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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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. 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.
Filed under communal relations, cultural transmission, ethnicity, historical interpretation, Islamic fundamentalism, life stories, politIcal discourse, religiosity, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, Uncategorized
“The Portugese, the Saviours of our Culture?” = This is the title of a scholarly article written in the Ceylon Historical Journal in the 1950s by B. J. Perera BA (History) University of Ceylon who was our teacher in the University Entrance class. It was of course “dead against” the version given by nationalist historians after independence. However his interpretation simply put was that the Mughals had conquered Hindu India and ruled it for a couple of centuries and converted a large part of the Hindu population to the Muslim religion as had happened in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and the Maldives, which had been either Hindu or Buddhist. The evidence in Bali and Java of the existence of Buddhist and Hindu relics supports this view.
Mattayaas in the Gal Oya and Eastern Province interior
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