21 October, 2019

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Boycotting Muslim Businesses & Stoning Offenders: Democracy Fails When Citizens Fail To Speak Up

By W A Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Two prescriptions containing punishment for correction

News was out last week that the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka had made a controversial public pronouncement. I believe that he has mostly been misunderstood by his critics as well as his followers. The Venerable Thero, in his wisdom, had diagnosed a gloomy future for the Sinhalese Buddhists in the country and come up with two prescriptions as the solution.

One was that, as a protection tactic, he had advised the Sinhala Buddhists not to patronise the businesses owned my Muslims because, in his opinion, they were on a mission to destroy the Sinhala Buddhist nation. The other was an endorsement, albeit quite unwillingly, of a suggestion said to have been made by some lay-female Buddhist devotees. Apparently, they are said to have opined that a Muslim physician alleged to have sterilised thousands of Sinhala Buddhist mothers should be stoned by way of punishment.

If true, this had been a horrendous crime committed against humanity deserving punishment in its severest form. The Chief Prelate had not said that it was only the Muslims that should be punished. He had said that if it had been committed by a Sinhalese physician, he deserved to be cut into pieces. This part of his speech had been missed by his critics as well as his fans:

Punishing an offender by stoning is a practice being adopted widely in certain Islamic countries today. Similarly, cutting an offender into pieces is one of the 32 types of punishments meted to guilty persons by ancient Sinhala kings. These two prescriptions indicate that the Chief Prelate is a firm believer in punishment for correction of errant citizens, a course not endorsed by the Buddha in any form.

The Buddha’s prescription was to win over critics through fair dialogue

This was surely a verbal onslaught delivered by the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter without considering its subsequent repercussions. It was sweet music to those extreme elements among the Sinhalese who were waiting for validation of their ulterior motive of displacing Muslims who were in business. Hence, it attracted criticism on two counts.

First, it has been said that it is improper for a disciple of the Buddha, an Enlightened One who had propagated compassion even to unseen species, to spread venom in to the hearts of the people. Second, some had demanded the Government to take legal action against him for creating disharmony among different religious groups in the country.

In my view, the more appropriate way to handle his case has been not via legal action but by following the Buddha’s prescription when faced with such a disagreeing situation. In the Brahmajala Sutta in Digha Nikaya, the Buddha had advised the Bhikkus that they should not be offended by dispraise of the Buddha by critics and nor should they be elated by praises of the Buddha by praising tongues. That was because either reaction was harmful to the Bhikkus. In the case of dispraise, the Bhikkus have to unravel the falsehood and explain to the critics that for such and such reason, what the critics have said is untrue. If it is praise, instead of being jubilant, they should explain in all humbleness for such and such reasons, what is said is true.

It should, therefore, be explained to the Chief Prelate that ‘for these reasons, he may be correct and for these reasons, he is wrong’. As a true disciple of the Buddha, he should have an open mind to listen to and grasp such explanations.

Repercussions should be taken into account 

The Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter is an influential Buddhist monk who could, through his discourses, change the course of Sri Lanka’s future.

He had made his call on Sinhala Buddhists, but Sri Lanka is a nation made up of multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual Homo sapiens. Consequently, any change in the perception, mindset and goals of Sinhala Buddhists has far-reaching influence on the Sinhala Buddhists and their interconnection with other ethnic and religious groups. The new Sri Lankan outlook so created will have repercussions, both beneficial and injurious, on its connection with the global community at large out there.

As the Buddha had preached, what we have today is the fruit of a cause created yesterday. What we will have tomorrow is the outcome of what we have done today. Because of these wide repercussions, it is necessary to have a productive multilogue – a discussion participated by many at the same time – across the nation to identify the validities as well as shortcomings of what the Chief Prelate had opined in his wisdom.

While many critics have roundly condemned his speech, no one has attempted to analyse it in finer detail. There has been a strange silence by the Buddhist clergy or other religious leaders about the opinion expressed by the Chief Prelate.

In this background, a lone Buddhist monk, Ven. Galkande Dhammananda, has broken the silence by reminding Sri Lankans of the Buddha’s preaching that one should not spread hatred in one’s speech. Even then, he has been careful not to refer to the two prescriptions suggested by the Chief Prelate.

Man in the street is alive to the issue

Even though this issue has not been discussed in minute detail by the intelligentsia of the country, the situation at the street level has been different. My hairdresser has been jubilant over what the Chief Prelate had pronounced and he could not hide his admiration about it. In his view, Sri Lanka is poor today because of the domination of the economy by Muslims, though it was a fallacious conclusion. Similar strong sentiments were expressed by three-wheel drivers whom I normally engage for short trips.

There was hardly anyone who spoke of the long term adverse consequences of the two prescriptions made by the Chief Prelate. Those who endorsed him did not mind even the twisting of the legal system if it helped them to find the alleged parties guilty.

An informal multilogue

In this background, I got the opportunity to eavesdrop a multilogue that took place among some construction workers – tile layers, helpers and errand boys – who were laying tiles in a new house being built next to mine. It was a welcome development that they had chosen to discuss an important current issue in public. Such open discussions are a must for democracy to survive and prosper.

Animal characters are present in groups

In group dynamics, those who participate in group discussions are usually equated to characters borrowed from the animal world.

There are foxes that turn groups upside down by throwing incendiary opinions into the group. They enjoy immensely when their malicious interventions derail the group from its normal goal. Opposite to them, there are rabbits that outsmart foxes by presenting alternative opinions.

There are tigers who are simply censors. When they hear something in the group discussion which they do not like, they simply growl to compel others to forced silence.

A giraffe in the group will use its long neck to spy on others but do not talk at group discussions at all. Doves are the peace makers in groups when they become violent.

Lions sit on judgment and when the parties begin to fight with each other, separate them by roaring so that they could continue the group discussions. They are the people who put sanity into the heads of group members by impartially and objectively explaining facts to them.

A heated discussion

In this particular group in my neighbourhood, I found the presence of all the animals mentioned above.

The fox said that the Sinhala Buddhist nation is being destroyed by Muslims who have the ulterior motive of taking command of the Sri Lankan state and along with that, Sri Lanka’s economy as well. Echoing the sentiments expressed by the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter, the fox very forcefully suggested that the Buddhists should boycott the Muslim businesses. He also said that in Islamic countries, the offenders of serious crimes are stoned to death and similar punishments should also be introduced in Sri Lanka too.

He was not countered directly by anyone in the group, but the rabbit very respectfully presented that it might create problems for them too because they would not be able to continue their jobs. The tiger did not like it and it immediately put the rabbit to silence by growling at what it said.

There was a giraffe in the group and it simply looked at each other’s face without uttering a single word. It appeared that the giraffe did not understand what was going on.

The lion in the group was the young house owner who has been working in an Islamic state in the Middle East. It was his job to put sanity into the heads of the group members but he very strangely kept himself silent. There was no need for a dove because the group discussion did not turn violent. After about a half an hour, it seemed that they all had become bored of the issue and changed the topic.

The strange silence of the lion

What was obvious in this multilogue was the failure of the lion – the wise man in the group – to analyse the issue and present it in such a way that other members could easily grasp it. When an economy is keeping itself at low ebb, everyone suffers but there is a tendency to find a villain responsible for their hardships. With its low economic growth for the last seven years without any hope of an economic recovery within the foreseeable future, it is natural for Sinhala traders in Sri Lanka to harbour the thought that it is the Muslim traders who are responsible for it.

Hence, without much thought, they tend to plead to the Sinhala people to boycott Muslim business enterprises. But what they do not realise is that an economy, like any other ecosystem, is interconnected with different communities feeding on and nourishing each other at the same time.

An economy is made up of different parts 

An economy is a wonderful creature made up of a large number of people belonging to many different religions, ethnic groups, races, castes or classes. All these people are interconnected and interdependent. They are organised to fulfil only one objective: That is, to provide the maximum wellbeing to everyone. Each person is a cog in a massive cog-wheel that turns constantly to produce goods and services needed by people in an economy. Each cog is important and needed for this production process.

One cannot give undue importance to one particular cog and downplay the role played by others; they all are equally important and needed for the massive cog-wheel to turn smoothly. Thus, when Muslim businesses are boycotted, the businesses belonging to Sinhala Buddhists too are affected. Because of the interdependency, when Muslim businesses collapse, so do the businesses belonging to the Sinhalese. If this simple truth is not understood by the Sinhalese, they would perish along with the Muslims.

Every organ in the human body is important

This process can be equated to the functioning of the human body consisting of many different parts and organs. Nature has seen to it that all those parts and organs are needed for the perfect working of the body. There is no single organ or single part that does not provide a useful service to the overall working of the body.

For instance, till recently, many believed that the appendix in the human body does not provide any service and, therefore, could be excised without loss to the body’s functions. But the scientists at Duke University in USA have now found that the appendix is a depository of beneficial bacteria that are needed for the proper digestion of foods in the stomach and whenever those bacteria are depleted due to illness or medication, the appendix releases such bacteria from its stocks.

Thus, removing or constraining the working of a single organ or a part of a body makes it imperfect and the person owning the body will feel its adverse effects forthwith.

Hand cannot fight with leg without destroying itself

Then, what happens if one part, say the hand, declares war on another part, say the leg, alleging that the leg is trying to take over the body making the hand unimportant? Surely, this war will not be beneficial to the overall functioning of the body because the war will make it impotent and imperfect. Both the hand and the leg are interconnected and interdependent; one cannot function without the other. If the hand is successful in paralysing the leg, then, the hand too gets paralysed and the body becomes disfunctioning.

Fortunately, in such a disastrous conflict, there is a supreme arbiter who will discipline the wrongly moving hand. That arbiter is the brain which does not take sides and functions only with the objective of maintaining the stability and sustenance of the overall body. In other words, the brain views the overall picture and sees beyond the narrow vision of the hand.

If the brain of a nation – religious leaders and politicians – incites one organ of the body to declare war against another organ, the eventual casualty would be the body itself.

Civilised nations abhor cruel punishments

All civilised nations today have moved away from cruel punishments that are meted out to offenders. Though it is true that in some Islamic countries the offenders are hanged, beheaded or stoned in the town square publicly, it is not a good example for Sri Lanka to follow. Sri Lanka’s punishment system is well streamlined so as to be commensurate with the offence committed. Even though the capital punishment is there in the law book, it has not been carried out for the last four decades. Given this background, the suggestion that offenders should be stoned if they are Muslims and cut to pieces if they are Sinhalese means that Sri Lanka should throw away its much-praised civilisation and go backward in history to the era of savages.

The silent citizens are an enemy of democracy

In every society, there are some people whose job is to analyse issues and present to citizens so that they could make informed judgments. In group dynamics, it is the lion that has been entrusted with this responsibility. But, if the lion fails to do its job, so does the whole society. Hence, for democracy to survive and thrive, those who are responsible in societies to keep the masses educated should do their job without failure.

*The writer, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com

Previous parts of Enemies of Democracy can be read here

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Latest comments

  • 7
    0

    democracy what democracy….it can wait till the cricket world cup is over….the Sri Lankans are too busy with world cup parties……..win or lose …dancing to baila music by Sri Lankan bands at all cricket grounds ….Tamils..Sinhalease , Muslims, all race and religion.

    I am sure if this Thero was at the venue he would have protested at the unity shown by all Sri Lanknan fans….

    why cant the Sri Lankans replicate this unity back at home

  • 10
    1

    This monk has no right to animate the people this way. If he would continue with the kind of racial remarks, he should derobe himself and join hand with Rajaakshes men that have been doing anything and everything standing against minority muslims.
    We perfectly know muslims in general would not become extremists but a tiny group of the them does.
    We perfectly know not all buddhists and buddhists monks but some within SO CALLED BUDDHAGAMA followers ( that is necessarily not true teachings of buddha ) in the island are extremists .. for some reasons. They have been working for Rajaashes kalliya in their endeavours of toppling the current govt.
    .

    • 3
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      Dear Babalathappu
      You are very correct 💯%✔.
      Wish more of our people who call themselves Buddhists can be objective and rational as you are, especially the saffron clad lot, then perhaps this extended divide and rule system coming from the colonial time will slowly fade away.
      Politicians and leaders will have to look for honest ways of serving the people.

  • 4
    3

    Even ?Yesterday, one Easter Attack victim has died. What does Wijewardane have to say about that. People cannot have anger in them, bhikkus can not talk. [edited out]

    • 2
      1

      Bhikkuus can’t talk?

      But mullahs..imams ..musulims political coolies can talk.

      Often they bark jihad comedy ..now no more .because so scared .

      One horsebullah talked about a blood bath in the parliament same joker inside mosques fooled his own Musulims by sayimg Musulims are majority in the world .correct ?

      A citizen of this country must obey for the law.but here they want sharia law..dress ..food .

      Bring Mossad.

      Cheers

      • 2
        2

        Cholan

        “A citizen of this country must obey for the law”, Clap..clap…clap….way to live in a united SL, not a separate Eeeelam. Still late is better than never. Next steps, come down to our mother land, SL with pride. Don’t wait for the boat that transported you as an Eelamist there, get an air-ticket this time and come as a Sri Lankan.

  • 4
    4

    These unique kind of special Sri Lankan imbeciles have always had a free ride because of their positions.

    Why don’t we stone them for a change?

    If anything in Lanka is crying out for a stoning …….. it’s them!

    It’s not a nice thang to say ……….. but the truth is a difficult thing to put out in a nice way.

    • 3
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      Nimal Fernando,
      I question myself not once dozens of times how appalling levels of thinking, so called Asgiiriya is fallen into. If he says, that the MUSLIMS (not even those extremists) should be cut into pieces, the message itself contains his facistic nature. This man s public statements are more than like shooting onthe head of the innocient people.
      :
      That is why I believe, even if lanken society holds ASGIRIYA or other HIGH CHAPTER monks are the most sacred but they are beyond all ethics and morals.
      :
      Awarness can make these uneducated monks to some sense, that is what I believe.
      But entire structure being kept above the law, improvement of awareness is like waiting PIGs might fly.

  • 3
    3

    Monks are not above the law. arrest this bugger for incitement of violence. If not another civil war,and many more Zaharans. Already polerization and abuse of muslims at its zenith. We dont need a monk abusing budhism with his racist behaviour. We already have ratne and gnansaraya the authgama killer running around and keeping fire to the country.
    Just for statistics: Crude oil is given at 25% discount by Saudi Arabia to Sri Lanka.
    The largest net earner of USD is from middle east remmitances.
    72% Buddhist work in the middle east out of 1.8million sri lankens.
    The largest outright grants to Sri Lanka is from the middle-east.

    Lets cancel all the above like the monk says, in his racist rant. where will Sri Lanka be?

  • 4
    3

    It is reported Chief prelate has already withdrew his statement about stoning to deaths and other allegations. so, we should leave it for good..

    • 1
      1

      Lankan,
      My dear Lankan it is on record and he must apologies and say sorry. He could go to a church and confess as he cannot be considered a Buddhist.

    • 1
      1

      Lankan,
      My dear Lankan it is on record and he must apologies and say sorry. He could go to a church and confess as he cannot be considered a Buddhist.

  • 8
    1

    It is the Muslim business people who provided funds or who cashed Saudi Arabian dinars. Now, they are silent. Muslim businesses had supported an organized Genocide syndicate. Why Bhikkus should involve in everything of muslims. Why muslim businesses does not have any say in this.. Muslim businesses should go and talk to cardinal whose people were killed. I think wijewardane is not suitable as a VC. writes articles supporting religious intolerance. they are only there to get profits and supports Islam under the table.

  • 7
    3

    There is no real excuse to what this man said. Calling for the stoning of Muslims, at a time when there is so much of tension in the country, is unwarranted, and dangerous.
    Any religious leader that even hints of violence against other religions, is just as bad as the extremists who followed those evil convictions. They should choose their words carefully.
    Now is the time for healing, uniting, and reminding people that all are Sri Lankans.

  • 3
    1

    W A Wijewardena –

    “Democracy Fails When Citizens Fail To Speak Up”

    True.
    When the do gooders (Taraki, wannihami, …….) fail to speak up we continue to have riots, war, poverty, ……….etc.

  • 3
    2

    It is muslim businesses that should prove to the public that they do not support terrorism and they did not support terrorism. Why Bhikkus should involve in it and bhikkus can not discuss it. Is it because Protestant media,. particularly the NGO Kaakkaas of the international community are watching disguised as Media. It is the sinhala buddhist country, Thun Hele, Sivu Hele that both these groups are destroying. Maithripala sirisena is also being blamed everyday because of that. Even the Madush looks like a friend of International community if not why NGO kaakkaas are trying to commit suicide for Drug Barons, and European Union is trying to go to war with Sri lanka if Drug barons were hanged. Slaughter and animal meat businesses is owned entirely by Muslims and Liquor businesses are owned entirely by non-buddhist parliamentarians and their friends. why bhikkus are different in this christian buddhist Sri lanka.

  • 3
    1

    Dr. W.A Wijewardena,

    RE: Boycotting Muslim Businesses & Stoning Offenders: Democracy Fails When Citizens Fail To Speak Up

    Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhists” who are an Insult to the Buddha, are so thoroughly brainwashed by the Para-Sinhala Para-Monks, and they prostrate to them at the drop f a hat, because they have defined themselves as the Third Gem of Buddhism., and they do not deliver Nibbana nor Nirvana.

    So, these Mad monks say something like stoning etc, and the low IQ Para-Sinhala Buddhists, mean Q 79,, believe that. It is all self-interest and preserving their monkhood’s.
    At earlier tomes, they thought that the Para-Tamils were a threat. Now they also think, the Muslims are also a threat. This is Para-Sinhala Buddhism in a nutshell.

  • 4
    2

    The Mahanayaka cannot be above the law. If the Law is not applied equally here Buddhism will take over.” Ane Dewdath Noduti Mokpura.” Writer has brought down the Mahanayaka to the level of Barbers and three wheeler drivers one who recently reminded me of my mother after violating traffic rules.

    • 2
      1

      But these jokers have put sign boards in Arabic as they wish …above the law?

      One Muslulim coolie minister brought his 2 wives for a state function ( against protocol ? according to MR

      Musulim girls are being married at 12..13 age …above the law?

      Cheers

  • 2
    1

    Dr. W.A Wijewardena.

    Yes. What happened to the Sinhala Buddhists at the high end of the IQ distribution, who have some ethics, and who know what Buddhis is all about, as opposed to Para-Sinhala Buddhism?

    Yes. Why are they quiet? Is only Mangala Samaraweera the only guy left? Is it Para-Sinhala Buddhist racism?

  • 3
    2

    Dr. Wijewardene , it is ironic that Islamic radicalisation and Arabisation of the island’s fake Arab, largely low caste converted immigrant Tamil Muslims from South India , by all Sinhalese led governments and racists , as a tool to marginalise and dispossess the Island’s Tamils is now the very reason that is uniting the island’s Tamils and Sinhalese together as one people, against this foreign Arab Wahhabi cultural Islamic threat to both people. The Sinhalese people have now belatedly realised the truth, that by empowering these, opportunistic, selfish, nasty , evil, treacherous, backstabbing and now very aggressive and extremist Arabised, immigrant fake Arab Dravidian Muslims from South India , incorrectly calling themselves Moors, to very powerful positions , as a tool to marginalise and deny the just rights of the island’s indigenous Tamils from the north and east, especially in the east, has backfired and now they are also in danger from these , highly Arabised , converted Dravidian Muslim immigrants from South India. What was used as a tool to divide and marginalise the island’s Tamils, has only made them very powerful, with imagined, concocted histories and claims to Tamil lands in the east, where they arrived a few centuries ago as refugees and in reality have no legal or any valid claims to these lands.

    • 2
      0

      Contd: These selfish opportunistic, power hungry backstabbers were only beautifully playing the Sinhalese historical and ancient hatred and prejudice of the island’s Tamils, for their advantage, to establish their immigrant community on stolen Tamil lands in the east. This is the reason they played down their actual Tamil ethnicity and origin and played up their fake Arab origin and their Islamic religious identity as their major identity and created an ethnic identity solely based on their religious identity, found nowhere else in the world. There is no such thing called a Muslim race or ethnicity. If they want a separate identity, they should be correctly called as Tamil Muslims and not Moors. Moors are from North Africa. These people a Dravidian Tamil South Indian converts to Islam and not from North Africa or anywhere else. They were never patriotic but very opportunistic. Patriotic people would have stood up for justice and fairness, however they sensed a golden opportunity and joined the Sinhalese to marginalise, discriminated and steal the lands of their fellow non-Muslim Hindu and Christian Tamils in the name of Islam and an imagined Arab origin to justify their evil deeds. Even now they do not want the just demand of the Tamils obtaining a separate Tamil district/division in 100% Tamil lands in North Kalmunai but are agitating against it.

      • 2
        0

        Contd: This area is huge and 100% Tamil and what right have these immigrant converted refugees , who are only in the east and living in lands due to the generosity of the eastern Tamils a few centuries ago, to agitate against the indigenous Tamils. They have their own district in South Kalmunai but want to steal Tamil lands from North Kalmunai just like the Muslim Home Guards were killing raping m destroying Hindu temples and ethnically cleansing Hindu Tamil lands in the east and Muslim politicians openly boasting on video, as to how they were stealing large amounts of Tamil lands and Hindu temple lands in the east, illegally for Muslims, with powers given to them by this government. Now even Sinhalese Buddhist Monks have realised the grave injustice done to the eastern Tamils, who are fast become a much marginalised majority in their own lands and are have started to agitate for just Tamil rights in the north and east. It is ironic that the TNA is largely keeping quiet but Sinhalese Buddhist monks have started to fight for Tamil rights. Both people who have an ancient history and rights to different parts of the island, have now belatedly realised whilst they were fighting with each other, an immigrant community was using this as an opportunity, make themselves powerful and Arabise and introduce an alien language, culture and an extreme form of Islam into the island in the name of Islam and Wahhabism. Why are you quiet about this?

        • 2
          0

          contd: What ever sympathy I had for them is very fast vanishing with these peoples. continuous activities to deny the Tamil people in the island, especially in the east , where the Tamils are still the largest community and are the actual indigenous owners of the east and steal their land. Tamil people do not deny them anything and throughout history have treated them as fellow Tamils and given them refuge when they fled persecution from their original South Indian homeland then from the Portuguese , given them land and even Tamil Hindu women to start families but these ungrateful people brainwashed by their selfish elite and politicians to hate their own Tamil heritage and worship everything Arab and consider themselves as Arabs , have been constantly planning and plotting steal everything from the very same Tamil people who gave them refuge and side with anyone who will marginalise the Tamils in the name of fake patriotism , so that they can achieve their aim. The east first for Wahhanism , alien Arab language and culture for Islam and then the rest of the island.

    • 2
      1

      ‘these, opportunistic, selfish, nasty , evil, treacherous, backstabbing and now very aggressive and extremist Arabised, immigrant fake Arab Dravidian Muslims from South India , incorrectly calling themselves Moors,’

      Hmmmm so they are Tamils.

      • 0
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

      • 2
        0

        Taraki,
        They are Tamil Muslims.
        In South India, there are poets, professors, lawyers, politicians,scientists & others who are Muslims & who speak Tamil.
        Abdul Salam, former president of India, is/was a Tamil Muslim from South India.

        Muslims in the Eastern Sri Lanka too, are Tamil Muslims, but culturally different from their counterparts in South India.

        • 1
          0

          Thank you justice. Well said Cholan.

        • 1
          0

          Justice it was Abdul Kalam and he belonged to the Tamil Muslim Marrikar community from Ramanathapuram. Traditionally Marrikars were boat captains or navigators of Marrakallams , which was the profession of Abdul Kalam’s family. Just like most Indian Tamil Muslims, he was extremely proud of his Tami heritage and the Tamil language , even used to visit Hindu temples and speak the Brahmin priests. The late president Abdul Kalam , was an eminent scientist and was the father of Indian Atomic and Space science and was loved by all Indians. He was a very simple and nice man. Marrikar, Lebbai Rawther, Kutti, Kayalar, Thambi etc are all Tamil Muslims castes or communities. There is no such stupid thing called a Sinhala Marrikar , as one opportunistic Muslim politician from the central province was declaring himself for petty political and economic gains. Sinhala Marrikar and his mother only spoke Tamil. I hear his daughter now living in the UK is now continuing his anti Tamil activities, for her own petty political survival and gains. The Tamil Sufi Islamic tradition is around 900-1000 years old and very rich, beautiful and tolerant. Cirappuranam or Seerapuranam in the Tamil language, composed by Umaru Pulavar which is considered as one of his best works and is regarded as a valuable contribution to Tamil Islamic literature and is also considered one of the best works in Indian( meaning Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghan) Islamic literature.
          Lots of these ancient Tamil Islamic songs and traditions are still continued even in the deep south like Hambantota.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRbe-UqeEzU

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXfPFxfy7ZM

  • 2
    1

    CT, without violating your comments policy, I would like to state the following with a view to stimulate debate on the nationally important issue of proposed movement to boycott Muslim businesses in Sri lanka.
    /
    I strongly disagree with the writer’s proposition that boycotting Muslim business enterprises would be damaging because, “like in any other ecosystem, is interconnected with different communities feeding on and nourishing each other at the same time.”
    /
    The last part of the writer’s assumption shows deep ignorance about the “Muslim” business model. It is widely known among non-Muslim entrepreneurs that Sri Lankan Muslims rarely enter in to partnerships with other non-Muslim businessmen and they are renowned for forming cartels in any business they get in to (eg, rice and spices), that tend to exploit the producer and the consumer alike by buying cheap and selling dear.
    /
    Apart from this crucial difference that demolishes the writer’s core argument, it must be pointed out that the issue of boycotting ‘any’ business is a totally legitimate response consumers are entitled to. Currently there is a broad Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, aimed at ending international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. And the Jews are (unsuccessfully) throwing the same and other arguments to derail the BDS movement.
    /
    What is fair and reasonable against the Jewish suppression of Muslims in another part of the world is certainly fair against the many plots that are being discovered in this country on a daily basis.

    • 1
      1

      Hatred does not cease by hatred, hatred ceases only with love. (The Buddha).
      Think about this my friend. Stop stewing in your own ignorance and suffering.
      It is quite obvious that those who are less prosperous would always seek someone else to blame and punish.
      We all know how our people have been blaming muslims on all sorts of fake charges since 2010/2011.
      Yet we didn’t see and didn’t see the actual attack coming, in spite of numerous warning and signs. That is the validity and logic of our sinhalese people.
      Find something to keep yourself busy and do something productive with your time, instead of being Jealous of successful businesses and trying to find all excuses to sabotage them.
      This story of yours is like a broken record. Come up with something original if you really want to make a change.

    • 1
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      Dear Ashvin Perera
      A small quibble. Just to reiterate on CT that the BDS movement is not strictly against Israel, but against the products of the illegal settlements.

  • 2
    4

    This write-up is an attempt at cover up the hatred filled despicable statements made by a head Monk of a Nikaya. What the Monk said has been distorted and presented. Listen carefully. He suggested that the alleged Dr. Shafi be stoned to death, and further he said, ‘if this was done by one of us, they (the Muslims) would have sliced us into pieces.’ Not the version presented by this writer, in which he distorts what was said to mean, ‘if this was done by a Sinhala physician he deserves to be sliced to pieces.’ Big difference. We need to call the bluff when we see one. This monk’s trend of thought does not do justice to the writer’s claim, as he (the monk) attributes all forms of violent punishment to the other side and not to his own side.

  • 3
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    Although in a small dose, I am glad at least one intelligentsia has stood up on behalf of the Sinhala Buddhists in this great hour of danger to their existence in their own land which they have protected and sustained for 2500 years.

    After the dire situation which the Country faced with the prospect of dissection in to Sinala and Demala Lands, with the Muslims having to live in mainly in the Sinhala lands, the Rajapaksa regime brought in Peace , Harmony and at least a Little Prosperity to the Nation.

    After Dr Ranil and the SLFP Breakaway were bestowed on us as the Rulers by the by the Conspiracy of the Century which was engineered by the UNP , the West and the Diaspora , it didn’t take long to put our inhabitants back to the 90s when the terrorism reigned supreme .

    Under this Regime it took only 4 years for the Muslim Terrorists to take Suicide Bombings to the next level, and destroy the Srilankan Catholic Community in One hit on their Holiest Day.-

    This happened while the Muslims controlled 30 Percent of Dr Ranil’s UNP Cabinet.

    Instead of trying to find how the Muslims could inflict such a disaster on the Catholic Community, who are the Sinhala people in the main, the Government is hell bent on attacking the Sinhala Buddhist and their Monks every which way using their friendly Media and even their own UNP Ministers to cover up the disaster and protect the perpetrators..

    The main weapon in their armory seems to be these attacks on the Sinhala Buddhists and their Monks.
    Mr Mangala Samaraweer’s recent declarations are vivid examples..

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      Hello KAS,
      When u say attacking Buddhist & Buddhist monks, u r talking about Buddhists & monks who have turned knowledge base Buddhism into another faith based religion with the concept of Superhuman Creator. The duty of Buddhist monks is not to behave like members of a militia or a cult. Also, it is increasingly clear that the 21/4 attack has been carried out by very small group of young Muslims most of whom were angered by harassment by extreme elements within MaRa politics. I can see that u r one of them. I suggest u to read my comment for details.

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    There are no difference between Prabakaran, Zaharan, Warakagoda, Gnansara, Pillayan, Athuriyala and Karuna Amman. All these vermins are ruthless terrorists and must be exterminated if you are looking for a peaceful Sri Lanka.

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    Thank you for your words of wisdom Dr. Wijewardena , hope the CT ‘lynch mob’ does’nt come after you .

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    Always blame the other side for your own failures and deficiencies, seems to be what is being promoted. An inferiority complex issue. A failing economy, blame the Muslims and their climb to success. They fail to realize how many of their own people (a majority of the workforce) are earning wages by working in those successful business houses. A false sense of falling birth rates, blame the Muslims for their rights to have upto 4 wives and children by the dozens, and causing infertility to their own women. This madness is an incurable sickness. We must be the laughing stock to the rest of the world.

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      ‘Always blame the other side for your own failures and deficiencies,’

      Yes that is the Muslim way. Divert attention from the murder of 250+ people in the Easter bombings. Very smart.

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        Taraki

        “‘Always blame the other side for your own failures and deficiencies,’
        Yes that is the Muslim way.”

        It is Tamil way too, Oh it is also Christian way, come to think of it is also Burgher’s way, Hindu’s way, ………………. Sinhala/Buddhist never ever blamed the victims for their sin.

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    Why not throw stones at this lizzard

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    How in heaven’s name can a true Buddhist who endorses punishment (denounced by the Buddha) for fellow humans be regarded as a Buddhist, let alone a prelate!

    These men in robes sitting on their ‘high caste’ thrones are an insult to the Buddha and his Dhamma.

    Calling Sri Lanka the ‘Cradle of Theravada Buddhism’ is a joke.

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    the state issinhala buddhist. How many divisions has the citizen

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    With all respect to the author, any defense or even an explanation of what the prelate said contextually or otherwise is tantamount to tacit endorsement of what this Monk said. The reason for saying this is that whatever way one looks at what was said, it was not in keeping with basic Buddhist principles which, out of all people, the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya sect should be be espousing to Buddhists. Surely if the Mahanayake encourages a violent approach to protecting Buddhism, what is the difference between that and extremist Muslims who are also trying to save their interpretation of Islam by resorting to violence? This is what the prelate said ““Mayantha here was talking earlier about how Muslims shouldn’t be sidelined… But even I will say now, don’t go to these Muslim owned shops, don’t consume the food they offer,” the Asgiri Chief prelate said while adding, “The Muslims don’t love us [Sinhalese]…” .“I overheard some Upaasaka Ammas here speaking of how these doctors must be stoned to death. . . I will not say it should happen, but that is what should happen…If one of our people committed such crimes against them [Muslims], we would have been sliced to death…”
    It is time we all called a spade a spade , and not waltzed around the truth that this prelate was not approaching the issue in hand in keeping with Buddhist principles. His theme was violence, whether he encouraged it or referred to others who were resorting to violence. Instead, he should have been talking about inclusivity and inter communication between Sinhala Buddhists and Muslims, and non violent approaches to the issue in hand. There cannot be any “Ifs” and “buts” and provisos. There cannot be any shades of Grey. Either a Buddhist Monk sticks to Buddhist principles of Ahimsa, Tolerance and Metta or they leave the Monkhood and become lay persons.

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    All bullshit.

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    The fox which placed the groundwork for the present state of anarchy in this country is non other than Rajapaksha (take your pick from Mara, Gota, etc., all are the same). This priest is an ardent follow of this fox and praises him to high heavens. Now being silent at this Buddhist priest’s rantings and ravings and failing to correct him, Rajapaksha has become an ENEMY OF DEMOCRACY.

    Thank you Mr. Wijewardena, for your timely analysis. You would have done your duty as a true citizen of Sri Lanka had you written this piece and sent it to all newspapers and released to all media immediately upon hearing this hate speech from the most reverend Buddhist monk. It is a little too late now.

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    Sri Lanka doesn’t need laws, Mahanayakes are the rulers, and they issue decrees.

    Sri Lanka and the rule of law parted ways long ago.

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    “The silent citizens are an enemy of democracy”. Spot on Dr W A Wijewardena. How do you rekindle the “fire in the belly” for good democracy, in Sri Lankans??This is where the challenge lies.
    Even against the high hand tactics of China, Hong Hong’s protesters raised their say. Can you do it Sri Lanka.

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    Oh yes – they are always misunderstood, misquoted and misrepresented.

    The plain meaning of what he said and meant was clear.

    I refer you to the Sinhala saying about what the mouth says and tongue speaks.

    That is what it was all about.

    Good luck.

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    Even though I can offer nothing praise for ideas like these, I must also say that this situation of secular intellectuals advising how leading Buddhist monks should express their opinions exposes a precarious status Buddhism has been brought to by those who have taken pledge to protect it! Politicization of Sangha Sasanaya & Turning Buddhism into another faith based religion certainly has a long history perhaps to the time of king Dutugamunu but, unlike in the past where knowledge was centered only on monasteries & only a few privileged people had access to the knowledge, in the knowledge based modern world such where knowledge can be easily accessed, religious leaders including Buddhist monks no longer cannot dictate opinions even on purely technical matters.
    I don’t think that this change is unique only to Buddhism. All other religions experienced the same historical transition from user friendly teaching to rigidly institutionalized dogmatism. The first signs of challenge to religious dogmatism began to appear with Christianity in Europe. The expansion of what is known as “the scientific thinking” in 17th century aided by the invention of printing set the foundation the challenge. The famous story of Galileo and the Inquisition by the Roman catholic church on him is one such example of the fledgling science challenging dogmatic version of religions. The Jihadism challenge to Muslim, albeit its lack of any effect of modern philosophy of science, may also represent a similar conflict of theory versus dogmatism.
    I think that Buddhism is also facing head on this challenge pauses by what is known as “scientific thing”. However, leading Buddhist monks seem to be oblivious to their real challenge. That may be the reason they still consider other faith based religions such as Christianity, Hinduism & Muslims as pausing threats. But, this should be an unfounded fear b’cos Buddhism as knowledge based religion that should easily stand above any faith based religion, at least in theory.

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