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Muslim Parliamentarians’ Cross Over

to Opposition

ook-January 3, 2015
Muslim parliamentarians’ cross over to opposition
Sheer political opportunism and hypocrisy.
They neither represent Muslim community nor Islamic teachings and values
By Latheef Farook
A week after former minister Rishard Badurdeen leaving the government on Monday 22
December 2014 and pledging support to opposition presidential candidate Maithripala
Sirisena, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, SLMC, announced its decision to follow suit on
Sunday 28 December 2014.
The SLMC announced its decision after dilly dallying and keeping everyone guessing for
weeks. Three days later on Wednesday 31 December 2014, former deputy Minister Faizar
Mustapha quit the government and pledged support to Maithripala Sirisena.
However the question is why did the SLMC, so called Muslim parliamentarians and others
who benefitted from the government leave the government now? Why didn’t they do so
when Muslims were attacked and harassed by racist elements with state patronage during
the past three years?
This is also applicable to others who held positions here and abroad, enjoyed all perks and
remained silent amidst atrocities on Muslims now desperately trying to project themselves

as the saviors of the community and the country.
Isn’t this sheer political opportunism and hypocrisy to hoodwink the community which has

virtually lost

confidence on most Muslim

What the government and the opposition leaders ought to know is that these
parliamentarians and others have nothing to do with the Muslim community which has
already made up its mind whom to vote.
The question is, even at this late stage, why didn’t the SLMC and other Muslims who crossed
over to the opposition speak out on the atrocities on Muslims to justify their decision in the
same way Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero, Chairman of Jathika Hela Urumaya and his JHU
colleague former minister Patali champika Ranawake speaking out exposing misrule and
As we all know Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero, Chairman of Jathika Hela Urumaya and
former minister Patali champika Ranawake left the government on principles. The two
openly accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of promoting family rule, corruption,
protecting drug dealers, licensing casinos, gambling and many such evils destroying society
and the country. In doing so they urged the people to use their votes to change this
I watched Mr. Champika Ranawake’s speech at Maharagama in the YouTube and one ought to
admire his courage though I always disliked his racist policies hostile to minorities. This is
where we need to remember what Imam Ali reported to have said” don’t look at the person
but listen to what he says”.

This is what was expected of
Mr. Rauf Hakeem, his team and others. Muslims expected them to highlight the atrocities
committed on them as their main reason for leaving the government. However, as expected,
they miserably failed.
Instead Hakeem in his resignation letter to the President stated that “I will always carry the
fond memories of your gracious personal attributes as an exceptional political leader of our
time. The immense value of your support I received as a Minister of your Cabinet makes my
departure a painful experience. I believe that our nation has made great strides under your
leadership. I leave with a deep sense of gratitude and hope.”
They say to be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise. This is what Hakeem’s
words about the President convey. Although irrelevant to the issues of resignation, Hakeem
appears to have taken out adequate and far sighted insurance cover for a rainy day – to
return to the fold as a prodigal whenever the situation warrants. Hakeem is naive to think
that in future Muslims will live with this type of moral turpitude from their so called leaders.
This also applies to Faizar Mustapha who refused to criticize President Mahinda Rajapaksa or
Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for their failure to prevent the atrocities on Muslims
specially the organized attacks on Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Beruwala Muslims. On the
contrary he went on to praise the president and the defense secretary for helping him to
control the pogrom.
Meanwhile Hakeem also stated that his party thought that the“18th Amendment,, introduced
by this government and took away the good governance, was only to give the incumbent
President few more chances to run for the Presidency, but the section with regard to

repealing the 17th Amendment was brought in at the last minute.
If that was the case they could have decided not to vote for such an amendment. Now the
question is why did they remain with the government which, as they claim, tricked them?

SLMC and other Muslim
parliamentarians, as constituent members of the government have been party to all
atrocities against Muslims during the past few years. Now the question is why didn’t they
raise these issues and quit the government then to show that they do not approve of these
attacks on Muslims?
They failed to do so? Why, perhaps they loved their positions, perks than the sufferings of
the community. Isn’t this sheer hypocrisy?
The allegation that the SLMC left the government due to lack of good governance and
accountability was refuted by the UPFA General Secretary and Environment and Renewable
Energy Minister Susil Premjayantha .According to him the SLMC quit the coalition because
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had turned down its demand to carve out a separate Muslim
administrative unit in the Digamadulla electoral district comprising three electoral districts
namely Kalmunai, Sammanthurai and Pottuvil.
A separate Muslim administrative unit in the Digamadulla electoral district was a proposal
mooted by late founder of SLMC Mr. M.H.M.Ashraff at a time when he was in the payroll of
IPKF. It was entirely different political environment then.
However today, especially in the aftermath of the military defeat of LTTE and the rise of
Sinhala racist organizations attacking Muslims, circumstance is entirely different.
Under such politically volatile atmosphere is it advisable to demand a separate Muslim
administrative unit in the Digamadulla electoral district. This is not the priority of the

Muslim community which is keen on ending violence against them.
As expected this proposal provided fodder to anti Muslim racist elements to provoke and pit
Sinhalese against Muslims? For example, as expected, Bodu Bala Sena was quick to frighten
the majority community by stating that Muslims are asking a separate.
Supporting this view state media, Ceylon Daily News, whose editor Rajpal Abeynaike called
Rishard Badurdeen a pig when he quit the government, stated under the title “SLMC NOW A
LTTE” in its Tuesday 30 December 2014 issue lead article.
It appears Muslims grievances were not even raised when the SLMC pledged support to the
opposition candidate.
These politicians neither represent the Muslim community nor the cherished Islamic
principles and values. As it happened in the past, once elected the Muslim community has no
control over these parliamentarians who get absorbed into the corrupt political system
which brought the country to the current sad state of affairs.
This is the reason why civil organizations such as National Shoora Council.NSC, emerged to
jointly deal with burning issues of the community while striving to establish close relations
with the other communities.
Thus the time has come for the majority community and political parties to deal with
institutions like NSC rather than turning to wheeler dealer politicians. Ends
Posted by Thavam