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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

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 un-Buddhistic action.

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
Boralesgamuwa

 

Women’s attire in public
Some agree that women at home have a right to wear what they want.
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 immemorial times.
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
Maharagama

 

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 citizens.
Will they dare, with the political interference we see in everything today?
Dr Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai
Dehiwala

 

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 Allah’s justice.
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 community.
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: 37)

“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 Ali commentary)

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).

From islamonline.net
Sawmeer Khan

 

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 muckraker!

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?

Gehan Ranatunge
Wattala

 

A Nobody
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.

Jean Arasanayagam

 

A tribute – 83th Birth Anniversary of Sri Sathya Sai Bagawan
Bhagawan lights the lamp of love in countless hearts, unique feature
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 determination.
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.

Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon

 

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 deaf ears.

C. M. Kamburuwala
Payagala

 

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!!

Mohamed Zahran

 

 

 

 

 

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