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Abstract

The following chapter analyzes the ideology of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress as expressed in the official documents of the party. I have divided the chapter depending upon who is the intended recipient of the document. The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is the party’s written political platform and is directed towards the general public, the government, other political organizations, and members of the party. The document The proposal of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and Resolution to the conflict in the northern and eastern provinces: the Muslim dimension can be seen as directed towards the government. Code of Conduct, on the other hand, is a document mainly for internal use. It outlines specific rules for the members of the party. Under the headline “Convention speeches”, documents containing older party convention speeches, for example, Ashraff’s convention speeches and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 15th Convention are analyzed. These are documents for sale in the party’s headquarters, with the members of the party as the intended audience. In “On the Internet and in public spaces,” the approach by the SLMC elite to the Internet, and also some posters during election time, is examined. These can be seen as directed towards a general public, or potential voters. The last part in this chapter deals with the case of a certain public symbol in the text Signs and Greatness.

Keywords

  • Muslim politics
  • Islam
  • Muslims
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka Muslim Congress
  • Pragmatic politics
  • Religion and politics

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is a 26-page document on the SLMC’s organization, from top to bottom. The document also outlines how members are organized, the guidelines of the party, and different roles of party members. It also contains some rules and presents affiliated bodies and their work. The National Unity Alliance Constitution is also discussed and analyzed in Chap. 4. The National Unity Alliance (NUA) was initially a part of the SLMC but developed into a separate party after the death of Ashraff in 2000. Another document related to the NUA that also is analyzed is Signs and Greatness which discusses the SLMC’s three symbols during the time when Ashraff created NUA.

  2. 2.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p. In the document entitled Our Vision, the SLMC encourages the use of religion in politics. Here it is stated that: “We are convinced of the reality that we cannot adopt an Islamic way of life for the community, if we discard the political aspects of Islam. We are also aware of the fact that Prophet Muhammad […] did not separate Islam from the social, economic and political establishments […] If his basic principle is accepted, it becomes crystal clear that if our political affairs are established on an Islamic foundation, our communal life too could be established according to the principle of Islam […] We who are followers of that Prophet have now gone back to pre-Islamic times when politics was considered to be a separate entity from religion”. Quoted in O’Sullivan 1999: 258–9.

  3. 3.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p.

  4. 4.

    See Graham 2013.

  5. 5.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p.

  6. 6.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p. These are also posted online. See the SLMC “Our Objective”, retrieved 2013-09-30.

  7. 7.

    For an overview of the laws in the Qur’an, see Hallaq 2014.

  8. 8.

    The Proposal of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2004, n.p. This will also be discussed in the following chapters.

  9. 9.

    Resolution to the conflict in the northern and eastern provinces: n.d., n.p.

  10. 10.

    The Proposal of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2004, n.p.

  11. 11.

    Resolution to the conflict in the northern and eastern provinces, n.d., n.p.

  12. 12.

    The Proposal of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2004, n.p.

  13. 13.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p.

  14. 14.

    See Bernard 2006.

  15. 15.

    See Lewis 2006.

  16. 16.

    The list covers a total 32 posts. The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p.

  17. 17.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p.

  18. 18.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p.

  19. 19.

    This document was provided to me by Shafeek Rajabdeen. See Appendix 2. This is also stated in The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p.

  20. 20.

    Code of Conduct, n.d.: 1–3.

  21. 21.

    Code of Conduct, n.d.: 9–11.

  22. 22.

    For examples, see Rowson 2014 and Hallaq 2014.

  23. 23.

    Reinhart 2006.

  24. 24.

    See Hawting 2013.

  25. 25.

    Hawting 2013.

  26. 26.

    The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress program to stabilize the party from village level. n.d., n.p

  27. 27.

    See Tyan 2012.

  28. 28.

    See Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 15th Convention.

  29. 29.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches, n.d., n.p.

  30. 30.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches, n.d., n.p.

  31. 31.

    Ashraff mentions the Islamic United Front, the Islamic Socialist Front, the Anti-Marxist Front, the Colombo Muslim United Front, the East-Ceylon Muslim United; see Ashraff’s Convention Speeches n.d., n.p.

  32. 32.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches, n.d., n.p. HC member 2, 2013-02-17.

  33. 33.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches, n.d., n.p.

  34. 34.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches, n.d., n.p.

  35. 35.

    Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 15th Convention, n.d., n.p.

  36. 36.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches, n.d., n.p.

  37. 37.

    For more information on umma, see Denny 2012.

  38. 38.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches n.d., n.p. Ashraff is also harsh in his criticism of the government but points out that the SLMC does not want to divide the country, nor does it advocate terrorism; it wants to unify the country. He accuses the government of being chauvinistic and states that the creation of the SLMC is the only peaceful way to guarantee Muslim rights, and he continually asserts that the purpose is not to divide the country further.

  39. 39.

    See Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 15th Convention n.d., n.p.

  40. 40.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches n.d., n.p.

  41. 41.

    Ashraff’s Convention Speeches n.d., n.p.

  42. 42.

    Sri Lanka Muslim Congress 15th Convention. n.d., n.p.

  43. 43.

    SLMC “Home”, retrieved 2014-12-02.

  44. 44.

    Invitation to the 23 delegates’ conference n.d., see appendix 5.

  45. 45.

    SLMC “Our Party”, retrieved 2013-09-30.

  46. 46.

    SLMC “Our Policy”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  47. 47.

    SLMC “Dr A.M.A. Azeez Birth Centenary Oration”, retrieved 2013-09-30.

  48. 48.

    SLMC “Dr A.M.A. Azeez Birth Centenary Oration”, retrieved 2013-09-30.

  49. 49.

    Bearman, et al. 2006.

  50. 50.

    SLMC “Statement by Minister of Justice and Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Rauff Hakeem”, retrieved 2014-12-11.

  51. 51.

    SLMC “Our Policy”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  52. 52.

    SLMC “Our History”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  53. 53.

    SLMC “Our History”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  54. 54.

    SLMC “Our History”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  55. 55.

    SLMC “Keynote Address at the World Muslim Forum”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  56. 56.

    SLMC “Our Achievements”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  57. 57.

    SLMC “123rd Commemoration Oration of Alhaj Dr. T B Jayah”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  58. 58.

    Rauff Hakeem Facebook page, retrieved 2014-12-11. The official webpage also offers some of the speeches that Hakeem has made at international conferences. For example, see SLMC “Responsibility to Protect: Asian-African Perspectives”, retrieved 2014-12-11.

  59. 59.

    SLMC “A Pen Portrait of Our National Leader – Abdul Rauff Hakeem”, retrieved 2014-12-03. And SLMC “Inaugural Oration at the KC Kamalasabeyson Memorial Lecture”, retrieved 2014-12-03. There is also a public speech published on the same site of a Tamil political leader. See SLMC “M. Sivasithamparam Commemorative Lecture”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  60. 60.

    This could also be seen on the official webpage. See SLMC “Leaders Poetry”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  61. 61.

    Rauff Hakeeem’s Facebook page, retrieved 2014-12-11. Some of these themes could also be observed in the SLMC’s official webpage, see SLMC “Gallery”, retrieved 2014-12-03.

  62. 62.

    For example, www.lankamuslims.com, which was active some years after the tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean in 2004. This webpage is no longer active. C. Tuan Nazzer 2006-11-20.

  63. 63.

    SLMC “Colombo District Facebook page”, retrieved 2013-10-02.

  64. 64.

    SLMC “Colombo District Facebook page”, retrieved 2013-10-02.

  65. 65.

    A.M. Rakeeb manifesto (2011).

  66. 66.

    Mahroof 1995: 33.

  67. 67.

    The Constitution of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, 2000 (1986), n.p.

  68. 68.

    Signs and Greatness, n.d., n.p. This text is authored by Jamal Abdul Majid Alim, who is presented as a member of the Muslim Congress. The text also contains a foreword by former leader Ashraff in which he explains that he has instructed Jamal Abdul Majid Alim to write it. The foreword is dated to the year 2000; the text itself has no date, however.

  69. 69.

    Signs and Greatness, n.d., n.p.

  70. 70.

    Signs and Greatness, n.d., n.p.

  71. 71.

    Cf. Sadam Hussein, in Eickelman and Piscatori 2004: 63.

  72. 72.

    Samarasinghe 2009: 447 and Zackariya, and Shanmugaratnam 1997.

  73. 73.

    O’Sullivan 1999: 109.

  74. 74.

    There are a number of reasons why these books started to spread at this time. For example, mass education began to increase in the Middle East. See Eickelman and Piscatori 2004.

  75. 75.

    Denny 2013.

  76. 76.

    Ismail 1995: 73.

  77. 77.

    Eickelman and Piscatori 2004: 58.

  78. 78.

    See Waines 2013.

  79. 79.

    Hjärpe 2010: 131.

  80. 80.

    Hjärpe 2010: 132.

  81. 81.

    Hjärpe 2010: 137.

  82. 82.

    Eickelman and Piscatori 2004: 146.

  83. 83.

    Roy 2004: 19.

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    Johansson, A. (2019). Official Documents. In: Pragmatic Muslim Politics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-12789-3_2

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