October 17, 2019
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    RELIGIONS SHOULD UNDERPIN UNITY AND PEACE Featured

    May 08, 2019

    The root cause of the massive disasters caused on Easter Sunday points to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who has owned up to instigating the killing of innocent people in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. He is supposed to have frequented and studied in two universities. One could attend a couple of universities, as has done, and yet be defectively educated, cultivated wrong values and follow them fanatically and create anarchy and social chaos through criminal violence.

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s kind of upbringing and circumstances of life had made him to be extremely disgruntled. And he wishes to show his dissatisfaction. For a time he had tried to alter the society’s status quo which, according to his mind, needed to be changed and society reorganised and recreated again in keeping with his warped thinking. What does he do? With the narrow and imperfect knowledge of Islam and other religions, he analyses the limited data he has gathered and concludes that, while the rest of the world is ignorant, he understands well what is wrong with the world. What does he do thereafter? He convinces some people and outlines a project to remake the world, collects the funds needed, mobilizes around him a band of idealistic people, mostly among the young, who could be motivated and driven to be like-minded and fanatically passionate like him and act on his vision.

    They terrorize whose populations by surprise, massacre people, get to control a vast mass of territory in Iraq and Syria and establish a ‘caliphate’(a territory under a despotic Islamic ruler) in what has come to be called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS. When the established governments of Iraq and Syria get organised and drive them away as terrorists and re-establish their authority, the driven out ‘caliph’ goes into hiding for some time, then surfaces suddenly after a senseless heinous attack and says “We are an IS, an Islamic State; we do not need territory, we exercise power.”

    As soon as our Security Forces were empowered they lost no time in detecting the hideouts and capturing many of the extremists involved and unearthed many dangerous caches of arms. Peaceful Muslim leaders and people have informed the government of unacceptable mosque and imams who have crept into the country who should be sent away. Before they are sent away, it may be appropriate to investigate the nature of the treacherous indoctrination and brainwashing they have done to the people of this land.

    CULTURE OF GOOD RELATIONS

    Every human society may indeed need regular change for the better. Today this should take place through good governance by responsible persons elected according to a democratically accepted Constitution.

    Such an instrument assures the supremacy of the law, equality and social responsibility of all individuals and communities of people, democratic freedoms, growth and maintenance of self-understanding in communities of religions upheld by interreligious dialogue, culture of good relations among the individuals and communities of the pluralist society and recognition of the rights of others, acceptance of the creative ingenuity of people and the imperative of public and private partnership in appropriate measure. This culture of good relations among all the individuals and all communities is of primary importance for social stability and peaceful social order.

    That some of those who have entered our universities for tertiary education are not acceptable is evidenced by the kind of wickedness and cruelty exhibited in the inhuman ragging of freshers. It is a sad phenomenon that has inflicted irreparable physical and mental harm to many and led some to end their lives by suicide or in trying to escape the prospect of monstrous brutality. As those admitted to any university anywhere in the world should be worthy of being entrusted with responsible leadership in the various sectors and locations of society, their home upbringing and school formation should have been such that develops a good character and conduct and a culture of good relations that qualify them to be admitted to university education. Otherwise learned monsters and brutal terrorists too could be honed in universities, just as al-Baghdadi has been.

    SELF-DOUBTING POLITICIANS

    In our situation an Action Plan On Intelligence could emerge and the task forces could be mobilized and launched on their mission only if those who should be concerned about national security met regularly and seriously considered and analyzed the intelligence that has flowed in.

    They could have intelligently concluded that there is imminent danger to the people ominously lurking on the horizon to be unleashed on this country at a moment the terrorist attacker chooses. Unfortunately those responsible for security have not been imaginative nor intelligent enough to understand the clear intelligence that had flowed in. Had the politicians been intelligent in statecraft and not naively superstitions, insecure and self-doubting, rather than seek the intervention of sorcerers, diviners and fortune-tellers and manipulate various idols in exclusive habitations, they would have been alert enough to minimize if not altogether prevent the calamitous disaster that occurred on Easter Sunday.

    BUDDHISTS, MUSLIMS NOT ATTACK IMMUNE

    To put up and upkeep Churches like the one at Kochchikade or Katuwapitiya, or a place of worship of a small Christian community in Batticaloa or hotels like Shangri La, Kingsbury or Cinnamon Gardens, years of planning, excavating and labour in building, equipping and maintaining, a constant concern and watchfulness is needed. But to destroy anything like a big church or a prominent hotel, a terrorist only has to have one opportune moment, which of course may involve months of study and planning according to the importance attached to the edifice in view. And that is what the extremist Muslim fanatics have done, destroying themselves and dying in the most contemptibly heinous manner by causing the death of hundreds of innocent men, women and children and destruction of venerated places of worship and valuable edifices.

    Though it is the Catholic churches that have been targeted, Buddhists and Muslims cannot think that they are immune from any attack. The ancient colossal Bamiyan figures of the Buddha, carved in the rocks in Afghanistan centuries ago which were monumental religious, sculptural and artistic treasures, were destroyed by extremist fanatics of the same sort that attacked the Christians on Easter Sunday. All need to be circumspective.

    GOOD OUT OF EVIL

    One good thing that has come out of this historic evil is that the religious leaders have come together and are collaborative of one another for mutual protection and safeguarding the country.

    Leaders of all religions are appreciative of the guidance given to the Catholic people by the Cardinal who reminded them that they should follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Due to the forgiveness and the impressive restraint of Catholics, no retaliatory or vengeful actions of any sort took place and a peaceful calm prevailed. Everyone was thankful to the Cardinal. As the Catholic churches are closed, the Buddhists and Muslims have offered a temple and a mosque for the celebration of Mass, if needed.

    And they have even proposed that His Eminence be awarded the Nobel Prize which he highly deserves. The spirit of fraternity and harmony that has surfaced should continue to build deeper understanding and help create a solid sense of solidarity, unity and peace among all our people.

    Religions would be valid and responsive to human aspiration only when there is in them a free and universal dimension of legitimate human aspirations based on reason, faith, hope and a compassionate loving kindness that enhance human existence and inter-personal relations. Interreligious understanding cannot be built without mutuality and reciprocity, transparency and openness as regards belief and practice.

    As we are living on the planet earth, we need to share it as our common home. We need to recognize that the human race inhabiting this earth is diversified and plural with people having different visions and concepts of life, identities and beliefs, aspirations and hopes. They cannot be brought to a single religious point of view by force. They can never be changed by the force of arms of extremist terrorist fanaticism. In the modern world of today, religions and religious authorities do not have the capability of and do not resort to the force of arms to impose their vision and views on others.

    RELIGIONS AND UNO

    And if the writings of religious authorities seem to justify fanatical action as exhibited on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka and on other occasions in other countries, such writings should either be extirpated or ignored or declared to be inapplicable and of no relevance to life in the modern world. All of humanity needs to come to a tolerant understanding and acceptance of one another, whatever their religion may be and establish good relations and come to a sense of civilized sharing of even views of religion as well as our common home this planet earth is and collaborate and cooperate with one another in love to bring greater happiness to one another. No single nation however powerful, economically and militarily could or should be able to dominate the rest of the world.

    The United Nations Organization (UNO) is today the embodiment of the longing of all humanity to live in solidarity, unity and peace.

    The UNO today consist of 193 member nations whose governing authorities represent and have been elected by the sovereignty of citizens. When all the member nations, transcending the religions of people, accept with the support of all religious leaders the primacy of civic and political authority of the UNO over the particular sovereignties of individual nations, there opens a way to civilized dialogue leading to mutual understanding, universal peace and harmony on earth.

    All need to abide by international law along with the conventions and traditions that they have agreed to uphold so that anyone who may be strong may be just and make the weak secure.

     

    Last modified on Wednesday, 08 May 2019 15:54

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