Category Archives: religiosity

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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Building Sri Lankan Identity is Our Duty in the Midst of this Failure — The Anglican Bishop of Colombo

An ADDRESS by the Bishop of Colombo, Anglican Diocese,

“… …. do not demonize the entire Muslim community because of the sins of a few warped minds”

Media Briefing on current situation in the country by the Bishop of Colombo, Diocese of Colombo … viz. Dhiloraj Canagasabey

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Secular Bulwarks against Religious Fanaticism — Our Urgent Need

Tisaranee Gunasekara, whose choice of title has been “Secularism or Faith” — in an article which appeared in Groundviews as well as Sri Lanka Guardian

“And even here

Lies the other shore

Waiting to be reached.”

Tagore (My Reminiscences)

The blue, red, yellow, orange and white lights are on, as are the makeshift stalls selling lanterns. Yet few pause to see, haggle, buy. Vesak, so near chronologically, had never seemed so far away spiritually. After the Easter Sunday Massacre, fears were raised about Vesak too being turned into a bloody spectacle by the IS, working through its local adherents. As it turned out, neither the IS nor its local adherents were necessary to turn Vesak into a season of violence. The Sinhalese managed the task on their own.

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An Incisive Summary of Factors that enabled the Easter Bloodbath

General HMHA Herath, in Island, 15 May 2019, where the title is Who was behind the Easter terrorist attacks?”

While the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, the real story is a bit more complicated than that. To millions of Sri Lankans the Easter Sunday tragedy must have seemed a nightmare come true, a frightening déjà vu of the rampant violence this island nation has known for thirty years of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terror. The horrific attacks in which an estimated 253 lost their lives and many hundreds were wounded, signaled that the decade’s calm that prevailed after LTTE’s 2009 destruction by Sri Lanka’s Army is over.

1 What went wrong?

At the time, victory over the LTTE inspired confidence and heady optimism. A 2012 defense seminar in Colombo heralded “Peace and Stability” as its core theme and the five ‘Rs’ (Reconstruction, Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Reintegration and Reconciliation) as the imperative agenda for Sri Lanka. The mood at the time was upbeat and the country’s future seemed bright. The safety of the post-war period brought to the country millions of tourists (2.1 million in 2017 alone), and the reconstruction of Sri Lankan economy and infrastructure commenced apace. With the horrific Easter disaster, this process has come to a grinding halt. And the troubling question is what developments allowed it to happen. Continue reading

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The Thinking and Operational Capacity of the 21/4 Jihadists

Asiri Fernando, in Sunday Times, 12 May 2019, “Easter Sunday bombers used high-tech communication: Army Chief”

The terrorists who carried out the Easter Sunday bombings used a Swiss developed, highly encrypted mobile communication App named “Threema”, Army Chief  Lt. General Mahesh Senanaayake told the Sunday Times. The mobile phone App boasts ‘best in the class’ end-to-end encryption and allows a user to generate a random Threema ID, thereby giving anonymity to the user, the product website claimed. The level of encryption used by the said App makes intercepting or decrypting such communications very difficult for Sri Lankan authorities with available technologies.

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The Easter Sunday Killings: Profound Protests

ONE: From the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, dated 24th April 2010, https://hcef.org/790814456-a-statement-from-the-patriarchs-and-heads-of-church-in-jerusalem-on-the-terrorist-attacks-in-sri-lanka-on-easter-day

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Sharpening Politico-Religious Divisions in Sri Lanka

Dear Rohan,

Your thoughtful note has provoked this set of comments — comments that range far and wide. I will. of course, welcome your reactions and hope that others will chip in with both comments and data.  Michael

One:  Note this segment in Ameer Ali’s important essay: ” The Islamist creep was manifested in several ways. For example, the cry Allahu Akbar announced the opening and close of every public gathering organised under the banner of SLMC. Quotations from the Holy Quran and the Prophet’s Hadiths added a tone of religiosity to political speeches. Even hand clapping in some instances was substituted by shouting Allahu Akbar to appreciate a speaker’s oratory.”  One can speculate that Ameer Ali is writing as a Sri Lankan Australian first and a Muslim second ….. But the point is the inside information conveyed by that observation — data which our Muslim MPs and others have not conveyed to their non-Muslim colleagues — perhaps not having grasped the implications of Wahhabism for inter-communal life in Sri Lanka.

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