A Muslim spring and a Buddhist spring
Posted on June 26th, 2014

Nalin de Silva

A Muslim friend asked me what the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) wants from the Muslims. He is a genuine Muslim whom I respect though I may not agree with him sometimes. Jehan Perera in his column on 24th June states The government appears to have woken up to the gravity of the problem posed by repeated attacks on the Muslim community”.

Jehan Perera unlike my friend is not a Muslim, as far as I know, but he is concerned with the plight” of the Muslims. He was concerned with the plight of the Tamils and was against humanitarian operations, and was a stalwart in the Christian peace movement. It appears that the general opinion, at least among the non Buddhists and of course among some enlightened Buddhists in various fora, is that the BBS and the unenlightened racist Sinhala Buddhists are just attacking the Muslims and those who are called Christian fundamentalists for no reason. (I do not want to call them fundamentalists. They are different interpreters the way Martin Luther or Theravadins as far as the Bible and the Dhamma were concerned.)

This is not an opinion confined to Sri Lanka but it is spread widely in the world where the media is controlled by the Judaic Christian west. Are the Sinhala Buddhists, and of course other Theravada Buddhists in Myanmar and Thailand, insane as to attack ethnic and religious minorities in their respective countries for no reason? What is most interesting is that it was not the Muslim countries in the world that rushed to make statements on Aluthgama Mathugama incidents but the western Christian countries USA and England. Does anybody say that these countries are not Christian but secular going by the constitutional experts whose education is none other than Judaic Christian?

Since the Muslims came to this country around the twelfth century they had been associated with trade. I do not believe the story that the Muslims came from Arab and that they married Sinhala women. If that was the case their offspring would have spoken either Arabic or Sinhala and not Tamil. The Muslims had come from present South India and had spoken Tamil whether they came with women or not.

The Tamil leader Ponnambalam Ramanathan always claimed that the Muslims were ethnically Tamil, and that he represented them in the Legislative Assembly. However, it is not my intention to go into details regarding the origin of the Muslims in this country. Though the Muslims had been in this country there is no record of them trying to convert Buddhists to Islam, except perhaps those whom they married.

On the other hand the Buddhists had not been interested in converting the Muslims either, and in any case it is well known that the Muslims and the Jews are not easily converted to other religions. It has to be recorded that the Sinhala Buddhists had not tried to convert Vedda people to Buddhism, though they had lived among the Sinhalas for several centuries.

The Muslims had lived peacefully with the Sinhala people, and when the Portuguese arrived in 1506 the former were against the latter may be to safeguard their trade interests. What is known is that the Portuguese harassed the Muslims, and the Sinhala kings intervened to settle the Muslims in the present central and eastern provinces. However, the peaceful existence among different groups ceased after the arrival of the Portuguese and ironically when the Dutch Reformists harassed the Catholics who had been converted by the Portuguese and the Catholic Priests who sometimes had the support of the Sinhala kings, it was again the Sinhala kings who came to the rescue of the Catholics.

The presence of Catholics in areas such as Vahakotte near Matale, provides ample testimony to these rescue operations. Since the days of Portuguese new cultural conflicts had begun in the country (it appears that by this time there were no conflicts between the Yagu Kaurava- Yaksha or Hela Buddhism and Sinhala Buddhism.) and ever since Sinhala Buddhists have been discriminated against in the country of their birth and in the country where they built a unique culture. However it appears that the Muslims had continued to live peacefully with the Sinhala Buddhists until 1915 when the Muslims objected to a perahera (procession) in Gampola. It is very likely that this horrible concept of Muslim enclaves had been there though it did not surface until 1915.

Anybody who has gone through such enclaves would have felt the hegemonic attitude of some of the Muslims who think that the Roman Dutch Law is not applicable in their enclaves. Of course there is expansionism of such enclaves, with Muslims buying property from the Sinhala Buddhists who unfortunately are not in a position to compete with most of the others economically. Sinhala Buddhist culture that has inherited a lot from the Hela Buddhist culture is not geared to trade and business, and this has made the Sinhala Buddhists a weak force in the present consumer culture imposed on us by the Christian west. On top of that the Sinhala Buddhists feel the aggressiveness of the Muslims who would exhibit their cultural identity through dress, food and other means.

The Muslim schools have contributed to this aggressiveness most probably imposing a dress code to the students. The fact that the Muslim schools have a different school calendar from the others also has contributed to a kind of separateness. While in Bangladesh or Pakistan the Muslim ladies are free with the dress code in Sri Lanka since late the situation does not appear to be so. Then in the seventies the Ashraf politics that followed Tamil politics have given a political dimension to this cultural conflict, and since then it is Ashraf politics that have dominated the Muslim politics.

The Sinhala Buddhists have naturally reacted to these cultural, economic and political attitudes among some, if not the majority of the Muslims and BBS is only one organisation that has been formed by the former to face up to challenges made by other communities. It is easy to blame the BBS and the Sinhala Buddhists for any incident without going into the root causes of the problem. However, there is a western international dimension to the problem, which many have not considered in understanding it. Today the Judaic Christian culture is engaged in cultural conflicts with the Muslim culture and the Theravda culture, apart from political and economic conflicts with Russia, China etc.

The main cultural conflict is between the Muslim and the Judaic Christian culture, but the west is worried of the Theravada culture as well, and attempts to destroy, if not weaken the latter through various means. The west used and still uses Tamil racism that they created, nurtured and maintained to attack the Sinhala Buddhist culture, and all the NGOs, including the peace vendors are being used in this project. Though the west is at war” with the Muslim culture, they use Muslim culture against Theravada culture in the few Thervada countries in the world. In Sri Lanka it is being done and the west uses the resentment between the Muslims and the Sinhala Buddhists to achieve their objective. In 1915 too they did so on a minor scale.

The west also uses Sinhala Buddhist sentiments to achieve their aims. It is not a secret that the western countries want to topple the present government and bring Ranil W. and the UNP to power as the UNP serves the western interests more than any other party. What the west wants is finally a Ranil- Hakeem- Sumanthiran government and in order to achieve it various springs have been tried. Muslim spring is one such where they want the Muslims to rise against the government, and it is quite clear that Hakeem while being in the government is doing the needful. However, their latest appears to be a Buddhist spring instigating the Sinhala Buddhists against the government.

The government was brought to power by the Sinhalas, mainly by the Sinhala Buddhists and even today they constitute the power base of the government. The west has failed with so many springs, and they are attempting to organise a Buddhist spring. I am not that bothered with the behaviour of Ven. Gnanasara Thero as the Sinhala Buddhism has been protected by such Bhikkus as well. Ven. Mohottiwatte Gunananda Thero had bicycled to Colombo in Sarong and organised a perahera with Buddhist flags in iron bars. It is very unlikely that Ven. Variyapola Sumangla Thero was polite to the Sudda soldiers when the Thero brought down the English (British) flag on that fateful day.

If not for such Bhikkus there would not have been a Buddha Sasana for the pious middle class enlightened Sinhala Buddhists even to talk of Nibbana. (It is unlikely that these hypocrites would attain Nibbana for kalpa kalpas.) However, I am worried of the western bias of Ven. Gnanasara Thero. Recently Thero has said in an interview to the press that the government should establish ties with the western countries instead of the Muslim countries.

The government, it appears is very careful when dealing with problems involving non Sinhala Buddhists and this could be projected as an anti Sinhala Buddhist attitude of the government inciting the Buddhists against the government. The government should not ignore a Buddhist spring organised by the west and in this respect should not alienate the Buddhists under any circumstance. In this regard, as a first step, the government should pay heed to the request by the Mahanayake Theros and stop car races in Mahanuwara. After all, the town is known for the Dalada Vahanse (the moment one says tooth relic the Dhatun Vahanse is reduced to a relic) and the Esala Perahera and not for high speed cars.

11 Responses to “A Muslim spring and a Buddhist spring”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    BOYCOTT all Muslim shops.

    Pit the “LTTE” against JIHAD as Paul Harris once proposed.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    I agree this car race madness has to stop. It should not happen in Kandy. Colombo is OK.

    On the good side NR had been to Dharga town. He had a friendly reception. But he AVOIDED paying EQUAL attention to affected Buddhists.

    ISLAMIC PATCHES are spreading around the country. Then the PATCHES LINK UP and deny non-Muslims.

    COASTAL Kaluthara is BAD. Panathurai, Bandaragama, Beruwela, Aluthgama, Dharga Town, Kaluthara town have LARGE Islamic patches.

    Galle is also getting this slowly.

    Dehiwela, Wellawatte, Mattakuli, Slave Island, Mount Lavinia are also getting Islamic patches.

    Gampaha coastal area is BETTER thanks to CHRISTIANS holding the fort.

    Puttlam district is very bad with MASSIVE Islamic patches.

  3. Leela Says:

    Lorenzo,
    I do not see Muhammadans have changed their breeding patterns. So where should the new comers live? Any suggestions.

  4. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Quoting the article: “A Muslim friend asked me what the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) wants from the Muslims. He is a genuine Muslim whom I respect though I may not agree with him sometimes. Jehan Perera in his column on 24th June states The government appears to have woken up to the gravity of the problem posed by repeated attacks on the Muslim community”.

    I am interested in how Nalin De Silva answered the Muslim friend. That answer would be profound to the question that started this article. Well an American friend did ask me the same question and this is a summary of my answer and to paraphrase it

    Beside the obvious fact of a gut reaction to the rape of Sinhalese boy by Muslims followed by an attack on a Buddhist monk, you assume that the steady expansion of Islam in Sri Lanka is a natural event. You also will have to assume that the majority Buddhists in Sri Lanka will always be the majority. You will need to assume that the expansion of Islam is “harmonious” in nature. It is easy to see the need to end the military campaign of the Tamil Terrorists for the violent nature of it and the the object of creating Eelam. But it is very hard to see the equally destructive nature of an alien faith like Islam, Hinduism or Christianity expanding in Buddhist Sri Lanka since there are no structural damage done.

    But if you look at it through history and what has happened to other nations, the expansion of a new faith at the cost of the old is as destructive as the actions of the Tamil Tigers. Islam was born in the 7th century AD. before that for thousands of years other faiths dominated the world. The expansion of Islam upon the civilized world was always at the expense of the existing faith. That is why Zoroastrianism died in Persia and replaced by Islam. Same can be said of many Christian, Hindu, Buddhist nations. when the expansion is done by conquest it is recorded in the history books as a dramatic shift in the culture of that region or nation, If done peacefully it is not. That makes the latter more insidious. for it uses the laws of the nation to justify its expansion. I went about pointing to the expansion of Islam in the US and the European continent where the existing laws allowed that.

    I also pointed to my friend that in Muslim nations laws have been in place to avoid this in their nations. These laws are fully accepted as normal and civilized by the world. It has allowed Islam to safeguard her faith in 50 odd Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia the land it was born in while expanding to every other nation that permits it. I pointed how the wars between the Catholics and the “heretics” the Protestants in Europe drove the Protestants to find a new home in the New world where they then called the native Americans “Heathens” using the same level of intolerance to destroy them and make the US a Protestant nation. The Catholic Conquistadors did the same to Meso America and South America. These events are documented and easy to see who conquered whom.

    But in the modern world of Secularism, Multiculturalism it is hard to see the rise of minority faiths and traditions steadily eroding the dominant culture as an act of “invasion” and any backlash is immediately and rightfully condemned. A nation should not need to use force or violence to preserve her culture. When Muslims attack Coptic Christian in Egypt it is condemned by the world media and rightfully so. But the world will more than accommodate a nation if it has laws that prohibit the propagation of other faiths and cultures.

    This has been true with Australia that banned non Europeans from entering her land till the 1970’s. This has been true of 50 odd Muslim nations who ban any other faith from their lands. Even in the US no non European was allowed to enter legally in large numbers till the US immigration laws were reformed in the 1960’s. There are many other nations in the world whose immigration laws prohibit the whole scale immigration from other nations and that is condoned.

    The problem with Sri Lanka is that during her entire history of over 2500 years and outside of the recorded invasions and attacks upon her Buddhist culture which is sporadic in comparison to the long periods of peace Sri Lanka has enjoyed the steady expansion of other cultures be they Hindu Tamils or Muslims or Christian missionaries are condoned if Sri Lanka’s elected leaders condone them. The rise of a hard line Buddhist order is both the result of the war and the deterioration of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It is a natural by product of 30 years of an abnormal way of life, a life of war against forces wanting to divide Sri Lanka and the steady erosion of Buddhism to other faiths in the oldest unbroken Buddhist nation in the world.

    If Sri Lanka were to adopt the same laws that protect Islam in 50 odd Muslim nations and Christianity in 15 Christian nations including the Vatican then the UN or the “world” would give it a few lines of criticism, introspection and move on. But if Sri Lanka does not and her people simply assume that Buddhism would always be around then the alien faiths will expand and sporadic backlashes against an unstoppable force would be the result.

    What grabbed the news about the so called “radical” Buddhists attacking Muslims pales in comparison to the fact that Islam is 10% of Sri Lanka’s population and Sri Lankan Tamils still call the northern and eastern provinces their “homelands”. The former gets the world to condemn the actions taken by the Buddhists and rightfully so. No minority’s home or property should be destroyed or attacked. But the expansion of other faiths supported by the existing laws of the land as devastating as they maybe are condoned by those laws. Unless Sri Lanka becomes a Buddhist theocracy that has Democratic values the rule of violence will eventually give into the law and by that the change of religion in Sri Lanka to even the formation of Eelam.

    Finally I pointed to my friend that just like the formation of Hindu Eelam would have destabilized the entire region an Islamic Sri Lanka would have the same effect on Hindu south India. India then would be surrounded by Islam on all quarters. What the BBS is doing is to establish a Buddhist based Sri Lanka where the law and not violence would protect Buddhism. The failure to establish a Buddhist state in Sri Lanka would invariably lead to more violence and discord to her minorities till Buddhism stopped being the dominant faith of Sri Lanka as it has been the case in so many other nations who did not take the necessary steps to protect their religion and culture till it was too late.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Leela,

    “So where should the new comers live?”

    Every year 60,000 Muslim babies are born in SL. This is a MASSIVE GROWTH. When grown up they settle in CLOSE AREAS to their GHETTOES.

    It must be stopped at birth. Muslim birth rate must be reduced by WHATEVER MEANS.

    1. Business prosperity is one reason for their growth. BOYCOTT their businesses.

    2. Saudi money is another reason . RESTRICT JIHAD BLOOD MONEY.

    3. Our politicians give in to Muslim demands. They should be STOPPED from doing it.

    4. Make life MISERABLE for Jihadists, etc. in SL so they will LEAVE SL. UK seems to be their preferred destination. BAN BEEF consumption, production and transport. BAN head coverings, BAN screaming in loud speakers, BAN Sharia Law.

    Declare SL a BUDDHIST country in CLEAR terms so that even the DUMBEST dumbo can understand it.

    5. Get down Mosad to help us get rid of this cancer. They are the BEST. They have UNCONVENTIONAL methods to stop the spread of Sunni extremism.

  6. Ratanapala Says:

    Full agree with Lorenzo. “Drain the pond”. The Jihadists gain strength on the money they earn by retailing to the majority Sinhalese. Let us stop buying from them wherever it is possible. Boycott their businesses. This is up to the people. Nobody or no law can prevent such action coming spontaneously from people.
    People must be encouraged to patronise only Patriotic Businesses.

    These people who are responsible for so much blood letting in the Middle East and elsewhere should not be allowed to do the same in Sri Lanka.

    Sri Lanka cannot have one law for one section of the people and another for others. In the North the Tamils benefit from Thesawalamai – where they restrict non Tamils in what they can do in the North. The original Thesawalamai is a Muslim law that prevailed in India. It was brought into Sri Lanka by the Dutch to encourage the migrant population of indented labour brought in for tobacco cultivation from Malabar Coast to live and own land in Jaffna and its evirons.

    In other areas now Muslims are forcing even non muslims to adhere to their norms. Apparently they can ride motor cycles without helmets in self declared ghettos. Others who go through these areas are also harassed and forced to observe these “rules”. This is one simple and rather innocuous example. Whereas the Sinhalese now have to subject themselves to laws of the land as well as those of these little fiefdoms. All this is happening while our so called leaders are conveniently looking the other side in the hope of entertaining minority votes. For them – To hell with the captive Majority and poojas to the marauding minorities!

    Sinhalese, mainly the Sinhalese Buddhists must not become tools of the politicians anymore. We need to find a mechanism to do away with the traditional methods of handling politics.

    Many of my “enlightened friends” wants to apologise their Muslim friends for what happened in Aluthgama and Dharga Town. They also tell me that we will have various forms of sanctions imposed by muslim nations and more so by the even more enlightened Christian countries. My reply is what will happen if we look the other side? Are we to end up by having Sharia Law in Sri Lanka in some parts of Sri Lanka in the interim and later throughout as has happened to so many previously Buddhist countries.

    Jihadist menace is not something that we only face. Even some of the very Muslim Countries face the same threat. Already Egypt has woken to this fact.

    A cure must be found now and not later. World must realise that to face the threat of Muslim Jihad, “Democracy and Human Rights” (- really meant to subjugate weaker nations, ) must be relegated to a matter of lesser importance and face the threat of Muslim Jihad appropriately as is now done in Egypt. For this the right thinking Western nations and even Muslim countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia must give heed to. It must dawn on them the tragedy that awaits the formation of the Caliphate of Wahabbis. Have you seen the extended map of the Wahabbi Caliphate.

    If the situation is allowed to go unimpeded, the good Muslims choose to remain silent and unaffected, they will end up not having a Mecca to go to, for the Christian West will bomb Meca to kingdom come, out of vengeance. It will not be Bodu Bala Sena!

  7. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Lorenzo: if the Muslims are living in Muslim enclaves that exclude the presence of others it would work against them in a war. It happened to the Jews in Nazi “Europe’ (not just Nazi Germany’). Jews either by choice as in Warsaw or by force were put in Gettoes. That made it easy to eliminate them or even control them.

    Those that were dispersed within the greater populations of Europe were driven out into those “Ghettos” where over crowding, lack of food and order led to the thinning out of their population. Only later on were they shipped to Eastern Europe and Germany where massive concentration camps were built for the final solution of the Jewish “problem”.

    The Muslims should be allowed to live in their own enclaves. It would be then easier to control their movements and eventually control them. When the war that is coming begins these enclaves then can be eliminated.

  8. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    for all who read my comments who think them harsh and brutal with no indication of emotion it is because of the nature of the “beast” that Buddhist Sri Lanka faces.

    The Muslim terrorists to the Tamil Terrorists thought along the same lines of “emotional detachment” in order to win their cause. If we start getting emotional about other humans who plan unspeakable horrors upon Sri Lanka and Buddhism then we have already lost the war.

    If a second war is inevitable then we better start thinking and writing in a manner befit of pragmatism and not the expected norms of a civilized conversation.

  9. Lorenzo Says:

    BW,

    You have a point. In a war it will be DEFINITELY advantageous to DESTROY these GHETTOES with MINIMUM collateral damage to others.

    But in peace time it is NOT good because it is VERY DIFFICULT to monitor what is going on.

    Kalmunai, Kathankudi, Dharga town, etc. ISLAMIC GHETTOES have SHARIA LAW as the only law.

  10. Nanda Says:

    Sharia Law and west Semen Law will destroy Sri Lanka exponentially. Now the gradient is only 0.1. In 10 years time it will be 0.3.

  11. Senevirath Says:

    even a tamil Lorenzo wants sri lanka to be declared as a Buddhist country but not our Sinhala leaders
    the entire maha sangha must force the govt to do it.

    MAHINDA WILL HAVE TO DO IT OR GO HOME. HE NEED SOME PUSH. BUT MAHA SANGHA SEEMS TO BE A BIT LAZY.

    KAALO AYANTHE– THIS IS THE TIME FOR U . LATE …MEANS U BE LEBBES NOT SANGHA

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