Sri Lanka

Notes by WLUML networker Faizun Zackariya, based on her visit to the East coast (28-29-30th Dec) especially to the villages of Karativu, Sainthamaruthu, Kalmunai Kudi, Kalmunai, Pandiruppu and Maruthumanai in the Amparai district.
Women's rights groups who have conducted fact-finding missions in the tsunami-affected areas wish to bring to public attention serious issues concerning the safety and wellbeing of women which have not yet been addressed in relief efforts.
On 28th December, 5 members of the Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum and one observer accompanied a truck full of relief goods to Kalmunai area, located in the district of Amparai on the East Coast, to aid the relief effort for Tsunami victims.
Sri Lanka's Muslims are warning of a militant backlash as increasing tension between them and the Tamil community in the east of the country fuels feelings of frustration and anger.
Sri Lankans must wonder if their patricians could ever be trusted to deliver on an opportunity to remake the country.
Following calls for reform of Personal Law this article focuses on certain aspects of the General Law dealing with the issue of violence against women.
Although this article is not about Muslim laws, the issues it raises apply to women's engagement with the law and the impact of customary practices across diverse countries and communities.
Introduction

The objective of this paper is to provide a historical overview of the processes of communal identity formation in Sri Lanka with special reference to the Muslim community [1]. Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic society in which Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others have coexisted for centuries. However, in more recent times, ethnic relations on the Island have been consistently strained by the rise of communalist politics which have deepened ethnic and religious divides.
1. Introduction:

An attempt is made in this paper to trace the development of ethnic consciousness and religious fundamentalism among Sri Lankan Muslims and the bearings of this development on Sri Lankan Muslim women.*

At the outset, I should clarify the use of the terms ethnic consciousness and fundamentalism. Both these terms are very popular and controversial in the current socio-political discourse. There are a number of definitions and disagreements about them.
The Muslim's Women's Research and Action Front considers the appointment of a committee to examine Muslim Personal Law in the light of reform as a positive step in the socio-legal and cultural upliftment of the community.

MWRAF as a group of committed and concerned Muslim women wishes to suggest a basis for reforms, though we would like to reiterate the fact that our framework is within the Qur'an and Sharia and the proposed changes would in effect be implementation of not only the letter of the law but also the spirit of the law- in other words the essence of the Qur'an
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