By Latheef Farook –
The speech of Ven. Galagodatte Gnanasara Thera at a public meeting in Kandy on March 17 shamed the nation and sent shudders over the spines of the island’s Muslim community.
Addressing the gathering Bodu Bala Sena Secretary Ven. Galagodatte Gnanasara Thera asked the Sinhalese to rise against the island’s Muslims, whom he described in very derogatory terms not worthy of a monk, besides accusing Muslims of converting Buddhists into Islam and treating Sinhalese girls and boys in their establishments as slaves.
Inciting them he also asked all Sinhalese girls working for Muslim owned establishments to leave. However he had conveniently forgotten to ask Sinhalese working in the Gulf to return home!
The manner in which he expressed his hatred in his drive to provoke the Sinhalese against Muslims made one to ask whether we are living in the medieval era or in the globalized era in 2013. The irony is that this hate campaign is taking place in a country where Buddhist civilization, known for its teaching of peace, harmony and tolerance, flourished for more than 2550 years.
The tragedy is that this fascism is unfolding four years after ending the thirty year ethnic carnage which was the direct outcome of the racist policies of misguided politicians of the two major communities- Sinhalese and Tamils. Although the Muslims were not direct parties to the conflict they too suffered as a result of the war which was the direct outcome of racist policies.
It was against these very same Muslims the Jathika Hela Uruma, Bodu Bala Sena, Sinhala Ravaya, JHU-BBS-SR BBS, combine started inciting Sinhalese not realizing the inherent dangers involved to the whole country.
The disgusting state of affairs was such that Muslims in and around Kandy remained in doors on March 17 and most of them observed a day long fast. Realizing the seriousness of this unwarranted provocation by a small but very well organized heavily funded and government backed group of few hundreds, large number of Sinhalese met their Muslim neighbors and friends in and around Kandy to assure them that they have nothing to do with the BBS. Some even said that “BBS which appeared from nowhere has become a source of embarrassment to Sinhalese”.
Today Muslims living in small numbers amidst predominantly Sinhalese areas spend sleepless nights fearing a July 1983 type attack on them. The deafening silence among the Sinhalese and the government’s refusal to bring these lawless elements to book is deeply disturbing and frightening.
All what the Muslims are asking the government is to stop this hooliganism and stop poisoning the minds of innocent people including children. However the government has been silent which was exploited by the JHU-BBS-SR combine to carry out their destructive campaign.
Under such circumstance inevitably the mood among the Muslim community is that of gloom with many young families asking “where are we heading and what is the future of our children?
The JHU-BBS-SR threat remains the common topic of discussions at every Muslim gathering including funerals. With one voice they criticize Muslim politicians for their failure to raise this issue. Muslims now openly call their politicians to either stop this rising fascism which could set ablaze the nation or resign from the government.
Muslim community has lost confidence in their parliamentarians long before the JHU-BBS SR hate Muslim campaign began in view of their failure to stand up to Muslim rights on many issues. However today the mood is nothing but anger.
Muslims fear that the present hate campaign is a conspiracy to provoke them to react to justify a violent attack on them to commemorate the centenary of 1915 Sinhala- Muslim riot perhaps also to please their suspected Israeli-Norwegian masters .
They are least bothered about the harm they are causing to the image of the Sinhala community and the destruction to their own country. As rightly pointed out by Ven Dhambara Amila Thero, Senior Lecturer at Sri Jayawardanapura University,” these people think that the world is inside Sri Lanka though Sri Lanka is part of the world
This fear is justified by the manner in which the JHU-BBS SR combine had taken the law into their hands and become a government within government committing actions in violation of the very same Buddhist principles which they claim to profess and protect.
They openly attack mosques, destroy shrines, go on street demonstrations with posters of pigs with the Arabic word Allah on its face, posters of Holy Ka’ba with a dog on it ,doctors trying to sterilize women who went for delivery, attacking girls wearing hijab and abaya and many more. Muslim minister of justice cannot ensure justice to his own community and the country has descended to such low ebb that a Muslim woman cannot walk freely without the fear of being attacked.
This hooliganism was perpetrated under the watchful eyes of the police which refuses to arrest them stating that THERE ARE “orders from the top not to interfere”.
In this dark hour the disturbed Muslim community was given a clear message by the government. The message was that they are not wanted when state patronage was given to the inaugural ceremony of a cultural center at Galle gifted to BBS by a German, alleged to be a Jew. Perhaps the Jewish methods of saying “thank you” to BBS for successfully pitting the Sinhalese against Muslims
This reminds the country of late President J.R.Jayawardene’s arrogant dismissal of Muslims when he said “Muslim can stay or leave the government” when he brought the Israelis to fight the LTTE. However it didn’t take long for the country to realize that the very Israelis brought to fight LTTE trained the very same LTTE while training Sri Lankan soldiers too.
Perhaps no lessons learnt yet.
The outcome of Jayewardene’s arrogance was the emergence of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress which further divided the communities and contributed to where the country is today though the mistake was realized later and the National Unity Alliance was formed. Time alone will tell the political implications of the current government’s policy towards Israelis, turning blind eye to BBS hooliganism, overall Sinhalisation and the systematic sidelining of Muslims.
In fact the current unfolding disaster is not something unexpected especially with the presence of Israelis who, many suspect, have picked up the JHU-BBS-SR combine to do their dirty job of pitting Sinhalese against Muslims in Sri Lanka
Right now the Muslim community feels that it was abandoned by the government and betrayed by their own politicians. Their appeal to the government is to contain this ethno religious fascism to avert any potential disaster which the country can ill afford. Their appeal to Muslim parliamentarians is to leave the government and stop humiliating the Muslim community.
What the JHU-BBS-SR combine refuse to understand is that the world, especially Muslims worldwide, is watching us.