Updated April 25, 2019​ 

Sri Lanka Express

Eid al-Adha greetings from Sec. of State

SLE News
August 31, 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued the following statement today on the occasion of the Hajj festival:

As the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca and Medina comes to a close, I wish Muslims across the globe a meaningful and blessed Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha, also known as the ‘Festival of Sacrifice,’ is a special time when millions of Muslims perform acts of charity, remember those who are less fortunate, and celebrate with family and friends. It is a time in which Muslims from diverse backgrounds pray together and reflect on peace.

The U.S. Department of State wishes all Muslims around the world a happy Eid.
Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mabrour.

Indian Americans protest CNN for presenting fringe cannibalistic sect as Hindus

Hindu Americans protesting outside CNN office in downtown Chicago.
Photo courtesy Twitter
SLE News
March 27, 2017

Hindu Americans are up in arms over a documentary aired by CNN which they say portrays the religion in a negative light and have held protests against the cable network.  Protests have been held in New York, Washington, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and Chicago after the documentary aired March 5.

The biggest turnout so far was outside the CNN office in downtown Chicago on March 27 when hundreds of Indian Americans held a peaceful rally to voice their indignation at theCNN publicized the documentary titled “Believer” as a “new spiritual adventure series” in which “ renowned author and religious scholar Reza Aslan immerses himself in the world's most fascinating faith-based groups to experience life as a true believer.”

Reza Aslan an Iranian-American who has written three books on religion included in the CNN documentary segments of his meeting with Aghori nomads, a fringe Hindu sect, outside the Hindu holy city of Varanasi,  who smear his face in cremated human ashes , persuade him to drink alcohol from a skull, and  threaten to decapitate Aslan for “talking so much”, also feeds the presenter who he claims is a piece of human brain. (Continued below)

Sri Lankan Muslim Clerics Say Women Are Not Equal To Men, Defend Marriage Before Puberty

In an alarming submission made to several parliamentarians and other conservative groups with regard to proposed amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU) has said that they agree with the Hadith “No people will ever prosper who appoint a woman in charge of their affairs” and therefore a woman isn’t worthy of being appointed a Qazi (judge).

The ACJU is the main body of theologians of Muslims in Sri Lanka.  Read full story
Aslan followed up the episode’s debut with a promotional post on Facebook, writing: “Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal. It was burnt to a crisp!”

Aslan does make it clear in the episode that the Aghori – who number only a few thousand - are not representative of Hinduism.  However, protesters allege the CNN documentary showed the practices of five Aghori Bawas to depict Hinduism.

"This was his picture of Hinduism projected to the world on CNN," said a protest letter distributed on the occasion.

"Far from wanting to experience any spirituality within Hinduism, Reza Aslan seems to have gone to India only to confirm his Orientalist biases," said Chandrashekar Wagh from the Coalition Against Hinduphobia.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Aslan said his documentary is not about Hinduism, but about Aghori, a mystical Hindu sect known for extreme rituals.

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the US congress, posted several tweets criticizing CNN and saying she was “disturbed” by the program.

“CNN is using its power and influence to increase people’s misunderstanding and fear of Hinduism,” she wrote “Aslan apparently sought to find sensationalist and absurd ways to portray Hinduism.

The US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), the advocacy organization of the Indian American community, had earlier called on CNN not to broadcast the show saying it will create confusion about the faith of Indian Americans and make them targets of hate crimes.