Category Archives: disparagement

Intolerance. The Deep Currents within Sri Lanka

This last week  i received two emails, one from a friend in Canada and another from a well-placed senior person in Colombo, which, quite independently, touched on Ahmaddiya, Christian and Rohingya refugees brought to the island as transit refugees by UNHCR and parked in the western coastal areas. Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey’s recent public address confirmed the thrust of these two emails. The implications are disheartening and should fore all of us Lankans to review our recent history and its shortcomings.

ONE: Email Note from Canada, 15 May 2019

Hello Michael.The following might be of interest to you as a social scientist. (A) I read the story (in the link below) at Google News – which sends me stories on SL to my inbox, This is interesting as I was unaware that SL had “foreign” refugees. There were rumours that R ishad Badudeen (Minister – Puttalam) was settling some Bangladeshis in Wilpattu. Continue reading

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Missing the Boat. How Religio-Political Divisions have Deepened

A Letter from Rohan De Soysa in Colombo to Michael Roberts in Adelaide, 9th May 2019

I’d like to suggest a different angle. We have a Minister for Buddhist religious affairs, another for Hindu religious affairs, yet another for Muslim religious affairs and still another for Christian religious affairs.  Then there are Governors for the various provinces: Eastern Province, Western Province, Northern Province, Southern Province etc.  They have been provided deputy ministers, offices, staff, bodyguards, cell phones and vehicles, etc.

Should they not monitor and observe any untoward teachings and undesirable tendencies in what comes under their purview, namely places of worship and education, catering to their specialized religions? Why did they not do so? Isn’t it about time they did?

Continue reading


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Ultimate Loyalties: Sri Lankan Muslims in Lanka but beyond the Nation

Rajeewa Jayaweera in a Comment that responds toa QUERY from Michael O’Leary addressed to Ameer Ali

Michael, If one contributes to the absurd theory, [that] only those who returned from Saudi Arabia make up the radicalized elements in the Muslim community in SL; there is no sensible and meaningful answer to O” Leary’s question.

If however, one can look beyond the theory of “Peace-loving Muslim Community,” it would be easier to understand. Those who went to Saudi Arabia were mostly from the impoverished segment of Muslim society. They worked as housemaids, laborers, etc. and had nil to minimal educational qualifications. Many returned radicalized in a manner of speaking. Women who covered their heads when they left returned covering their faces. Those who did not adhere strictly to praying five times a day earlier would not dream of missing a single prayer session after their return. Watching movies, even musicals became taboo after their return. Continue reading


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Ranil’s Interviews. Faux Pas Galore. Total Failures

Major General (Retd.) Lalin Fernando, in Asian Tribune, .with this title “When does a Prime Minister Resign?.

When PM Wickramasinghe was asked by BBC’s Channel 4 why he had not taken action against ISIS terrorists who had returned to the Island in 2017, his fatuous reply was that it was not illegal in SL to take part in terrorist actions abroad.

The PM has a basic degree in law. He likes to continuously impress his ill educated but fawning parliamentary minions and Colombo’s socialites. But with the Channel 4 man the PM was clearly out of his depth and clearly in fear of personal repercussions for the Easter Sunday massacre. There were 250 dead, almost all Christians, and 450 wounded. A colossal intelligence failure was blamed for it. The PM thought it and anything else was not enough to damn him. Continue reading


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Slippages: Where “Muslim” is an Ethnic Label as Well as a Religious Typification

Michael Roberts

From Waleel Aly to Greg Sheridan and Brendan O’Neill[1] the foreign writers who have ventured to comment on the recent Islamic jihadist attacks in Sri Lanka have invariably considered the category “Muslim” to be a religious identity. This is not completely erroneous. But this reading obscures the fact that the term is also an ethnic concept when placed in juxtaposition with the terms Sinhalese (Sinhala) and Tamils. Within the island one must attend carefully to the context of usage. Not surprisingly, these foreign reporters are unaware of these nuances.

A Moor gentleman -as depicted in Wright’s Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon 1905

Those whom we refer today in Sri Lankan English as “Muslim” were described till about the 1930s as “Mohammedan” and/or “Moor.” The term “Moors’’ was a racial category rendering them different from the term “Malay” – so that the Malays were a separate category under “RACE” in the 1921 census and counted as distinct from the Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Europeans, Burghers & Eurasians, Veddas and “Others.”[2] This differentiation is enshrined in the Sinhala speech insofar as Malays are identified as ja, javun or javo; while the Moors are described as yon or marakkala or thambiyo.

Continue reading


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Muslim Jihadist Protest in London in March 2018 targets Buddhism and Sri Lankan Government

A friend in Sri Lanka who sent me this reference and I myself were misled in thinking this protest occurred this April 2019. But Arun Dias Bandaranaike directed me towards a reconsideration and I believe now that this was action that occurred after the anti Muslim riots and attacks carried out by Sinhalese after an incident at DIGANA in Sri Lanka in March 2018. Hence the targeting of Sinhala Buddhists and the Sri Lankan government intheir slogans and battle cries.

That said, note the (1) fervency of protest and the total commitment; (2) the outrageous exaggerations — such as “genocide.” In my reading this body of Muslims probably includes several who would be willing to take the jihadist path of suicidal attack in a cause deemed a  service to the Muslim people of this world.



  • Hands off Muslims

* Muslims  stand up …. Muslims speak up

* Muslim Nation is one Nation

* We see the true colours of Buddhism.

* Sri Lankan govt is the enemy of the Muslim Nation

* Stop the Genocide

  • …. we see the true colours of Buddh
  • *********

A NOTE from Jane Russell in London, 4 May 2019

Noted…again, this is how communalism is transmitted via fake rumour and hyped gossip. And now by using trick photos/videos…it is becoming more and more difficult to become a trustworthy historian when archives and evidence are so contaminated!,



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Terrorism in Sri Lanka: Some Threads in Social Media …. with Analytic Reflections

Sanjana Hattotuwa, in Sunday Island, 28 April 2019, where the title is “It doesn’t make sense”
-Naren Hattotuwa – Easter Sunday.” … with highlighting emphasis being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

A Scene from Christchurch and Sri Lanka

On Monday, my 12-year-old son learnt his classmate had passed away at the Intensive Care Unit, a victim of one of the blasts in Colombo. My son’s mother and I grew up in the long shadow of the Black July anti-Tamil pogrom and the UNP-JVP violence in the late 80s. For many in our generation and older, there is a normalization of violence. This is often confused with getting used to or accepting violence.

After the Christchurch massacre in March, many Kiwis trying to get to grips with the scale of the violence unthinkingly said that since I came from Sri Lanka, I was far more used to dealing with terrorism. I suppose that’s in a way true. Mundane things done every day have their own logic and reason that no one from outside cycles of violence would understand. In Kabul, a city where so much is wrong and getting worse, I feel completely at home amidst the detours, convoys, checkpoints, occasional explosion, news of imminent attacks and sporadic gunfire – or the sound of an engine back-firing shrugged off as gunfire, obviously the lesser evil there. The assumption that the more time one spends with it, the greater the ease in dealing with terrorism is, however, untrue. Continue reading

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