The racist organisation Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) that has gained notoriety as an ethno-religious fascist movement seeks Sinhala Buddhist supremacy in Sri Lanka, has announced it will launch a campaign against Muslim women wearing the jilbab in its mass rally in Kandy on the 17th of March 2013. The BBS has for sometime vilified the jilbab, making insulting comments and physically attacking Muslim women who adorn it, as well as inciting hatred towards Islam generally, generating hostility, fuelling prejudice, and exacerbating abuse against Muslims. In some towns, Muslim women have been stopped in streets and ordered to remove their jilbab by supporters of the movement. In Dikwella, three Muslim girls in Islamic dress were assaulted. The BBS has also called Sinhala Buddhists to boycott Muslim businesses, and ran a widespread campaign to abolish halal certification of products from Sri Lanka. The organisation enjoys support of the Sinhala-communal minded Sri Lankan government of Mahinda Rajapaksa who has provided the BBS a free-hand to pursue its bigoted anti-Islam campaigns and to openly express its racist rhetoric, failing to condemn or curtail its anti-Muslim activities. Moreover, on March 9, Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the opening of the BBS’s Buddhist Leadership Academy, stated that he decided to attend the event, “after realising its timely importance”, adding that, “these Buddhist clergy who are engaged in a nationally important task should not be feared or doubted by anyone”.
Through its glowing public endorsement of the ‘nationally important task’ of the BBS – which is clearly to stigmatize Muslim women and marginalize the Muslim community in Sri Lanka – Rajapaksa’s regime has demonstrated that its beliefs and goals are aligned with the corrosive ethnic ideals of this fascist organisation. It seems intent on exploiting racism to maintain public support, and to pursue the politics of dictatorial states such as Burma where the targeting of minorities has become the accepted norm. Muslim women in Sri Lanka are victims of caustic ethnic-based politics is a strand of the toxic concept of nationalism that sows discord, division, and conflict within societies and minorities become the easy target. The treatment therefore of minorities under the Khilafah stands in stark contrast to their maltreatment under the ethnic-based Sri Lankan government and other nationalism-based states, for it is obliged to provide the same rights of protection of belief, dignity, life, and property to every citizen regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion.
The women of Hizb ut Tahrir say to the BBS and Rajapaksa regime – Do not think that this attack against the Muslim women of Sri Lanka and their Islamic beliefs goes unnoticed by the world. We will raise widespread awareness of the injustices they face amongst the global media and to the world such that any decent-minded individual will count you amongst the world’s oppressors. Muslims in Sri Lanka may be a minority but they are part of a 1.5 billion strong Ummah that will not be silent to your religious fascism. Take heed! The return of the Khilafah system that will unite the whole Muslim world is imminent Insha Allah and it will deal harshly with those whose hands are tarnished with the persecution of Muslims.
Dear beloved sisters of Sri Lanka,
We call you not to be intimidated by these racist tactics used to pressure you to compromise your Deen and obedience to Allah (swt). We call you to stand firm to your beliefs and Islamic dress for you have the Support of the Lord of the Worlds and this Ummah. Take heart, the return of the Khilafah is fast approaching and will provide you a haven. Respond to those who attack you for your Islamic dress in the manner that Ibrahim (as) responded to those who threatened him with their idols:
((وَكَيْفَ أَخَافُ مَا أَشْرَكْتُمْ وَلاَ تَخَافُونَ أَنَّكُمْ أَشْرَكْتُم بِاللّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا فَأَيُّ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ أَحَقُّ بِالأَمْنِ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ))
“And why should I fear anything that you worship which you set up beside Allah, seeing that you are not afraid of ascribing divinity to others beside Allah, for which, He has revealed unto you no warrant? Which of the two parties has a better right to be secure? (Answer me that) if you have knowledge!” [TMQ Al-An’am: 81]
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Member of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir