Aggressive minority politics a threat to national, regional and global peace -Part I
Posted on August 23rd, 2019

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Anbarasan Ethirajan is a seasoned Correspondent of the BBC who covers Sri Lankan politics from time to time. His latest report is titled Sri Lanka’s Muslim demonised” after Easter bombings. (August 13, 2019 – BBC News). The overall thrust of his latest report is to present the Muslims as victims of the Sinhala-Buddhists. He weaves his story to cast the Sinhala-Buddhists as the majority persecuting the minority Muslims. This theme of majority persecuting the minority is the usual excuse that hits the headlines, each time inter-religious, inter-ethnic, inter-cultural violence breaks out in any corner of the globe. It opens up space for criminals in minority communities to pose as victims of the majority. Intellectuals and academics use it to white wash minority crimes against the majority.

Blaming the majority helps the minority to get away with their crimes against the majority. In some instances, it helps criminals from minority communities to pose as heroes (Example: Prabhakaran). The need to combat the majority at any cost even enables criminal leaders of minority communities to justify their crimes to liquidate their dissidents refusing to toe the official line. The minority passing the buck to the majority also breeds a plethora of human rights activists and globe-trotting UN rapporteurs who, after a hurried visit of few days, write their reports on the stereotyped format of blaming the majority to justify their stipend.

Above all, it is easy to spin a sob story of victimisation even when the minority had been beneficiaries of the highest privileges. Sri Lanka is one of the unique nations which produced billionaires who carried backpacks loaded with explosives to target Christians at prayer in suicidal terror attacks. Even Osama bin Laden, the other billionaire, did not carry out suicidal attacks. He got others to do it. Only Zahran Hasheem led the suicidal attack on foot.  It is also a nation where minority violence originated from the most privileged segments of society.

Ethirajan spins his story around this hacked theme of victimised minorities.. In a country of 70 % Sinhalese, he focuses on the plight of a Muslim (10%) trader facing virtual boycotts from the Sinhalese customers who were reacting to the Easter Sunday bombing that killed hundreds of mainly Tamil Christian worshippers. He interviews Mohammed Iliyas, a hardware shop owner, serving mainly Sinhala customers. Quoting Iliyas he says: “Since the Easter Sunday bombings, almost 90% of my Sinhalese customers have stopped buying from my shop. My business has gone down significantly and I have lost hundreds of thousands of rupees.”

He adds: Minority Muslims live among the majority Sinhalese community in this area (Kottaramulla). For decades, Mr. Iliyas, who is a Muslim, spent his days serving people from all religious communities.

But that has changed since Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombings in April,” says Ethirajan.

It is at this point that he spins his story to project Muslims as victims of the majority Sinhalese. In doing so he narrated the usual sob story of the majority reacting negatively against the Muslim minority. This is typical of Western reporters projecting the majority Sinhalese as persecutors of the minorities. The story of Iliyas is incontrovertible. But that is not news. It happens in any global community where the majority reacts against the violence of the minority, or vice versa.

The newsworthiness is in the story he skipped. That story is elsewhere. It is in two places mainly. It is first in the big picture where the majority is confronted by the aggressive minorities pursing identity politics to violent extremes – a common feature in global politics today. Second, it is in the third wave of Sri Lankan youth exploding violently to pursue futile political goals.

Of the three, the two initial waves came from the Sinhala youth who flocked to the JVP in the early seventies in search of a socialist paradise. The second was the Tamil youth who took up arms in search of an elusive Eelam in the late seventies and eighties – violence that lasted for 33 years (from the official declaration of war in the Vadukoddai Resolution in May 1976 to May 2009 in Nandikadal). And the third was the rise of Muslim youth from the most affluent layers of the Muslim society. All three movements were aimed at attacking, and if possible dismantling, the democratic mainstream to impose the will ideologically obsessed youth from all three communities.

Iliyas’s story, as narrated by Ethirajan, is a local manifestation of the global phenomenon of the minority moving aggressively to impose their will on a majority culture. It also raises the question as to whether Iliyas is a victim of the Sinhala-Buddhist majority or the politically engineered internal politics of Muslims who have been driving their former sedate culture with the calculated intention of radicalising the Muslim community to achieve pie-in-the-sky caliphates in Sri Lanka.

One of the political strategies has been to Arabify the community with Wahabist extremism with a nudge and a wink from the Muslim leaders.  With funding from Wahabist Muslim sources from the Middle East, they have been deviating deliberately from the traditional Muslim culture to radicalise a community that co-existed peacefully with the other communities for centuries. Prior to the radicalising and Arabification of Muslims in Sri Lanka, mosques survived and thrived with the Churches and Buddhist and Hindu temples with the least amount of tensions.

But the new politicised culture aimed at the Arabification of the East in particular, with madrassas sprouting like mushrooms in other parts for the radicalising of the Muslim youth. This Wahabification (a local version of Talibanisation) produced a new breed of foot soldiers for politicised Islam. Brain-washed Muslim youth were trained in bomb-making and other terror tactics. The militarisation of the domesticated neighbourhood consisting of traders, butchers, wayside buriyani-makers, tailors, etc., posed a new threat for peaceful co-existence with other communities. The traditional saree draped casually over the head was replaced by niqabs and burkas signaling the rise of an aggressive assertiveness within the Muslim community. That is the feminine manifestation of Muslim radicalism. The masculine version reached new heights, creeping up as far as the affluent middle-class youth. They emerged from behind the shadows of imported Imams to assert emphatically their radical Islamic identity. Instead of covering their faces with the black cloth they substituted a thick and lengthy growth of defiant Blue Beards. They declared their commitment to Islam through the fierceness of their beards. The public manifestation of a hirsute Islamic identity hit the tonsorial trade very hard. They also wore the thwab / thobe, the ankle-length, long-sleeved robe.

The Arabification of Islam was demonstrated publicly in the sartorial idiosyncrasies. It was visible for those with eyes to see. Practically everyone in the Muslim community was aware of the rise of this new force. Nevertheless, it took everyone by surprise on Easter Sunday when the leading militant Muslim youth walked coolly into Churches for a cause which had not been articulated clearly by their Muslim leaders, or even by the Muslim terrorists in a coherent or cogent ideology. Various theories have been bruited as the cause, some of which lead to even foreign sources. But what emerges as a certainty from the fog of theories, speculation, conflicting evidence, and the mystifying paralysis and inaction of the state is that the Muslim leaders were aware of the power and the aggressive nature of the Muslim youth and, of course, their external political and financial sources.

Billionaire Zahran Hasheem became the leading model of the affluent terrorists, debunking the pop theories of oppression and poverty as the root causes of political violence. He was, in a sense, the carbon copy of billionaire Osama bin Laden.  In Sri Lanka, the Muslims were producing a new breed of terrorists riding in Pajeros with money to burn. They wielded sufficient power to summon Muslim leaders and make them obey their commands. They even dared to challenge the state forces by staging a violent political protest with impunity. They were in a commanding position to get away as a law unto themselves with the critical segments of the state turning a blind eye.

The politicising of Islam into an Arabic cult (albeit with Sri Lankan characteristics) was the critical turning point that propelled the Muslim youth into violence. Rightly or wrongly, it also turned the image of the Muslims as a new kind of violent separatists seeking to establish a caliphate on Sri Lankan soil. The reaction of the non-Muslim majority was not too traditional Islam (which among other things produced flavoursome buriyani and  wattalappam) but to politicised Islam that turned violent.

The rise of aggressive Islam threatening to challenge and confront the other settled cultures inevitably produced a predictable reaction. It is unrealistic for an aggressive minority attempting to have their way through violence to expect the sympathy of the other peace-loving communities. So the story of Iliyas facing boycotts and distancing by the Sinhalese is predictable. It is not a peculiarity of the Sinhalese only. It is a universal story common to all societies in conflict with each other. The Irish Catholics bombing the hell out of the British Protestants, or the Muslims in the post 9-11 period faced the identical reaction from the communities their leaders targeted. The BBC has streamed overwhelming evidence of this instinctive human trait. Clearly, the BBC narrative to make Iliyas look like a victim of the Sinhalese is to distort the realities of a global phenomenon. I won’t be surprised if the next BBC bulletin reports that the sardines packed in Canada were killed by the Sinhala-Buddhist migrants!

11 Responses to “Aggressive minority politics a threat to national, regional and global peace -Part I”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Changes to MMDA (1951) is a good move. It raises the minimum age of marriage to 18. This must be strictly implemented in substance.

    Too high Muslim population growth is a problem.

  2. Vaisrawana Says:

    The changes proposed to the MMDA constitute a good move. They are reported to have received cabinet approval, but whether these amendments will be easily passed in parliament still hangs in the balance. Minister of Postal Services and Muslim Affairs Abdul Haleem, according to Ada Derana, told journalists that although there was general consensus about the 18 year age limit and the necessity to consult the wishes of the bride, it has been suggested by Muslim clerics that a modification to this should be made to accommodate underage marriages if approved of by a Qadi judge in case they were referred to him for his authority (Apparently such reference to a Qadi is optional). Needless to say, such a reservation will defeat the main purpose of the act (to end discrimination against women). The minister also said that most of the Muslim religious leaders (who took part in the discussions concerning the subject that he had attended) were vehemently against the appointment of female Qadis.

    The purpose of al taqiyyah or the quranic principle of (righteous) deception, dissimulation or plainly lying is to “smooth over differences” or to “gain the upper-hand over an enemy”. Haven’t we seen this in action over the past decades during TV debates? Even in Parliament this basic strategy of Islam will be followed in regard to this act unless objected to by moderate Muslim MPs (Their tribe must increase for progress to happen). When parliamentary legislation is subjected to discriminatory religious norms, it means the end of secularism in governance. (Al taqiyyah is based on the notion that the end justifies the means, but this idea is incompatible with democracy, even with common morality, except in situations where the saving of life is involved. Islam is a political religion that does not accept secular democracy.) The new act will prove to be another halal act. Islamic banking has also become a reality in Sri Lanka by now, thanks to divisive minority politics, which traditionally exploits divisions in the majority Sinhalese community.

    Let’s hope that this will somehow lead to an eventual abolition of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act altogether.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    The reported CHANGES to Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act are MINIMAL; Only the minimum 18-year marriage age is substantial, others are MERE EYEWASH! CONSENT of Muslim religious needed is NOT NEEDED to ELIMINATE patently CRIMINAL community standards that are DISCRIMINATORY and violate fundamental human rights!

    INSTEAD,

    1. Outlaw MULTIPLE SPOUSES! ENFORCE ONE National Law; ONE SPOUSE ONLY for EACH citizen, at least in the future!

    2. Ban the Kathi Muslim “good old boy” you scratch my back I scratch yours “courts” that DISCRIMINATE against women? ENFORCE ONE National Law! Eliminate COMMUNITY based Laws!

    3. OUTLAW Divorce of Muslim Women by INTONING “I Divorce Thee” three time! These ladies are NOT SLAVES, but Sri Lankan citizens with INALIENABLE RIGHTS! They have RIGHTS whether or not they give their CONSENT! ENFORCE ONE National Law!

    4. ENFORCE PROPERTY and MAINTENANCE PROTECTION for DIVORCING SPOUSES that apply to citizens of other religions!

    5. ELIMINATE Discriminatory EXTENDED (4 mths?) Maternity Leave ONLY for Muslim Women! Grant that to ALL PREGNANT Women or DENY to ALL Women! APPLY and ENFORCE ONE National Law!

    6. OUTLAW Male CIRCUMCISION, the the EVEN MORE EGREGIOUS Female CIRCUMCISION, in Sri Lanka as INHUMANE and CRUEL acts as babaric, inhumane and unnecessary practices in the modern world!

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    ELIMINATING the EXECUTIVE PRESIDENCY is the MOST ASININE and DESTRUCTIVE thing that can be done, especially to Sinhala Buddhists!

    It is the Executive Presidency that PROTECTED, DEFENDED and ULTIMATELY PRESERVED Sri Lanka’s TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY and INDEPENDENCE since it was CREATED!

    ABSENT the Executiove Presidency, Sri Lanka today would be a Balkanized Patchwork of Communal Bantustans!

    These so-called “Civil Society Groups” are ASSORTED TRAITORS and TOOLS of Foreigners PLOTTING & SCHEMING to COMPLETE THE DESTRUCTION of Sri Lanka they INITIATED on Jan 8, 2015 with the CONNIVANCE of Foreign Powers and simple-minded IDIOTS like the COMMON CANDIDATE for President who swallowed hook-line-and-sinker the incessantly chanted mantra of these TRAITORS, and could not control his own greed for pomp and power!

    INSTEAD of DISMANTLING the Executive Presidency, STRENGTHEN it INSTEAD!

    Get RID of the 13th and 19th Amendments to the CONSTITUTION!

    ELIMINATE the REDUNDANT POST of Prime Minister; the SPEAKER can handle the conduct of Parliamentary Affiars!

    RESTORE Control over the CABINET to the EXECUTIVE President of the Nation without DIVIDING the EXECUTIVE Powers of Government!

    The current SUPREME COURT is STACKED with BIASED STOOGES of the UNP that Ranil Wikunansinghe strived to do anticipating a Constitutional Struggle to OUST HIM as in ALL OF HIS PREVIOUS STINTS as PM! RESTORE the IMPARTIALITY, PATRIOTISM and INDEPENDENCE of the Supreme Court as an URGENT NECESSITY!

  5. Randeniyage Says:

    Strange all commentators although talk passionately for the country are not bold enough to suggest ONE LAW (except Ananda-USA) ? When even our beloved computer keyboard champions FEAR their favorite candidate loosing, how candidates themselves could boldly declare ONE LAW for the country?
    Why should a Muslim LAW should be entertained at all ? Shouldn’t it is the best time to get rid of it ?
    Are you all scared of losing votes to your desired man ?
    If so you all are not patriots but pretenders licking boots of politicians only.

  6. Dilrook Says:

    @Ananda

    Does your preferred presidential candidate declare at least one of them?

    No. But you still follow them. So your list has no value to you.

    Nagananda is the only candidate to declare there will be no personal laws and there will be one law for all. But he is not supported by most.

  7. Randeniyage Says:

    Faith without wisdom (blind faith) is dangerous but practiced by the foolish majority.
    Wisdom arises when one directs mind to present moment and present truth.
    No point assume this may happen that may happen based on mind focused on the “good past” only.

    Time for people to develop wisdom and look at concrete evidence, fool proof policy and assume NOTHING beyond written promises. When even the written promises are purposely not fulfilled fools assume their good man will do this and that out of blind faith.

    This is why I insist DEMAND, DEMAND and DEMAND. අඬන්නෙ නැතිව කිරි එරෙන්නෙ නෑ ! හිනා වෙවී ආදරේ කරාට කිරි දෙන්නෙ නෑ.
    Not only demand but threat is also important

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dilrook,

    Nagananda is TOOL of the NGOs and Foreign Powers; I dont trust him one iota!

    Regarding Gota, he is the only one of the CREDIBLE Candidates with a chance of winning whose policies will even come close to what I want.

    But, NO ONE is currently promising to do ALL of what I ask. So, what is new about that? Nothing!

    \\Even when I was demanding a military solution to LTTE’s Separatist Violence, no one paid heed either; I was only labelled a WARMONGER. But, finally some leaders adopted that objective and fought the war the way it should have been fought from the very beginning!

    Being AHEAD OF THE CURVE, does not mean I am wrong Dilrookor it just means that it may happen when the LEADERS FINALLY WISE UP!

    I follow in the footsteps of Cato the Elder who intoned “Carthago Delenda Est” at every occasion, until Carthage was finally DESTROYED! The CORRECT PATH FORWARD must be kept in front of people irrespective of the CURRENT situation, UNTIL IT IS ACHIEVED!

  9. Dilrook Says:

    @Ananda

    Chamal will not promise any of those and certainly not give any of those. The only way to get them done is to threaten him with a no vote. As the Speaker he banned pork in parliament but refused to do same to beef, mutton, etc. A small gesture within the powers of the Speaker but significantly pointing to the direction of his rule.

  10. Ananda-USA Says:

    Ranil Wikunanasinghe, the Ali Baba of 40 Thieves fame, told the voters yesterday: “If you want DEVELOPMENT to CONTINUE or go BACKWARDS!

    I HUMBLY ask “Pray tell me, what DEVELOPMENT is that you want to CONTINUE?”

    This man is an ACCOMPLISHED BIG-TIME LIAR, waxing eloquent about NON-EXISTENT DEVELOPMENT he has presided over in the last 4 years! ANY DEVELOPMENT by the NEXT Govt would be step FORWARD!

    Yes, INDEED, it is for the PEOPLE to decide, FINALLY! We will decide to send the Chief Thief Ali Baba and his 40 Thieves HOME!

    ……………………………………………

    PM says up to the people to decide whether to continue with development or go backwards

    Aug 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that people should decide whether to continue with the development programs which were implemented during the last four years or go backwards.

    The Premier made this observation in Kandy this morning addressing a function held to declare open the Cultural Park at the old Bogambara Prison premises and commence the second phase of modernization of the old prison.

    Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who pointed out that the Bogambara Prison, which had been a prison, has now been transformed into a center of freedom, emphasized that it is up to the public to decide whether to go ahead with that freedom or go back to the ‘prison’ in the past.

    The Prime Minister also disclosed that plans are underway to develop the Kandy City parallel to the historic Nara City of Japan with the assistance of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    The Prime Minister said that after the Easter bomb attacks, the government has taken steps to rebuild the country’s economy without letting it slide and thereby restore the country and boost tourism.

    An open air theatre has been established to present cultural items unique to the up-country. 200 million rupees has been spent for the constructions of the first phase. The project is implemented by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development.

    Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Patali Champika Ranawaka said that the Kandy city will be developed while preserving its historic heritage. Accordingly, plans are afoot to make Katugastota a commercial city, the Minister further said.

    Lakshman Kiriella, Minister of Public Enterprises, Upcountry Heritage and Kandy Development and Leader of the House, said that the development of the Kandy City will be carried out on the advice of the Chief Prelates.

    The Prime Minister also launched the second phase of the Bogambara Prison modernization project on the occasion.

    The 11 acre Bogambara prison was relocated to Pallekele area according to the Kandy city development plan. Accordingly steps were taken to modernize the prison land under several stages.

    Under the first phase, renovations were done to the external area outside the prison at a cost of Rs. 100 million. An international information center and a public garden have been set up in that area. There is also an outdoor theater to present cultural features that are unique to the hill country. The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development.

    Maha sangha, Minister Malik Samarawickrema, State Minister Lucky Jayawardene, Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara, Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama, Mayor of Kandy Municipal Council R. Arnold, Central Province Governor Keerthi Tennakoon and a large number of politicians and government officials were also present.

  11. Ratanapala Says:

    The main thrust of the 2020 Presidential Election should be to get rid of the Minority Racist and Minority Religious Party hegemony over Sri Lanka politics.

    These Shylocks have been making asymmetrical demands which always overrode the majority community rights and aspirations. These Shylocks have always demanded their ‘pound of flesh’ with little regard to Sri Lanka’s existence as a place fit for living for all.

    Giving way to their asymmetric demands can only bring in perpetual enmity between peoples and if acceded will bring perpetual war between fiefdoms thus created and the majority community Sinhalese whose land has been at the end of non-ending incursion by minorities.

    The only solution this time around is to see that in the minimum no Sinhalese vote will go to support any of either Racist Tamil or Jihadi Muslim candidates. Sri Lanka saw clearly who are the Jihadi Muslims when they – lock stock and barrel resigned to support Rishard Baithuddeen and Hisbullah.

    Only future the ordinary peace-loving Tamils and Muslims can have is with the Sinhalese – as before in history, now and in the future!

    LET US NOT WASTE A SINGLE VOTE TO BRING THE MINORITY SHYLOCKS AMONG THE TAMILS AND MUSLIMS TO POWER!

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