Category Archives: riots and pogroms

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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Anti-Muslim Violence Present and Past

Shamara Wettimuny, in Sunday Observer, 14 July 2019, where the title is “A brief history of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka”

The recent Easter attacks targeting a number of churches and hotels devastated Sri Lanka. Over 250 people were killed, and many more injured. Within days of the attack, it emerged that the perpetrators of the attack were affiliated to radical Islamist groups in Sri Lanka. However, the identification of the perpetrators as ostensibly adherents of the Islamic faith opened the floodgates of discrimination and violence against the broader Muslim community in Sri Lanka.

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A Patriotic Muslim Sri Lankan … now permanently disabled – shot by the Zahran Hashim Cell

BBC News Item, 31 May 2019, entitled  “The man who might have stopped Sri Lanka’s Easter bombings”

 

When bombs planted in churches and hotels killed more than 200 people in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, few had realised that the nation had a problem with Islamist militancy. One man who did, reports the BBC’s Secunder Kermani, was Mohammad Razak Taslim. Lying on a hospital bed, Mohammad Razak Taslim’s face contorts with pain. The left side of his body is completely paralysed, but he reaches out with his right hand, trying to clutch at his wife and brother-in-law who stand anxiously over him. His wife, Fatima, presses a handkerchief to his head. One side of his skull has caved in. It’s where he was shot in the head in March. Ever since, he’s been unable to speak, unable to walk.

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Calm Intelligence Required, not Islamophobia — says Uyan

Jayadeva Uyangoda, in Sunday Observer, 26 May 2019, where the title runs thusFight Terrorism. Avoid Islamophobia”

Islamophobia is a term that gained currency in the 1980s in British English. It referred to prejudices against Islam and Muslim people that had begun to spread in the UK since the 1970s. As a cultural, intellectual and political phenomenon, Islamophobia also began to spread throughout the Western world after the 9/11 attacks in the US. The Christian Right in America has been the leading force that promoted Islamophobia as a new strand of political ideology in the world. It spread to the Hindu and Buddhist worlds as well amidst the rapid rise of ethnic identity politics and conflict.

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When Havelock Town moved into Colombo City

Item courtesy of “Ëxplore Sri Lanka” in Januäry 2013, where this item is entitled “Havelock Town: From Rubber Plantation To Distinctive Suburb

From Rubber Plantation To Distinctive Suburb!   It may be unusual to find a town within a city – unless it’s a Chinatown – but as far as Colombo is concerned, before the creation of Havelock Town and the adjacent Havelock Park in the early years of the 20th Century, this land was outside the residential area, in fact a rubber plantation that formerly cultivated cinnamon, which stretched westwards to Galle Road.

Havelock Town and Havelock Park were named by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to honour Sir Arthur Havelock who, after a distinguished colonial career during which he governed Sierra Leone, Trinidad, and Natal, was appointed Governor of Ceylon from 1890-1895. Havelock is best-known for abolishing the ‘paddy tax’ – an unpopular levy on rice cultivation – extending the railway network to Kurunegala and Bandarawela, and bringing the benefits of medical science and education to all sections of the population.

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The Clash of Civilisations and Hate at the Heart of 21/4 in Sri Lanka

Michael Roberts

My thoughts are organised in point-form in order to assist succincttness.

A = I recall seeing a news item a day or so back which indicated that Sri Lanka was in the process of acquiring sophisticated cyber-technology from China in order to pursue its intelligence work the better. Quite logical that — though late in the day.

Mecca at Hajj Pilgrims at St Peter’s Basilica

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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.

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