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Second death anniversary : Al Haj Deshabandu Sir Abdul W.M. Ameer

I wish that Al-Haj Deshabandu Sir Ameer still lived with us and continued with his enormous services to the entire nation. But we are unfortunate for he departed us on October 25, last year. Now it is one year since he passed away leaving his exemplary life to be followed by our present businessmen, diplomats and politicians.

The most significant and exceptional thing about his personality is that he represented Dominican Republic as a Honorary Consul general for forty three years. He was the longest serving Honorary Consul General in Sri Lanka, possibly in Asia. Late Sir Ameer maintained a good rapport among diplomats and Consuls in our country and was the dean of the Honorary Consular Corp. He strove very much to promote understanding and friendship between Sri Lanka and Dominican Republic. He was ever prepared to help students and other persons who were in need of information about the country.

Dominican Republic is basically an agriculture country and now it became a number one tourist destination in whole Caribbean countries. It occupies two third of the island called Hispaniola which is in the Caribbean sea, and was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Every year in October, Sir Ameer organized the Columbus Day in order to mark the discovery under the aegis of the Sri Lanka-Latin America-Caribbean Friendship Society (SLLACFS) for which he was the founder president and to which he invited diplomats, state officials, friends and well-wishers.

It was in recognition of great, longest and enthusiastic services to the Dominican Republic and to human kinds in general, the State of the country conferred the knighthood on him.

Late Sir Ameer did not limit his involvement to diplomatic services, but he founded many national and international organizations through which he could extend tremendous contribution to his country and to his community. He endeavoured to safeguard our cultural values and norms in Latin America and Caribbean countries through SLLACFS which was formed thirty five years ago by him along with some local and foreign personalities. His membership and vice presidency of the world Constitution and Parliamentary Association is a clear indication for his popularity among international figures.

Being a member as well as a president of the Colombo central Rotary Club he did yeoman services to uplift the standard of our nation through all the activities carried out by the club.

Late Sir Ameer's engagement as a vice president of the English Speaking Union of Sri Lanka, a cluster division of the union in England was definitely of very much use to many English Language learners and speakers.

Sir Ameer was an active and pious Muslim who was very sensitive whenever he observed some negative things happening to his community. He along with the few Muslim leaders formed the Indonesian Hajaji Memorial Society in order to respect and remember the Muslim pilgrims who died in the plane crash occurred in Sri Lanka while they were returning from Holy Mecca some years ago.

He was a senior member of the all Ceylon Moors' Association founded by Sir Razik Fareed. He served as a vice president of the Moor Islamic Cultural Home until the time of his demise.

He was an invisible politician. That is to say, he backed up many Muslim politicians to raise voices for muslim community when they were in trouble. When there was any social problem anywhere, Sir, Ameer was sure to be present and assist the needy.

Sir Ameer was the Chief founder of the Refugees Relief Organization (RRO) which was purposefully formed to help the Muslim Refugees when there was a mass exodus of Muslim people from North and some bordering villages in the East because of the atrocities and assassinations done by the terrorists. He personally visited all the refugee camps in many parts of the Island with clothes and medicines. He kept trying to attract the Amnesty International's attention regarding the refugees through the Muslim Information Centre (MIC), a centre created for information purposes and chaired by him.

Hotel Ranmuthu owned by late Sir Ameer was placed as the centre for many matters. The hotel was at the disposal of all communities, various organizations hold their meetings and functions. Sir Ameer contacted many philanthropists and NGOs in Sri Lanka and abroad and collected relief for the refugees. All the food items and clothes were heaped up at his hotel basement and taken to the particular refugee camps in lorries.

His generosity to have used his business place for the good of the refugees and his timely action to have kept them away from pinch of hunger should be written in gold.

He was very friendly with journalists and mediamen. He personally helped some journalists to do their career development. Press Association of Sri Lanka still conducts classes. The formation of the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum took place in the same hotel and the meeting of the forum were and are held there.

Sir Ameer took a keen interest in national affairs when the nation was embroiled in ethnic violence. He worked hard to create peace and harmony among all the communities in our country. He was against communalism and chauvinism.

Sir Ameer started many Quranic Schools in and out of Colombo. Very recently a Quarnic school which was started nearly twenty five years ago by Late Sir was converted in to a Jummah Mosque in Padukka.

Late Sir Ameer was amiable, striking and unassuming personality, who always dedicated to his area of work. He was much benevolent towards all those who sought his assistance.

- Habeebullah Bafalul