Posted on July 7th, 2019

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane

Cruelty and Atrocities by Catholics

For a period that exceeded 150 years, from 1505 to1658, a greater part of Sri Lanka’s  coastal region was under the control of Portuguese Catholics. This was a period marked by extreme forms of violence and atrocities by the Portuguese, against local inhabitants  especially the Sinhala Buddhists, who, at the time of arrival of Portuguese in the island, accounted for more than 95% of the total population of the country. Roman Catholic missionary activities of the Portuguese included the widespread conversion to the Catholic faith, of local inhabitants, most often by force. From the year 1543 onwards, the Franciscans were establishing their centers in the country, while the Jesuits were involved actively in their religious conversion activities in the north. The Dominican and Augustinian Catholics arrived in the island toward the end of the 16th century and pursued their religious conversion activities vigorously. Those indifferent to or opposed to conversion were treated with extreme forms of violence. Besides the incitement of hatred towards Buddhists, they were subjected to severe forms of persecution including unwarranted arrest, imprisonment, torture, and execution. Confiscation or destruction of property owned by Buddhists were commonplace during this period. The Portuguese used their extensive powers of patronage and preference in appointments to promote Christianity. To avoid hatred and violence, many members of the landed aristocracy in coastal areas embraced the Catholic faith, taking Portuguese surnames at baptism. Many coastal communities, particularly in Jaffna, Mannar, and the fishing communities who lived north of Colombo, underwent mass conversion. Soon, Catholic churches and associated schools were established in these areas to serve the Catholic communities.  

Undermining Buddhists and destroying Buddhist shrines and establishments became the order of the day during this Portuguese period. Lands belonging to these Buddhist sites were taken over and given to Catholic establishments. It is recorded that all Buddhist temples, monasteries and places of learning along the coastal belt occupied by them were plundered and destroyed by the Portuguese. Buddhist monks and devotees associated with these establishments were subject to untold harassment. They plundered and destroyed all prominent Buddhist Seats of Learning, most notably: The famous Vijayaba Pirvena of Totagamuwa, The Padmavathi Pirivena of Keragala and The Sunethra Devi  Pirivena of Pepiliyana. It is important to note that these were seats of learning associated with reputed Sinhala Buddhist scholars and literary icons at the time, such as Most Venerable Totagamuwe Sri Rahula and  Veedagama Maitreya Nayaka Theras. All lands that belonged to these seats of learning were taken away and given to the Catholic church. 

The Citadel of Kotte, was the administrative capital of Sinhala Kings from the 14th century. By the 15th century, especially during the reign of the famous Sinhala King Parakramabahu VI (1411-1467 CE), this city expanded and developed as a spectacular fortified city known as Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte. This fabulous city was plundered and destroyed by the Portuguese. The Dalada Maligawa of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, was one of the monumental Buddhist structures in the country at the time of arrival of the Portuguese to Sri Lanka. This spectacular religious establishment was destroyed by the Catholic Portuguese. The Kelani Rajamaha Viharaya was the foremost, highly venerated Buddhist shrine and monastery complex of the island at this time. In 1575, the Portuguese set fire to this most sacred historic site, thereby destroyed it completely and all lands that belonged to Kelani Rajamaha Viharaya were taken over by the Portuguese and given to the Catholic Church. Among other colossal Buddhist vihare and monastery complexes completely destroyed by the Portuguese were: Mapitigama Rajamaha viharaya,  Wattala Rajamaha viharaya Devinuwara Rajamaha viharaya and associated buildings besides the Munneswaram Kovila in Chilaw.  

Buddhist Tolerance

The history of Buddhists of Sri Lanka during the four hundred years of foreign Christian rule prior to the country’s political independence in 1948, is nothing but a long and poignant chronicle of Buddhist tolerance in the face of oppression and injustice. Who but the Buddhists tolerated harassment by the Roman Catholic Portuguese to give shelter and employment to Muslims? Or endured similar treatment from the Dutch to give shelter to Roman Catholics? Who but the Buddhists tolerated the rank injustice of the foreign rulers who used the revenue from one of the most sacred places of Buddhist worship, the Dalada Maligawa, to pay for the construction of St. Paul’s Cathedral? Or the injustice of destroying a Buddhist Vihara in Kotte to erect in its stead a Christian School? Who but the Buddhists tolerated the extortion from them of four hundred pounds a year for the building of Christian Churches?

The undertaking to maintain the Buddhist religion given in 1815 by the British (Christians) was grossly betrayed. In 1884 all the Government schools, which were the only schools to which the Buddhists could send their children for higher education were handed over to the Christian Missionaries. Up till 1886 Buddhists paid by far the largest amount for the maintenance of the Ecclesiastical Department. Religious fanaticism and brutality and unethical and confrontational approaches adopted by the Catholic Portuguese particularly during the 16th – 17th century period, and today by extremist Wahhabi Muslims of Sri Lanka, to serve their selfish ends, provide a stark contrast to the approach in Buddhism which is reflective of the Buddha’s supreme message of harmony and moderation, of an inspiring middle way” in all human situations in an impermanent world. History of Sri Lanka reveals vividly that this spirit of tolerance and accommodation of others irrespective of their religious or other differences has been a common distinguishing characteristic of the Sinhala Buddhists of this country from very early times.

Wahhabi Muslims

In contemporary times we witness a disastrous hardening of the different forms of Islam into rigid fundamentalism, in which each aggressively proclaims its beliefs, zealously proselytizes, and even takes up arms against its rivals and the so-called infidels”. This fundamentalist and intolerant stance, taken by Islam is offensive to followers of other faiths and other spiritual traditions and to those of no faith at all. It is well evident today that overzealous attempts of Wahhabi Muslims in particular at conversion disturb peaceful coexistence. Extremist Muslims of Sri Lanka who have grown in numbers in recent years, are trying hard, using cunning and deceitful means to introduce their crude extremist Saudi Arabian cultural norms to our country, thereby undermining our traditional Sinhala Buddhist cultural norms. Their disgusting halal terrorist methods of animal slaughter, their unsightly and repulsive black ‘gonibilla’ outfits, their nauseating loudspeaker shouting at odd times of the day disturbing entire neighborhoods, and using internet and other means to insult and discredit our Sangha community are some well known Muslim (Arabian) cultural garbage they are introducing to our land. They disregard the fact that they live in a predominantly Buddhist country and what they are doing is incompatible with the way of life and the social value system of this country.

Intolerance is essential only to monotheism. An only God is by nature a jealous God who will not allow another to live. When a religion sees its scripture as revealed and divinely inspired, it finds a basis for exclusivity and intolerance. Justification for intolerance is provided by the very nature of a Supreme Being who is described as a jealous and angry being, who punishes those who defy him with eternal damnation. The Koran says: Slay unbelievers wherever you find them, and drive them out of the places they drove you from . . . Fight them until idolatry is no more and God’s religion is supreme.” Buddhism does not accept an omnipotent God, a Creator, nor any revealed scripture. Because faith in God or a savior is not an issue for Buddhists, there is no reason to judge others, to condemn them for their beliefs, or to feel compelled to convert them. The Buddha Dhamma is described as ehipassiko”, inviting one to come and see for himself. There is no concept of coercion or proselytization in Buddhism. Buddha taught the importance of patience, tolerance, and non-aggression, providing a splendid ideal of tolerance for Buddhists to follow. There is not a single occasion in the Buddhist scriptures of the Buddha being less than compassionate, not only to those who accepted his teachings but also to the followers of all faiths, not only to the good but also to the wicked, not only to humans but also to animals and to all living beings. In striking contrast to the spread of other world religions, which are replete with unethical and forcible conversions and sectarian strife, the history of Buddhism is remarkable for the complete absence of bloodshed in the name of the teacher.

The Bodu Bala Sena Movement

In recent years, Buddhists have started to mobilize in large numbers under the bold leadership of organizations such as the Bodu Bala Sena, rallying to the Buddha’s call to “go forth… for the good of many, for the benefit and well being of many.”  It is time we organize ourselves fully against this Muslim menace, and adopt appropriate strategies and measures in a legitimate manner, to subdue the ‘anti-Buddhist’ anti national” attitudes and activities of Muslims. It is encouraging to note that concerned Buddhist leaders, both ordained and lay, are getting to the forefront today, in promoting appropriate counter measures.  

Anti-Buddhist and anti-national undesirable elements, including those funded by foreign NGOs and extremist Muslims, evidently appear to feel uncomfortable about the emergence of the Bodu Bala Sena which is on all counts, a timely and legitimate organization of Buddhists. Led by Bhikkhus, the traditional Buddhist leaders of the country, the program of activities of the Bodu Bala Sena, is structured on Non-violence and compassion. Among its aims is to legitimately  counter the varied local and foreign forces that are hell-bent on undermining Buddhist culture and Buddhist heritage of this nation founded on Buddhist principles, in addition to saving this only Sinhala Buddhist nation in the world from spiritual decay and disintegration and to halt the erosion of Buddhist social values. Our Bhikkhus have become a thorn in the flesh of religious extremists, the recent breed of inter-faith dialogue facilitators, those in the ethnic and human rights businesses and above all those who are funded or backed by extremist anti-Buddhist elements. The Bodu Bala Sena aims at directing society towards a cultural rejuvenation based on traditional Buddhist norms, principles and values which have been the foundation of this nation for over 2200 years. Our Bhikkhus should necessarily be in the forefront in movements aimed at protecting and promoting the Buddha Sasana especially when it is under threat. Bhikkhus of the Bodu Bala Sena have voluntarily made their choice to take an open public stand on issues surrounding Buddhism and Buddhist culture which is the greatest treasure that our country could offer to the world, to humanity in general.  

Dr. Daya Hewapathirane


  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Buddhism’s non-violent nature itself have been used to destroy it by other faiths. First it was colonials who started the destruction of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Once they left, tamils, mussies and catholics started from where they
    left off. Divided Sinhalese is easy prey for the three groups and they have been at it like there is no tomorrow,
    aided and abetted by United National Ponnayinparty aka traitor UNPatriotic_rats party for their votes.

    The destruction of Buddhism gathered pace since traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists, Sri Lanka and
    Buddhism only) thambi mudiyanselage jr@ took over. Traitor alugosuwa introduced 13, 13A to break up the
    country and for tamils and mussies to start their drealam and mussiesthan. Then traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese
    Buddhists, Sri Lanka and Buddhism only) lk porisada@ lowered the percentage vote for the minorities giving
    them more mp posts to make sure traitor UNPatriotic_rats will be in power all the time. This is in addition to
    massacring 60,000+ Sinhalese Buddhists during the beeshana samaya and another 100,000+, mainly Sinhalese,
    by dragging the war of catholic tigers of tamil drealam. Still a lot of Sinhala dhrohiyas support these thieving,
    Mother Lanka dismembering, minority worshipping, lying, murderous (Sinhalese Buddhists only) UNPatriotic_rats.

    Traitor anti Sinhalese, anti Buddhist, anti Sri Lanka UNPatriotic_rats aka United National Ponnayinparty divides the
    Sinhalese and make minorities king makers. Until Sinhalese wipe out the traitor UNPatriotic_rats led by die hard
    catholic token Buddhist r@ni_leech, along with its henchmen jaathidhrohee vermins party led by its church
    acolyte buddy A K de Lapaya Buddhism, Sri Lanka and Sinhalese race will be in grave danger. Are the Sinhalese going to unite and get rid of these traitors for good? This is the last chance to save Sri Lanka, Buddhism and
    the Sinhalese race and we sincerely hope they will unite under one leader and wipe out these traitors from the political map of Sri Lanka for good.



    In 1999 the Catholic Church was publicly seeking forgiveness for the errors, injustices and human rights offences it committed in the past. The Church asked pardon for the sins and weaknesses of Catholics down the ages. Among the Church’s past sins, was “the use of force in order to impose the truth” — an apparent reference to forced conversions. The Pope was seeking pardon for “the failure to respect and defend human rights.”

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sri Lanka Reconsiders the Nature of Its Relationship With Saudi Arabia

    July 10 (Soufan) Concerns over the spread of Saudi-funded Wahhabism throughout religious institutions, charities and mosques are not new. For decades, Riyadh has spent millions or more to spread an austere version of Islam throughout Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and elsewhere.

    The money is earmarked specifically to build Wahhabi mosques and train hardline preachers to take the Saudi version of the faith back to their home countries. Sri Lanka is just the latest country to take a more discerning look at precisely what the Saudis are funding in their country and what the implications might be. This comes as the government is still dealing with the impact of the devastating terrorist attacks that occurred this past April on Easter Sunday that were targeted against churches and hotels frequented by Westerners that killed at least 250 people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by nine Sri Lankan members of a local terrorist group

    The investigations into the attacks are still ongoing, and hundreds of people have been detained for alleged involvement. At the center of the inquiry are concerns over Saudi-funded institutions and possible connections to Salafi jihadist ideology. In May, police arrested the founder of the Saudi-supported Centre for Islamic Guidance, Mohamed Aliyar, on charges related to the financing of terrorism. Aliyar had links to Zahran Hasim, a radical preacher who mentored many of the Easter-attack bombers. Locals have claimed that they relayed concerns to security officials about Hasim�s extremism, although these leads were never acted upon. Other prominent Sri Lankan Muslim leaders have also come under scrutiny as authorities review financial transactions between Saudi Arabia and religious leaders in the South Asian island nation. Several of these leaders have been forced to step down due to pressure from politically influential Buddhist monks.

    Read More:: Soufan (Source)

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Landmark FR case before Supreme Court :Teacher petitions right to wear Abaya, Hijab
    Wednesday, July 10, 2019 – 01:10

    Lakmal Sooriyagoda

    The Supreme Court yesterday allowed a Fundamental Rights petition by a female school teacher seeking an Interim Order staying the school authorities and State from preventing her from reporting to work at school wearing an Abaya and Hijab.

    The Supreme Court three-judge bench comprising Justices Sisira De Abrew, Murdu Fernando and S. Thurairaja fixed the case for support on September 4.

    The petitioner, Mohamed Ibrahim Fathima Zahrin, 44, a teacher in a school in Kandy, filed this petition challenging the operation of the provisions of the Public Administration Circular No. 13/2019 dated 29th May 2019, which denies the right to wear an Abaya.

    Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni De Silva appearing for the Attorney General informed court that after the filing of the case, a new public administration circular dated 26.06.2019 has been published, making it clear that there is no prohibition on wearing the Abaya and Hijab.

    In view of this development, the Court re-fixed the matter for support on September 4 with the agreement of counsel, to enable the petitioner to see whether steps are taken to comply with the position that there now should not be any obstruction to the wearing of the Abaya and Hijab.

    Senior Counsel Viran Corea with counsel Thilini Vidanagamage instructed by Latheef Ashar appeared for the petitioner.

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