Multi-culturalism breeds conflict, sometimes leading to terrorism  
Posted on January 8th, 2024

Senaka Weeraratna

The fundamental duty of all people living in Sri Lanka is to live in harmony with each other, particularly in harmony with the predominant religious culture and beliefs, and not hurt the moral sensitivities of the ethnic majority, which has made the biggest contribution throughout history to the building of the country and to the civilization that sustains the national ethos. It is an unequal contribution. 

This requirement prevails in all Countries influenced by Abrahamic religions, especially in Islamic countries. 

There is greater stability in Islamic countries because they do not compromise on fundamental values nor encourage diversity, which undermines social cohesion.  

This situation also prevailed in Sri Lanka before 1505.

‘When in Rome do as the Romans do’ is a wise way to avoid conflict between communities.

Thisis a proverb attributed to Saint Augustine. The phrase means that it is advisable to follow the conventions of the area in which you are residing or visiting.

It is said that Saint Monica and her son, Saint Augustine had found out that Saturday was observed as a fast day in Rome, which they had planned to visit. However, it was not a fast day when they lived in Milan  They consulted Saint Ambrose who had then said “When I am here (in Milan) I do not fast on Saturday, when in Rome I do fast on Saturday.” That reply is said to have led to the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”

The Romans are no more in existence neither are we in Sri Lanka related to the ancient Romans.

Nevertheless, this saying looms large in a country that is grappling with trying to find a solution to a seemingly intractable problem of who should prevail or which community should have the final word or say in recommending standards of conduct for the rest of the country. 

In ancient Rome, the majority view prevailed as it should be in any democracy. 

It was accompanied by the presumption that the minority and any foreigner or visitor would heed the conventions of the area or the country in which they are living or visiting and not challenge them or try to replace them, which would invariably develop into a conflict.

The Easter Sunday attack and the underlying reasons shown in the attempt to blow up the Buddha statues in Mawanella demonstrate the threat to the entire community when one group smaller in number (a minority) tries to override the belief system of the group greater in number (the majority).

This type of conduct has to be prevented or avoided at all costs.

That is when the proverb ‘ When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ becomes doubly applicable.  

There is no other better way. 

This requirement of not trying to displace the prevailing ethos by a later introduced system of religious beliefs under the flag of ‘ multiculturalism’ needs to be stressed to the public by the State in Schools, Media, and Public Relations, and be made part of public policy.

We, in Sri Lanka, can no longer afford to take chances with failed models and so-called ‘Human Rights’ experiments, not of our own making.

Europeans these days are horrified by latecomers, migrants, and asylum seekers taking control of the streets of major cities of Europe in unceasing demonstrations relating to extraterritorial matters.

The increasing rejection of Multiculturalism in leading European countries such as England, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, and Austria, shows that peace and harmony cannot be readily achieved in a society if religious values are incompatible and cultural practices are vastly different between the constituent groups of a country. 

Without peace and stability, the fate of a country ‘hangs in the balance’.

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