Category Archives: Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Elections : The Muslim Vote

power_2_the_people

First published here for Groundviews.

Images have been making the rounds on facebook, with various hues and shades, highlighting the fact that the sixth executive President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, won with the support of minority communities in Sri Lanka, whereas Mahinda Rajapakse, the last President obtained the votes of a majority of the majority. There is another image on facebook, that of a line drawing of a rabbit, requesting those who have time to go about colouring a map of Sri Lanka to induce racism, to colour the rabbit.

That is how much Sri Lankan society has been polarised over the last few weeks.

President Rajapakse was the clear front runner to win the elections in November 2014 when elections were called. The probability of him winning the elections kept thinning since then, when the General Secretary of his own party defected to the opposition to occupy the mantle that was the common opposition candidate. Come election eve, Mahinda Rajapaksa was still the favourite to win, albeit only just.

Never did I come across someone who whole heartedly committed to the fact that Mahinda would lose, even in the predominantly anti-regime circles that I move in. The most optimistic notion doing the rounds was that Maithripala had a very fair chance of winning, that optimism however was swiftly disqualified by that commonest of statements – should the unthinkable happen, the Rajapakses are so entrenched in their power politics, that they will never let go, and even if they did it would be after a bloodbath. Days before the elections, the prices of vegetables and other household commodities soared as a premonition soaked public stockpiled for the violence and curfew that was expected to eventuate.

The unthinkable happened, Rajapakse lost, he allegedly tried to use the military to create chaos, the army refused, and what ensued was probably the most peaceful elections and post election climate in my close to thirty year lifetime.

The Muslims and Tamils voted en masse for the opposition, particularly the Muslims. Not because they had faith in the opposition, but because the Rajapakses had to be deposed.

Under the Rajapakse’s, Sri Lanka descended from a precarious political balance to an utterly damaged one. Media freedom was stifled and Sri Lanka went from being a benign smiling island nation to a surveillance state, with state of the art technology mustered to wage the war now being used to protect the power balance of the regime. Journalists were killed in broad daylight; media institutions and other organs of a functioning democracy were stifled at best or bullied to submission. Ostentatious construction projects were instituted, some meaningful, some not so – but the incentive behind many such projects were the fruits of corruption enjoyed by those involved.

Political appointees were common place, and many at the highest echelons of power could trace some link to the Rajapakse family. Sri Lanka’s first female Chief Justice was impeached allegedly for blocking a project largely involving one of the Rajapakse brothers. The impeachment process itself was not moral and the very process reflected the tatters in which political decency lay, where it is rumoured that one of the loquacious ministers of the government addressed her derogatorily in Sinhala as ‘baby’.

As a nation many felt that we had lost our spirit under the Rajapakses. As a people, we were being groomed to dislike the other, in a land which abrasively and wrongly claimed to be that belonging to just one race. Racism was allowed to thrive; indeed bureaucratic apparatuses were struggling to survive without it. Ministers and ministerial offspring were running amok and thugs in robes went about desecrating the sanctity of the noble philosophy that is Buddhism.

Corruption was so rampant that it became such a deeply ingrained and embedded element of our psyche. Indeed when one lives in abnormality for long enough, that which was once considered abnormal slowly yet firmly goes through a subtle metamorphosis to become normal. Decadence becomes so gradual that it happens without grazing the sensitivities of our collective consciences, and eats away at our soul.

The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), largely unrepresentative of the average Sri Lankan Buddhist wrought carnage upon the carefully evolved and preserved Sinhala-Muslim relationship. To the credit of the Muslims however, they have been astute to identify the BBS as a terror group and not of a representative wing of the majority Sinhala community. The BBS was out in the open, in its aggression towards Muslims, a country where law and order is considered sacrosanct would have no dilemma in having many of the BBS charged and punished. Instead, they were harnessed and even prospered under the watch of the last government. Among the reasons for their invincibility in the sight of many was their perceivably close relationship with the former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse.

Hundreds of properties and close to dozens of mosques were damaged, causing immense physical and emotional trauma upon a beleaguered and innocent Muslim community. It was, and as of today, continues to be a symbol of the decadence of our society that hate speech so easily spewed from the electronic mouths of many educated Sinhala youth under the watch and connivance of the state.

However in all this, Muslims must not, should not and should never be tricked to indulge in turgidity that this was a victory brought forth by the Muslims and other non-Sinhala ethnic groups.

Rajapakse had to go, and the people rose against him, and that is all.

Muslims should move beyond the parochialism that has plagued politics in recent decades, it didn’t use to be this way; abnormality has once again come to be known as normal. It is understandable that circumstances pushed Muslim politicians down that path, but that time has now passed. Muslims should integrate- not necessarily with the Sinhalese or Tamils – but with all those who identify themselves as Sri Lankans, bar none.

I was amongst the tens, if not hundreds of thousands at the last rally by Maithripala Sirisena in Maradana of the Colombo Central electorate, and amongst the elated crowds at the Independence Square when the new President was sworn in. The former is a Muslim stronghold and the evergreen bastion of the opposition United National Party, the latter is a national treasure. Remarkable was the fact that in one instance, Sri Lankans rallied against the incumbent, and in another they rallied in support of the new incumbent, not as antagonistic warlords who had momentarily laid down their arms, but as a harmonious clutter of Sri Lankans of all shades, celebrating what they deserve.

Maithripala Sirisena’s Presidency, or indeed his new government should not be considered better than the last unless they actively prove to be so. They have made promising new steps, but they have miles to walk. This new government has to be held accountable for all the steps they take, commended for the good they do and taken to task for the wrongs they do. Indeed never again should a regime as dastardly and corrupt as the last be allowed to surface to soak the founding principles of Sri Lankan society, one that still teaches ‘values’ in her schools.

This is not a victory by the Muslims or Tamils neither did the Sinhalese win with the help of their other racial counterparts.

In the oldest democracy in Asia, her peoples got together to depose what they thought was a representation of everything that isn’t Sri Lankan, they did so to regain the Sri Lanka they know.

That is how it should be.

I am a Muslim, I voted for the winning candidate – it is against the grain of these sentiments to highlight that I voted in a Sinhalese, but I did and not just because there wasn’t a suitable Muslim candidate. Together I am from the political majority, a majority that should embrace the minority to form a cohesive Sri Lanka, not monotonous as a people, but one people nonetheless.

Image from here.

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under 2015, politics, revolution, Sri Lanka

Lankan Muslims in London and Political Myopia

20130320_Fistdetail

First Published for Groundviews and the Colombo Telegraph.

There was a protest that took place yesterday by a group of Sri Lankan Muslims in Britain outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London mostly regarding the spate of anti Muslim activities that have been occurring in Sri Lanka. But in this instance what the group responsible for yesterday’s protest sought to achieve is unclear, what is pointedly obvious is the blatant incongruence between what they did and what they thought its influence would be. The very premise of having any such protest is not just questionable, but can create a cycle of many political unknowns. There are significant issues that the Muslim community in Sri Lanka currently faces, their plight is most depressing and worrying, as I have highlighted here. But knee jerk reactions to or exploitation of a genuine plight to gain isolated political mileage is not the prudent way to operate.

As any other Lankan Muslim Londoner, I am as familiar with the Sri Lankan Muslim Diaspora, the numerical minority and the politically weakest of the three Sri Lankan ethnic Diaspora groups in London. And it beggars belief as to what would have led to the said group deciding to protest outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London. I argued here a few years back that there is a significant structural disconnect between some parts of the strategies of the British Tamil Diaspora and the genuine needs of the Sri Lankan Tamil people whose plight we must all sympathise with. If this trend isn’t stymied and nipped in the bud, there is a very fair chance that the Lankan Muslim Diaspora in Britain would suffer the same fate and alienation that sections of the Tamil Diaspora have suffered. This would not just result in loss of authority and negotiating power (which for the Muslims in London is currently hardly existent anyway) but would indeed cause damage to the Lankan Muslims in Sri Lanka, the very Muslims that they claim to represent.

Protest is certainly a beacon of democracy that needs to be put into good use, I am not doctrinally against the principle of protesting outside embassies, indeed I was amongst those who marched to the Israeli embassy in London off Kensington High Street on a cold spring morning in 2010 when the Marvi Marmara and the Gaza flotilla were attacked.

The role of the Diaspora is extremely important, the monetary and intellectual power they hold, not to mention the electoral influence they have upon their elected representatives in British electorates can be used to good effect. But the fundamental matter that has to be understood, which sections of the global Tamil Diaspora failed miserably in understanding, is that the whims, strategies and the dictates of the Diaspora must never supersede the needs and political intonations of the local peoples they claim to represent, in this instance the Sri Lankan Muslim community living in Sri Lanka, which to the overwhelming vast majority is still very much the parent community. If there was a coordinated effort by the Sri Lankan Muslims on the ground and the Lankan British Muslim Diaspora and the protest was a reconciled act by both parties, then that could have been lauded. But on this occasion, such is not the case and this was indeed repudiated very wisely by the National Shura Council, the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka in this statement and thisvideo statement by NM Ameen.

In the case of the Tamils there were flagrant issues of racism and ethnic violence with the connivance of the then Sri Lankan Government that resulted in the deaths, humiliation and damages to property in the riots of 1983, not to mention the serious known and unknown figures of Tamil civilian casualties towards the end of the war in 2009. But Muslims in Sri Lanka have not faced such a situation and such a situation can be avoided only by political and social prudency. Of course it is without a shadow of doubt that the Bodu Bala Sena and Buddhist extremists in general running amok against Muslims and other minority groups, in their coordinated attacks, have powerful figures sympathetic to their actions, this is evident in how law enforcement authorities watch impotently as the monks behave in such brazen vulgarity, but unlike in 1983 where large swathes of Sinhalese got involved in the violence, the actions of the BBS are not widely appreciated by the Sinhalese community at large and it must be stated that the actions are indeed carried out by a group of rebel monks and not necessarily Sinhalese lay embittered by the Muslims they around them. It also needs to be mentioned that the reactions of the Sinhalese towards other minorities, particularly the Tamils was in the context of an ongoing ethnic conflict. Not that the former is excusable, but the actions of the BBS and others of similar ilk are executed when the country is not in a state of emergency, at least based on ground realities. Again, it must be stressed that this is not a condemnation of protest, nor am I a flag bearer for this government that has allowed lawlessness to reach such giddy heights, but it is the timing and astuteness of this exercise that has to be reflected upon.

Strategically it laughable to expect that this is going to make the Sri Lankan Government look towards the local Muslims with renewed respect and concern, indeed the danger is that the opposite of that could be true. What is also amusing is to look in bewilderment as to the extent of the power parts of the Sri Lankan British Muslim community perceives it wields. Furthermore, with due appreciation of the fact that Lankan Muslims settling in London took place in smaller numbers and very much after Tamils and Sinhalese established themselves there, the Lankan Muslim Diaspora in Britain is quite backward compared to the other two groups in many social standard indices. Not to in any way sound elitist, but a look at our educational standards, the percentage of us who are above the British average household income, and the percentage of us whose social movements aren’t influenced by the insularity of our own community in reference to the Sinhalese and Tamils are indices that should be taken seriously if an honest discussion and measure on political influence and power is to be gauged. It must be noted that, to borrow a computing phrase, this is a zoomed out view of the three communities, when you zoom in there are indeed Lankan British Muslim families and thereby pockets of social circles who can and should exert influence on the political centre in Colombo.

Politically, the problem with trying to fly so high too young is that you expose yourself to predators who can significantly curtail your growth and development. If the actions of the Diaspora results in further damage to the political standing of Muslims in Sri Lanka, not only should they shoulder the blame but as we Muslims say in private amongst ourselves, they are answerable to Allah if in case their motives weren’t purified.

It is not my place to question the integrity or sincerity of the intentions of those behind this exercise and I certainly will not, on the contrary I am sure they acted in the way they best saw fit. But as someone who relates to the British Lankan Muslim community as much as one who does to the Sri Lankan Muslim community in Sri Lanka, and with the conscious understanding that the social threats to Muslims in Sri Lankan far outweigh those of the former, the political maturity of this act has to be interrogated.

Rather, the Lankan British Muslim community should have built coalitions with their Sinhalese and Tamil counterparts, and acted towards a holistic national cause questioning the damages caused by lawlessness, the cancer that is corruption, nepotism, cronyism and political suppression of minorities in general. This may come across as political first principles, but for a Diaspora community only just establishing itself politically, these matters need to be borne in mind. Working with Sinhalese and Tamil Diaspora groups in London, I can say with a certain degree of authority that Muslim representation in the upper echelons of collective Lankan British Diaspora has room for improvement, of course this is from the interactions I have had and another may have a different tale. I am conscious that there are frictions in building coalitions and that this is easier said than done. But in the same way that the local Muslims will best further their political agenda when they work in tandem with the Sinhalese and Tamil communities, to bring to account probably what is the most corrupt and unpatriotic government in post Independence history, the Lankan British Muslims will best achieve even a scintilla of success only when they work together with the others. They risk being politically burned out far too early if they do not, and that will be to the detriment of the collective Muslim political cause as a whole, Lankan Muslim Diaspora groups have a lot of potential to power Muslims in Colombo and that potential has to be used with responsibility, or as elders in the Muslim community would say, consider it an amaanah.

The localised context has to be understood first before ramifications of protests are to be made in London. The connection between the parent community and the diaspora has to give birth to an understanding as to how this matter should have been approached. The actions of the Tamil Diaspora vis a vis local Tamils would prove to be a good case study, the mileage they gained, the sound calls they made and the errors they committed. Having already had a precedent of another Diaspora of an oppressed community and how they negotiated political upheavals makes it easier for the Muslim community in that they can avoid much of the trial and error that the Tamils inevitably had to engage in, and therefore mistakes once done by another community can be averted. There is a risk that actions of the Muslim Diaspora can adversely impact the local Muslims and that must absolutely be understood.

This is a significant error of judgement on the part of sections of the Lankan British Muslim community in London and I am both thankful and relieved by the political astuteness of the Sri Lankan Muslim civil society groups based in Sri Lanka who have swiftly distanced themselves from this sad manifestation of political myopia.

Image from here.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2014, england, flotilla, Islam, politics, Sri Lanka

Lankan Muslims and Their Image Problem

ResolvingEthnicConflict

This article was first published in the print version of the Ceylon today on 24 July 2013 (view online soon) and  is in response to an interview of Dr.Ameer Ali published on the Ceylon Today on 19 July 2013 titled ‘Muslims are self-alienating’.

The state of Muslims in Sri Lanka has been closely observed over the last few years. Indeed the plight of Sri Lankan Muslims has become somewhat dire; new radical Sinhalese groups like the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and the Sihala Ravaya (SR) have hijacked Buddhism and are both committing and advocating crimes against the Muslim community. It is in such a context, that Dr. Ameer Ali’s interview was published a few days ago.

When asked if he concurs with the widely asserted notion that a peaceful Muslim minority are under threat by elements representing a hegemonic Buddhist nationalism, Dr Ali opines that after more than a hundred years of ‘rationalism’, religion is once again in the ascendency. As such, Buddhism in Sri Lanka is seeing a revival.

There are multiple loopholes in this argument and if anything it is rather febrile in the face of the main structural issues at hand. While a global revival of religion has been noted, it is important to highlight that this has manifested in an increasing of religiosity amongst people who already profess a faith rather than a marked resurgence in the numerical ratio of people claiming to subscribe to a religion. Secularism too is on the rise, with atheism becoming more numerically prominent. Therefore, what is seen is not the reversal of a status quo where the numbers of atheists is diminishing to make way for the religious; rather it is the concentration of the strengths of already set religious and or other value systems.

Attributing the rise of the Bodu Bala Sena and the Sihala Ravaya to the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka is insulting to good decent Buddhist Sri Lankans if it isn’t farcical. For example, the BBS has been acting in contravention of law and order, embracing violent means and initiating vile, organised hate campaigns against ethnic minorities and those who have stood up against their methods. If the good Doctor sees this as the birth pangs of a revivalist Buddhism in Sri Lanka, there will be many who would spring out of a kicked bush to question his sense of reason.

Further, Dr. Ali states that since the 1970’s, there has been a spread of ‘orthodox Islam’ in Sri Lanka, supposedly brought to our shores by Sri Lankan workers returning from the middle East. This argument which has been liberally thrown about by many commentators, is fast gaining traction.

Unlike the Russian Orthodox Church which is the institution of an independent Christian denomination of its own, ‘orthodox Islam’ is a Western linguistic construct which has no definition except where the West would like to use it as it sees fit. From a Western lexicon, the rigid conservatism of the Afghan Mujahideen in the 70’s for instance was a non-issue when the Soviets had to be fought; Margaret Thatcher even reportedly celebrated with some of them in Downing Street.  The applicability of the phrase ‘orthodox Islam’ to the case of Sri Lankan Muslims therefore is in serious dispute.

Moreover, Dr Ali exhibits a rather futile sense of nostalgia for the state of the Muslims in the 1970’s which he uses to denigrate Lankan Muslims of today. Those who were born after the seventies were born to a different Sri Lanka and share a different identity and seek no avenue to revert to a time unheard of to them.

If the inference is that Muslims today will do well to revert to customs of the 70’s, it igoes against the epithets of any form of liberal or social democracy to want to impose the culture of a bygone era to a current generation who are a product of an entirely different time with different needs and issues. Incidentally, there is an interesting correlation where the allegation that the Muslims of the 70’s were different stem from those who left Sri Lanka domicile elsewhere in the 70’s, and therefore scrutinise Sri Lankan Muslims after a gap of a generation. The culture of Muslims today is a response to what is and what happens around them and it would be a synthetic intervention to modify that. If it is sentimentalism or nostalgia that is needed, then of course the interviewee would be forgiven if he limited himself to his harmless persuasions.

But if these nostalgic affirmations have serious political undertones, they are rather analogous in theory with the right wing loons in the US Tea Party who struggle to accept the US for the racial diversity it boasts of today, but yearn for times of yore when an all-white US bureaucratic hegemony trampled down the black communities and native Americans with impunity.

Therefore, that the Muslims seen in Sri Lanka in the 70’s were different remains only to be an innocent fact.

It is a basic anthropological ideal that societies, communities, faiths and belief systems evolve in response to the inevitable changes occurring around them. All religious and ethnic communities in Sri Lanka have responded to the changes around them, culturally or ideologically. The Tamils of Sri Lanka who were subjected to ostracism by sections of the Sinhalese majority for the last thirty years, are naturally different today than they were decades ago. The simplistic argument augmented by this commentator that the Muslims of the 70’s were somehow better, needs to be laid to rest. Things change and communities change around them, The once white America now has a Black President, it was a Conservative (not liberal) Prime Minister that pushed through legislation legalising gay marriage in Britain

Further, the majority of the Muslims of the 1970’s were either mono-lingual Tamil speakers, with a limited elite who were both Tamil and English speaking. Contrast this with today where the average Muslim is bi-lingual with the class of Muslims who are tri-lingual  increasingly on the rise, thus making the Sri Lankan Muslims the least polarised and most diverse Sri Lankan community when it comes to languages. This is notwithstanding the fact that there are recognisable sections of the Sri Lankan Muslim populace who speak Malay, Arabic or Urdu in addition to the three main languages. The Muslim community therefore is linguistically the least insular of all communities

Since communal conflict in Sri Lanka has more precedent to be based on ethnicity (perhaps language related) than religion, that Dr. Ali doesn’t see the receptive position of current day Lankan Muslims vis-a-vis integration is deplorable if it isn’t laughable. Therefore, to cite ideological changes in a community over a period of thirty years, a natural development that is hard to measure or quantify and to simultaneously ignore and overlook other quantifiable socio-political development indices of the Lankan Muslim community is both biased and inaccurate.

The interviewee then goes on to making some facetious claims of how Muslims should be part of the Dalada Perahera. That they don’t take part isn’t a crime and Muslims give due credence to the event as being of national significance and its purity doesn’t have to be adulterated by Muslims taking part, unless if requested to do so, I am reluctant to believe that this was the puritarian orthodoxy that he mentioned of earlier.

Other aspects raised by Dr.Ali, include the supposed banes of Muslim schools being closed during Ramadan, thereby exercising a liberty he has to express himself at the cost of opening academically irrelevant cans of worms. I myself was educated at a Christian Missionary school in Colombo and therefore never had holidays during Ramadan, but Muslim schools being closed during Ramadan has never been an impediment to social integration.

Moreover, he highlights the fact that there are funds coming into the Muslim community from Saudi Arabia which in turn helps institutionalise a Saudi brand of ‘Intolerant Islam’. The record of the Saudi’s is nothing to be proud of, reports increasingly suggest that that oppressive regime of the Saudis with a host of other Arab states connived with the US to depose the first democratically elected President of Egypt. Therefore, the Saudi’s have little virtue to extol.

However, Sri Lanka is a democratic country underpinned by a legal system; it is not anyone’s concern what comes from where, as long as it doesn’t impinge local laws and regulations. His concerns of Saudi money coming in is akin to some Sinhala extremists crying foul that the Norwegians are funding Christian groups in Sri Lanka and importing a foreign brand of Christianity that seeks to proselytise the majority Buddhists. Of course he callously neglects to calibrate his argument by failing to recognise the dangerous development in relationships between the radical monks in Myanmar who are responsible for many violent deaths of the Rohingya and local radical monks.

The dominant image Dr. Ali seems to conjure of the Lankan Muslim community is of a conclave of black burka wearing women & bearded men donning flowing white robes, He blatantly fails to recognise the image of a non-violent resilient community, brutally uprooted from their domicile in the north by the LTTE exacerbated by the indifference of successive governments to its plight, a community hounded by a fringe of Tamil terrorists in the past and hounded by a fringe Buddhist extremists in the present, a community that has overcome discriminatory bureaucratic patterns to become highly entrepreneurial.

Very regrettably, When atrocities of the LTTE stole the image of an educated and upwardly mobile Tamil community, and when violent escapades of Buddhist extremism is distorting the pristine image of the Sinhalese, it is both whimsical and flippant of the Doctor to think that Sri Lankan Muslims are plagued by an image problem.

Image from here.

NOTE: Dr Ameer Ali’s callous remarks somewhat fall in line with an older post of mine titled ‘For Muslim Critics of the Lankan Muslim Community’

2 Comments

Filed under 2013, Islam, politics, Sri Lanka

The Sinhalese & Schindler’s List

schindlerslist-book

Below is an excerpt from my post for The Platform, “Does the Silence of the Sinhalese Signal Complicity”.

“There is that scene from Schindler’s List which had a profound impact on me. I had forgotten about it, I never knew it existed, except that it has lain somewhere in the fibre of my brain, dormant, latent, waiting for the opportune moment for it to be of use. The state of Muslims in Sri Lanka is changing, it is perilous, getting graver with each rising of the sun, and suddenly this scene makes a lot of sense. It draws lessons from the attitudes of races and ethnicities and the chemistry between religious communities in Sri Lanka, a chemistry which is at threat of losing its equilibrium.

In the film Ralph Fiennes, playing the character of Amon Goeth, an SS officer, is in his bedroom with a girl. He rises to use the bathroom from where he sees an inmate in the concentration camp taking a break from the heavy painful labour he is being subjected to. As Goeth sees it, he is wasting time, being disobedient. So with the girl still teasing him in the background, he picks up the rifle and shoots him. He then surveys the working landscape from the balcony and walks the few feet back to the room where he and the girl continue to laugh and argue, as if they never had an interlude in which misery was wreaked on another.

For all the details in this scene, it is the image of the girl that recurs – she didn’t kill anyone, she was only an onlooker.

Except she wasn’t. There are no mere onlookers or observers under such circumstances. Inadvertently or not, you are a participant. You contribute to a crime, to someone else’s suffering by inaction, by a silence that spells out consent.

Were the Nazis, the Serbs, the Hutus or Tutsis, the monk-led groups in Myanmar or ironically the Israelis, who are largely descendants of those killed in concentration camps, able to go on the rampage with their killings because of Ralph’s character? No, it was because of people like the girl, the silent majority, who in their silence precipitated the suffering of others.”

Read the full post here.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2013, Film, politics, Sri Lanka

Bodu Bala Sena and Their Muslim Funding

c07bdbd398dd4ac563358e095fc5d2e0_XL

Evangelicism is quite a common phenomenon in many parts of the world. Evangelicals take many forms and hues, from the hysteric evangelic Christians with their TV shows in the US or Muslim televangelists in many parts of the Muslim world, mostly in South Asia than in the Middle East, like this Muslim loon here who likes to put on a show.

What is also known is that these evangelical types operate in most covert and clandestine ways, often conspiring between power factions to create turmoil to facilitate the requirement of a peace keeping force in whose guise these evangelical types can creep in furtively through INGO’s and clubs & societies, smaller tentacles of the evangelical types have even percolated as clubs & societies in Sri Lankan schools. Co-Education not being the norm in Sri Lankan schools, these clubs and societies thrive on the notion that boys or girls get the chance to interact with the opposite gender, not something readily available if you schooled in Sri Lanka.

The crux of my ranting above is to drive the fact that evangelicals work in the most ingenious means by penetrating into our collective psyche so much that they become part of the default setup, so much so that you welcome them in, not knowing that they are luring you out.

The Bodu Bala Sena have been on the rampage in Sri Lanka these past few months, you may think they are a Buddhist organisation trying to promote the values of true Buddhism, like Metta, Karuna, Muditha and Upekka, but you, like most of the others around you are far from the truth.

It has been revealed that the Bodu Bala Sena is funded by a Muslim evangelical organisation based in the Middle East. Having successfully taught Sri lankans about Halal and Haram, they are now hell bent on teaching Sri Lankans about the attire of Muslim women in Sri Lanka, before long the vast majority of Sri Lankans will know about the hijab and abhaya, terms otherwise confined mostly to cities with mixed ethnic populations.

The concept of Halal and Haram are ancient Islamic concepts, but they were confined to the inner walls of the Sri Lankan Muslim community because non Muslims do not have to live according to what is stipulated by Halal and Haram. Halal being anything that are permissible and Haram being what are impermissible. The Bodu Bala Sena has gone about vociferously advocating the abstention from Halal foods. They put out posters, large rallies were held and many TV slots were allocated for the BBS to teach the Sinhalese Majority of the Islamic concepts that are halal and haram.

Many monks belonging to the BBS have been seen researching the Qur’an very studiously to understand what it means and what it seeks to espouse. Ven. Galaboda Aththe Gnansara Thera has been seen holding the Qur’an and explaining to the Sinhalese masses what it truly means.  Sinhalese Buddhists who probably never held a Qur’an in their life, having seen a revered monk propagate from it are now driven to study the Qur’an to see what the fuss is all about, thereby getting attracted to the Islamic faith, reliable BBS sources who cannot be revealed have stated.

Of course the reverend monk who appears on TV and BBS platforms seemingly espousing true Buddhist teachings in the pristine Sinhalese that he speaks with calming rhetoric that can proselytise to Buddhism even members from the Taleban was once seen to have behaved like this video shows – ranting in colourful language, except the colour here was in reference to anatomical sections in the human body, both Muslim and Buddhist.

It has been revealed that the paymasters of the Bodu Bala Sena now want the Sinhalese masses to be educated on the Abhaya and Hijab. The rapid westernisation of Sri Lankan society means that the Muslims are getting de-islamicised and the Buddhist majority are getting secular, thereby deviating from Buddhist ethical codes of morality and charity. If the secularisation of the majority Sinhalese were to go unchecked it would be onerous for the Muslims to proselytise the Sri Lankan Sinhalese. The role of the BBS therefore is constantly keep the Buddhist majority in check by infusing Islamic principles into their daily routine, what better way than doing so by scapegoat-ing the existing Muslim population.

Indeed the Muslim evangelical intelligentsia have been so powerful and devious that the Bodu Bala Sena have got wide recognition in Sri Lanka, and the BBS are promoting Islam in Sri Lanka in ways the Sri Lankan Muslim community would have known to be possible.

Further cementing the devious nature of the Muslim Jamiyathul Ulema can be seen in the kind and calm manner in which they have been dealing with the situation compared to the hate filled hysteric rhetoric employed by BBS. This is a carefully orchestrated move of trying to portray goons as Buddhist monks and thereby smear the nobility of a revered philosophy such as Buddhism. It seems this is now bearing fruit, as Gamini Kotakadenia from Theldeniya  mentions here.

True Sinhalese and Buddhists who value their cultural identity must be careful of this rapid Islamisation being spread by the Bodu Bala Sena, their intention is to make this beautifully diverse island nation rid of the majority Sinhalese who if this Bodu Bala Sena scourge were to go on a rampage would soon be much less in proportions.

Image from here.

4 Comments

Filed under 2013, Islam, politics, Sri Lanka, Uncategorized

Parliament Jokes

clegg-cameron-miliband 2

Don’t be fooled to think from the title that this post is about the cinematic rubbish that Ranjan Ramanayake stars in.

I wrote a post for The Platform titled ‘Parliamentary Debates: The Politics of Comedy’, this was a ranking of ten instances when humour has been utilised expertly to convey a point in the British Parliament. Sadly, such banter does not manifest itself that much in the Sri Lankan Parliament.

As Cerno outlines –

Sri Lankan Parliamentary rhetoric is far too contaminated with hate, absence of intellect, selfish hunger for power and most of all disrespect for another, to facilitate the smooth humorous intercourse of banter. The closest one of our parliamentarians would come would be from this gem by Mervyn Silva.

This is a post to shamelessly promote what I wrote for The Platform. Either way, I am sure readers will find the videos entertaining. I cannot speak for my writing.

Image from here.

Leave a comment

Filed under england, politics, Sri Lanka, Uncategorized

Sri Lanka and the Halal Controversy

I have been trying to write on this matter for sometime, for lack of time and the want to write something coherent without just ranting, I have been keeping away from it.

This gentleman from the Jemmiyathul Ulema (Sri Lankan body of Muslim Theologians) gives an excellent analysis of the social, legal and political dimensions of what ‘Halal’ is and what this controversy is all about, in very eloquent Sinhalese I must add.

It is important that non Muslims in Sri Lanka are enlightened on this matter,  please do share this video to dispel doubts and reduce the chances of unnecessary tension.

1 Comment

Filed under Islam, politics, Sri Lanka