Waduge fairly seriously and converted Sri Lanka into a Buddhist state, if it’s not one already, provided all what Gautama Buddha had preached is implemented immediately. I could go to my club and tell my Buddhist friends to stop drinking and stand outside casinos and call for their closures. Demand the state shut down its own distillery corporation also.
I could go around telling people not to drink or gamble with being accused of being an Islamic fundamentalist, but rather as one perpetuating precepts of Buddhism! Sri Lanka is reported to be one of the top most boozing nations in the world! Frankly I thought the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) would stand up against at least these two vices and have them banned by the state. But no, that didn’t happen. I was disappointed that far from campaigning to close the distilleries corporation the JHU went and voted for the casino bill! It seems the JHU is not for safeguarding Buddhism.
Their only aim was to get into Parliament and enjoy the benefits of office, like luxury cars and other perks like most politicians. They have got a bit active lately because of the competition from the BBS.
There is a general aura of piety about the kings of the past being portrayed. But they were no better than their counterparts elsewhere. There were no halos over their heads. King Pandukhabhaya had to kill eight of his uncles to come to sit himself on the throne.
Moreover, the Mahavamsa records that ‘the Sinhalese Kings of the so called ‘Great Dynasty’ (543 BC – AD 275) all but a few were weak and inept. Of the 54 kings of this dynasty, 15 ruled less than a year, 30 were killed in battle and 22 were murdered by their successors.
The dark dismal record of the early Sinhalese kings was of incessant struggle for the throne, fratricidal and parricidal slayings, conspiracies and internal strife’ (The National
Question and the Tamil National Struggle –page 231)
During the fraternal struggle between Mayadunne and Bhuvenaka Bahu the latter sought the help of the Portuguese to defeat his ambitious brother.
The Muslims rallied round Maydunne whom they considered a national leader, because of Bahu’s treachery. Mayadunne sought the help of the leader of Calicut who sent him three Muslim generals to fight the Portuguese. The Portuguese and the Sinhalese largely supported Buhavenuka Bahu whilst the Muslims stood firm with Mayadunne. Eventually Mayadunne lost to his brother who was helped by the Portuguese. Tell me who the traitor was?
As a condition for surrender the Portuguese demanded that Mayadunne hand over the three foreign Muslim generals. He obliged to save his skin. The Portuguese beheaded these generals and the people of Calicut (now Khozikode) never forgave Maydaunne for his ingratitude and betrayal. Come to think of it, if the descendants of these three generals were to launch a hate campaign against the Sinhalese similar to the hysterical one that Shenalai Waduge and her fellow travellers have started against Muslims, this act of ingratitude and of betrayal by Mayadunne would be an excellent starting point!
Waduge claims that since Tamil is the mother tongue of Muslims they must have married only Tamils and not Sinhalese women. Well, the answer to that is that the seat of learning Islam at that time was in Southern India and that is how ‘Arabic’ Tamil became the lingo of the Muslims as narrated by Dr. M.A.M. Shukri in the book Muslims of Sri Lanka – Avenues to Antiquity.
Cat never in the bag
Ms. Waduge then wants me to explain the ‘Oluvil Declaration’ that the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) had made. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I am no apologist for any political party least of all the SLMC. So I kindly request her to pose her question to the SLMC’s leader. I don’t hold her responsible for the Bodu Bala Sena’s (BBS) Maharagama Declaration do I? Why then should she hold me responsible for the declarations the SLMC makes, for God’s sake?
Shenali says that M.B.M. Zubair has let the cat out of the bag when he said that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Actually and specifically it’s the fastest growing religion in the West, though there have been converts here as well as in India. I know a Roshan Madwala who is a Muslim and we all know Tilakarathe Mahanama Dilshan used to be Tuan Mohammed Dilshan. So now what can we do about these things. Such things will happen, but they are not going to change the stats. We must handle such things in a civilised way and without paranoia.
As far as Islam’ spread is concerned the cat was never in the bag. Since the day the Prophet Muhammad (pboh)proclaimed the message there have been converts to the faith every day for the past 14 centuries or so. Recent high profile converts to Islam include Indian Prof. Periyar Dasan, journalist Yvonne Ridley, Lauren Booth, the sister of Tony Blair’s wife, Hollywood film director Sean Stone, the son of the famous Jewish director Oliver Stone who had told his son ‘Allah be with you’ when he told him of his conversion.
The famous musician A.R. Rahman is also a convert to Islam. Rap and hip hop artistes from Ice group to Snoop Dogg have converted to Islam. Just yesterday (March 7, 2013) a notorious anti Muslim formerly belonging to that racist party of Geert Wilders (the Dutch version of BBS) in the Netherlands converted to Islam. His name is Arnoud Van Doorn (check the net).
Meanwhile according to an al-Jazeera story, British university reported the number of converts in the UK has nearly doubled in the last decade to about 100,000 people. Muslims need not be apologetic about the spread of Islam. From day one when the Prophet declared his divine message Islam attracted converts every day. One of the primary reasons was the simplicity of the message and its stand on social and economic equality for all without caste, colour or creed considerations, according to author Karen Armstrong. Today the number of Muslims stands at over 1.5 billion with over 300 million in the SAARC region alone.
The Prophet came more than 600 years after Jesus Christ and he was the last of the Divine messengers. Islam is today the second largest religion in the world after Christianity including Catholicism. If Catholicism and Protestantism were separated Islam would be the largest religion in the world. Islam is a culmination of all faiths, say Muslim scholars.
According to the Qur’an God almighty had sent messengers to all nations and tribes with the message of Islam, which, in its spiritual connotation means, submission to the Will of God almighty. Up until today, as far as I know, our Veddas have no graven image; neither do the Aborigines of Australia which suggests they have had some message given to them at some point of time in history.
As a Muslim I can say without being contradicted by my co-religionists, that is, that Gautama Buddha could have been a prophet of God! Shenali Waduge might have a different take.