The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) informed that they were not for the division of the country.

General Secretary of the SLMC, Hasan Ali said that Segu Dawood had never talked of a separate State but only about a separate Province with a Muslim majority centered round the Ampara District.

“M.H.M. Ashraff’s name and likeness has been somewhat abused during the last 15 years by many politicians for their own political agenda. In the present context, there is a strong undercurrent of racial elements. M.H.M. Ashraff’s good name is being soiled with things that have nothing to do with him. Segu Dawood’s claim implies that M.H.M. Ashraff endorsed and condoned that Muslims must be given a separate state. M.H.M. Ashraff in the late 1980s, was of the view that if the Tamils who were fighting for autonomy were granted autonomy in the North, then it is only fair that the Muslims too be granted autonomy in the East. M.H.M. Ashraff changed his mindset regarding this over time, and in the mid 1990s, he was of the view that the division of the country was not a solution. This is when the idea of national unity, where the National Unity Alliance (NUA) with the collaboration of Buddhists, Hindus and Christians came about. Unfortunately he died before the NUA could contest,” Aman Ashraff remarked.

“If some arrangement is going to be made to the ethnic problem, ethnic wise, then the Muslims also must be considered as equal stakeholders and such status must be given to us. One cannot leave one community out. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution has not been implemented fully. If this continues, the country will continue to experience what it experienced. There will be no stability. People will become agitated. One cannot have a situation where one community is suppressed by another because if this is the case, there is every possibility of revolt, and the international community too will poke their fingers into our affairs. This is something the majority should decide on,” Ali added.

MEanwhile, Aman Ashraff, son of former Founder cum Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), M.H.M. Ashraff criticized Chairman of the SLMC, Basheer Segu Dawood over an alleged statement made by Segu Dawood allegedly claiming that the Muslims should be given a separate state.

Aman Ashraff said that Segu Dawood was free to put forward such views as his own independently, without dragging those uninvolved with such views.

Despite several attempts to contact Segu Dawood, he was not available for a comment.

  • Noor Nizam – Canada.

    The Muslim community in the North East have to carefully consider and evaluate the opinion/statement made by Hon. MT. Hassanali to the dated 23.02.2016 to the Ceylon Daily News. In the present context of politics, especially minority community politics, Hon. Hassanali has been very frank to make certain bold views that no other Muslim politician has so far made on the questions raised by the journalist who had interviewed the Hon. MP for Nithavur. The contents of the interview/news item needs immediate deliberation and brain-storming among the North East Muslim voters and political activists. As a political activist fro the Trincomalee district, an SLFP stalwart since 1969 and a former SLFP District Organizer of the SLFP for Trincomalee district, I have made certain comments to Hon. Hassanali’s views which I give below. What Hon. Hassali is stating about the merger of the North and East, a North-East unification would be rejected outright by the Muslims, unless there was consultation and consensus should be fully supported by the Sri Lankan Muslims. Hon. Hassanali’s views that, as far as the Muslims are concerned we are not interested in the terminology and whatever you call it we want the North East to be conducive for the development and safety of the Muslims is the realistic gut political feeling of the Sri Lankan Muslims in the East, especially that of the “poraaligal” and of other political ideologies. With regard to the war ravaged areas if they are going to find a solution based on the demands of the Tamils. Then the Muslims in the East too should be considered and recognised as a separate political enclave by the government which has still not decided on whether they want to opt for a federal approach or a unitary structure and the debate is still going on, between the Tamil and Sinhala communities and the question is – Why is the Muslim community living in the North Eastern areas not included in these discussions? With regards to the North and East, based on that structure, the Muslim community too should be given an equal stakeholder status in the whole process. That is our view and it doesn’t matter if you call it unitary or federal but our main demand is that the Muslims too should be recognised as a separate community which is another reality any government should start to consider. The Muslims should in the East have their own Provincial Council, in that case, is still another reality to be considered. The areas can be connected, should have separate Muslim majority power-sharing structure comprising non-contiguous areas similar to the Pondicherry model in India, can be the best political solution under a new constitution. Whatever said and done and the Sinhala politicians are squabbling over whether it is a “Yahapalaya government” or a “Hybrid government of the SLFP and UNP” the government of President Maithripala Sirisena should not forget that, if not for the Muslim votes and the Tamil votes adding to the UNP vote bank, HE. Mahinda Rajapaksa would have NOT been defeated. It is therefore time now a “New Political Force” or an Alternate Sri Lanka Muslim Political Entity” should emerge as an alternate to the SLMC, ACMC, NMC,NUA,MULF and the Muslim camps of the UNP and the SLFP, to lead the Sri Lankan Muslim Community’s POLITICAL DESTINY, Insha Allah. The Sri Lanka Muslim Youth should begin to give thought to this, Insha Allah. Noor Nizam. Peace and Political Activist, Political Communication Researcher and Convener – The Muslim Voice”.

    • ranjith Chandrasekera

      If you go on to identify Muslims and Tamils as different people and need own share of the power and land away from the majority of the population, this country will never progress and will be fighting with each other for ever. Why don’t you recognize this country as this land belongs to all of us. For example look at the Tamils and Muslims living in the South particularly in the capital Colombo and regional areas how peacefully they move on and socialize, do business and attend to day to day life in harmony with the majority Sinhalese. So what is this problem with ethnic political leaders have, to demand for self government and land to each ethnic community. The more you segregate the more you anticipate differences and problems.

      • Javed

        Good point. Segregation is what sustains opportunist politicians.