Category Archives: communal relations

Buddhist Zealots in Sri Lanka and Myanmar stir the Cauldron

Hannah Beech, in New York Times, 8 July 2019, where the title runs “Buddhists Go to Battle: When Nationalism Overrides Pacifism” …. A call to arms for Sri Lankan monks. Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar. A Buddhist faith known for pacifism is taking its place in a new age of nationalism

GINTOTA, Sri Lanka — The Buddhist abbot was sitting cross-legged in his monastery, fulminating against the evils of Islam, when the petrol bomb exploded within earshot. But the abbot, the Venerable Ambalangoda Sumedhananda Thero, barely registered the blast. Waving away the mosquitoes swarming the night air in the southern Sri Lankan town of Gintota, he continued his tirade: Muslims were violent, he said, Muslims were rapacious. The aim of Muslims is to take over all our land and everything we value,” he said. “Think of what used to be Buddhist lands: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Indonesia. They have all been destroyed by Islam.”

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Addressing the 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists: Where Fervour Trumps ‘Deep Throats’

Michael Roberts

When one of my articles on the jihadist network that perpetrated the 21/4 attacks in Sri Lanka referred to the inspirations behind the 9/11 attacks in USA, I was surprised to receive vehement rejections of the latter contention from two good friends and one distant  ‘aide’ in Canada – challenges sent independently of each other.

These challenges have been rejected by other friends – at times quite bluntly. But Jeremy Liyanage,[1] Jean-Pierre Page[2] and Chris Black[3] are individuals with whom I have interacted fruitfully and whose commitment to the pursuit of truth and reform in this world are not in doubt. So, this revisiting of 9/11 and its perpetrators on my part is a personal journey that addresses my three friends, while yet seeking to raise significant issues in today’s world – especially embracing the ramifications of the ideological currents known as “Wahhabism” and “Salafism” (terms that seem to be deployed interchangeably).[4] Continue reading

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Sinhala Extremists eye Uyghur Solution for Muslims

ACL Ameer Ali, in Sunday Observer, 14 July 2019, where the title runs Moulding Muslim Culture’ echoes Chinese Uyghur experiment’

The hidden agenda of the far-right and extremist groups like Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Mahoson Balakaya, Sinha Le and so on, in respect of the Muslim community needs be understood in light of what was announced in that rally by BBS secretary, Gnanasara. From the beginning, and at least since the Alutgama riots of 2015, the BBS and its obstreperous secretary, were vociferous in demanding the expulsion of all Muslims to Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country, reinventing a 19th century argument advanced by Anagarika Dharmapala and Co. in a different context, that Muslims were ‘aliens’ in Sri Lanka. The fact that this community, like the Sinhalese and the Tamils before, were also foreigners but arrived last and that they were indigenised over one thousand years ago did not matter in the BBS’ twisted [readings of] history. Its ultimate goal is to make this island one hundred percent Sinhala Buddhist. It was this aspiration that was once again reinforced in Kandy, when Gnanasara announced that, “every home must have an owner and Sinhalese are the owners of Sri Lanka.” When saying that he quite naively expected the Tamils also to accept their status as tenants and live until they too would be ejected one day.

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Anti-Muslim Violence Present and Past

Shamara Wettimuny, in Sunday Observer, 14 July 2019, where the title is “A brief history of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka”

The recent Easter attacks targeting a number of churches and hotels devastated Sri Lanka. Over 250 people were killed, and many more injured. Within days of the attack, it emerged that the perpetrators of the attack were affiliated to radical Islamist groups in Sri Lanka. However, the identification of the perpetrators as ostensibly adherents of the Islamic faith opened the floodgates of discrimination and violence against the broader Muslim community in Sri Lanka.

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The Goyigama Lansiyaas

A Wandering Laankikaya

Following is an interesting piece by former Sri Lankan (Sinhala) DIG of Police now domiciled in Canada. This appeared some time ago.

Recently I njoyed reading a lively discussion in a newspaper about the ‘Govigama Burghers’. The first time I heard the term ‘Govigama Lansia’ being used in lighter vein was by my cousin the late Neville Algama. He referred to his friend and classmate at Royal College V.T. Dickman as ‘Govigama Lansia’.

Siva Rajaratnam that affable Attorney- at- law who hailed from Trincomalee became a dear friend of mine after he cross-examined me for several days before the Sansoni Commission. He too had been a classmate of Dickman’s. In 1980 when I was the DIG–Metropolitan, Siva invited me to his Royal College batch mates’ annual get-together at his Wellawatta Rohini Road residence as the guest of honour, although I was not from that Reid Avenue school.

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Canadian Cha-Cha-Cha: Genocide Claims

Chandre Dharmawardana, in Colombo Telegraph, 5 July 2019, where the title “Two Alleged Genocides – And Canada’s Claimed Support For Conflict Prevention In Sri Lanka”

David McKinnon, Canada’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka  has stated, on Canada’s National Day  that  “Canada would continue to support conflict prevention efforts in Sri Lanka, where  it has been seen how hate speech and media can entrench communal divisions”.  Meanwhile back in Canada, successive Canadian governments have failed to understand how this very “hate speech” is being entrenched in Canadian municipal discourse and even in parliamentary proceedings by militant diaspora groups. They wish to replay the old ethnic animosities of their homeland  in Canada too.

fervent demonstrations in Toronto mounted by Canadian Tamils in 2009 … presaging recent claims

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The Muslim Moors in Sri Lanka: Commensality in the Moulding of Distinctive Being

Michael Roberts

The article by Wilfrid Jayasuriya on “The Force of the Moors” in Sri Lanka generated an ethnographic note which led to clarifications from Mohamed Mowzil and Ameer Ali.[1] They provided details about the practices followed by the Moor (Muslim) people in the course of meals termed sawan and kidu. This practice of feeding oneself from the same communal dish in the centre of a small table is especially marked on days of feast or collective recollection. In some instances, the family collective would include men and women. Where outsiders (usually bosom friends or distinguished personnel) are party to this intimate occasion, only males would participate in this practice.

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