Category Archives: religious nationalism

Muslim Suicide Killers had visited Kashmir, Kerala and Bengalaru

News Item in The Hindu, 5 May 2019, with this title “Suicide bombers visited Kashmir, Kerala, Bengaluru: Sri Lankan Army chief”

Sri Lanka Army’s chief has said some of the suicide bombers who carried out the country’s worst terror attack on Easter Sunday last month had visited Kashmir and Kerala for “some sorts of training” or to “make some more links” with other foreign outfits. It is the first time a top security official has confirmed the militants’ visit to India, which had shared intelligence inputs with Sri Lanka ahead of the attacks.

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Where Terrorism carved out a Nation: Israel out of Palestine

Jayantha Somasundaram, in Island, April 2019, where the title isPalestine: Where Britain lost the war against terror”

What happened in British mandated Palestine in the run-up to Israeli statehood in May 1948 is a classic example of the triumph of terrorism. The British captured Palestine from the Ottomans during World War I and were mandated by the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) to progress Palestine towards independence. Out of a population of 700,000, the religious breakdown in Palestine was about 500,000 Muslims, 90,000 Jews and 70,000 Christians. Up to the first century AD Palestine had been Jewish-majority, then a Christian-majority society (second to the eleventh century) and thereafter Muslim-majority. (DellaPergola)

Della Pergola

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Sheridan’s Concise Overview of Security Failures and the Islamic Extremist Threat in Sri Lanka … and This World

Greg Sheridan, in Weekend Australian, 27/28 April 2019, where the title is “Eternal vigilance is the price of keeping Islamist terror at bay”…. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor

India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, tried for two years to tell its Sri Lankan colleagues they faced a growing threat of Islamist terrorism. But the Colombo authorities weren’t interested. If there was any threat, they believed it came from the remnants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. But the Tamil Tiger threat ended 10 years ago.

We don’t have a problem with our Muslims, the Sri Lankans insisted. By and large they were right about their Muslims. But out of maybe two million Sri Lankan Muslims, there was a problem with at least a couple of hundred, of whom a dozen or so became hard-boiled terrorists. Nine became suicide bombers, 10 if you count the bomb that one suspect detonated as police approached her home. That was more than enough. A Muslim man prays while perched on the roof of a mosque to spot possible hostile people during Friday prayers in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 26. Picture: AP

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Suicide Missions as Witnessing: From Self-Immolation to Assassination and Mass Strike

Michael Roberts ….. This article appeared first in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 2007, vol. 30:  857-88.with the titleSuicide Missions as Witnessing: Expansions, Contrasts” and is reproduced here with its original American English spelling. The re-working of this article was seen to by Ms Nadeeka Paththuwaarachchi of Battaramulla. The pictorial images are embellishments that were not part of the original essay. I have also added highlighting emphasis in orange as well as a few hyperlinks to other standard sources of information. The bibliographical references are within the End Notes as in the original format.

ABSTRACT: Studies of suicide missions usually focus solely on attacks. They also have highlighted the performative character of suicide missions as acts of witness. By extending surveys to suicidal acts that embrace no-escape attacks, theatrical assassination, defensive suicide, and suicidal protest, one gains further insight into the motivations of individuals and organizations. Illustrative studies, notably the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and Sadat as well as Tamil Tiger operations, generate a typology that underlines the benefits of such extensions. The Japanese and Tamil contexts reveal the profound differences in readings of sacrificial acts of atonement or punishment by local constituencies. Norman Morrison in Washington in 1965 and Jan Palach in Prague in 1969 did not have such beneficial settings and the immediate ramifications of their protest action were limited. Morrison’s story highlights the significance of a societal context of individuated rationalism as opposed, say, to the “pyramidical corporatism” encouraging martyrdom operations in the Islamic world.

Jan Palach…19 Jan. 1969 Nathuram Godse vs Mahatma Gandhi .. 30 Jan 1948

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Dharmapāla’s Seminal Moment at Buddha Gāya in 1891: An Anagārika for the Universe

 Michael Roberts, courtesy of  The Island and Sunday Times and with thanks to Sasanka Perera & Steve Kemper

Sasanka Perera has recently introduced readers to a new book by Steven Kemper entitled Rescuing Dharmapala from the Nation (University of Chicago Press, 2015) – a book which surveys the socio-political activities of the Anagarika Dharmapala in a refreshing manner. I have yet to get hold of the book, but Sasanka provides enough commentary to provoke a discussion.

 Dharmapala in USA –probably at the World Congress of Religions 1893

Within a context where Dharmapala aka Don David Hewavitarne is regarded as an influential Sinhala Buddhist chauvinist by many social scientists analysing Sri Lankan history and politics, Perera indicates that Kemper provides broader dimensions by re-situating Dharmapala “within the Buddhist world of his time by … focusing on his international activities in aid of Buddhist causes and cross-faith discussions.” Kemper’s new work, therefore, is a modification of the Protestant Buddhist thesis popularized in social science circles by Gananath Obeyesekere’s writings in particular. Continue reading

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Tisaranee dissects the Current Populist Currents and their Chauvinist Underpinnings

Tisaranee Gunasekara in The Sri Lanka Guardian where the title runs thus: “Blood-and-Faith Populism and Sri Lanka’s Future””

“As the great reformers of the 19th century well knew, the Social Question, if left unaddressed, does not just wither away. It goes instead in search of more radical answers.””……Tony Judt (Reappraisals)

This month, the populist wave suffered two critical defeats. In France outsider-candidate Emmanuel Macron beat Marine Le Pen. In Iran, reformist president Hassan Rouhani trounced Ebrahim Raisi, a religious hardliner backed by Supreme Leader Khameni and the Revolutionary Guard. These defeats come in the wake of other electoral setbacks for populists, especially in Austria and The Netherlands. Despite these welcome-defeats, the current wave of populism is far from spent – and would continue wreak havoc, until the forces of moderation manage to create a new synthesis between pluralist democracy and progressive economics.

Populism is hardly a new phenomenon. It flourishes best where there is economic loss and pain. Populist leaders succeed in their power-grabs by harnessing that economic pain to their political projects. Continue reading

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Kemper in London on Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World

Listen to PODCAST by Steven E. Kemper introducing his book Rescued from the Nation: Anagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World (U of Chicago Press, 2015) from New Books in Buddhist Studies … in London ….. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/new-books-in-buddhist-studies/id458210899?mt=2&i=1000345817559

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