Sri Lanka government to provide Muslims girls with purdah ?


May peace be upon those who are on the right path! Dear Mr.Pandula Endagama,

I apologize on behalf of our community if we have caused so much distress to you, as I understand from your letter. How a piece of Cloth, worn for the sole purpose of modesty can (and not for extreme-fundamentalism ) can cause such controversy , and the strongest of men to feel so insecure, is very amusing and still baffles me.

Sir, this is a question of school children, (specially the poor) not having enough of material the stitch a complete set of uniform. There is no need to turn this into a communal issue.

The government already provides free material, specially the rural areas, to encourage children to go to school to learn, rather than stay at home due to not having a common attire ( called a "Uniform" ). I just want to remind you that, this 3 piece uniform for Muslim girls, including the Farda / Purda , is nothing new. It was in existence even in the time of your "Old friendly harmonious neighbors". This material is issued according to the necessity of the student.

Accordingly, a child of grade 10 will get more material than a child of grade 1, immaterial of the fact of how many inches she has grown or not within those 8-10 years. Similarly little boys wear shorts to school, and when they come to a certain grade they have to switch to trousers. This takes more material! WHY??? Because it is accepted by the community that, it is INDECENT for 'Older boys/Young men' to go around wearing shorts!(Exactly who brought this "rule" in to Sri-lanka I'm still not sure).

Therefore it is very reasonable for the Government to issue a bit of extra material for hijab / purda , for older Muslim girls who ARE NOT Indecent, to wear. or our girls would have to wear old, faded purdas to school, if they are poor. ( I know this is a very silly topic we are discussing, and we have to put forward silly arguments, but hey! someone has to do it).

I assure you Mr.Endagama, that you or your Community is not under any threat by "Head covering little girls". Seriously. (like Israel soldiers classifies 10 year old Palestinian boys as terrorists) I'm sure you must have had some very traumatic experiences with your Extremist neighbors (with a nuclear power-plant?????), and you have great pride in your Community but Sir,for your information :

- WE Muslims, unlike the Portuguese or British did not come here to invade or evangelize. We arrived 100s of years before them and have live very harmoniously with the Singhalese and Tamils for ages, why do you think otherwise ""Muslims were saved by the Sinhala-Buddhist kings from execution at the hands of the Portuguese and given land in the interior to live."" unless they had complete trust in us, or if we were an asset to them??? We WISH the Singhalese of today too would do the same, as we face the same threat under a different type of Portuguese, and we don't pose any major threat to you'll.

- WE don't want to grab Your (or Kuweni's) traditional home land and we don't think you all are dead. As long as we're citizens, its reasonable we get a piece of land to live on ???

- that we kill animals only for consumption and not for game (like your people do) , or if that animal poses a threat to us or you'll.

- that our reproductive productive functions are only AS HEALTHY as OTHER
COMMUNITIES. You see most of my Singhalese co-workers ( specially from out
station ) have 6+ family members. One even has 12! I have only 2 siblings.

Our Society /"community had shown signs of becoming more and more communal minded", as you say - yes, but by WHOM?? By the way sir, Muslim women CAN enter a Mosque,BUT on very delicate terms you wouldn't understand. I'll explain later if you wish. And IF I, being a girl was over-exploited, I wouldn't be Writing to you ... -And we don't encourage mixed-communities. It's pointless having " eka kakulak ehe, eka kakulak mehe" just to get benefits, in the end it's the children who suffer.

The right to wear anything you want, as long as it doesn't damage our Sri-Lankan morally conservative culture, is one of our basic rights.( you know, why don't you protest at the bikini beaches etc. ) I'm not going to criticise you Mr. Endagama,even if you wear trousers or sarong or shorts when you go on the road, (although a traditional sarong is more suitable I think), therefore, I would very much APPRECIATE you let us continue wearing what WE WANT, and I ASSURE you that so far, of what I know, I or my fellow sisters have absolutely no connection to Gaddaffi or Al-Qaida. Nor do we evangelize, or market our religion, any one is free to join, or to leave. For us, NUMBERS OR HEAD COUNTS DON'T MEAN A THING, like in the Singhalese poetry - " eka pun sandin duruwai lova ghana anduru.." It is much brighter to have a single full moon than a thousand dim stars............. SO,

Therefore, to your Question "Are you all mad or been led by new sbversives?" NO ONE IS ,SIR !

But,maybe some of us are Confused / insecure ?!?!? There is no need to be. I thank the Government, and the JVP for being sensitive to the needs of modern and beautifully diverse society.





Copyright 1997-2001www.lankaweb.Com Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Reproduction In Whole Or In Part Without Express Permission is Prohibited.