Feature Article

Dr Amir Ali: Neoliberal institutions, religious extremism major hurdles of resolving conflict

[TamilNet, Friday, 26 April 2019, 13:11 GMT]
The global neoliberalist institutions such as the IMF and three particular religious extremist tendencies aggravated by external factors manifesting in the island were going to be the major future hurdles in achieving a lasting resolution to the conflict affecting the Tamils and the Tamil-speaking Muslims in the island, said Dr Ameer Ali, a renowned academic based in Australia, in a video interview to TamilNet in May 2018. He identified the Hindutva coming from India, militant Theravada Buddhism getting exposed in Myanmar and the Wahhabism which had started-off from Saudi Arabia as the three far-right religious tendencies. The expulsion of Muslims from Jaffna was a crime, but it was not ethnic cleansing as some propagandists tend to project it, he stated further.

As long as the SL governments are aligning with the ruling neoliberal philosophy, it becomes the ardent disciple of the International Monetary Fund and other international organisations. It is not possible to resolve the conflict in the island if you are dependent on these international agencies.

“No country, including India, is going to come and solve our problems,” he said.

The politicians and religious leaders would not help resolve the problems faced by peoples.

Secular intellectuals and cultural activists must be the key players in forging unity, he said.

The video interviews, recorded in Tamil and English during one of his trips to the island and used to train the journalists in the East are being publicly released for the perusal of the larger audience, especially in the aftermath of the terror attacks on Easter Sunday.

The merger of North and East must be achieved through the unity of Tamils and Muslims. It is the only way to safeguard the Tamil-speaking peoples from the oppression of the majoritarian chauvinism in the island, Dr Ali said.

The majoritarian chauvinism was providing certain concessions to Muslims when it suppressed the Tamils during the times of war. The politicians among the Muslims had succumbed to opportunistic approaches rather than taking a rights-oriented approach. This approach is not going to work for Muslims in the future, he warned.

The democratic traditions were being entirely eroded especially after 2009, he observed.

Dr Ali, who has served as the president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, describes himself as a man of strong Islamic faith with a particular interest in the history of Islam.

As the chairman of the Islamic Advisory Group under the Howard Government in Australia, he was closely involved in interfaith dialogue both within Australia and outside.

His academic speciality is Islamic Banking and Finance. He has written numerous papers and addressed many conferences discussing Islamic philosophy and the challenges of unity between Islam, Christianity and the Western World at conferences across Australia as well as in Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand and the USA.

He has also taken part in international interfaith meetings were in Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand.

The 78-year-old educator hails from Kaaththaan-kudi is the son of an Islamic Tamil poet, who had won the prestigious Sahitya award.



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