Former parliamentarian M. M. Zuhair PC delivering the Zahira College, Colombo 125th anniversary ‘Founders Day Oration’ at the College Gaffoor Hall on Monday, August 21, 2017 said that Muslims of Sri Lanka have to be mindful of current developments. Left under the carpet, some of these issues can cause serious harm to the community.
He said, “During the past 8 years - following the end of the war, several issues concerning our community have been raised by extremist groups in the country. These groups are a small minority. The issues raised are based on false fears, unfounded utterances, fanciful fabrications and mind-boggling myths. But some of these issues require the careful consideration of the community.” Principal of Zahira College Mr. Trizvy Marikkar presided.
Speaking further Mr. Zuhair said Muslims need to recognize two important factors. Firstly, lies and untruths repeatedly uttered by those making the allegations have created a spectrum of prejudices against us, among a wider section of the people. We need to understand the feelings of this wider section, some of whom genuinely believe the allegations to be true. There is a need to address this group differently from those who spread lies and deception. We need for instance, calm and convincing responses. Some responses in the social media are counter-productive and often abusive.
"Appropriate steps must be taken to ensure that the trust and confidence in our loyalty and patriotism to our motherland, meticulously built by our fore-fathers over the past 12 centuries, are not damaged or dented"
Secondly, he said that we need to understand that highly respected members of the Buddhist clergy have, since July 20th that is about a month ago, raised in a dignified manner, some issues that relate to our community as well. Regretfully, sections of the media have reported their views in an anti-minority perspective. We need to be mindful of the genuine concerns of the Buddhist clergy, even though most of them are based on false fears and past prejudices. The issues raised need careful understanding by the Muslim community. Appropriate steps must be taken to ensure that the trust and confidence in our loyalty and patriotism to our motherland, meticulously built by our fore-fathers over the past 12 centuries, are not damaged or dented. There are attempts to damage this bond of friendship and unity with the other communities. Such attempts will be a big blow to national integration and reconciliation. These are originating from vested interests outside our borders. Such attempts must be defeated. There is an eerie feeling of insecurity, Zuhair said further, within the community since the end of the war in May 2009. The initial post-war euphoria shared by all communities, began to evaporate within months of the end of the war. Muslims’ contributions to the success of the Sri Lankan war on terrorism were soon overlooked. This war was certainly not against any community. It was against terrorism. It was against the division of our country.
The entire country needs to be repeatedly reminded of the patriotic role of the Muslims in firstly not supporting the division of the country, secondly that because the Muslims did not support the division of the country, Muslims of the North and the East had to pay a heavy price, being evicted from the North, murdered in mosques in the East and causing extensive destruction of properties and livelihood; thirdly that Muslims particularly in the intelligence units of the armed forces such as Major Muthalif, Col. Lafir, Col. Nizam and hundreds of others played key roles in the war fronts and fourthly that Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Iran and Libya assisted substantially the government in its war efforts. None can forget these contributions
to the country.
The point is, this war was never won by any single man. We as a community will never allow our patriotism to our country to be ever questioned. Amity is the foundation upon which national reconciliation and integration with respect for diversity could be built, he said.
Principal Trizvy Marikkar, Vice Principals As-Shaikh A M Mihlar, M T A Rauff also addressed the well-attended gathering.