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 . 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.
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
The US and Sri Lanka have recently increased contacts between their military representatives. With chances improving for a more lasting peace between the Tamil Tiger rebels and government, the US is laying the groundwork to deploy military personnel.
The overall objective of the Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is to find a negotiated solution to the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.
Amnesty International welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka which on 25 January 2002 granted 150,000 Sri Lankan rupees (approximately US$ 1,600) compensation to Velu Arshadevi, a Tamil woman who was raped in Colombo in June 2001.