Tuesday 16 April 2013
'All Are Allah’s Bandas'
Fifth and final response to Shenali Waduge
Hameed Abdul Karim
It is with a lack of enthusiasm that I respond to Shenali Waduge and, mine good editor I assure you this would be my last one no matter what she says. Because all she can do is repeat herself and her claims over and over again without any recourse to facts as they stand. We keep going round circles and honestly all this is getting a tad too stale for my liking.
I like to point yet another deception in her response. When I said that she was lying about the Dubai Hindu temple she claims was demolished by the authorities there, she twists it to say she was referring to a Hindu temple in Saudi Arabia. Nowhere in her diatribes had she mentioned any Hindu temple in Saudi Arabia. It was I who pointed out that the UAE government has constructed a Hindu temple on their land and she said that this said temple was demolished in 2005.
Now she says she was referring to a Hindu temple in Saudi Arabia. No matter what we say about other Muslim countries where minority faiths are functioning according to rules of their faith, Shenali will go out of the way to drag in a comparison with Saudi Arabia where we know things are not hunky dory.
It’s akin to a Muslim associating Buddhism with the horrifying violent actions of its adherents in Myanmar (Burma) where the most despicable slaughter of Rohingya Muslims had taken place. Not only Muslims, but even Christians in Myanmar have come in for racist violence in the Kachin state. So much so that they have taken to arms against the Myanmar government and the battle is still running without an end in sight. Myanmar, by the way, equates citizenship with faith. According to their logic one has to be a Buddhist to be eligible to be classified as a genuine blue blooded Myanmar citizen.
The same goes for Sri Lanka. In the eyes of Sinhala Buddhist Supremacists who mercifully are getting it back from moderate Buddhist priests and intellectuals as is evident in the media and at seminars. Ven. Amila Thera stands out like a colossus in the fight against Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism like the Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thera along with many other intellectuals.
At this point of time one is reminded of what Dr. E.W. Adikaram was fond of saying ‘If only we could convert some of our Monks to Buddhism…’ And his lament rings true today when we see how the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) fooled the nation claiming they would bring a Baudha Rajya, but today we find the same JHU, comfortably ensconced in the seats of power, overtly supporting the introduction of casinos and its all attendant vices by tacitly backing the Casino bill in Parliament whilst at the same time waxing eloquent on the virtues of the Buddha’s teaching.
Oh, what hypocrisy this is! If the Buddha were around I am sure these monks would be looking for places to hide or wear a ‘burqa’ like did the BBS Buddhist monk at the court house the other day to conceal his identity after he had to surrender to answer charges for attacking ‘Fashion Bug’ a Muslim owned store at Pepiliyana.. Another wore the ‘niqaab’ for the same purpose.
We have yet to hear a word of condemnation from Shenali Waduge on the antics of her Bodu Bala Sena, Sinhala Rawaya and other Buddhist extremist organisations whilst she is quite free in condemning Muslims and those of other faiths like nobody’s business. It is best she concentrates on matters closer to home. Meanwhile media reports indicate the BBS had accepted an order from the Defence Secretary not to indulge on the halaal issue anymore. It’s nice to know they are listening to somebody in authority. Hopefully, Ms. Waduge will follow suit.
The latest news is that BBS chiefs have gone on a jaunt to the US. And we wonder how come the embassy here issued visas on a platter to an extremist group like the BBS.
Once again we have Ms. Waduge talking about the ‘proliferation of mosques’ and a shrine in Anuradhapura she so derogatorily refers to as a ‘tagaran shed’ and about Muslim attire. We have been through all that before. She seems to be obsessed with Saudi Arabia so much so that all her arguments draw a parallel to this country. She talks about a Hindu shed that was destroyed in Saudi Arabia. But please tell me one occasion where a single Hindu had been killed in Saudi Arabia on account of his faith. And then tell me how many Muslims have been killed in Hindu India for being just that – Muslims.
Word has it that Narendra Modi who was personally responsible for the genocide of Muslims in Gujarat might become Prime Minister under a BJP government. After Ms. Waduge has finished answering this question let her reflect a while and let me know how many Buddhists have been killed in Saudi Arabia on account of their faith and then count the number of Muslims that have been killed for being Muslims in Thervada Buddhist state of Myanmar (Burma) in recent times?
It is all so easy to quote from 1000 year old historical records and ignore what is happening right under our noses. Only the other day we saw a pathetic picture of an infant suckling at her dead mother’s breast in what would be his last feed that is assuming it had not been killed subsequently. Wonder what would be Ms. Waduge’s take on this. She might quote yet another 1000 year old historical record and justify the crimes that are being committed in Myanmar against Muslims by saying they are recent migrants and therefore ‘illegal’. A thousand year history might be relevant in establishing issues and arguments but a 600 year history (that’s how long Muslims have been in Myanmar) will be passed off as ‘recent’.
I don’t think there was anything Shenali Waduge had written in the past that didn’t mention halaal or the Muslim shrine in Anuradhapura she so derogatively calls a ‘tagaran’ shed. The issue at stake was not the ‘tagaran’ shed but the manner in which it was destroyed. What decent law abiding citizens expect in a situation like this is for the afflicted party to take the matter to courts and seek redress there. Instead what we had was an outrageous act of ‘iconoclasm’ where a mob led by Sinhala Buddhist monks destroyed the entire structure while the police watched in silence. It was world news and didn’t reflect well on Buddhism. The BBC shows a picture of a Sinhala Buddhist monk burning a flag he removed from the shrine whilst lay Buddhists are busy smashing away the shrine.
I accept that Muslim women did not dress in black attire; I also know that girls did not dress in blue jeans or shorts and skimpy skinnies during our halcyon days. But today wherever we go we see girls in abaya or tight blue jeans (I have seen for myself some of them together). This is called fashion or fad and I don’t have any problem with either.
Why should Shenali be so paranoid about this, I simply can’t understand.
The Sigiriya frescoes show topless women. That was the fad then. But in today’s world this will not be tolerated.
But maybe in a few years time….who knows?
And like I mentioned before I have seen abaya clad girls and girls in Western dress together so many times. They don’t seem to be segregated. And tell me how does one define segregation? Should all abaya clad girls go and say ‘hi’ to those not dressed in hijab and abaya and pass off as bloody fools? And tell me what’s keeping girls not dressed in abaya and hijab walking up to those who do and say ‘hi’.
For the life of me I don’t know where Shenalai Waduge got the notion that Muslim parents advice their children not to eat ‘birthday treats’ given by non-Muslim children at non-Muslim schools for fear that such food might not be halaal.
Well, if what she says is true, the problem could be sorted out if the non-Muslim parents assure the Muslim parents that the food is halaal and then I am sure the matter will rest there. However much Ms. Waduge and her fellow travellers might hate it, Muslims will insist the food they consume should be halaal as required by their faith.
To force or hoodwink Muslims to eat non-Halaal food would amount to violation of their fundamental rights.
I can promise Ms. Waduge that if she throws a birthday party and assures us the food is halaal (or vegetarian) and that there is no wine or brandy in the birthday cake and invites me I will be there with my favourite wife and a lot of Muslim children from the neighbourhood. Come on, let’s have a ball! Or is Ms. Waduge only shedding crocodile tears when she says that Muslims are setting an ‘ugly precedent’ by not allowing their children to play and eat with non Muslim children? For I know for a fact that children of all communities get together at a park close to home and they play and eat together every day.
Drop in at Cooray Park some time. I think it would be a good idea if Shenali Waduge refrains from propagating racist ideas.
It seems that nothing is going to please Shenali Waduge. When you mention one positive aspect she will come with a negative one to negate the positive. When you mention of the PAS Islamic party of Malaysia she admits it’s nice but to dilute that she says the UMNO is bad. It’s true that the Malaysian archipelago was once Buddhist but over a thousand years ago they converted to Islam when they heard of the pristine purity of the faith and its stand on social and economic justice and its abhorrence of priesthood.
Islam rejects the caste system which was prevalent in Malaysia then.
Islam stands for equality of all human beings in the sight of God, whilst we may not be equal to each other in our varying abilities, all living beings on earth are Allah’s bandas (Urdu/Hindi word for creature. Mr. Editor please pardon the play on the word. I have used it for creative purposes) from the one living in his ivory tower to the scraggy stray dog on the road! In Islam the one closest to God is the one who does righteous deeds. ‘Compete with one another in good deeds’ is the Qur’anic advise.
I can’t remember mentioning two doctors involved in archaeological excavations associated with an Indian institute. What I had said was that a certain Dr. Ashraf of the Quaid-e-Azaam University had discovered an ancient Buddhist temple in Badalpur in Pakistan. Shenali Waduge trivialises this marvelous discovery by claiming that only ‘two’ people were involved.
As far as I know there are more than two people at Quaid-e-Azaam University. Here too the writer misses the wood for the trees. What she doesn't see is that over a 125 million people have not objected to this discovery or sought to destroy the temple like a certain ‘tagaran’ shed was destroyed somewhere in Anuradhapura.
But don't you worry, Ms. Waduge will go on screaming ‘Iconoclasts’ like captain Haddock in the Tin Tin comics.
Muslims ruled India for nearly a thousand years and if they wanted to destroy all the temples and convert the Hindus to Islam at the point of the sword they had ample time to do just that. The fact that they didn’t only goes to show that there was no intention of forcibly converting Hindus or Christians or Sikhs to Islam, never mind what Shenali Waduge or the Shiv Sena or the RSS say. History speaks for itself.
Ms Waduge then goes on to play up the differences of opinions between Muslims with, I think, with a hope to divide them for purposes of exploitation. I am afraid the old colonial tactic of divide and rule is hackneyed and won’t work anymore. God willing, Muslims will take care of their differences. That unfortunately is her nature. She will not rest until she subjugates all minorities and put their faiths are under her thumb.
As a Muslim I must say I am embarrassed to hear that the Azan disturbs the meditating monks at Buddha Gaya assuming Shenali Waduge is speaking the truth. Certainly this must be rectified immediately and Ms. Waduge or the Buddhists there must approach the proper authorities for this purpose. Having said that let me point a gross misinterpretation of the Azan that Shenali makes. She says that the Azan means that Islam is the only true religion that the prophet is a greater spiritual leader than all others and that everyone should worship Allah. This is not what the Azan says. What it says is as follows:-
Allah (God) is the greatest
I bear witness that there is no Allah (God) besides Allah (God)
I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (God)
Come to prayer
Come to success
Allah is the greatest
There is no Allah besides Allah.
It is also true that Muslims acknowledge that Islam is the final revelation from Allah (God) and as such is the only true faith just as Buddhists and those of other faiths believe their respective faiths are true. Muslims also believe that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be on him) is the final messenger of God and that God has chosen Islam as the only faith acceptable to Him as stated in the Qur’an.