Dambulla is neither another Mecca nor the structure in dispute is another Kabba.
Posted on April 24th, 2012

Herold Leelawardena

Dambulla is neither another Mecca nor the structure in dispute is another Kabba. Unless for some religious compulsion directed by Allah as read by Gabriel through Muhammad as written in the Koran or interpreted by Muslim scholars in Hadith as statements or actions of Muhammad, I see no crucial reason why Muslims cannot relocate this structure to a new suitable location; meaning somewhere away from the middle of the aged old Buddhist sacred area that is to be developed to former glory.

So, a point about the place of Buddhism in Sri Lanka must be stressed before talking about such episodes and this incident in particular. After revolting against their king Shri Wickrama Rajasinghe and handed over entire country to the British and then accepted the English King as their new sovereign in 1815, there prepared a mutual agreement of handing-over of the sovereignty of Lanka to the British by the Sinhala Kandyan chiefs in writing. Whether the British adhered to its terms and conditions afterward or not, said agreement included several clauses that articulate; “ƒ”¹…”how the new rulers must support and foster Buddhism’. Needless to say this is enshrined in the present constitution as well.

And those clauses had been the basis of unwritten constitution of all Sri Lanka sovereigns since Devanam Piya Tissa of Lanka, contemporary of Emperor Asoka of India to the present day but throughout our 2500 year history. Proof for historical fostering of Buddhism by Sri Lanka Kings is amply evident from artefacts and monuments in neighbouring areas to this now troubled site.

During the British rule however, the British and promoted rights of the minority as a wily tactic to hold down the majority and demoted rights of Buddhists to control rebellion to colonial rule. Eminent professor and historian Tennakoon Wimalananda points out clearly how the British had undermined majority Sinhala Buddhists and promoted minorities to responsible positions in his book, “ƒ”¹…”Buddhism in Ceylon under the Christian powers’. After independence however, as elsewhere in the world, Sinhala Buddhists look forward for the revival of their lost place. And development of sacred Buddhist sites is just one of it. It is apparent this particular site falls within the ambit of that endeavour.

Having said that, I must also emphasize that unlike Islam, Christianity and Judaism, Buddhism has no precedent whatsoever of violence in disseminating its Dhamma, knowledge and philosophy of Buddhism. Indeed, when Muslims were expelled from the west cost of Lanka by Portuguese in 1626, it was the then Sinhala King Senerath who settled 4000 of them in the East. The fact that there is a Mosque and a Hindu temple next to Dalada Maligawa, the most sacred place for Buddhists in Sri Lanka for the last one hundred years is yet another proof of Sinhalese toleration of other religions.

Knowing the fact that Muslims do not allow other religious followers near Mecca in Saudi I cannot understand, of all the available places in Kandy why Muslims wanted locate their mosque right next to the Temple of tooth where all those drums beat day and night? Is it the manipulation by the wily British or is it a means confront Sinhalese they must tell elaborate. But I can understand a Kovil being there for separate Hindu shrine room with their deities are there in most Buddhist Temple premises in the country.

Referring to the structure in the subject now, according to a press communiquĮՠթ by Sri Lanka Prime Minister, the structure in the subject has neither the legal approval nor it has been there for 60 years as a mosque as some Muslims disseminate through internet and other media, but had been in existence for less than ten years as a gathering place for Muslims first which had gradually transformed to be a mosque.

So, it is essential to note here that Hindus of India had razed Babari mosque of Ajodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India to ground in 1992. Why? History scholars say that Mughal invader Babur came down from Kabul in 1525 and defeated Ibrahim Lodi, the Rajput King of Chittorgarh, Rana Sangram Singh at Khanwa and subdued a substantial part of northern India. Thereafter his general Mir Baki Khan reportedly built a mosque in the Rama temple site and named it Babri Masjid. Hindus worship Lord Rama as an Avatar of Vishnu and Ayodhya is one of seven most holy places. Perhaps for that reason Indian government had implicitly allowed Hindus to demolish Babri Masjid despite its commitment to the Indian Supreme Court that the mosque would not be harmed.

We all know that Muslim Taliban dynamited and demolished 6th century statues that UNESCO listed as world heritage known as Bamiyan Buddhas of Ghandara civilisation in now Afghanistan saying existence of statues are an impediment to Islam and against Koran verses meaning Allah’s word. Talibans further declared they are following Muhammad’s idol demolition as he did in his first fight at Badar in 624 AD. Indeed Taliban’s Muslim ancestors, the Moguls of India did not stop at demolishing idols but destroyed all scriptures and smashed and burned all cultural and learning centres like Nalanda where thousnds of monks perished. Needless to say that and many such events drove Buddhism that endured for one thousand five hundred years since 550 BC from its birth place India.

I thought of pointing out a few religious violence because Muslims that criticize monks’ protest shouldn’t be hazy about what their ancestors doing to other religions wherever they forced themselves to be the majority with a sword. Indeed, I am relieved that no Buddhist Monk lead protestors demolished any mosque to date. I do not suggest for moment that Buddhists should act like afore said Hindus or Muslims.

If only everyone would calm down and ponder what I have mentioned above with a balance mind, I am sure all could reach a solution while understanding others’ need.

13 Responses to “Dambulla is neither another Mecca nor the structure in dispute is another Kabba.”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    On a lighter note, they have already Islamised Dambulla into DumbMullah.

    However, burning down the mosque was unnecessary. Lets be frank and not take sides. That is way too much. A peaceful dismantling of it would have been sufficient. In my view, those who burnt it down must apologise for burning NOT for the relocation.

  2. AnuD Says:

    Muslim Prophet – Mohomed – himself was a violent person. He killed adjacent tribes because they did not accept his teachings. Since then conquests massacred humans and blood flowed like rivers. There are ample places in Islamic teachings about killing kaffirs, infidels, harming women and children, jihads, and how should they slowly encroach make war and convert others.

    Because of that what Muslims are doing slowly should be understood in those terms.

  3. Voice123 Says:

    Some Muslims say they have rejected religious war (jihad) in favour of peaceful conversion. Jihad was waged on Buddhists Kaffars at Nalanda but that was long time ago. Now they are saying Jihad is a peaceful, personal struggle. Muslim readers can inform non-muslim readers of the meaning of peaceful jihad. I still don’t trust Wahabi Saudis poking their nose in Sri Lanka. Is it true Wahabists killed peaceful Sufis in the Eastern province? I hope not.

  4. Nesta Says:

    I agree some, in the article. Yes. Muslims try to increase the numbers of mosques in the Island. Whenever few Muslim families coming in a new area, first they start to function koran classes, then starting daily prays and finally a mosque with minaret. How it is possible for them? This is the question to be answered. Yes. It is learnt, Muslim politicians backing up. The Muslims set up for the mosques approve. But, I am not happy if a place of worship to be demolished.

  5. AnuD Says:

    Mr. Moderator:

    At the top, the declaration should change saying that Lankaweb moderators in order to respect free speech, do not delete any comments.

  6. AnuD Says:

    People can apologize. As the way Tamils do it, Muslims are also getting ready.

  7. Shan9 Says:

    “A camel puts his head into the tent which gives it shelter then takes over the entire tent. ”

    The same fate awaits SL just like what happened to Malaysia, Indonesia, Maldives etc. all Buddhist countries before.

  8. Dham Says:

    It is the fault of government. I am sure people have written to government many times with no avail.

    Now, Iran is concerned. What nonsense in this ?
    Tommorow Saudi will be concerned.

  9. Dham Says:

    Lorenzo,
    Looks like you are king of names.
    Who is this Dumb-Mullah ?

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    Lankans, beware ! this mosque burning stuff could be another ploy to start trouble in Sri Lanka, this time with the Muslim community. Recall 1915, during British Colonial times, when the Sinhala/Muslim riots started because of a flimsy cause such as Buddhist tom-tom beaters near a mosque. When the riots spread through the country, the Sinhala leaders in Colombo were all imprisoned on false charges by the then British Governor. Young Wiliam Pedris, from a leading Sinhala/Buddhist family, who was in the British army in Colombo, was falsely accused by the British Governor of conspiracy, and put to death by a firing squad. This was how the British controlled the majority Sinhala community during Colonial times. The present British PM, David Cameron, famously said recently that “most of the troubles of the world today are due to Britain”. Mostly due to the ‘divide & rule’ British rule, we might add.

    Perhaps Sri Lankans should stop building new shrines in the name of any religion. We think Sri Lanka has enough shrines. Sri Lanka has religion coming out of its ears, but not practiced sufficiently, as obviated by violence. We suggest that all EXISTING shrines (Temples, kovils, churches, mosques etc.) be registered and protected.

    When the Master/Teacher of each religion walked the earth, there were no shrines in their particular name i.e. no churches for Jesus, no temples for Buddha, no mosques for Mohammed, or temples for Rama or Krishna. They all pointed to the Way Within to reach the Heart. Perhaps we should all get together and Meditate together, to advance in the Way Within. That way, we will all know a lasting peace, within our own control.

    It is also imperative that an Oath of Allegiance to Lanka be taken by every adult citizen of the country.

  11. NLS Says:

    I agree with Fran. SL has more than enough places of worship. They should be there to service people, hence should be evaluated based on how many people are actually attending or belonging to each place of worship and how close to each other they are situated. People should not be allowed to just build a place of worship without those guidelines.

    Furthermore they should adhere to building codes and should be financially supported totally by the people and not by the government.

  12. AnuD Says:

    Iran is concerned about ay threats to islamization of Sri Lanka.

    Iran has a history of discrimination of Zorastrians who are the religious community that existed long before the Islamization of Iran. To date they are being prosecuted.

  13. Voice123 Says:

    AnuD, Zoroastrianism used to be the majority religion in Iran until the Islamic conquest. Most Zoroastrians fled Iran/Persia centuries ago. Most settled in India where often their descendants (Parsees) are successful in business for example Tata, Bajaj etc. There are a few in Sri Lanka also. There are also long established Jewish and Christian communities in Iran that pre date Islam. Today the biggest non Islamic group in Iran is the Bahais. Bahais came into being about 150 years ago with their prophet the Bab claiming that all religions have truth in them and all humans are citizens of the entire planet, a revolutionary and possibly blasphemous idea to orthodox Muslims. Many Bahais have fled Iran.

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