Category Archives: religiosity

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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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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The Deep Imprint of Violence within Christianity and Islam

lisetteLisette Thooft, 18 January 2015, in NieuwWij, where the title is “Karen Armstrong: “There is nothing in the Islam that is more violent than Christianity”  .https://www.nieuwwij.nl/english/karen-armstrong-nothing-islam-violent-christianity/

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A Review of the Book BUDDHISM TRANSFORMED

Premkumara De Silva,** in The Midweek Review of The Island, 17 May 2005, where the title runs ” Anthropology of ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ “

The disciplinary identification of “Buddhism” in Sri Lanka as an anthropological object began in the late 1950s as part of a growing field of “peasant” or village studies in South and Southeast Asian societies. In Sri Lanka, the work of Gananath Obeyesekere, Edmond Leach, Michael Ames, and Nur Yalman is central to this inaugural moment. These anthropologists have identified the integration of the diverse beliefs and practices of Sinhala Buddhists within a religious worldview that is in accordance with fundamental Theravada Buddhist teachings. Within this academic exercise Obeyesekere insisted on the term “Sinhalese Buddhism” to convey the idea of full variety of religious practice, popular and esoteric, in Sri Lankan Buddhism. He argues that Sinhala Buddhism should be seen as “a single religious tradition”, and not as composed of separate “layers” to be analysed in isolation from each other.

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Australian Aboriginal Sense of Belonging … and Nawarla Gabarnmang

Christopher Allen, in The Weekend Australian, 22/23 June 2019, with this title “Timeless Sense of Belonging”

Our concept of the spirit of place has a long history. The Latin expression genius loci referred originally to the tutelary divinity of a place, within a pre-­religious animistic system of belief such as those found in many early cultures, and which often prove remarkably enduring, even in later times, coexisting with more developed theological or philosophical ways of thinking.

John Gollings’ Ancient rock art, Nawarla Gabarnmang, Arnhem Land (2015). Image courtesy Heide Museum of Modern Art

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Buddhism over Time in Colonial and Independent Sri Lanka

Abstract of Article by Ananda Abeysekara entitledBuddhism and ‘Influence’: The Temporality of a Concept” Qui Parle, 2019, Vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 1-75.

For almost three decades the concept of “Protestant Buddhism” has been the object of critique by numerous scholars such as John Holt, Charles Hallisey, Anne Blackburn, Erik Braun, Alicia Turner, Steven Kemper, and others. They claim to tell a different story about the relation between religion and modernity (“Protestantism”) in South Asia. By extension, these scholars seek to reconstruct the temporal relation between the past and the present, questioning postcolonial conceptions of history, time, and religious practice. But this story of temporality is staked on the question of “influence,” which has a genealogy that includes not just colonial, missionary, liberal politics but also contemporary legal-political questions about foreign influence on democracy and sovereignty. This article contests the ways in which the critiques of Protestant Buddhism conceptualize colonial and postcolonial forms of time, translated into universal forms of self, agency, responsibility, etc. The article argues that the question of influence, which animates parts of the story of secular ways of inhabiting time, obscures not just how the encounter with the temporality of a tradition is an encounter with power. It obscures how even modern sensibilities of inhabiting time, ironically, require coherence even as they are repeatedly said to be constituted by “heterogeneous” forms of everyday life.

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Terrorism in Modern Times: Twelve Insights

 Brian Victoria

Michael, ……  In addressing your previous requests for my insights,[1] [let me present] twelve hypotheses relating to terrorism.[2] I call them “hypotheses” because they are insights garnered from only a handful of Zen-related terrorist incidents in 1930s Japan, and I therefore wished to be careful about drawing overly broad conclusions.

Parents and their children sit on steps near Manchester Arena following an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert. (Supplied: Goodman/LNP/Rex/Shutterstock/australscope)

nine+ 11 oneCarnage after 9/11 -New York

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