20 June, 2021

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A Backward March Towards 1915?

By A.C.L. Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

In the aftermath of a pyrrhic victory over the LTTE and in a mood of triumphalism, President Mahinda Rajapaksa lectured to an anxious nation that there would henceforth be no more Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims, and no more majority and minority in his country but only Sri Lankans. Those who listened to those words at that time or read them afterwards heaved a sigh of relief. After a little more than one quarter of a century of physical and mental trauma inflicted upon the nation by a reckless civil war, there was every reason for the people to believe that those words of the President would be the harbinger for a bright future in which there would be genuine democracy with its embedded qualities of freedom of expression, rule of law, equality of opportunity and justice.

Disappointingly, the political and administrative developments since then have made it clear that the President’s words were no more than political rhetoric. The war wounds still remain unhealed; the national Legislature has lost its democratic aura and credibility; the Judiciary – the ultimate refuge for the grieved in a democratic society – has lost its independence; nepotism and corruption are rampant; dissent to reigning views is suppressed; and the economy in the name of globalization is increasingly falling under foreign ownership.

Much has been written and commented upon these developments and to discuss them again is not the intention here. What follows instead is a focus on another worrying phenomenon that has all the hallmarks of a similar occurrence that took place almost a century ago but in a different political and economic environment. The spectre of 1915 is looming large on the horizon. Is the country marching backwards?

The mosque in Sri Lanka, and for that matter all over the world, is the most conspicuous marker of Islamic religion and Muslim culture. Just as its multiplicity announces to the world the growing strength and religiosity of Muslims, so does any violence targeting the mosque translates automatically, at least in the eyes of Muslims, into a kind of Islamophobia. Historically, the market, like the mosque, is also closely associated with Islam and Muslims. Makkah, where Islam was born in the 7th century, was a market city situated at the cross roads of several caravan routes. Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, was born amongst a trading clan and he understood how the market works. The Quran, the Holy Book of Islam, and the hadiths, the sayings and practices of the prophet, are replete with market terminology and principles of trade and commerce. Among the Rightly-guided caliphs, Uthman, like several others after him, accumulated his riches through the market and from trade. In short, Islam was born and grew around the market, and trade and commerce are the most representative professions of that religion

Accommodated them in Kingdoms

In Sri Lanka, it was trade that brought the early Muslims to the shores of Sarendib, and the mosque came along with them. Their arrival was not one of trade following the flag but trade leading the crescent. The Sinhalese monarchs of ancient and medieval times were more than happy to welcome their arrival and accommodate them in their kingdoms, especially at a time when there was an acute shortage of a native merchant class. Muslim traders, most of whom were Arabs at the early stages, proved to be an invaluable asset to Sinhalese monarchs to establish diplomatic relations with the Muslim world. Hence, the local rulers had no qualms in allowing Muslims to practise their religion as long as it did not disturb domestic peace and inconvenience the followers of Buddhism. To practise Islam however, a mosque is essential to accommodate worshippers, because the religion exhorts praying in congregation, led by an imam. Thus, as opportunities for trade and commerce increased and the market expanded, more Muslims arrived and with more Muslims, the number of mosques also must have multiplied. The market-Muslim-mosque congruence operated harmoniously in a tolerant Buddhist environment.

The advent of the Portuguese in the 16th century spelt disaster to this congruence. Christian bigotry and economic rivalry forced the Portuguese to expel the Muslim businessmen from the occupied territories and to severely restrict the economic activities and religious practices of those who remained. The expelled sought refuge and were accommodated in the independent Kandyan Kingdom. The market-Muslim-mosque congruity resumed its existence in new surroundings. In course of time, Muslims as a community became indigenized, their market expertise won State recognition, and their mosques became another decorative piece in the kingdom’s religious and cultural kaleidoscope. Although the anti-Muslim trend in the maritime districts eased somewhat during Dutch rule, it was only under the British regime and after 1815, when the whole island fell under the new colonial yoke, that the Muslim community had its previous freedom fully restored and were allowed to settle anywhere in the country and engage in any occupation of their choice. More Muslims, especially from the Indian subcontinent, arrived, adding to the total number of Muslims. Immigration and natural increase with sporadic conversions from other religious groups increased the numerical strength of the Muslim community. Of a total population of just over 4.1 million in the 1911 census, Muslims counted 6.9%.

The plantation-led capitalist economy that developed in the 19th century created new opportunities for trading and commerce. The Muslim community that had a historical proclivity to engage in these professions utilized those opportunities and maximized the rewards. However, the country’s trading and commercial sectors were not the monopoly of Muslims. There were also others. For example, the 1911 census enumerated 51,020 Sinhalese, 19,850 Tamils and 29,239 Muslims as traders. Of the Muslim traders 18,037 were 19th century arrivals. This means, of a total of 100,109 traders, the indigenized Muslims constituted only about 11%. Yet, the Sinhalese traders could not compete, not only in the export-import sector but also in the large retail sector which were in the hands of the Muslims. The 51,020 Sinhalese traders were part of a rising class of Sinhalese petty bourgeoisie which resented economic competition from foreigners and minorities. It was this class, conjoined with Buddhist nationalists like Anagarika Dharmapala, who campaigned against the ubiquity of Muslim businesses and brought about the first Sinhalese-Muslim racial riots in 1915. In that episode, it was a religious-related incident surrounding a mosque that provided the immediate trigger. Although the anti-Muslim violence died down in the following years, Dharmapala had already warned that “there will always be bad blood between the Moors and the Sinhalese” (Dharmapala, 1965:541). Generally speaking, ‘anti-minority feelings of the Sinhala traders persisted in the consciousness’ (Kumari Jayawardena, 1986: 26).

Reduce influence of minorities

In post-colonial Sri Lanka, even though the Muslim community, unlike the Tamils, always supported the ruling Sinhalese regimes for pragmatic reasons, the anti-Muslim consciousness of the Sinhalese did not fail to burst out into open violence, especially in times of national economic adversity. At times, the undue influence that Muslim Parliamentarians could exert in national decision-making was another reason that angered the Sinhalese. In fact, one of the reasons that impelled President J.R. Jayewardene to change the Constitution from the Westminster model to a hybrid Gaullist model was to reduce the influence of minorities, particularly of Muslims, in the national legislature. It was to counter that move the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was formed as a political party. Yet, six decades after 1915, between 1976 and 2002, there had been a total of 30, mostly localized, Sinhalese-Muslim riots in various parts of the country (M.S.M. Anas, V. Amirdeen and A.J.L. Vazeel, 2002/2008). Once again, after the defeat of the LTTE, sections of the Sinhalese Buddhists under the leadership of the militant Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and its new offshoot, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), the nation is witnessing a new phase of Islamophobia.

Tolerated by elected government

The resumption of anti-Muslim campaigns to boycott Muslim businesses, avoid eating in Muslim restaurants, and stop selling property to Muslims; rallies led by militant Buddhist monks to attack mosques and demanding the government to close them down; and political leaders re-labelling Muslims as aliens and urging them to go back to Arabia – all echo the same anti-Muslim sentiments of the 1915 Sinhalese Buddhist agitators. The 19th century phase of this Muslim resentment and its current phase have one thing in common, that is, an open economy. The difference is that the earlier phase was suppressed by a colonial regime but the current one is tolerated by a popularly elected government. The mosque and the market are in a serious state of crisis.

The post-1976 era coincided with the ushering in of an open economy that is currently being vigorously promoted by neo-liberal economic policies modelled on ‘Washington Consensus’ and monitored through Bretton Wood agencies. Although by nature open market economies create economic inequities, its late 20th century reincarnation has worsened economic inequities and created and bred ‘ethnic hatred and global instability’ (Amy Chua, 2003). This is a worldwide phenomenon engendered by the so-called market democracy under the aegis of economic globalization. Sri Lanka is no exception. It was economic inequity in the 19th century that led to the riots in 1915, but that inequity reflected an urban-rural divide in which poverty remained largely a rural phenomenon. The ubiquitous retail Muslim trader in the villages and country towns inevitably appeared as the epitome of this inequity and became an easy target for the Sinhalese petty bourgeoisie and nationalists to vent their anger against colonial capitalism. In contrast, the current scale of inequity, in spite of respectable growth rates after 2009, has no such divide but a national phenomenon. It is systemic. Then why have the Muslims become the target of attack this time.

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    Dr. Amir Ali in the last sentence of his extremely good analysis poses a question rhetorically. Envy – the last infirmity of the noble mind,would unravel. When the mind of the powers that be is ignoble the effect can be devastating.

    The ascendancy of the Muslims in multiple fronts – education, professions, state services and in commerce was disquieting to the majority community. The high visibility was an agonizing reproach on their capability. The beleaguered Tamils nurtured no envy, there was no occasion for it. The two minority communities were never able to make common cause. Lessons from history were never learnt. Never will they be. Among all the groups who is most astute?

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    As per gound reality,30% of Sri Lankan population is Minority and they are citizens of Sri Lanka.but only 5% of them are employed in publice sector.hence most of the minority community is compell to select the trade/other sector to their survival.if GOSL want to change the inequality,let start to recruit the minority community to state sector as per their ratio.then automatically majority community will represent all sectors predominently within a decade or two.

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    The fact is that all political party leaders in Lanka lack leadership and talent to unit a multicultural society. The current politicians in varying shades are ETHNIC ENTREPRENEURS, intent on dividing and ruling the people in order build up their private vote banks.
    The Rajapassa regime having run out of cards to play, are now playing their last cards – the Sinhala Buddhist ethnic card – being fearful that the people are fed up and the war crimes issue is heating up and their vote bank is diminishing.
    In the case of the majority community ethnic entrepreneur politics results in attacks on minorities particularly in moments of economic crisis – which Lanka is today in – the regime needs a scapegoat to distract the people from its corrupt mis-governance and looting of public wealth while accumulating public debt, illegal land grabs, and impeachment of Chief Justice, total incapacity and lack of qualifications of the Cabinet of Goons, fools and criminals including the so-called Minister of Economic Develop0ment who has not got a univesity degree and knows nothing about Development or Economics…
    In this scenario, Lanka is in for a rocky ride and the sooner that regime change happens the better

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    The conditions of the present day too are not without there positive aspects. Though we have a few misguided elements the world at large is more aware and sensitive to human rights violations and the rule of law. The internet and social media have reduced the spatial distance between people to a few milliseconds. We are part of the global community. So the world is well informed of what is happening in Sri Lanka.

    For instance the stand of the extremist are well known globally and all events well publicised. People are able to know the facts and information as to who does what and why and come to the correct conclusions. The minorities too are not without support from the global community and any attempt by these misguided elements to do a 1915 or 1983 will be resisted.

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    Why have the Muslims become the target of attack this time;

    Disinformation Campaign Against Muslims Need To Be Countered – By Jehan Perera

    PERSONAL DIALOGUE

    What the monk had to say was that those West Asian countries had once been Buddhist, and now were totally Muslim. He expressed fear that the same fate could befall Sri Lanka in the years to come. He said that the revenues earned by Muslim religious organizations by issuing the Halal certificates for a fee were being used to propagate Islam. He also spoke about Muslim shop owners who hired Sinhalese girls to work in their shops, and then would introduce them to Muslim men who would marry them. He also gave an account of a Muslim-owned shop that sold undergarments with the Buddha image on them. He said that he had received more information through a pamphlet that had been given to him, and to other Buddhist monks, at an almsgiving ceremony he had attended. It seems clear that there is a grassroots level disinformation campaign taking place that will surely influence the thinking of the Sinhalese majority unless it is countered.

    A reminder to the cause of hatred and impending destruction.

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      Let me correct a another misinformation here, it was not undergarments with Buddha image on them, they were socks with Buddha image. But little googling would show that this has become an alarming trend world over unfortunately(Buddha image depicted on t-shirts, clocks, even undergarments). I am no anthropologist but in my humble opinion this was all due to the fact the west re-discovering east story. I have seen many of my western friends having a Buddha statue at home though they have nothing to do with Buddhism, when questioned the answers often rediculous or confusing at it’s best such as feng shui, interior decoration! all sorts of nonesense.

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    You have mentioned that there had been a total of 30, mostly localized, Sinhalese-Muslim riots in various parts of Sri Lanka between 1976 and 2002 indirectly implying that they were the fault of Sinhalas. If we leave out why you were so selective to count the number of riots for that particular period without counting it either from 1915 or indeed after the independence in 1948, I would have been interested to know how many riots we had per year and what started the said riots.

    Anyway, I am sure you’ll agree with me that there are religious and racial riots all over the world. And most of it involves Muslims. If so, it is only fair we compare Sri Lanka numbers of Muslim riots against other countries. Since this is a vast subject, I would like to compare Sri Lanka with France for Muslim population in both countries are almost the same. Otherwise, I would have picked the UK. On the other hand, had I wanted compare treatment of the minorities the other way round, I would have picked Pakistan or Bangladesh. Let’s do it afterwards, shall we.

    Now, Loonwatch.com reported last week that attempted arson attack on Thiers mosque is the eighth attack on mosque in France for 2013. Also, the Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France reported that in addition to those at Ozoir-La-Ferrière and Besançon, a fourth mosque was the target at the weekend 6th Feb 2013. And Reuters reported that one man was killed and another seriously injured on Friday when a man with a baseball bat attacked worshippers in a mosque in the town of Arras in northern France. That is only within the last month. How’s that compare to your figures, eh. Are you not making a mountain out of a molehill. We are fortunate that we can find such information in the web quickly as otherwise you guys would project Muslims as peace doves and Sinhalas as blood thirsty devils.

    So, to be fair on Sri Lanka, I challenge you list mosques in Sri Lanka being attacked by Sinhalas since 1915, and I shall submit a similar acts in the so called egalitarian west, I mean France. I forgot, when you are compiling that list you must not omit attacks on Sufi mosques by Tawheed or Wahabis. Do not try to reduce it to simple internal conflict for mosque attack is a mosque attack. You should list them separately. Let’s take up the Halal issue after that.
    Leela

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      The above comment is written for Dr. Ameer Ali’s attention.
      Leela

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      Sri Lanka has been, sans a few events in its long history, a better place for muslims to live in. Muslims in Sri Lanka have, historically, always, sided with Sri Lankan national leaders, be it against the colonial west, which ruled Sri Lanka for over 500 years or the LTTE which waged its terrorist war for many decades. Such cooperation in the past has also been well reciprocated by the govt.

      But BBS actions and the inaction of the current government regarding BBS are totally un-Sri Lankan!As a Muslim, I feel, and so do most Muslims i speak to, that Sri Lanka is increasingly becoming an unwelcome place for Muslims, much like the Western countries where islamophobia is at its peak.

      Unlike Sri Lanka, the West in general are an ungrateful and bloodthirsty nations. How they exterminated the indigenous peoples in Americas and Austalia, how they set the still-unbroken-world-record for mass murder during WWI and WWII, and what they are still doing to the defenseless populations in Iraq and Afganistan are well known.

      BBS arguably has chosen the people hating west as their role model!

      That is a shame!

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    I don’t know how carefully Dr Ali chooses his words but I see he refers at the outset of his article to a ‘pyrrhic victory over the LTTE’. A pyrrhic victory, according to my dictionary, is a victory won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor. Victory certainly came at a huge cost but I don’t see how you can maintain that defeating a group that was visiting untold misery and terror on innocent citizens and was bent on dividing the country, could be regarded as not being worth the while. It is a pity the learned Dr seems to trivialise the victory achieved by the armed forces.

    Dr Ali has sought to give us a lesson in history, politics and economics – or his version of it – but above all, what he seeks to do is to put the blame entirely on the Sinhalese for the present situation.

    I do not hold with the Bodu Bala Sena or condone their actions but I do not accept that the situation is as one sided as Dr Ali portrays it. I understand Dr Ali lives in Australia and has been resident there for a number of years. And he certainly cannot be unaware of the anti Muslim sentiment in that country and indeed in many countries in the West. Dr Ali should ask himself why there is such widespread anti Muslim sentiment across the world, and reflect on whether some of the conduct of Muslims in those countries and their practices do not cause justifiable disquiet. Such things as the proliferation of mosques, exclusive Muslim schools and insistence on wearing the burka do not go down well. You do not gain acceptance by wishing to remain apart. There is no Bodu Bala Sena operating in those countries!

    Sri Lanka has only recently emerged from a terrible nightmare and no sane person would want her to go through another such experience. But everyone needs to work to ensure that such a tragedy does not recur, and that requires goodwill, common sense, honesty and an objective outlook, not least, from the better educated.

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      @ Fred. “Dr Ali should ask himself why there is such widespread anti Muslim sentiment across the world, and reflect on whether some of the conduct of Muslims in those countries and their practices do not cause justifiable disquiet.”

      The muslim communities in the West have actually asked these questions: In those countries the anti muslim sentiment is encouraged by govts. Such anti muslim sentiment is crucial for them to continue with their imperial foreign policies in the Muslim World. The West knows very well that unless such deep demonisation of muslims are carried out, their own people would not be silent when they invade Muslim countries, massacre their women and children, and loot their wealth.

      How the Nazis demonised the Jews before actually gassing them to death is a well known example!

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    – The fear of Islam is a worldwide phenomenon. So pointing fingers solely at the Sri Lankan situation is rather self-serving.

    – The rather restrictive & harsh nature of Islamic law which advocates the death penalty for any perceived insult to Mohammed or the Koran, as well as for apostacy, homosexuality, adultery etc., has generated a justifiable fear of the possibility of Islam taking over non-islamic societies, almost all of which are pretty liberal ( for example insulting the bible or Christ or Buddha would not be reason enough to justify the death penalty in non-islamic societies )’

    – The recent gun & acid attacks in Afghanistan & Pakistan on young girls trying to attend school, videos of being women being whipped in public for not wearing the hijab properly, video of a woman made to squat on the ground & shot dead for having an affair ( which in a non-Islamic society would only result in a divorce at most ), the video of three teenagers being hung on a crane in the public square in Iran for homosexuality are among a few of the news items that strike fear among non-muslims.

    – Add to this the recently publicized beheading of Rizana Nafeek, and the arrest and sentencing of some Sri Lankans to prison and a 100 lashes on ridiculous charges such as wichcraft & black-magic ( eg: staring at a child while wearing a string on the hand ) are not helping to diminish the anti-Islam sentiments of non-muslim Sri Lankans.

    – Sri Lankans, Burmese etc., are used to the Buddhist system of questioning anything including their own religious leaders and teachings as encouraged by the Buddha, and live a pretty easy-going religious life which does not require them to pray daily or attend temples on Fridays or anything like that unless done voluntarily. So naturally they are afraid of losing their freedom to live as they pleae, dress as they please etc., if Islam gains prominence in their countries. Same applies to most western countries

    – Also the attack on the Bamiyan Buddha statues has seared the minds of Buddhists all over the world including Burma etc,, with particular reference to the recent violent attacks on Burmese muslims recently ( U tube dialogue indicates this).

    – The author has also neglected to mention the constant murderous attacks on muslims by other muslims ( Shia, Sunni Ahamadiya in Iraq, Pakistan etc and Thawheed vs Sufi in Sri Lanka ) which alarm others about the potential for religious violence in Islamic societies.

    It would be better if educated scholars like the writer first concentrated on analyzing whether there are any factors within Islam itself that are causing others all over the world to react in a negative manner towards the advent of Islam ( It is no secret that Christians, Jews , Hindus, Buddhists etc., all have had violent conflicts with Islam at one time or the other).

    Therefore , this article is basically a biased, one sided look at the situation in Sri Lanka

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    The Muslims of this country are a clever lot. Historically, they were Tamil muslims,and Tamil was their “mother tongue”, studying and speaking at home and outside. When the political situation in the country changed, they became “sinhala muslims”.

    They also enjoyed the rift between the Tamils and Sinhales; 30 years of unchecked profit, disproportionate representation in the cabinet etc. They took over most of the properties and businesses vacated by Tamils, the Sinhalese thugs who orchestrated the communal riots being good only in destruction. They were always on the side of the majority, careful enough to divide their loyalty between the two leading political parties, so that whoever won, they were in the winning team!

    And now they complain of a repeating history. I hope they now understand how the Tamil man felt or still feeling !

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    “The fear of Islam is a worldwide phenomenon” says American Mama. It is not fear, as I see, but more disgust and exasperation not of Islam but of the extremists who use Islam as a tool to overwhelm the societies they are in and join in a conspiracy to conquer the world.
    This grand strategy has been on from the 1970s but OBL/Al-Qaeda jumped the gun before enough rogue Muslim States with Nuclear weapons and
    exposed them in the 9/11 attack on the USA. The other delay in the fruition of this massive global deception is the fact there can never be, according to the Israelis, such a thing as Islamic unity. But now that 9/11 happened the target victim-countries have set in motion their own counter strategy against each and every country that provided succour to the grand conspiracy. Of the main players Iraq and Libya are already tamed. Afghanistan and Pakistan are tottering – politically and economically. Iran is fighting far too many battles in different fronts to be effective – except with a Nuclear attack.

    In the view of the Western Powers on the other side, are the “better” Islamic countries – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Maghreb of the more stable countries who are more keen to invest, secure funds and trade with the “Satanic” countries.

    So it is a lost cause for these warriors of the Philosophy of the Sword, Revenge and Blood. Like their forced back-tracking in Sri Lanka other countries in the Muslim world are regaining their sanity. With all the fury and thunder Mohamed Morsi’s Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt now almost sounds like a Western lackey.

    Senguttuvan

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      Mr Senguttuvan

      I believe that the rise of extremist Muslim groups is tied to certain inherent factors within the faith of Islam itself. There is a propensity to discourage honest criticism or the questioning of certain teachings found in the Koran and the Hadiths as these teachings are considered sacred and untouchable.

      Therefore extremism is a natural function of the faith itself. It is essential for Muslims to turn inwards for solutions to their problems.

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        Ma’m,

        I am confident i can answer your allegations against islam. But before that, can you explain why your America has this indispensable propensity for violence? There must be something inherently wrong with that race?

        It is beginning was violence: America was born on the funeral pyre of nearly 95 million red Indians.

        the American violence on Others never ceased!

        It is, as i write, is indiscriminately killing people in many countries. Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan and the list is long.

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    The Islamophobia in Sri Lanka is not just about an escalating quarrel over a piece of bread, as Dr. Ali seems to think. (though Muslims are envied for they are perceived to have a larger piece of the bread).

    This is just a local manifestation of the global war on Islam aka war on terror! Just as the anti islamic crusaders had organised various nations against muslims, so have they now organised religions on their side. Buddhism, which has been a lot more tolerant and peaceful so far, is the new addition to this ungodly alliance of religions against Islam.

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    Dr. Ali should talk at length about the Barbaric Muslim on Muslim terrorism. Throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan the extremist Saudi sponsored Wahabi- Salafists or other radical Sunnis are massacring Shias. What a bloody joke. You say Idlam is about peace? No it considers non believers to infidels. Saudi financed Islamic Sunni extremists want to oppress women and take the world back 500 years. Why are tethered no temples churches or Hindu temples in most Arab nations? There are plenty of mosques in all Christian nations and secular Arab nations but not in Saudi Arabia or othe feudal oppressive Arab kingdoms . You people need to shed your blind allegiance to a backward Arab nation and realize that Buddhists, Hindus and Christians and nations where they are the majority are far more tolerant nations. You fail to tell I’d why you engage in noise pollution in Anuradhapura and other holy sites. Will you let a temple blare prayers in Pottivil or Beruwela next to your mosques? No.

    When you Sri Lankan Muslims can have the guts to condemn jihadis and terrorists who kill thousands of Shia Muslims and when your Imams who prosper in western nations like USA and UK and Switzerland stop spewing hate filled violence filled preaching from these Good tolerant Christian nations will have more credibility. Tell those Arab imams to go back to Saudi Arabia and preach their hatred and terrorism and not while living in the west.

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    Bin Laden and Al Qaeda wre created and backed by USA to remove the soviets from Afghanistan. The creation turned against the creator. Similiarly Taliban and mujahideen were created by General Zia to fight the soviets in afghanistan. Ultimately they too turned against their masters.

    Similiarly JHU and BBS are a creation of the govt and will ultimately turn against their masters but not before creating havoc for the people of this country.

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    THERE ARE MANY CRITICS OF ISLAM, WHO READ THE WHOLE QURAN AND ENDED
    UP BY EMBRACING ISLAM.

    A new survey reveals the dramatically changing face of religion in America, with the number of Muslims in the U.S. soaring 67% in the decade since the 9/11 attacks.

    Data released Tuesday from the 2010 U.S. Religion Census shows Islam was the fastest growing religion in America in the last 10 years, with 2.6 million living in the U.S. today, up from 1 million in 2000.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/number-muslims-u-s-doubles-9-11-article-1.1071895#ixzz2MArroaw1

    SHENALI WADUGE- OVER TO YOU. THIS IS WHAT IS BOTHERING YOU.
    NO ONE CAN STOP THE GROWTH OF ISLAM . SHENALI, YOU ARE WELCOME
    TO THE FOLD.

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      – More fantasy and propaganda.

      – if 10 increases to 17 then the population has increased 70%. Doesn’t mean anything

      – The real indicator is the fact that Islam has been in existence for 1400 years and still there are 4 times non-muslims than muslims.
      (And these 1400 years included the best days (glory days ) of Islam including Arab conquests and the Ottoman empire)

      – Also quality over quantity. Israel with 5 million beat down 3-4 muslim countries with over 80 million populatin.

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        Ma’m from America,

        “1400 years and still there are 4 times non-muslims than muslims”

        This was possible partly because the crusader western nations forcibly converted some of them (Spain), killed some of them on mass (Serbia for example), enslaved them in large numbers (the African Slave trade – nearly 30% of the enslaved were muslims), starved them to death through sanctions (Iraq) – and the list is long- very long!

        and yes israel is powerful?! The Arab/muslims nations around israel which America – in its infinite justice – crucified for the crimes of Germans are just rising from being dead. What you see there is not loss of strength, but reemergence of life.

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    A very good history lesson for schools.

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      A lesson for Peace Education too.

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    Muslims are terrorists…????

    Then, Who started the first world war ? Muslims ?
    Who started the second world war ? Muslims ?
    Who killed about 20 millions of Aborigines in Australia ? Muslims?? 
    Who sent the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ? Muslims??
    Who killed more than 100 millions of Indians in North America ? Muslims ??
    Who killed more than 50 millions of Indians in south America ? Muslims ??
    Who took about 180 millions of African people as slaves and 88% of them died and was thrown in Atlantic ocean ? Muslims ??
    Who has killed 1 million civilians in Iraq alone? Muslims?

    No , They weren’t Muslims….

    And the list is long!!

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    Mr. Illangovan

    I am a Sri Lankan born Muslim and feel ashamed and insulted to be called a Tamil. However, we are not Sinhalese and never claimed to be Sinhala Muslims as you allege.

    I or my family have nothing to do with Tamils and Tamil language. We do not speak Tamil and we do not know your language.Please leave us aside.

    Please do not degrade us any more and why do you need us in your clan.

    We resisted Tamil terrorism and will never join you to separate the country.

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    abu imran
    I must say, unlike your fellow muslim brotherhood Dr Ali, I appreciate your acknowledging Sri Lanka has been ‘a better place for Muslims to live in.’ It is unfortunate however, many Muslims do not bother to accept such truth.

    I do not think Sinhalas in general hate or envy Muslims. But I agree that Sinhalas perceive Muslims are on a well developed track to become the majority of this country. One cannot blame them for they are aware what has happened to many a Buddhist country like Afghanistan. And it is very true that Sinhalas are very very concerned about it. If you consider it as islamphobia; then they wouldn’t have objected to it, I suppose. And I say; Sinhalas have to be prepared to prevent it energising it here from now onwards.

    To be honest, anyone can observe that many nations will face problems of that nature in time to come. For instant ICM Poll says; 40% of British Muslims want Sharia in the UK. Centre for Social Cohesion says; one third of British Muslim students support killing for Islam. Policy Exchange says; one third of British Muslims believe anyone who leaves Islam should be killed. Indeed, I am surprised why the West has taken so long to develop the word islamphobia.

    If only Muslims think logically and explore their concious rather than imploring into readings by Allah in search of answers for their day to day problems many wars that they face today would disappeared into thin air.
    Leela

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      Concerns of Sri Lanka becoming a Muslim country if at all will be the fault of BBS/JHU/SR known as the Sinhellists unless the true Buddists tame the Bull before it starts on the path of destruction. The rest of the will not stand by and watch.

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    Reader Sri Lankan Muslim has chosen provocative words to describe his position as he writes “I feel ashamed and insulted to be called a Tamil (Muslim)” which is at variance with many in the Muslim community here – more so now. From the time post-July ’83 from Dr. Bad-id-udin Mahmud to Azath Salley now Muslims are moving towards an identity with the Tamils here. Rauf Hakeem and the SLMC, for their own reasons still, have not announced their position publicly but are not far behind. I was on stage in a meeting a few years ago with Basheer Segu Dawood, now Minister, in the EP when he insisted in speaking “in my mother tongue the Tamil language in this Thamil Mun (soil)

    I wonder how much this reader’s views are shared with other Muslims in the country. The Lankan Tamil Nation is unlikely to lose much if those like him share his position but this half-breed, who clearly suffers an identity crisis, has to be a little more circumspect in the choice of his words. It is in the interest of the Tamil Nation and people such creatures are miles away from us.

    Senguttuvan

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      The roots of some Sri Lankan Muslims goes back to North Africa (Morocco) carrying the race as Ceylon Moor. Others were Indian Muslims Malays Javas etc. The early birth certificates use record them as such.

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    “Bin Laden and Al Qaeda were created and backed by USA to remove the soviets from Afghanistan” says reader Safa. But the fact is years before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, in their suspected move to take over Pakistan and India later, OBL – from his USA student days, was plotting to overthrow the Saudi Royalty as a consequence of a private grudge. He was conspiring with the Fundamentalists in all Muslim countries – starting with those in the Arabian region – for the realisation of his grand strategy. The US used him as a Bounty Hunter in a scenario where the interests of both sides found confluence.

    Zia was decimated because he was playing ball with both the Americans and the Soviets simultaneously. Sadly, a good US Ambassador was trapped to take that flight with the killer of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

    Senguttuvan

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    Leela,

    What makes you to say, “Muslims do not bother to accept such truth viz (Sri Lanka has been a better place for Muslims to live in.)? Produce your evidence!

    As I have said, Muslims have been the most loyal to this country from day one – that is for over a millennium! Not long ago, the ACJU successfully defeated the Western agenda to put this country on Western leash. That is one of the latest examples.

    It is, in fact, the BBS and their ilk who are the most disloyal to this country. They have made an un-godly alliance with the worst from the Europe, not only to destroy Muslim and Islam, but also to consolidate the Western hegemony over Lanka. Remember that these Western nations, unlike Muslims, have colonized Lanka for over 500 years. And neo colonialism still continues in some form!

    Arabs first established contact with Lanka in 2CE, which became Muslim-Lanka relations in the 7th century CE. In this long history never once did Muslims make any attempt to change it into a Muslim country. Why would they now? If they had wanted to do so in the past, they could have done it so easily. After all, Muslims had the mighty India under their rule for over half a millennium.

    To say that muslims now want to take over Lanka is plain scare-mongering and has disgusting ulterior motives!

    Islamophobia is not a new a reality, though the term itself may be new. The West has centuries old scholarship called Orientalism, the dark art of demonizing the Muslims as a precursor to their final extermination or at least colonial subjugation.One must be completely devoid of any goodness in them to become part of such evil agenda.

    I can deal with various cooked-up survey results and findings, which are exaggerations camouflaged in scientific terminology… but that is irrelevant for now!
    abu imran

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    Leela,

    in my last para, i was referring to the data you have picked up from the UK in your last post

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    Query – NOT TO BE PUBLISHED!

    sir/ madam,

    Do you accept articles for publication on your website? If yes, how do i submit them?

    Thanks

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    Dear readers/Commentors,

    It is a great shame to read some of your comment as it only shows pure racism and increase of hatred towards each others communities but nothing.

    Some of you just argue with no basis or relavence to the article written by Dr Ali

    Some of your comparison aren’t valid as it compares two completely different things, for an eg: LEELA: compares mosque attackers in SL against France, where as it should be mosques attacked VS temple attacked in SRI LANKA.

    FINALLY: it is interesting to know that according to 1911 census there were 6.9% of Muslims lived here when there 4.1m people in total, this makes me wonder the real statics of current Muslims % that the Govt of SL disguising.

    Population has increasd 4.1m to 22.2m aprox, which is 500% but Muslims in the country had increased from 6.9% to 9. What ever %.

    So why for cry sake complains…?

    Get life all those mourning about stupid arguments & the only way forward would be to establish real democracy and peace to BAN EXTRMIST ORG such as BBS.

    Like our president MR said there are no more Sinhalese/Tamils/Muslims/ Burgers, no majority nor minority BUT WE ALL SRI LANKANS FROM ONE MOTHER….

    Establish this whatever it takes & cost, SL would glitter without a shadow of a doubt…!

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    We have no quarrel with the imagination of readers like “Ceylonese”
    except to add one Orabi Pasha, Ibn Batuta or 400 Batavian (Indonesian) slaves do not make a people. Everywhere those who belong to the category of people find unanimity in language – which they zealously guard. We also find suddenly the claim “we have been here for over a century” – presumably, to ensure current claims to land are facilitated. It may more be in accord with history to claim the very large percentage of them came from nearby South India. There is agreement to this and exception to this over the recent years – dependent on the political climate here.

    The problem clearly is one with the identity of race. Recent events prove a foreign religion alone is insufficient to lay claim to
    weak and/or imaginary land rights. Naturally, in situations like this “creative” scientists will emerge out of the wood-works – like that famed Senior Lawyer claimed he is a Kandyan Arab?????

    Senguttuvan

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      @ Senguttuvan.

      Dogs are dogs! But for some dogs, some dogs are not dogs enough, or maybe for them some dogs aren’t dogs at all!

      Dogs mark their territory with their stinking piss, call it their territory, and then bark at any other dog that may happen to walk in.

      It seems some people aren’t different either!Bloody dogs!

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    Correction – Not “over a century” but over a millennium.

    Senguttuvan

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