Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Global Crisis Comes To Sri Lanka

This writer found a photo of a young Sri Lankan Muslim boy protesting in front of the UN on the front page of a leading Sri Lankan newspaper. He asks the questions “where is the humanity?” with a placard.

Are there such protests outside the Embassies of very rich oil producing Potentates and Feudal Kingoms of the Middle East? Not one of those nations have opened their doors to Arab Muslim refugees fleeing Islamic extremism. Why?

Europe is dealing with an unprecedented influx of refugees not seen since World War II. These refugees all want to flee to Western nations because those nations are accepting of immigrants and other cultures more than most nations in the world.

They are predominantly Christian albeit secular nations that Islamic Radicals are sworn to destroy. ISIS is killing more Muslims and raping, burning, destroying whatever is in their sickening Fascist path. Why are people not protesting asking ISIS to stop their madness? Why is Saudi Arabia not opening their doors? or UAE or, Kuwait(which by the way was invaded by Saddam Hussein and was liberated by a US led coalition in 1991).

Germany has agreed to take in at least 800,000 refugees. How many have the Arab nations oozing with oil wealth agreed to absorb? Do you know why these people flee to Europe and US and Canada? Because they know they will be safer there and take advantage of and receive welfare, and food and eventually be able to find work and educate their children in secular schools. This is no different from any other human tragedy. A lot of Sri Lankan Tamils fled west after the barbarism of 1983 and the prolonged war.

Syrian Crisis
*Photo – Palestinians paid tribute to the 3-year old Syrian boy who drowned while fleeing the Syrian war, by building a sand sculpture of him on a beach in the Gaza Strip. Dozens paid tribute to Aylan Kurdi by re-enacting the heart-wrenching scene of how his body was found washed ashore.

The question this young child should have asked his parents or whoever asked him to carry this placard, is why are all these people fleeing to Western Christian European nations? Not a single Major oil rich Arab nation is taking in these Arab Muslim refugees. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE have not opened their borders. It is shameful.

The radical extremists in ISIS the Islamic militant group is wreaking havoc in Syria along with Assad’s minority Alawite Shia regime. Between the two of them, they have killed more Arab Muslims than any other group(as Sunni dictator Saddam did during his disastrous 9 year war with Iran and his suppression of Kurds and Shias). The Wahabi Salafist radicals hate Shia Arabs. The want to force everyone to abide by their twisted version of Islam: which is by far a peaceful religion. Turkey too is suffering; while Turkey is a predominantly Muslim nation it is not a religious theocracy.

It is indeed a tragedy, and an irony that there are extremists who blame the West for everything and in particular the US but when it comes to humanitarian responses to crisis; it is the Westernm nations that are at the front of the effort to provide relief! The influx of refugees of a different culture, values, and ethnicity will cause long term social and political problems for all the European nations who are now accepting refugees. Germany has said it may absorb nearly a million refugees.

Imagine the cultural and societal challenges and pressures. The Pope, the head of the Catholic Church has said each parish should adopt at least one refugee Family. That is amazing. Not one wordm has been heard from Rich Arab nations when the victims are all Arabs.

This is a shameful indictment on them. It is wrong for the few west hating Sri Lankan Muslims to be so one-sided and ignorant of facts on the ground. The town this writer lives in has a Masjid proudly emblazoned with Arabic lettering, many Halal stores and even an Islamic student center; the previous town he lived in had a beautiful large mosque, hundreds of peace loving Muslims from many nations and a large University center built at US tax payer expense to facilitate prayer for its international student population: both in the heart of the Bible Belt in the USA. How many Churches or Temples are there in Rich Westernized Arab nations for people of other faiths to openly and freely worship? What if this little boy who carried that sign knew these facts?

Everyone blames the US and Europe, but when it comes to humanitarian actions, they are always expected to take the lead. China and Russia are also nowhere to be seen! The destabilizing impacts of this massive influx of refugees is frightening. This number of refugees have not flooded Europe since World War II. They are desperate for help and for economic opportunities. Whatever causes that lead to the emergence of ISIS from the disastrous US and British invasion of Iraq in 2003 to other factors, it is a human tragedy that cannot be ignored. There are far too many conflicts in the world that are leading to massive displacement of people. Given this tragedy, everyone’s wish is that Sri Lanka will never again see war.

Fact is that secular modern western nations are still far more tolerant and accepting of people of totally different ethno-religious backgrounds than other nations in the world. Secular democracies triumph religious theocracies and dictatorships any given day. Sri Lanka is a developing nation and it cannot say much about this sort of global crisis.

Whatever the causes of Radicalism and violence based on religious ideology, it should never be tolerated by anyone in Sri Lanka; be it BBS type extremism by some misguided Buddhists or ISIS like violence by twisted perverted sexually repressed misguided Muslims.

India and Sri Lanka will soon be facing combatants who have gone to the middle east for training and fighting these radical extremist wars; it is in India’s and Sri Lanka’s interests to coordinate intelligence efforts to make sure such foreign hate filled destructive ideologies do not spread in multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracies such as India and Sri Lanka.

There should be zero tolerance for religious extremism and violence or anyone propagating segregation and violent expansion of any political or religious extremist ideology. Islam like Buddhism are ways of life of peace and co-existence are they not? It is frightening to see the proxy wars between Persian Iran and Shia vs. Radical Sunni extremism wreaking such havoc and creating a humanitarian tragedy equivalent to what happened in Rwanda which started in 1994. Let there never be war between communities in Sri Lanka leading to tragedies such as 1983. May all communities live and let live and respect different systems of faith. Is that young boy being brainwashed in an extremist ideology at a foreign funded Madrassa inside Sri Lanka or was he genuinely saddened by the plight of millions of innocent Arab children? Was Samuel Huntington right when he spoke of a clash of civilizations way back? (By: Mano Ratwatte)

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