Threats to the peaceful existence of Buddhists in Sri Lanka-Response to Mr. Hameed Abdul Karim
Posted on February 21st, 2013

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Shenali Waduge

No nation with a clear majority in terms of race, religion and a history that boasts over 2600 years of civilization held together by Sinhalese Buddhist Kings would need to appeal to the world to understand why they are beginning to feel alienated. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ That is the predicament that has befallen the Buddhists of Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The debate with Mr. Hameed Abdul Karim is being pursued to showcase that though Muslims and Sinhalese had been living in peace it has to be acknowledged that it is a new wave of incursions taking place upon the Buddhist space and territory which are disturbing and infringing on the sensitivities of the Buddhist people all of which post-independence politicians have conveniently sidestepped. The apprehensions and the subconscious fears of the Buddhists of this country now need to be raised and articulated properly.

Why Sri Lanka fears it would be called a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Once Buddhist nationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

Given the present trends we foresee a future date where Sri Lanka will be termed a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-once BuddhistƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ nation as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Malaysia, Indonesia and probably Thailand and Burma in time to come will face. Yet, many Buddhists in Sri Lanka are not prepared to be passive observers and watch in silence their religion and culture fade away into the sunset without any resistance on their part. Assurances has not qualified to allay our fears given the dramatic changes we see happening round the world.

Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Buddhist status never discriminated against any religion at any point in time as seen by the freedom Hindus, Christians and Muslims enjoy freely. It is the Buddhists who are forced to always compromise and sacrifice their vital interests to appease the unrelenting demands of unreasonable ethnic and religious minorities.

It is sad to watch the historic status of Buddhism enshrined in Article 9 of the Constitution been reduced to the status of a white elephant and used only for ceremonial purposes. Buddhist tolerance has been treated as a weakness and exploited to advance the political agenda of other religious faiths.

False notions of Buddhist racism

In desperation when Buddhists vocalize their justifiable fears they are called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-racistƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-communalƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-extremistƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and in some cases ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-militantƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ – just because they demand to know why Muslims were encroaching on Buddhist temple lands, why they were bribing officials to take sacred land areas, why historically non-existent mosques are emerging in areas that are sacred to the Buddhists and why loudspeakers from mosques were targeting largely non-Muslim residents? Buddhists are also asking why politicians are giving one minority community to dictate how other communities should purchase their food as well as why it is violating Article 9 of the Constitution that says it is only Buddhism that has to be fostered and other religions only to be protected ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” which questions why a Government should build non-Buddhist places of worship?.

Is there any Christian or Muslim country in the world where the State has contributed to building a Buddhist Place of worship ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” I look forward to Mr. KarimƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s response!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Principle of Halal Certificate objected

People forget that it was the principle of the halal that was being questioned. Why did the politicians not take note of how a private institute not permitted according to its statute of incorporation to issue certificates, were charging a fee to issue halal certificates on all food items that are purchased by the population of Sri Lanka. The principle behind this was that if Muslims ate food without halal labels all this time why was there a need for a halal label now, if export-import took place all this time why is there a sudden insistence for halal labels? The argument also revolves around the fact that this institute does not even have a state-of-the-art lab to test the thousands of food for halal compliance whereas beverages like Coke/Pepsi with 0.001% alcohol remains one of the most fast moving soft drinks consumed by Muslims.

Moreover, the Koran does not say of a halal certificate to be demanding that as a religious right since like loudspeakers it is only a recent addition to the faith. In view of the how food was consumed and the recent demands it appears to be a commercial leverage based on a religion aimed to make a political statement to the rest of the world ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-we are Muslim/Islam and every non-Muslim must comply with what suits our religionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚! The same applies to the dress as seen in all areas where Muslims numerical numbers show a majority and whatever Mr. Karim says the examples prove otherwise. Again we are told to be ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-tolerantƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ as Buddhists should be and virtually look the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-other sideƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

GOSL must declare Sri Lanka a Buddhist nation

What post-independence Governments have failed to do was to clearly articulate that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist nation ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” no one can argue against this and historical proof prevail to justify and with good reason why Sri Lanka should remain a Buddhist nation. The countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s leaders certainly need to redefine the nation reaffirming the status given to Buddhism. It is too important a function to be left exclusively in the hands of highly vocal minorities.

The multi-religious, multi-cultural norms have turned western nations upside down. People do not know their countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s history. It is a countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s history that holds countries together because people want to preserve what their ancestors fought hard to achieve and which had been protected and passed down through posterity. Wealth and political influence cannot sacrifice the ancient past.

Mr. Karim does not seem to realize that when the Buddhists say the countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s majority Buddhist population is feeling alienated in their own hinterland it is because of a new wave of demands and aggressive behavioral patterns now pursued by a community that came far later. Is it so difficult to understand why it is wrong to be demanding the country adjust to suit the religious beliefs of the Muslim people when it may be violating the beliefs of the other cultures? Is it not the community that came later that must adjust itself to be in harmony with the ethos of the older culture i.e. Buddhist ethos?

Can Mr. Karim deny that it is having reached beyond the level of tolerance that the Buddhists are now coming to say enough is enough and even finding fault with the political establishments for not demarcating the boundaries so that people do not cross them. It is when boundaries are crossed, incursions take place and these incursions have been clearly defined to Mr. Karim. What was needed was for Mr. Karim and others to realize that these new practices, behaviors and actions was what had upset the Buddhists and it had nothing to do with any dislike for Muslims because the way Muslims had lived in the past is what everyone expected them to continue ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” not the new changes which reflect the conflicts taking place round the world.

Buddhist fears are confirmed

Whatever Mr. Karim says the recent article by Mr. M B M Zubair – Retired Registrar High Court Kandy has let the cat out of the bag. When he says ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-the fact that Islam is spreading fast all over the world must be admitted by everyone. It is a prophecy of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that Islam will spreadƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, he has spelled out what is in store for Sri Lanka as well and which is what our fears are all about.

Do we as an older Buddhist culture not have the right to be alarmed and to address these factors?

No matter what reasons are given by Mr. Karim or others it cannot change the fact that Maldives was once a Buddhist nation. The DhanbidhƒÆ’-¦ƒ”š‚« LƒÆ’-¦ƒ”š‚mƒÆ’-¾ƒ”š‚fƒÆ’-¾ƒ”š‚nu copperplates in Maldives dating to 1193AD relate how Buddhist monuments were destroyed and Buddhist monks were beheaded and mosques were built on top of the destroyed Buddhist temples and monasteries.

Destruction of ancient history and idols is part of what IslamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s iconoclasm is all about and we know how through all conquests Islamic rulers destroyed churches, kovils and Buddhist temples and recent events have not shown that Muslims have changed their behaviors. Is that not good enough reasons for our fears, Mr. Karim?

Effects of IslamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s IconoclasmƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Bamiyan Buddha was not destroyed by a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-lunatic fringeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ as Mr. Karim claims. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Many attempts had been made to destroy the Buddha statue because idol worship is against Islam. From the time of Aurangzeb in the 17th century till finally in 2001 attempts had been made to destroy the face of the Buddha. Mullah Moh. Omar stated ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Muslims should be proud of smashing idols. It has given praise to God that we have destroyed themƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ while the Afghan Foreign Minister stated that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-We are destroying the statues in accordance with Islamic law and it is purely a religious issueƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

If destroying statues is part of being Islam as seen by the recent attacks on Buddhist statues in Bangladesh and Maldives where steps are afoot to remove every piece of evidence that ties their countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s history to Buddhism, we can but wonder whether if after the insistence of halal, mosques and other such Muslim demands whether Sri Lanka will also be targeted for the removal of its historical Buddha statues and history one day?

Apologies after attacks will never bring back history that is being calculatedly destroyed and no one has a right to remove history from being preserved. How can peaceful co-existence be argued when what is dear and precious to another community with a history that dates far beyond its own is targeted to be destroyed? Given the historical and contemporary status quo of things, Mr. Karim cannot accuse Buddhists of being unnecessarily alarmed.

Thus, we are conveying fears that are likely to take place many years from now if the Buddhist people keep dormant and behave like ostriches simply because the world demands that they be ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-tolerantƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ while for MuslimƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s being tolerant appears to imply that the older culture must keep silent about halal labels, halal certificates, proliferation of mosques, incursions on sacred land areas, encroachment of temple lands, destruction of sacred sites and undermining of LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s historic legacy of an animal friendly cultural heritage – all leading to a possible soft usurping of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Buddhist civilization. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

What Mr. Karim and others must realize is that we see a stark difference in the attitude, behaviors and practices of the Muslims and these very practices taking place in other parts of the world have led to far serious issues which we do not want to see replicated in Sri Lanka. The wakeup call is realistically for the entire population especially the policy makers and those that govern the country and questions them about why they have not been alert to these changes that correspond with similar issues abroad.

The basic issue is that we are feeling exactly what Western society is now feeling when numerically the numbers of Muslims increase and the older cultures in these countries are asking the same questions that the Buddhists of Sri Lanka are asking. Like the West we are being subject to demands that politicians have fallen prey because they have failed to endorse the rightful place of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Had this clearly been articulated people would not intrude as they now do. So we know the fault lines.

In countries where Muslims have significant numbers they are demanding for Sharia Islamic laws based on the QuƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ran and Hadith ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” these laws related to women, dress and non-Muslims are what we feel do not conform to the type of governance that the Sinhala Buddhist kings had passed down over centuries and nothing of which Tamils or Muslims felt discriminated against. It is the parliamentary statutes that followed after colonial rule that have led to a series of breaches because of the policy of divide and rule.

The facts are very clear and it is opportune for people to take note.

Sri Lanka is a Buddhist nation ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” it has a proud history that covers 2600 years.

Buddhist rule in ancient times

The Sinhala Buddhist kings that ruled Sri Lanka on the basis of the Laws of Manu and customary Buddhist laws which upheld the Buddhist precepts that all living beings are to be protected with reverence for life was promoted being the basis of advice given by Arahat Mahinda Thero to King Dewanampiyatiss.

The governing rules of law were clearly articulated, boundaries defined and drawn so that the people knew how to respect and live in peaceful co-existence. The place of Buddhism in the countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s landscape was inviolable and that place was also guaranteed in the Kandyan Convention of 1815 ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-the religion of the Buddha professed by the chief and inhabitants of these provinces is declared inviolable and its rites, ministers (monks), and places of worship are to be maintained and protectedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

Sri Lanka is the birthright of the Sinhala Buddhists ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” it is their heritage and their place of refuge.

Mr. KarimƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s claims that Muslims want to live in peaceful co-existence is not seen in the manner the Muslim Congress issued the Oluvil Declaration seeking autonomy, or in the manner Muslims insist on halal labels, or that Muslims view tolerance as a one-way street because when people oppose loudspeakers that even the Supreme Court has issued an interim order that the noise must be directed inward and not outward and the Government has even dedicated a separate channel to listen to Azan, that is a flagrant violation of a fundamental right of every citizen i.e. the Right to Silence? This is by any definition indecent conduct. Respect for the neighbourƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s rights is the hall mark of decency. Use of loudspeakers constitute an abuse of freedom of religion and trespass of the rights of neighbours.

We are bringing these issues to the forefront because we view the Oluvil Declaration similar to the Vaddukoddai Resolution and we are also well aware that our politicians are late reactionaries and by that time the damage has been done and we have already attracted unwanted elements that lead the situation to far worse corners.

In his last reply Mr. Karim states that Sri Lanka was taken to the world by the Muslims. It is a canard and can easily be nullified because Sri Lanka was having links to all corners of the world encompassing trade, diplomatic deals and spread of Buddhism far before the Prophet was even born and the writings of Prof. Sirima Kiribamuna, Prof. Tikiri Abeysinghe, Prof. Wimala Wijesuriya will prove so. Moreover, the architectural, man-made irrigational marvels of Anuradhapura that no other civilization has matched were built long before Islam even originated.

First Arabs in Sri Lanka not Muslims

History must be corrected to clarify that the Arabs that arrived in Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean were initially not Muslims nor did they follow Islam. Arabs and even Persians converted to Islam only after the Islamic conquests though there are millions of Christian Arabs too.

Similarly that Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Muslims do not speak Arabic will show that most of them actually came from the Islamized Arabs who went to South India married South Indian women and thereafter travelled to Sri Lanka. That is why a large number are dark-skinned and their original dress reflected South Indian rather than Sinhala influence. All Muslims in Sri Lanka do not speak Arabic ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” they speak in Tamil and even the Koran is written in Tamil. There is no Sinhala blood or lineage of an appreciable numberƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” those that disagree should prove so.

The Yonas that Mr. Karim refered to during the time of King Pandukabaya were not Islam. King Pandukabaya did offer Yonaka sabhagawattu (areas set aside for Yonaka people). But, these Yonakas were NOT MUSLIMS because Islam had not come into existence in this period. Islam came about 350 years after Christ. Christianity appeared as a religion only 200 years after the birth of Christ and during ConstantineƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s reign in the 4th century.

Muslims could own land only after 1832

The Muslims never owned land (thus called hulanbadda) during the times of the Buddhist kings nor during the times of the colonials until 1832 when the British legally allowed them to own land. The writings of Robert Knox and Queiroz gives these details to precision. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Besides theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ DutchƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ who possess, as I judg, about one fourth of the Island, there areƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Malabars, that areƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ free DenizonsƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ and pay duty to the King for the Land they enjoy, as the Kings natural Subjects do; there are alsoƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Moors, who are like Strangers, and hold no Land, but live by carrying goods to the Sea-Ports, which now are in theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ HollandersƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ hands.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ (Robert Knox)

Its difficult to see evidence of Muslim tolerance when in the West demands have forced towns to not have Christmas decorations, banks do not give ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-piggy banksƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Sharia ZonesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ and in Switzerland there are demands to change its national anthem because it does not include other faiths!

No animal slaughter during ancient times

In Sri Lanka, it is noteworthy to remember that during the time of the Sinhala Buddhist Kings slaughter of animals were forbidden because the Royalty and the public followed the doctrine of no harm to all living beings and encapsulated in the Buddhist First Precept and several other Buddhist injunctions. Prior to the arrival of colonials even Muslims were prohibited from slaughtering animals or indulging in animal sacrifice. The Muslims of this time adjusted themselves to prevailing Buddhist ethos and theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Governing law.

Kirti Sri Nissankamalla, promulgated a remarkable decree, which he publicized in six of his famous inscriptions, forbidding the killing of all living beings in the irrigation lakes of the entire country. Mahavansa also records how King Elara (200BC) had punished his own son for running over a calf!

John DoylyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Book ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Sketch of the Constitution of the Kandyan Kingdom confirms that under Sinhala Law hunting and killing of animals was declared unlawful.

Animal killing first started with the arrival of the Portuguese. They were the first to introduce liquor too. It was the British that legalized slaughter of cattle and now Muslims as stated by Mr. Zubair says that animal sacrifice will continue whatever others say ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” no Muslim would have disagreed in times of the Sinhala Buddhist Kings!

In spite of the place given to man, flora and fauna by successive Sinhala Kings, Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Parliament has failed to implement the Animal Welfare Bill! Clearly the place of Buddhism has waned since colonial times to present ceremonial only status.

In spite of the high place given to man, flora and fauna by successive Sinhala Kings, Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Parliament has failed to enact the Animal Welfare Bill and still allows a 1907 British colonial statute i.e. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance to be the governing legislation with a ridiculous low amount of Rs. 100 as the maximum penalty for the most heinous crime committed against an animal. If the World were to judge our commitment to rule of law on the basis of effectiveness of our animal welfare laws we will be taken to the cleaners. In this respect we are very close to many Muslim countries which do not provide legislative protection to animals.

This is another good example of the waning of the place of Buddhism since colonial times to present ceremonial only status.

However, we realize things are today far different. We are not living in times of history but that does not mean we need to turn our back on the good that prevailed in our countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s past. Currently the world is in turmoil because of incursions taking place and since those that govern the nations have failed to clearly demarcate boundaries and define what is right and wrong where the older culture and its traditions do not get compromised or pushed into the background.

What we see happening in the world and the subtle incursions take in place in Sri Lanka makes us compare, analyze and evaluate nations and we see frightening comparisons ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” non-Muslims in Muslim nations are fast declining (look at the Christian statistics in the Middle East, Iraq, Syria, Bangladesh and in Maldives all the Buddhists were converted to Islam around 1153AD, their places of worship are falling to ruin because Muslim laws dictate no new construction and non-Muslim statues are destroyed because it runs against Muslim belief to worship any God other than Allah. Mr. Karim and Mr. Zubair if they continue to insist there is equality can in their next reply give names of Churches, Synagogues, Kovils and Buddhist temples built in Muslim majority nations in the lasts 100 years! The kovil Mr. Karim mentioned no longer exists as it was razed to the ground in 2005.

Buddhism does not define non-Buddhists, nor define how to treat non-Buddhists yet we are defined as Infidels and further divided as Zimmis (Christians and Jews) and Kafirs (Buddhists, Hindus, Jains) and Kafirs are the worst of the two.

We have arrived at a critical juncture in our history. To be able to live in peace it is important to realize that there is and has been an older culture in existence over the past 2600 years. It is not healthy for newer cultures to be demanding how the older culture should function or dictate or define how the older culture must conduct itself.

The new incursions of halal certificates/labels, usage of loudspeakers inspite of Azan being relayed over the radio, animal sacrifice which many regard as brutal, alarming increase of mosques which even Muslims do not agree to and the encroachment of sacred lands and areas need to be reviewed and those that want to live in peaceful co-existence must realize that it is these incursions that have upset the older culture and has awoken the Buddhists into realizing that the other nations who have faced these obstacles have at extreme levels ended up becoming totally Islamized ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Maldives is an example that continues to keep the Buddhists awake.

I am not going to be unsettled by accusations of racism. I am engaging in this debate because countries are beholden to protect the older culture ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Sri Lanka should be no different. It is countries that do not have such a rich culture to protect that always push liberal theories through multiculturalism.

The gradual diminution of the place held by Buddhism is what has finally awoken the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. The politicians have chosen to side with the vociferous demands made by minorities because it comes with various tags that lure politicians towards appeasing their wishes ignoring the silent majority and taking them for granted as well as ignoring their own duty towards preserving the Buddhist history of Sri Lanka. We now need the injustices to be addressed and rectified because since colonial times and for 508years now a 2600 year Buddhist civilization has been put into the background and it is time to restore the status quo of Buddhism and Buddhist culture as it existed in the pre-colonial era.

Buddhist ethos stress the need to establish a compassionate society where both man and animal exist side by side in peaceful co ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” existence. In such a society violence is eschewed and non ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” violence and Ahimsa is promoted towards all living beings. Ideally this should be the moral aim of Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  It is a perfect way for all the people in Sri Lanka to move forward. The Buddhist moral community embraces all living beings. This is the message of the Buddha. Our forefathers embraced it. We are morally bound to follow this noble tradition.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  All that we now ask is for people to reflect and conclude that this path is the best path to follow which ensures lasting peace and peaceful co-existence.

14 Responses to “Threats to the peaceful existence of Buddhists in Sri Lanka-Response to Mr. Hameed Abdul Karim”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Pork in parliament


    “Despite objections from Muslim MPs, the Speaker decided yesterday that pork may be offered, to MPs, in the Parliament canteen, revoking a previous ban on it, informed sources said.

    Earlier Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa had, at the request of Muslim MPs, decided not to offer pork at the parliamentary canteen. However some MPs, including Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, had objected to the decision. The Speaker had revoked the decision yesterday. He had reportedly said at the House Committee meeting that one should not place restrictions on the choices of food available to other people.

    At yesterday’s meeting, MP Azwer voiced his objections to this decision on the grounds that Islam did not permit the consumption of pork. This led to a heated argument between him and Mr. Amaratunga.”

    one should not place restrictions on the choices of food available to other people.

    A(zwine)r has no right to stop other people eating what they like.

    Why can’t the people have the SAME RIGHTS?

    We want to eat non halal chicken, beef, etc. Where is OUR choice?

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Good article.

    If Muslims have enough halal food and others have enough non-halal food, then there is no problem.

    91% of SLs are not Muslims so 91% of meat, etc. should be non-halal.

    In India (Muslims 15%) McDonalds don’t sell beef burgers. They respect MAJORITY opinion. Then why SL goes halal?

    SL tries to be everything to everyone and lands in trouble.

  3. Fazara Says:

    Hi,Lo! Assalaamu alaikum!!
    Like ,I have been saying elsewhere, Choice of food ,or beverages, should be by a persons own choice, not shoved upon anyone on anyone. No compulsion in anything,only by conviction.
    If Azwer Haji does not want swine flesh, there will be so many other thing on the menu for MP’s to choose from! Let those who want consume what is halal for them.One should not place restrictions on the choices of food available to other people.
    Aney,Lorenzo, the MP whose name you put in a bracket, could be your seeyas age. better if you dont call him names, respect his age! Dont lets call names to each other,or our beliefs, Lets keep this column clean and decent and healthy! Naughty , but Nice!

  4. Ben Silva Says:

    Apparently, Muslims came to Lanka only recently. They are now wielding considerable power. What has the Sinhala

  5. Ben Silva Says:

    Apparently, Muslims came to Lanka only recently. They are now wielding considerable power. What has the Sinhala Buddhists doing in the mean time ? Buddhism is unlikely to survive in Sri Lanka as it is too peaceful and passive to survive one has to be competitive and only the dominant and the fittest will survive. This is the law of nature and cannot be changed by any one. This is how nature work. Unfortunately, if Sinhalse hang on to Buddhism, they too could be wiped out. Buddhism do not appear to promote self preservation but appear to promote extinction (Nirvana). Sinhala Budsdhists were treated as third class citizens during colonial rule. This is what Buddhism did to the Sinhalese.I f the Sinhalese want to survive, then they will have to learn and evolve and be competitive as others in Lanka. Our living space has shrunk. Finance and economic power is in the hands of non Sinhales and non Buddhists. Instead of making us competitive, unfortunately, some writers want us to hang on to beliefs that even Indians do not believe any more.
    Buddha understood scientific principles and the prudence by the use of sound logical reasoning arguments and for inquiries in seeking truth, whether it is religious or not. In short. (Kalama Sutta). Buddha was against blind faith. I am a Buddhist and I follow the Buddhist precepts and apply Kalama sutra in practice. Following Buddhas teachings I do not follow blind faith. Buddhism has to be respected and protected as it is a part of our heritage and part of heritage of Lanka. However as happened in Maldives, Afghanistan and other places, Muslims will destroy any thing to do with Buddhism. Unfortunately, Buddhists will do nothing to defend themselves as happened at Nalanda. Unless we have a self preservation and competitive mind set we will not survive as the law of nature is survival of the fittest. Both Buddhism and Islam are mind viruses, but the stronger virus is Islam and all the evidence is that Islam is dominant over Buddhism. If we want to survive, we have to learn and evolve and learn TO BE COMPETITIVE, RATHER THAN RUNNIMNG away and seek and unproven, non existent Nirvana. We also cannot be afraid of pain as some Buddhists are, but be prepared to face it and other challenges we face. Unfortunately some who claim to be Buddhists hang on to blind faith, just as Muslims or Christians do. There is not even a tiny bit of evidence for Sansare, Nirvana or rebirth. Yet some Buddhist believe these. Sinhala Buddhists will be wiped out by more dominant groups as happened in Nalanda, and countries in the silk route. The main cause of this is the passive , lethargic nature of Buddhism One alternative is to drop unproven Indian myths, that even Indians do not believe anymore and follow a scientific approach as indicated by Buddha in the Kalama sutra.

  6. Lorenzo Says:


    It will NOT happen in SL.

    Just listen to what SL ENEMIES say we did. Not true but this is what THEY fear. Horrific if not terrific!!

    e.g. VP’s son

    OUR ENEMIES will CONTINUE to say it. What happened to Tamil troublemakers? The SAME will happen to Muslim (or any other) troublemakers.

    You talk of survival of the fittest. Who is the fittest in SL in terms of military power (ability to demolish)? Not them.

    Economic power can be EASILY outsmarted by military power. Many examples around the world. Ultimately ONLY military power will survive which SL has over all its potential troublemakers.

  7. Ben Silva Says:

    Lorenzo, I agree with most things you say. I hope we will not be wiped out like in Maldives. It is good to have a debate and learn from the mistakes of other countries. Muslims have a lot of money and power. Muslims even kill other Muslims that do not agree with them. This is not a practice of Buddhists, Hindus or even Christians. MUSLIMS can abuse the power and money they have. The first stage is Halal and the dress and when the numbers get high enough, they will start killing non muslims so that muslims can go to heaven,. Islam is a very dangerous mind virus and Buddhists are not mentally equipped to fight against them. It is goods to have a discussion and to see how we can defend ourselves. Hope Shenali and Dilrook attempt to find out why Buddhists are behind others in the economic and finance fields. My theory is, it is due to our belief system (not competitive enough or prepare our mind for challenges). I hope Dilrook and Shenali can prove me wrong.
    We have to be careful and must not treat all Muslims as bad.

  8. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    ben – time and again we have been attempting to educate and enlighten you and you simply are prejudiced over the issue of buddhism – you don’t need to drop nirvana or buddhism to achieve progress – there are asian countries which have advanced which are predominantly buddhist or buddhism has a great impact on them – thailand, taiwan, macau, japan etc. we couldn’t becuase of these corrupt politicians – we need someone like lee quan yew. in fact the westerners now especially the americans are embracing buddhism while you have dropped buddhism and let us know what progress you have personally made.
    i have repeated this many times that our ancestors have gone to war to protect buddhism, killed our enemies, buried them in a civilised manner, even buddhist monks who disrobed themselves to fight the enemy. no one is denying that progress should be there but losing values have greatly affected the world we live in – the best testament is america and the anglo saxon – profile – serial killer, mass murderer, sex maniac, arsonist, gay and lesbian exhibitionist, smelling the filth of others while they hide there own mess and overpowering others, family sex etc etc. we in heladeepa will progress, develop our country a country affected by a war holding a value base stemmed from buddhism mainly. anyway you have the right for your opinion no one can take it away from you – even buddha’s time there were nigatayas and other heretics who didn’t believe buddha – that seems to continue even today. even if you respond to this comment this will my last time i shall write on this silly argument.
    if we had wise administrators today they will take severe action against the wahaabis in the east and in colombo. when monumental fools run the country – we will continue facing situations like we did with tamil tiger sakkiliyas.

  9. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Nobody commenting here see how muslims got to this position. MULTIPLYING LIKE RABBITS. They know within a few years they all have voting power. So they overwhelm the Sinahalese in those areas and make MPs, Deputy Ministers, Ministers, Mayors, Deputy Mayour etc. etc. When they were just 2% of the population they ate what we all ate. No problem at all. No muslim died eating what we all ate. While Sinhalese sacrificing their lives to safeguard the terrritorial integrity of our motherland, they quietly quadrupled their numbers. With the increased numbers now they have realised they can control the government, thanks to two main parties’ bickering. So they start pushing the islamisation boat in our country by introducing halal. Unfortunately this crafty disciples of so called religion of peace is facing lot of animosity from the 90% of the population. They have done irreparable damage to themselves and made it impossible to live in this country anymore. They have to thank their multiplying, pushing halal agenda, fowsees, hakeems, ashrofs, maulanas, moha mads, etc. etc. for the situation they are facing today. There is an easy wayout for them. Start practising a real religion. Practice and see how happy you going to be. Don’t take my word for it. You have the freedom to eat what you like. You have the freedom to wear what you like. You have the freedom to enjoy music. Life isn’t for baby-making and halal only. Enjoy it. After all we are living in the 21st century. Compare the face of a Buddhist monk, Catholic priest to one of ayatollah or that so called imam from Muthoor. Where is the compassion, where is the kind words, where is the kind advices. You only see pure evil. We cannot comprehend they are religious, pious persons. But we shouldn’t forget the originator of this madness had a very very lose resemblance to modern day ‘preachers’. When you are believing and preaching to kill your mind is already poisoned and it radiates out of your body. Have you ever heard of the term right to life? According to your religion only you have right to life. Can anybody with iota of common sense call that a religion? Compare the smiling faces you see on TV in Sri Lanka (not the burka-clads), Thaliand, Japan, China, Korea to faces from Pakisthan, Syria, Afganisthan, etc. You have enough proof all around you. Most of them are blindly following this madness because they are worried if they step out of line, they will be treated as outcasts. Liberate yourselves at least now! You will be happy, fellow humans will be happy, even the animals will be happy!

  10. Ben Silva Says:

    Thank you Sunil for trying to educate me. Useful input by Sunil. I agreee with Sunil that we should have values and morality. I have always said that we should have values and morality. I think it may be useful to `discuss, in trying to find the truth, using Buddhas way (Kalama sutra) – look for proof and evidence. So please provide me with proof and evidence rather than blind faith. I have always provided proof and evidence and a questioning approach, Just like Buddha. It appears that Buddhism as practiced in the silk route, Tibet is dangerous as Buddhists and Buddhism were wiped out. However, Japanese Buddhism appear to be safe and it is better to follow Japanese thinking and Japanese Buddhism. Buddhism we practice in Lanka is similar to that of Tibet. Sunil mentioned Japan and what ever Buddhism and thinking they practice, have survived and are doing very well. It is then safe to practice their Buddhism and beliefs. Japanese invented continuous learning and improvement as well as fine tuning and maximising customer desires and satisfaction. Contrary what our Buddhism says about desires, the Japanese maximise their desires and satisfaction. Just look at the life style and neons in Japan and their entertainment, you will see that they actually maximise their desires and satisfaction and competitiveness. These are very good qualities and made Japs survive and Win. In our case we are constantly being told to give up desires. If we give up desires, it will not make us competitive and will make us third class citizens. This is what has happened. In contrary, we should be told to maximise our desires to achieve full potential, have desires to win, have desires to be competitive and forget Nirvana as it is an unproven Indian myth that even Indians do not be believe now.

    Buddha has said not to believe in things unless there is evidence (Kalama sutra) So I suspect people who believe in Karma, Nirvana, Sansara, rebirth are not true Buddhists. I am a true Buddhist as I follow precepts, mindfulness and meditation but do not follow unproven Indian myths.
    Most Japanese do not exclusively identify themselves as adherents of a single religion; rather, they incorporate elements of various religions. 84% of the Japanese claim no personal religion. (Wikepedia). There is a lot of info on religieon in Japan. It appears to be a mix of Buddhism and Shintoism (different to Sri Lasnkan Buddhism) and mostly used for rituals rather than regular practice. Japanese killed millions of Chinese and robbed them. They could hardly be called Buddhists as claimed by Sunil.
    Let us discuss what make people survive and win. Let me put those vital points again, and these key things should be told to the Buddhists. I understand Tamils and Muslims practice these things and does not contradict with their religion. Most of the ideas given below originated from Japan. Now these ides are practiced by British and even Indians.
    1. Adapt and change to meet new situations and threats.
    2. Continuously improve, develop problem solving and crical thinking skills
    3. Learn from those who re successful and learn from those who failed, so that mistakes could be avoided.
    4. Develop information seeking, analysis, design, presentation and communication skills
    5. Be prepared to overcome difficulties and undergo suffering.(Do not expect to have an easy ride, if you want to win ) (No pain, nogain)
    6. Be aware of the external environment and be aware of threats.
    7. Be prepared to dump old beliefs and move forward
    8. Be imaginative, innovative and have self belief.
    9. Maximise desire to be competitive, survive and win, rather than run away due to fear of pain or suffering.

  11. Voice123 Says:

    Japanese Buddhist tradition is Mayahana, and I am told that after the Meiji restoration in the late 1800s, Japan wanted to be a westernised Asian country and become like a substitute “Europeanised colonial power” of the East. That is just before they massacred tens of millions of Chinese. I am told that Japanese reformed their version of Mayahana Buddhism. I am not an expert on this but it sounds like the sort of thing Japanese would do.

  12. Lorenzo Says:


    Our MAIN aim should be to PROTECT Sinhala Buddhism. That is why we have to bust up the growth of Wahabis, etc. If we are to shed Buddhism, why fight Wahabis? Then we can all become Sinhala speaking Wahabis!!

    We CAN retain Buddhism and fight them to A FINISH.

    e.g. 1983 to 2009

    In 1981 Buddhists were 69% of the population. In 2011, they are 70%. Buddhists emerged VICTORIOUS and STRONGER after the war.

    Now our armed forces are confident, capable of killing thousands of terrorists at a time, wiping out entire battalions of enemies, skilled in covert operations our enemies don’t even KNOW!

    The Wahabi threat can be busted through appropriate use of violence. But the most important thing is.

    We don’t have to be like our enemies (barbarians) to bust them up.

    However, I appreciate your concern. Only thing is it must be to PROTECT what we value.

  13. Senevirath Says:

    IF the speaker had a clear vision–SAMMA DITTI–he wouldnt have stopped serving polk just because minority muslims wanted and then again revoke the decision after Jhon A maratunga s protest …RAJAPAKAKSA clan has to develop the buddhist vision if they want to be in power WE A R E W O R R I E D

  14. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    What exactly is the basis for ethnic divisions? Some say it is in our blood. So if a Tamil speaking Sri Lankan received a blood transfusion from a Sinhala speaking Sri Lankan, would that change his ethnic affiliation? Ethnicity is in our heads. We must change our mentality and focus on peace and development.
    We need to make a conscious effort to go beyond ethnic divisions and most importantly, not to pass these divisions down to future generations.
    Although peace and pacifism are familiar ideas to most students today, for much of human history these concepts have been relegated to the religious domain and excluded from the study and practice of politics.At the same time, organized violent conflict between different groups of people has traditionally been considered a natural occurrence, based on popular assumptions about the inclinations and limitations of human nature. Of course, many today still believe that peace is idealistic and war is inevitable, but other theories have emerged in modern times to explain the existence of war while also allowing for the possibility of positive peace which entails the absence of war and also the presence of justice.
    As Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated, non-violent direct action can address and diffuse the root causes of war; however, for peaceful methods to be effective, we must renounce our misguided and pessimistic ideologies.
    Aggression among animals is often cited to show that war is “natural,” but human beings have a unique capacity for rational and intelligent thought as well as the ability to suppress and overcome our primitive instincts.
    What determines our behavior, what leads us to choose between war and peace, is our circumstances and the social experiences we live through. In this framework, peace is not viewed as some sort of miracle occurrence defying humanity’s evil nature, but instead as one of the many different behaviors humans may exhibit with supportive social experiences under causative circumstances.
    Before Sri Lanka was colonized, the Sri Lankans lived as one cohesive group, made up of multiple cultural identities, but the British taught them to view one another as different. We can prevent violence and achieve positive peace if we work to create different circumstances.
    Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated how unjust political systems can be challenged and changed through non-violent direct action. Although many around them questioned the effectiveness of their tactics, both successfully used moral persuasion and social pressure to make negative peace positive. Conflict is natural, but as Martin Luther King Jr. explained in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” it does not have to become violent. In King’s eyes, non-violent direct action can prevent this from happening. He wrote, “The Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides – and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history.”
    Instead of allowing tensions to erupt into violence, we must use peaceful methods to resolve conflicts, on the individual and nationwide. Instead of teaching young children to hate, for example, through the example of adults around them, we must socialize them so that they learn cooperation and peacefulness.
    President Obama quoted Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones.”
    Regardless of the compliments President Obama gave the leaders who came before him, his viewpoint belittles the work of peacemakers and rationalizes the military-industrial complex that the U.S. maintains. Such a defeatist mentality constitutes cultural violence, which makes it difficult to progress towards positive peace and ultimately becomes another obstacle to peace that must be overcome.
    Non-violent direct action is an effective and realistic means of accomplishing change, but we must invest in educational programs and political reform movements in order to make it effective.

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