Making Nonsense of Bodu Bala Sena
Posted on November 28th, 2015

By Rohana R. Wasala

This article was written on July 24, 2014 in reply to one of Mr Izeth Hussain’s articles in The Island a few days before that date. Mr Hussain wrote under the title Making Sense of Bodu Bala Sena”; the title of my article was a play on that. But my article was not published. Now, having read the many articles about his favourite topic of alleged anti-Muslim Sinhala Buddhist racism, extremism, chauvinism, jingoism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc etc that Mr Hussain has written since and got published in The Island and elsewhere so far, and having read veteran journalist Mr H.L.D. Mahindapala’s excellent critique of Mr Hussain’s writings, which has been published in the Lankaweb in three parts recently, I feel that it would be relevant, at this stage, to place my previously unpublished article, exactly as it was originally written, before interested readers as a kind of (unsolicited) addendum to Mr Mahindapala’s response to Mr Hussein. I am just retrieving it from the document folder of computer. Please remember that what you are going to read below was written by me more than sixteen months ago during former president Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure of office.

From now on you are reading my unpublished article dated July 24, 2014:-

Most ordinary Sri Lankans have now realized without anybody’s help that Bodu Bala Sena’s strategy makes no sense, though its ostensible purpose, that of defeating attempts at unethical conversion of Buddhists by certain as yet embryonic fanatical Christian and Muslim groups, is a plausible one. These fundamentalist sects are sustained by sources of foreign funds mostly in the form of INGOs executing subversive agendas.  Bodu Bala Sena seems to have high-jacked that legitimate objective for its own political or mercenary ends. (This is what seems to be the case, though what they are really up to, only time will reveal. But, one thing is clear: they are not likely to win enough support among Sinhalese Buddhists to make any appreciable political impact on the country unless they reform themselves.) Trying to make sense of nonsense is merely adding nonsense to nonsense. Writer Izeth Hussain has already done this successfully (or is still doing so, for the latest/8th installment  of his series of articles entitled Sri Lankan Muslims at cross roads” that appeared in The Island on Saturday 19th July, 2014 may not be his last on the topic of alleged Sinhala Buddhist extremism against his community).

Mr Hussain is one of The Island contributors whose opinions I read with special attention, though I hardly see eye to eye with him on this issue; not that my agreeing or disagreeing with him could matter much for him.  He commands our respect as a senior citizen who was privileged with the opportunity, or was assigned by the state the responsibility, to represent Sri Lanka’s interests abroad as an ambassador at a very critical time of its history. It is natural that we still look up to important senior veterans of our foreign service like him for inspiration and guidance in dealing with international affairs at this inaugural stage of national resurgence and communal normalization after three decades of civil war which brought untold suffering to all of us, especially to ordinary citizens like us. And he can’t deny that he is being ungrudgingly accorded the hospitality of an esteemed national newspaper like The Island, which is widely read by the educated in this Sinhalese majority country so he can safely present his views irrespective of their rational or irrational nature; the intelligent readers of The Island are capable of sifting through his prose for the truth that he is trying to conceal or reveal so zealously.

That fact does much to enhance the benign influence, if any, or deaden the incendiary potential, of his pronouncements. No. 8 of his series of articles referred to above  asserts that …what took place at Aluthgama/Beruwela should be seen as a Government-backed anti-Muslim pogrom” and that It should really be seen as signaling a new phase in the Government’s anti-Muslim project: a project to reduce them Muslims to the status of second-class citizens who are not entitled to the protection of the State, and to reduce their economic position to levels lower than those of the Sinhalese”. Obviously these are Mr Hussain’s personal opinions based on no more infallible authority than that of the likes of that noble UNP Parliamentarian Thewarapperuma to whom the Muslims acknowledge a debt of gratitude for having risked his life in trying to rescue the Muslims of the area….”. There is no doubt that that particular MP did what Mr Hussain claims he did; any sensible MP belonging to any political party or race or religion, or any other responsible citizen, unless mentally deranged by racial prejudice or sectarian madness (This is not a dig at you, Mr Hussain), would have done the same in those circumstances. But Thewarapperuma’s bona fides could have been easily disputed (though perhaps unreasonably) because of his recent infamous history of a physical confrontation with his party leader over a personal matter and the absurdity of his frivolous threat to give up his seat in the legislature unless the IGP resigned for his alleged failure to bring the situation in question under control soon enough; wasn’t the MP open to a charge of fishing in troubled waters? What is the worth of the authority of such a person whose own credibility was thus not very high? Then, Mr Hussain shows himself to be naïve enough to describe MP Mangala Samaraweera as a politician of high integrity” for allegedly authoritatively claiming that There is no Muslim extremism here”.  Mr Hussain being most probably confined to Colombo, which is no place for one ‘to feel the pulse of the nation’,  may be a stark stranger to the  commonalty elsewhere, and he may have missed pictures of that worthy’s acolytes armed with cinnamon clubs looking for adversaries within their own party ranks, and TV news pictures of him being publicly commissioned by the UNP general secretary Mr Tissa Attanayake to lead a propaganda brigade a la the Nazi Goebbels, as an experienced veteran in the job, for the express purpose of destroying the public image of the President as it was unassailable by fair means. I say There is no Sinhalese Buddhist extremism against Muslims or other minorities here”. This is not just a personal opinion, but an observable fact, a fact that I have verified with my gardener Tikiribanda, and family physician Dr Iqbal (fictitious names for real persons), whose nobility of character and personal integrity I have no reason to call in question.

For Mr Hussain’s charges against the government concerning the Aluthgama and Beruwala incidents to hold water, he must establish a plausible enough motive for it to act in that way. We, the ordinary people, cannot think of any. Mr Hussain should explain in a foolproof  manner how the government benefits by attacking the Muslims. Please remember that a public  street in Palestine has been named after Mahinda Rajapaksa in recognition of his long and consistent support of the Muslim Palestinian cause.  The violence occurred when the president was just finishing his visit in Bolivia where he attended the summit meeting of the Group of 77+China organization. Straight after a grueling 8-hour flight from there (on 17 June) he rushed to the trouble spot to see for himself the situation there in order to expedite a return to normalcy. Mr Rajapaksa is not a young man, he is probably not more than fifteen years junior to octogenarian Mr Hussain in age. Mr Rajapaksa’s indefatigable gesture was a demonstration of his absolute commitment to communal harmony and the welfare of all.

About the beginning of Mr Izeth Hussain’s correspondence in The Island a few years ago on the theme of alleged Sinhalese racism, Sinhala Buddhist extremism, etc., apparently based on trivial personal experiences, I faintly remember  a writer to the same paper (was it Mr Tissa Devendra, retired civil servant and author of repute, I wonder?) asked him what he was up to, implicitly suggesting in a friendly tone that he be more reasonable and responsible when writing about sensitive topics like that. Mr Hussain didn’t give an answer, as far as I know, perhaps leaving it to be inferred from his writings. It may be that the title of the current series of articles  he is writing gives a hint: the word ‘crossroads’ figuratively means a moment of decision, a point at which an important decision must be taken. The implications of this are too unsettling even to think about. But there is some consolation in the fact that our people can understand that Mr Hussain is only flogging a dead horse. Such an exercise will not benefit  the Lankan Muslims. In fact, the imaginary creation and inflation of a non-existent problem has the potential to harm not only the Muslims, but the whole nation. Does Mr Hussain want to relive the horrors of the treacherously unleashed, so-called ‘Sinhala Muslim riots’ of 1915 which the imperial government exploited, in their primitive inhuman way, to squash the nascent freedom struggle of the country’s patriotic leaders? If something like that is provoked through irresponsible speech or writing on the part of  the older people like Mr Hussain, who have almost lived out their lives without mishap while thousands of young Sri Lankans hardly into their adulthood died or got maimed for life in the recent civil war, who will again have to pay for their frivolous indiscretions, but today’s young?

Instead of succumbing to reason, Mr Hussain crossed swords with Professor Carlo Fonseka who made a graceful attempt to gently wean him away from his dangerous preoccupation and to cause him to lay down his quixotic cudgels against an imaginary foe. Professor Fonseka’s show of reasoned disagreement with him in his July 16th piece under the title Making sense of Bodu Bala Sena” seems to have come too late to be taken up by Mr Hussain in his July 19th installment. Even if he had read it early enough, he possibly could not deny that there is this extremely virulent form of global Islamic fundamentalism, which is lethal  to non-Muslims and moderate Muslims alike who do not accept it. In Iraq, while sectarian violence is dealing death to Muslims at the hands of their co-religionists, the fundamentalist rebels who are now partially in control there have ordered Christian Iraqis to choose conversion to Islam or death, or to leave the regions under their power. Could we blame the BBS if they raise an alarm at the appearance of what looks like signs of such Islamic extremism raising its ugly head here? If it is only a false alarm, let’s reason the matter out with them, but let’s take steps to forestall the rise the evil in the future.

In a piece under the heading Clarifications on genocide” in The Island (22 April 2014) the same Mr Hussain wrote:

We SL Muslims, however, have never committed genocide during the entirety of our existence in this island of over 1,400 years, for which I can give a convincing explanation: we lacked the means to do it”.

Isn’t the implication of this we would have carried out genocide if we had the means”. Genocide of whom?  What an escape Sinhalese Buddhists have had! That is something reminiscent of the historical fact that Muslim invaders in India slaughtered 18 million innocent Hindus and Buddhists in cold blood as infidels – the biggest genocide ever  in human history – over a one thousand year period in the past, and destroyed many sprawling international centres of higher learning (both secular and religious universities) and places of worship in India, belonging to those indigenous communities, which destruction the majority Hindus miraculously survived. This information is not a fabrication. It is recorded history. But no Muslims in this enlightened age are likely to look back on that sordid past with a smack of satisfaction except perhaps a rare few hate mongering Islamic fanatics.

2 Responses to “Making Nonsense of Bodu Bala Sena”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    “We SL Muslims, however, have never committed genocide during the entirety of our existence in this island of over 1,400 years, for which I can give a convincing explanation: we lacked the means to do it”.

    This is terrorism!! Someone has to stop this MAD IDIOT from arousing terrorism in SL.

    IF Muslims try violence in SL there are MANY countries waiting to help SL win that war – Israel is one. Even Endia will help. USA will definitely help. Russia, France, UK and China will also help.

    In other words, ALL SUPERPOWERS will help SL genocide Jihad terrorists and their family members as happening in SYRIA, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, etc. This is why SL Muslims never tried it and never should try it.

    Anyway SL must be on guard as HATE PREACHING leading up to Jihad terrorism has already started.

  2. charithsls Says:

    Many times I found Hussein’s articles were offensive & disrespectful to Sinhalese. However that is the norm of Muslims all over.They slaughter the innocent people but there comes publicly the very first figure, who is he, an imam preaching what a peaceful religion is Islam! All over the world you can see this reaction, be it Hussein or Bin Laden! The average muslim is being used as an puppet by their leaders. I was recently in a taxi on a Friday past 1pm,there comes a mobile call to the taxi driver who later said he was called to attend the Friday mass immediately by the mosque Imam! That is how their grip on the person! However the tragedy here is Island. Recently there were bouquets to its editor here who in fact should be denounced & publicly humiliated by the majority for his stance against Buddhism (under the cover of professionalism).

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