There had been a spate of videos on the net recently warning the Sinhalese that Muslims are going to take over Srilanka and to be vigilant.
This is the main theme of Ven. Gnanasara thero and some youngsters who seem to be thinking that the danger is imminent. They also identify reasons for this fear.
Being a Muslim I can advice them how not to let it happen. Actually the ideas and solutions are in their speech itself but instead of coming out with the solutions they keep scaring the public.
So let’s have them out – frank and open.
1. The first reason they point out is that the Muslims are breeding at a rate. It is true, Islam does encourage to have more and more children, not for the sake of pleasure alone rather to leave useful citizens of the world, who will carry your name, serve the world and will pray for you once you are dead and gone.
Now to my meagre knowledge, there is no prohibition of procreation in Buddhism. So why not ask the Buddhists too to procreate just like the Muslims? Celibacy is not allowed in Islam but ascetism is. That is not being attached to the worldly possessions. Isn’t that what Ghoutama Buddha did? He married, had children and then gave up the worldly possessions.
2. Immediately the question will arise who will provide for them? Well there is not much I can offer there, because this is a blessing based on belief. How do the Muslims do not worry about it? Not all Muslims are rich and not all their children are living in luxury. But we do believe that Allah the almighty provides for all and that the parents just have to make them pious people.
3. That brings us to the next point. Piety. We do not believe in ad hoc pious practices like giving holidays on holy days or closing the liquor shops just for one day is piety. It is following the scripture to the letter, like praying five times a day, staying away from alcohol and pork, being charitable etc. If only the Buddhists will follow the true teachings of Buddha – which are very close to the teachings of Islam, people will stop drinking, gambling, womanizing and cheating and certainly the Buddhists will become stronger and richer.
4. So how do you give piety to the people? Not by making them lazier on so called holy days – poya days, which people take for the days to drink and be merry, or to sleep at home, but by actual preaching of good character. The preaching has to be regular ( like our Friday sermons), repetitive, and consistent with the practice of the preachers. You will notice most Muslims open shop, schools and businesses even on holidays. In Islam working and earning to look after your family is also considered to be part of piety.
5. Another allegation is that Muslims look after Muslims only, which is not entirely true, but we do have a religious obligation to give 2½ % of our annual savings to the poor, specially the Muslims. If the Buddhists also will practice this habit, would there be even one single poor person in this island? When there are 82% Buddhists in the island, why do they expect the Muslims to look after their clan?
6. Another absurd allegation is that Muslim boys befriend Sinhalese girls to make them Muslims. No one in their right mind will go to the extent of having an affair with the idea of converting the partner. But if you do not want your girls/ boys to convert give the youngsters a strong sense of belonging – to be proud to be Buddhists, to know the religion and to practice it. Many Muslim youngsters, thought attracted to other religious youngsters, give up their love affairs because they know the family cannot function normally with parents following two different ways.
7. That Muslims are buying lands belonging to the Sinhalese is another assertion; well, they are not robbing or cheating them, do they? The amusing claim was that they are even paying three times the actual price! Shouldn’t you be happy? So if you want to keep the land, let the Sinhalese buy them. Why can’t they? Because they are wasting their money on drinking, gambling and womanizing. Stop them, you can keep your property to yourself.
8. Another amazing assertion is that Muslims are rich. Not all, majority are poor. But if someone is rich and they have not been cheating or robbing, can you lament over it? The first step is to stop tempting people from fast money without working for it. Islam forbids one earning without working for it. Gambling is legalized in this country, but you will not find a good Muslims visiting these dens. We do not buy lottery tickets, it is considered haram. Even buying things by leasing and paying interest is haram. When we are taught to be so careful of the money that we earn, naturally we are richer. Do away with the casinos, do away with the lottery tickets, do away with all these temptations of the banks to take loans for things you don’t need or cannot afford, and then to pay through your nose with interest, many a millionaire you will create.
When they claim that many countries have become Islamic please look at the history. Did the Muslims come and kill all the existing people and take over? No. Rather they became Muslims willingly. Why? Because their own priests did not teach them the beauty of their religion. And the Islamic practices were attractive to them.
Do not make the same mistakes. Teach people to be good true Buddhists, Srilanka will always stay a Buddhist country.
Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai,
23A, Auburn side, Dehiwela