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|Healing prayers at Viharamahadevi Park
|It was reported that the Christian Centre for ‘Hope’ at Koswatte
was stoned and damaged by a crowd, including Buddhist monks and
members of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) as a protest against
non-ethical conversion to Christianity of Buddhists by conducting a
‘Healing Service’ at Viharamahadevi Park on October 31. As far as I
am aware, history does not record such action by Buddhists, although
there is ample evidence, historically, how natives of certain
countries have been tortured and compulsorily converted to
Christianity. Sri Lanka is one such which faced this, when Christian
missionaries came here along with the Portuguese, Dutch and English.
It was reported by Reuters from Caracas on 20.05.07 that Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez has demanded Pope Benedict XV1 to apologise to
Indians in Latin America for the ‘Holocaust’ that followed
Christopher Columbus’s 1492 landing. It is not my intention to
justify the action of the JHU or any other organisation for this
It is not only the Buddhists, but also the Roman Catholic Church
is disheartened by this unethical conversions and Pope Benedict XV1
has issued guidelines in a book “VADEME CUM” to ascertain the claims
of exorcists. Here are some of the guidelines:
(a) Local Bishop will need to set up a commission of psychiatrists,
psychologists, theologians, and priests who will investigate the
claims systematically. If the alleged visionaries refuse to obey,
then this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false.
(b) The visionaries will next be visited by psychiatrists, epithet
atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health and verify
whether they are suffering from conditions of hysterical or
hallucinatory character or from delusions of leadership.
(C) Investigate the person’s level of education and to determine, if
they have had access to material that could be used to falsely
support their claims.
(d) Bishops to see if the visionaries and their associates stand to
gain financially from making their claims.
It is absolutely essential that dignitaries of all religions
formulate a similar document and include the government, the law
enforcers to take legal action against bogus ‘Faith Healers’.
It is very unfortunate, that the ignorant, innocent and helpless who
have not self-determination, to overcome difficulties - physical
mental and ailments, go to these quack healers as a remedy and end
up in six feet under.
G. A. D. Sirimal
|Women’s attire in public
|Some agree that women at home have a right to wear what they
I am of the opinion that women may have a right to wear what they
want only at their homes. When they get out of their homes they
should wear something decent without provoking men. When devotees
enter the Sacred Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, they have to wear clothes
covering their knee. If any one wear shorts trousers or short frocks
they are given a white cloth by the Maligawa authorities to wear up
to their knee. This is considered as the decent level.
As regards the under garments of women, they must wear covering
fully their bosoms, the centre of human feelings. Some expose almost
half of their breasts. This is provocative.
During the former IGP Chandra Fernando’s time, he wanted to
prosecute women wearing provocative attire and said don’t dress
provocatively, keep a tab on children and reminded of the Royal Park
murder. He further said females who opt for such wear invite for
trouble. Provocative wear invites murder, rape, incest and other
crimes. An IGP knows what he says.
‘Lama Sariya’ which certain girl schoolschildren wear with a wide
lapels covering their bosoms is decent wear for schoolchildren.
The Purdah worn by Muslim women is too a decent dress fully
covering from top to bottom.
We Sri Lankans have a proud, decent culture and customs from
Therefore, to build up a decent society and set an example to our
young children, the women who will be respected as future
to-be-mothers the grown up womankind should set up a better example
by wearing decent clothes in public. The women should not go about
in the streets half clad like the Emperor who paraded the streets
naked thinking that he was clothed decently. Vide ‘The Emperor’s New
Clothes’ by Hans Christian Anderson.
V. K. B. Ramanayake
|Is transfer a punishment?
|What an amazing practice we have in our country is that often a
government servant is transferred as a punishment for a crime often
to a better position with a better pay! Now, I wonder who invented
this bright idea and how come the whole nation seems to be
swallowing it - hook, line and all!
Recently in the case of the student being assaulted, the real
culprit was transferred to the head office, a cushy job I am sure,
than being an officer at the police station, while the wife had to
suffer in the prison. The whole attention was on the wife and the
culprit was totally forgotten. Even in the case of the Wellawatte
murder the DIG was happily stating on TV ‘I have transferred so and
so’ as if that is punishment justified.
The fact that those who are under arrest warrants and suspects
becoming powerful politicians is one thing. But to blatantly
announce that a suspect is transferred specially when it comes to
police officers, is making a mockery of justice.
The police are the custodians of law. They must be above any
suspicion at all. If ever they are proved to be guilty they should
not be transferred to another station, where they will happily
continue to break law even more boldly and cause havoc, as we often
see; neither should they be sent home for that is not just treatment
either. They themselves should be sent to jail and punished even
more harshly than the others.
For every single corrupt policeman, there are thousands of duty
conscious good cops as we come across daily in our lives in this
blessed country. Unfortunately they do not come into the limelight
and the whole police force has got a bad, bad name because of a few
bad eggs. The good ones must gather together and make sure the bad
ones - whether they are cops or not - must be punished, if not for
any other reason, at least to keep their own names clean among the
Will they dare, with the political interference we see in everything
Dr Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai
|Concept of animal sacrifice in Islam
|Actually there are many misconceptions filling the mind of many
non-Muslims, who fail to perceive the significance and wisdom behind
acts of worship in Islam. That is why addressing those
misconceptions becomes obligatory in order to erase distortions
about Islam. Thus, on the case in point, we find it relevant to cite
for you the following:
Sacrifice is not a pillar of Islam. We must look at the
occurrences in a contextual manner, understanding not only the
pre-Islamic institution of sacrifice, the Qur’anic reforms
concerning this practice, and the continuance of sacrifice in the
Muslim world, but also the context in which the Qur’anic revelations
occurred for it seems that with many people, both non-Muslims and
Muslims alike, context is the key that they are missing.
With this in mind, let us start with the situation as it was in
pre-Islamic Arabia with regard to animal sacrifice. Not only did the
pagan Arabs sacrifice to a variety of gods in hopes of attaining
protection or some favour or material gain, but so, too, did the
Jews of that day seek to appease the One True God by blood sacrifice
and burnt offerings. Even the Christian community felt Jesus to be
the last sacrifice, the final lamb, so to speak, in an otherwise
valid tradition of animal sacrifice (where one’s sins are absolved
by the blood of another).
Islam, however, broke away from this longstanding tradition of
appeasing an “angry God” and instead demanded personal sacrifice and
submission as the only way to die before death and reach “fana’” or
“extinction in Allah.” The notion of “vicarious atonement of sin”
(absolving one’s sins through the blood of another) is nowhere to be
found in the Qur’an. Neither is the idea of gaining favour by
offering the life of another to Allah. In Islam, all that is
demanded as a sacrifice is one’s personal willingness to submit
one’s ego and individual will to Allah.
One only has to look at how the Qur’an treats this subject, to see a
marked difference regarding sacrifice and whether or not Allah is
appeased by blood. The Qur’anic account of the sacrifice of Isma`il
ultimately speaks against blood atonement. Allah says: (Then when
(the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: “Oh
my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what
is thy view!” (The son) said: “Oh my father! Do as thou art
commanded: Thou wilt find me, if Allah so wills one practising
patience and constancy!” So when they had both submitted their wills
(to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for
sacrifice), We called out to him, “Oh Abraham! Thou hast already
fulfilled the vision!” Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.
For this was obviously a trial and We ransomed him with a momentous
sacrifice.) (As-Safat 37: 102-107)
Notice that the Qur’an never says that Allah told Abraham to kill
(sacrifice) his son. Though subtle, this is very important, for the
moral lesson is very different from that which appears in the Bible.
Here, it teaches us that Abraham had a dream in which he saw himself
slaughtering his son. Abraham believed the dream and thought that
the dream was from Allah, but the Qur’an never says that the dream
was from Allah. However, in Abraham and Isma`il’s willingness to
make the ultimate sacrifice—Abraham of his son, Isma`il of his own
life—they are able to transcend notions of self and false attachment
to the material realm, thus removing a veil between themselves and
Allah, enabling Allah’s mercy to descend upon them as the Spirit of
Truth and illuminate them with divine wisdom (thus preventing a
miscarriage of justice and once and for all correcting the false
notion of vicarious atonement of sin).
For, certainly, Allah, the Ever Merciful, Most Compassionate,
would never ask a father to go against His command of “thou shall
not kill” and kill his own son in order to be accepted by Him. For
the Qur’an teaches us that Allah never advocates evil (see 7:28 and
16:90) and that only Satan advocates evil and vice (24:21). The
notion that Allah would want us to do an immoral act runs counter to
As far as the yearly tradition that has followed this event (that
is, the sacrificing of a ram to commemorate Abraham and Isma`il’s
great self sacrifice), we must understand it and the Qur’anic versus
that pertain to animal sacrifice, in relation to the time and place
circumstances under which these revelations were received and how
people were trying to make a personal sacrifice by sharing their
limited means of survival with the poorer members of their
That is to say, the underlying implication of Islam’s attitude
toward ritual slaughter is not that of blood atonement, or seeking
favour with Allah through another’s death, but rather, the act of
thanking Allah for one’s sustenance and the personal sacrifice of
sharing one’s possessions and valuable food with one’s fellow
humans. The ritual itself is not the sacrifice. It is merely a
method of killing where the individuals kill as quickly as possible
and acknowledge that only Allah has the right to take a life and
that they do so as a humble member of Allah’s creation in need of
sustenance just like every other species in Allah’s creation.
So let us examine some of the appropriate verses in the Qur’an to
see what it has to say about sacrifice and how it related to life in
500 C.E. Arabia. (Also included is commentary by Yusuf Ali to show
that even someone who was pro-sacrifice with an understanding of
animals as subject to humans, did not champion wanton cruelty or
notions of blood atonement.) Allah says: (In them ye have benefits
for a term appointed: In the end their place of sacrifice is near
the Ancient House.) (Al-Hajj 22: 33)
“The word ‘In them’ refers to cattle or animals offered for
sacrifice. It is quite true that they are useful in many ways to
humans, e.g., camels in desert countries are useful as mounts or for
carrying burdens or for giving milk, and so, for horses and oxen;
and camels and oxen are also good for meat, and camel’s hair can be
woven into cloth; goats and sheep also yield milk and meat, and hair
or wool. But if they are used for sacrifice, they become symbols by
which people show that they are willing to give up some of their own
benefits for the sake of satisfying the needs of their poorer
brethren.” (Yusuf Ali commentary)
Allah also says: (To every people did We appoint rites (of
sacrifice) that they might celebrate the name of Allah over the
sustenance He gave them from animals (fit for food). But your God is
One God: Submit then your wills to Him (In Islam): and give thou the
good news to those who humble themselves.) (Al-Hajj 22: 34)
“This is the true end of sacrifice, not propitiation of higher
powers, for Allah is One, and He does not delight in flesh and
blood, but a symbol of thanksgiving to Allah by sharing meat with
fellow humans. The solemn pronouncement of Allah’s name over the
sacrifice is an essential part of the rite.” (Yusuf Ali commentary)
Allah says further: (It is not their meat, nor their blood that
reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made
them subject to you that ye may glorify Allah for His guidance to
you: And proclaim the Good News to all who do right.) (Al-Hajj 22:
“No one should suppose that meat or blood is acceptable to the One
True God. It was a pagan fancy that Allah could be appeased by blood
sacrifice. But Allah does accept the offering of our hearts, and as
a symbol of such offer, some visible institution is necessary. He
has given us power over the brute creation, and permitted us to eat
meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking
life, for without this solemn invocation, we are apt to forget the
sacredness of life. By this invocation we are reminded that wanton
cruelty is not in our thoughts, but only the need for food …” (Yusuf
It is quite clear from the Qur’anic passages above that the issue
of animal sacrifice is in relation to the role animals played in
Arabian society at that place and time (as well as other societies
with similar climates and culture), in that humans are commanded to
give thanks to Allah and praise Allah for the sustenance He has
given them and that they should sacrifice something of value to
themselves to demonstrate their appreciation for what they have been
given (which in their case was the very animals on which their
survival was based).
|Millionaire with a heart of gold
|The above caption may have been a plant instigated by the
confidence trickster himself, in a letter by a Depositor in the
Ceylinco Group, in the Sunday Leader dated September 3, 2006. It was
the press that had the distinction of being burnt down by irate
readers. The millionaire’s gold came from those ill-fated depositors
who believed they were saving when they deposited with him. In
reality, both his heart and nose were steeped in the cesspits. The
Now there is an open warrant for the arrest of Yasmin Ilham
Mohamed, Director of F&G Property Developers. She is hiding with the
gold of the unfortunate depositors. Secille Kotalawela too is
absconding, somewhere in Asia hanging onto the gold of the clients
The Chairman Lalith Kotalawela is out on bail, feigning illness,
saying he is in a better position to meet his liabilities if he is
out of the locker. He has bought himself a Deshamanya title and a
doctorate that assists him in his reckless escapade. How long will
the authorities permit him to skylark? Sadly the CID is unable to
locate Yasmin Mohamed. Will it be possible now with a new IGP? The
case has been put off for December 15. The scam climaxed in January
2009. Will Portia succeed in holding her scale evenly, so that the
depositors will get back their hard-earned savings of a lifetime,
and the confidence tricksters get their desserts in full measure?
Will corruption which is said to be rife, enter into the equation?
|Finally to be a nobody
Means there is no more use for camouflage
No more use for contrived disguise,
No more use for the harlequinade of spangled
Skirt and wand that make you invisible
To play tricks upon a makeshift stage of the mind,
No more use for buffoonery.
No more use for role-playing in the
Gladiatorial combats in the vast amphitheatre
Of this world where flesh is lifted off the
Body-frame in bloodied shreds.
No more use of puny shields
For protection from that keen dagger -
Plunging into the body of man or beast.
Tongues aimed like deadly missiles
To cause conflagrations that leave
Brick and stone in smouldering ruins,
Smoking debris enveloping in plumes
The suffocating breath strewn on common
Streets, dismembered limbs and mangled flesh.
Finally then, to be a nobody
In the discovery of anonymity,
Is to deflect the hostile barbs from
The swift arrow meant to maim and hurt.
Expose instead the contrived poses mercilessly
Stripped off which conceal the mountebank
Of all those vain pretensions of innocence.
In death, the victims and victimiser’s blood
Mingles, flows freely in streaming channels into
A common pool where there’s no distinguishing
Of who, the murderous suicide bomber was
From charred remains of whatever once
Was human, whether the casual passerby the harried traveller,
The hoi-poloi or the innocent bystander.
Finally to be a nobody
Lies in the anonymity of death and oblivion.
|A tribute – 83th Birth Anniversary of Sri
Sathya Sai Bagawan
|Bhagawan lights the lamp of love in countless hearts, unique
To uplift man from diabolical cruel inhuman nature
Sathya Sai preaches, teaches, fostering human values
Like a cosmic magnet, multi-faceted great inimitable values.
In human form a god with super human powers
Born to alleviate human suffering infinite divine powers,
To drag human beings beyond animal level,
Along the errorless path of righteousness, that’s marvel.
He preaches to practice unity, Togetherness in thought, word ’n deed
Drive away self centeredness be helpful to those in dire need
He emphasizes all religions are leading to the ocean of love
Universally there’s only one religion for humanity kindness ’n love.
To be in your presence at Puttaparthy or Whitefield an assurance,
A life long blessing a privilege filled with benevolence
In your divine, presence we forget our self feel heavenly
Solemn, subtle, solace, prevailing insight so calmly.
Bhagawan assures “you don’t have to change faith to follow me
Follow your religion, without encumbrance I can guide thee”
Numerous services to mankind overflowing selfless dedication
Building educational institutions, super hospitals noble
Irrespective of caste creed or race cerntres for rehabilitation
Received accolades from national leaders, United Nation
Not yet manifestation born among mankind amidst many a miracle
To kindle loving kindness sand distinction, so remarkable.
In your significant 84th birth anniversary celebration
I pay my ardent obeisance abounding in true dedication
May you live long healthily to serve humanity
Living saviour may you awake man with thy divinity.
|Stinking abattoir near St Sebastian statue
|An abattoir is opened near the Galle road at Diyalagoda, Maggona
just opposite the famous St Sebastian statue.
This statue is the most ancient one in the area, venerated by
Catholic devotees and other religionists too.
Owing to this unauthorised, half-built and unhygienic abattoir, no
one can have access to this statue as stinking polluted air emit all
day long from it.
Specially, the Sunday churchgoers and residents have to suffer most
from this menace.
The Catholic clergy and people of the area, made several complaints
to the relevant authorities to remove this abattoir but it fell on
C. M. Kamburuwala
|Green card for one to fall in love!
According to some recent English dailies, the Health Ministry is
going to introduce legislation banning marriages between thalassemia
carriers. Therefore, persons afflicted with this incurable disease,
in the future, will have to check whether the spouse is a carrier or
not before tying the nuptial knot. Magul Kapuwas when bringing
proposals for thalassemic patients will have the added
responsibility to ensure that the would-be bride / bridegroom is
disease free. I also would like to caution the youth that, once the
legislation comes into force, he or she, if a thalassemia carrier,
should first peruse the report of the medical test done for
halassemia before getting romantically involved!!