A lively discussion on uniting communities for peace-building was held on August 25 at the Academy of Adult Education for Women in Kalubowila. Organised by Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum (MWRAF), the meeting provided a much needed opportunity to discuss some of the burning issues.
The keynote address was delivered by MWRAF Chairperson Deshabandu Jezima Ismail. She is the former Human Rights Commissioner, South Eastern University Chancellor and Principal of Muslim Ladies’ College - Colombo 4. She explained the basics of Islam which guided Muslims in every aspect of life. She said it was a way of life suitable to all countries and communities.
Jezima, who has served as a cultural link between Muslim and non-Muslim communities and won the hearts of Sinhalese and Tamils alike, has been spearheading the campaign for reforms in the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) to ensure the rights of Muslim women and to end their sufferings. She continues this struggle to date.
Speaking in Tamil, columnist and researcher Dr. Rauff Zain dealt with different aspects of Islam and cleared doubts on alarming issues. His speech was explained in fluent Sinhala by As-Sheikh Muneer which helped clear many misunderstandings.
"Speaking about the socio-political and economic crisis in the country, veteran journalist Latheef Farook explained how racist politics of UNP and SLFP turned this paradise of an island into a battlefield"
Speaking about the socio-political and economic crisis in the country, veteran journalist Latheef Farook explained how racist politics of the two main parties – United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) – turned this paradise of an island into a battlefield.
“During the time of Independence in 1948, Sri Lanka was a shining example to the entire third world for political and economic stability as well as communal harmony. Indians visited the country for medical treatment and education. The island’s GDP growth was second only to Japan. Today, Sri Lankais one of the most mismanaged countries in the world. There is political instability and economic crisis. Crime and corruption have become an integral part of the country. Communities remain divided. The situation is such that no one knows where the country is heading to,” he said.
He also spoke about the atrocities committed by the Rajapaksa and Maithri-Ranil administrations in persecuting and alienating Muslims. An open discussion concluded the meeting and it was decided to hold this forum as often as possible in view of its positive response.