19 September, 2020

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CSOs Condemns Anti Muslim Rhetoric And Attacks

By Colombo Telegraph

Civil Society statement on  Anti Muslim Rhetoric and Attacks;

In recent months there has been an increased outpouring of virulent anti-Muslim sentiment by persons claiming to speak for all Sinhala Buddhists. Organized groups led by Buddhist monks have held public meetings, distributed pamphlets, and made press statements.   Articles in mainstream Sinhala and English newspapers have propagated ethnic and religious hatred. In addition, there have been hate campaigns via SMS, email, and face book. The consequences of this rhetoric were most apparent in the Dambulla Mosque incident where a group led by a Buddhist Monk threatened the mosque with destructionon the 20th of April 2012. More recently there have been attacks against Muslim businesses. On 24th January this year, for instance, a “demonstration” in Kuliyapitiya was orchestrated; it seems, for the sole purpose of insulting and inciting a reaction from Muslims.

The attacks on Muslims have been directed at everything: the certificationof food products as halal; the practice of hijab, abhaya and nikab among Muslim women; the beard worn by Muslim men; the azaan or call for prayer from the mosques; the Muslims’ practice of closing businesses for Friday prayers; the prevalence of certain sectarian differences among Muslims;and the ongoing debate regarding methods of slaughter for the consumption of meat. The hate rhetoric invokes the violence in certain Muslim identified countries, action of the Saudi Arabian regime, and jihadi terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The rhetoric is formulated as a concern about “Islamic Extremism” and its threat to Sinhala Buddhism.The content of this anti-Muslim rhetoric of hate is informed by globally prevalent stereotypes regarding Muslims that have proliferated as a consequence of the American led “War on Terror.”

Muslims’ distinctive dress and heightened religious and ethnic identity arethe outcome of worldwide Islamic reform. Some of the hate seems to be directed at these changes within Muslim communities. However the rhetoric also reflects an absence of knowledge regarding the actual lived experiences of most Muslims in Sri Lanka. Most of the hate rhetoric calls upon local Muslims to defend the actions of their co-religionists elsewhere in the world. These positions attempt to interpret Sri Lanka’s Buddhist heritage in a highly restricted manner with the purpose of denying individuals from other ethnic or religious communities their rights as equal citizens guaranteed by the Constitution of Sri Lanka.  

This hate campaign has intensified over the last few months and the Government of Sri Lanka has done nothing substantial to condemn or to make clear that inciting hatred against minority communities will not be tolerated. The press reported recently that the President called on these groups to refrain from inciting hate; and the President’s Independence Day address criticized such incitement. This is  indeed a good sign, but more is needed. At a minimum the government should investigate accusations of hate speech/writing and prosecute when necessary.

It is disturbing that this kind of misinformed display of hate has been tolerated for this long in our society. Even a few years ago these sorts of sentiments would have been unacceptable and would have been easily identified as fringe positions that have no real support within the larger community.  Where are the moderate voices among our social political and religious leadership? Where is the saner counsel and why has it not prevailed? It is time that those of us who are disturbed at this turn of events make our voices heard. It is time that we rallied and stated our position against these sentiments before it is too late.

Sri Lanka is currently recovering from a brutal war  and entering an extremely crucial time in its history.  Today we are confronting a host of difficult issues regarding the nature of our state and society:maintaining the structures to ensure good governance, relations between majority and minority communities, and the challenges of poverty and development.

The fundamental questions that we need to address for the much needed reconstitution of our fractured polityare being eclipsed by the easier processes of demonizing a readily available ethnic/ religious “other”. What is of course  disturbing about this phenomenon is that it is all too familiar from another time in our history.  The demonizing of Tamils occurred in a similar manner.It should not be forgotten that it is a combination of the fear mongering and violence of July 1983 and the unleashing of state terror that escalated the Tamil struggle into one of the most costly wars of our history.  We are still to address the wounds of those years of conflict let alone recover from them; this preoccupation with yet another form of otherness is a symptom of this neglect.

At a time when we need to foreground our common humanity rather than the differences spawned by a long and difficult war, we must not permit thebaser elements of our society to be our only voices. This post war period presents an opportunity to embrace the richness of our diverse cultural identities. Sri Lanka belongs to all her people—Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim (Moor and Malay), Burgher; minorities and the, majority. It is this diverse mix of cultures that has enriched Sri Lankan art and architecture, culture, food, politics and history for many centuries.We, the Sri Lankan people should not allow a xenophobic minority to define who we are.

Endorsements for the Statement.

  1. All Ceylon Fisher Peoples Trade Union
  2. Centre for Human Rights and Development
  3. Center for Social Concerns, Jaela
  4. Center for Women and Development
  5. Center for Policy Alternatives
  6. Centre for Women’s Research
  7. Ceylon Teachers Union
  8. Ceylon Federation of Labour
  9. Child Vision, Puttalam
  10. Council for Social Democracy
  11. Commercial and Industrial Workers Union
  12. Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA)
  13. Food, Beverages and Tobacco Industries Union
  14. Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union
  15. Future in Our Hands Development Fund, Badulla
  16. Government Printers Union
  17. Health Services Trade Union Alliance
  18. IMADR Asia Committee
  19. Independent Port Employees Union
  20. Insurance Employees Union
  21. International Center for Ethnic Studies
  22. Islamic Welfare Organization, Samanthurai
  23. Justice for Victims
  24. Kantha Shakthi
  25. Kinniya Vision
  26. Law and Society Trust
  27. Lawyers Collective
  28. Lawyers for Democracy
  29. Meepura News
  30. Mothers and Daughters of Lanka
  31. Mosque Federation Ampara District
  32. Muslim Woman Development Trust, Puttalam
  33. Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum
  34. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO)
  35. National Free Trade Union.
  36. National Peace Council
  37. People Help Foundation, Mannar
  38. People’s Forum – Mutur
  39. Progress Union
  40. Red Flag Women’s Movement, Kandy
  41. Research and Action Forum for Social Development, Puttalam
  42. Rights Now Collective for Democracy
  43. Rural Development Foundation, Puttalam
  44. Sainthamarathu Welfare Organization
  45. Secretariat for Muslims
  46. Social Scientists’ Association
  47. South Asian Free Media Association Sri Lanka Chapter
  48. Sri Lanka Development Journalists’ Forum
  49. Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum
  50. Suriya Women’s Development Center Batticaloa
  51. United Federation of Labour
  52. United Health Services Union
  53. University Teachers for Democracy and Dialogue
  54. Uva Shakti Foundation, Badulla
  55. Uva Wellassa Govi Kantha Organization, Buttala
  56. Vikalpani Women’s Alliance,  Malabe
  57. Women and Media Collective
  58. Women Development Center, Badulla
  59. Women Development Social Federation, Pottuvil
  60. Women Resource Centre, Kurunegala
  61. Women’s Education and Research Center
  62. Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management –Batticaloa
  63. Young Asia Television

 

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Latest comments

  • 0
    1

    Swift condemnation from all sections of society will help douse the flames of racism ignited by a few misguided elements. The nation cannot tolerate this type of racism and must be countered without delay. Police must take action against such hate mongers.

  • 0
    0

    Where are the four Maha Nayakes?Why are they silent?Afraid of the thugs or of loosing their income?

  • 0
    0

    For Creating such a situation Muslims also must be blamed for their actions.It was a research conducted by Rayawa news paper which reveled that Shops like Nolimit employes only Sinhalese girls as their sales assistants and the male counter parts of them are Muslims.Reason for this is very clear and no explanation is needed.When Pakistan plays cricket with Srilanka, Muslims in Srilanka cheer and light crackers when pakistan defeats Srilanka.( This was seen in kandy Katugasthota several times)This is how srilankan Muslims behave.They have no allegiance to the country of their birth their allegiance is only for the religion.It is not surprising if Saudi Arabia invades this country tomorrow almost all the Muslims will take the side of Saudi Arabia.This is the truth how ever much it is bitter.

    • 0
      0

      @Lion, this is not a problem at all ! The BBS should discourage their Sinhalese sisters from taking employment at NoLimit. I am sure NL will gladly offer emploment to Tamil and Muslims instead. In any case for your complaint to be credible, you should try and collect actualemployment figures and base your case on facts. The support for Pakistan I assure you is from an insignificant minority. If this is irritating, then we should as civilized people try friendly pursuation to change their attitude. Not to blame a whole community, falsely assuming that they are unpatriotic and threaten to shed blood for it. As for the hypothetical suggestion of Saudi Arabia invading Sri Lanka I think even Goebbels would have been proud of you for this fantasy!

    • 0
      0

      “LION”- ABSOLUTE BULL-SHIT. YOUR IMAGINATION IS RUNNING RIOT.
      WHY THE HECK SHOULD SAUDI INVADE SRI LANKA?
      FOR MUSLIMS RELIGION COMES FIRST BUT THEY ARE NOT TRAITORS.
      GO INTO HISTORY . IT IS “BALU SINHAYAS” LIKE YOU GAVE YOUR BELOVED COUNTRY TO FOREIGNERS ON A PLATTER.
      YOU FELLOWS ARE SUFFERING FROM SOME ILLNESS-“FEAR PSYCHOSIS”
      FOR EVERY DAMN THING THAT GOES WRONG THE MUSLIM IS TO BLAME.

      YOU SHAMELESS BUGGERS EXPORT YOUR WOMEN TO MUSLIMS FOR THE
      DOLLARS.IF NOT FOR THE RIYALS AND DINARS YOU SINHAYAS WOULD HAVE DROWNED
      BY NOW.
      BEFORE YOU WRITE THINK, THAT IS IF YOU HAVE A BRAIN.
      YOU ARE LAZY LOUTS, SO YOU FIRST HIT THE TAMILS,NOW YOU ARE TRYING THE SAME GAME. MUSLIMS ARE NOT GETTING PROVOKED AND ACTING WITH RESTRAINT.

      YOU ARE INVITING THE TALIBAN AND AL QAEDA.

      REMEMBER WHEN IT WAS SAID THE LTTE WERE IN COLOMBO YEARS AGO.
      I SAW THE HALF PAGE PICTURE IN THE “SUN” OF THE SINHAYAS RUNNING
      BREAKING ALL RECORDS.THEY ONLY STOPPED AT GALKISSA TO LOOK BACK.
      YOU OPENED YOUR MOUTH AND PUT BOTH FOOT IN.!!!!!

      • 0
        0

        Ayman why are so abusive Lion has given some points in a very descent manner. Instead of counting it you became very aggressive and balaming all the Sinhaliese.You talk of exporting women by Sinhalese to Middle east, haven’t you seen Muslim women dying in Saudi as domestics.you talk of Sinhalese running towards Galkissa haven’t you forgotten that Sinhalese has given a real run for the LTTE.What is your contribution in that struggle except for few people like Major Latiff.Have you forgotten how you were chased like doges from Jaffna and the east by LTTE and now you all live peacefully because of Sinhalese.When the Muslim were chased by Portuguese from Kingdom of Kotte who came for the assistance of Muslims, that was Sinhalese kings who allowed Muslims to settle down in his kingdom.Don’t blame Sinhalese people it will not do any good in the long run.

        • 0
          0

          Hey Muslims also fought along their Sinhalese counter-parts, I have so many family members who joined the army, Malays and moors alike

          • 0
            0

            Wha were their names?

    • 0
      0

      What nonsense. You are such narrow minded like a closed parachute. A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open. Those supporting Pakistan cricketers are such a minority of young boys of certain age group only, hardly making a dent to the rest of the SL Muslim population who support the local team. Regarding employment of Sinhalese girls viz-a-viz Muslim male counbterarts, I don;t see what is your problem. You dont have any other excuse to harp on, so you conjured up something that you heard from those BBS fellas (based on hypothesis, with no real substance or truth in any of their allegations), and you think this will strike a chord with the Sinhalese Buddhist readers. Also, let me remind you that SL Muslims will never ever leave their country of birth for any other other, since they too laid down their precious lives for this country. Muslims don’t ask anything from the majority, except to live in harmony with other communities, whilst practicing their religion in peace.

    • 0
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      So who is paying you to write a load of nonsense? No limit indeed. I doubt the Muslims in that store are short of Muslims girls, and have to resort to such idiocy as implied by your small mind. Only narrow minded trouble makers like you believe this bull crap. What actions are you babbling about? Muslims have got on with their Sinhalese neighbors for hundreds of years, and right now, it is not the Muslims who are attacking places of worship and SInhala shops. It is a bunch of racists paid by evil elements, who want to see communal strife and the attacks on Muslims and their businesses. These people are stupid enough to realize that they are used as mindless tools, to start yet another communal problem in a country that has just got out of one.
      They use people like you, who have no common sense, to further their evil intentions.
      For your information Sri Lankan Muslims consider Sri Lanka their land of birth, and country. They have no affiliation to other nations, and have been born and bred here. Take your ignorance somewhere else.

    • 0
      0

      @LION,
      YOU ARE AN IDIOT.
      MUSLIMS HAVE NOT BETRAYED THIS COUNTRY.DURING THE WAR THEY STOOD BY
      THE COUNTRY. IF MUSLIMS WERE TRAITORS. THERE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT
      ENDING. MANY MUSLIM COUNTRIES GAVE ASSISTANCE TO THE GOVERNMENT
      HISTORICALLY IT CAN BE PROVED SINHALESE HAVE BEEN TRAITORS!!!!
      WHY SHOULD SAUDI ARABIA INVADE SRI LANKA ? FOR OIL? HA! HA!!!
      ONLY OTHER REASON YOU CAN GIVE; IS TO CONVERT THEM TO ISLAM.
      USE YOUR HEAD BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH.

  • 0
    0

    If the Sri Lankan government and leaders of all religions do not nip this in the bud, we will be faced with the same communal problems that led to decades of war and strife in our country. It seems we Sri Lankans are unable to learn from past lessons. It is obvious that there are ruthless elements instigating and provoking ignorant people into behaving like racists and bigots, and it is up to all to condemn thuggish behavior, and have minorities in this country, who have lived in peace for generations, have the freedom to practice their religion. It is up to the government to work with Muslim leaders, and work through any issues peacefully, before it snowballs into something beyond control.
    Disrespect for other religions, and arrogant behavior against minorities, will be the downfall of this country, if we keep going on this deadly path. The Muslims are here to stay, like other religions, we should not allow evil elements to take us back to days of suspicion and violence, by showing hatred for them on minor issues.
    It is commendable that Muslims are not reacting to the violence against them.

  • 0
    0

    Halal certification is yet to be introduced to the sri lankan muslim community. It’s only years the cirtification has been given by the Jammiyathul Ulama. Muslims have been consuming food selectively considering the islamic principles on halal haram for hundreds of years. Development in the world and the changes in food patterns raised a doubt among the religious leaders whether we consume halal food anymore. Halal certification evolved then solely aiming the muslims to be protected from Haram. NOW it has taken a huge commercial value which disturbs the sinhala buddhist companies and the businessmen. The rhetoric companies ,businessmen, government elements & some foreign funding organisations have taken the respected sangha as the shield to operate an anti muslim program for fulfilling their own objectives. …cont

  • 0
    0

    This statement is a good first step by CSO, which seem to be waking from a long sleep and should be built on. CPA and other CSOs should take the lead and draft a Bill on the Prevention of the Incitement to Racial and Religious Hatred and for the promotion of Multiculturalism (as recommended in LLRC) as a proactive solution to this sorry state of affairs due to the lack of education, intellect and culture of the ruling Rajapakse family regime and politicians.
    In the context there should be legislation brought in the Sri Lanka Parliament against the incitement to racial and religious hatred and making it a punishable offense – as also recommended in the LLRC Report. The joint opposition can unite on such an exercise..
    The Bill should modeled on the Prevention for the Incitement of Racial and Religious Hatred in Britain and should also seek promotion of multicultural policies that go beyond bi-lingualism..

  • 0
    0

    There is a competition between Islam and the Christianity to convert other faiths in to theirs for the world’s domination.

    People do not acknowledge that have other agendas.

    Church is using democracy, human rights and other human welfare activities for conversion and western govts are providing funds for that in aforementioned ways. Similar Arabic countries and muslims are doing their share.

    Sri Lanka is one one major battle ground for them.

    So called educated or the scholars who only talk about one side of this is just dishonest and hypocrites.

    • 0
      0

      oh dear! you are killing me softly Jim. No proof, no credence, just unfounded innuendo and venom.

    • 0
      0

      And Jim,in the battle,APE HAMUDURUWANE losing his bowl?
      Is that what you say? Not a bad guess!Now where’s the
      foul play? Tamils 25% couldn’t negotiate the war but
      Muslims just 9% and not interested at all!Name of the
      game?

    • 0
      0

      Right speech is part of the noble eightfold path enunciated by The Lord Buddha, and comes under ethical conduct.
      Buddha explained right speech as follows: 1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully, 2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others, 3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and 4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth. Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.
      I invite Jim in the softest and kindly manner possible, to weigh his ( includingthat of the organizers of the malicious hate campaign against the Muslims) words and action in the balance of this enlightened teaching and judge for himself whether he is honestly in the footsteps of the Master or not!

    • 0
      0

      MUSLIMS ARE NOT CONCERNED IN CONVERSION.
      CHRISTIANITY IS A MISSIONARY RELIGION.
      JUST GIVE SPECIFIC INFORMATION.
      THERE ARE 2.2 BILLION MUSLIMS AS OPPOSED TO 370 MILLION BUDDHISTS
      AT THE RATE YOUR MONKS ARE ABUSING BOYS AND WOMEN, THEY SURE ARE GOING
      TO FIND PEACE IN ANOTHER RELIGION.

    • 0
      0

      No, conversions (not aware of any to my knowledge, may be voluntary if at all), but yes, competition is on to get everyone on-board to arrive at a good place (heavenly abode) after death, as taught to us thru The Holy Quran. Not for any world domination or any gains as suggested, which is too little for us to worry about as Muslims. What is there in this world worthy for us to take with us when we die. Nothing. Except the good that we do to our ourselves, kith and kin and then to everyone else, and our fervent prayers for forgivenss for sins committed, patience in times of strife and calamity, and gratitude for all (good and bad) that we have been bestowed with. This is every righteous Muslims objective in life. The rest will be taken care of by itself. Things like capturing the entire world and warmly embracing them as Muslims as deserving Ummath of the Prophet of Islam, before this world comes to an end. Pls, before you criticize any religion, know/Learn something about its teachings, before displaying your dismal ignorance.

  • 0
    0

    Clearly, the longer the BBS and JHU are dignified by the government by offering them official sanction and protection, the menace will continue to grow and engulf this country like it did with same sanction and protection given by JRJ to Cyril Mathew and co.

    By not doing enough quickly, this government is tacitly endorsing violence against the second largest minority after doing so with the Tamils. First they went for the Tamils on the basis of language and political rights, now they are targeting Muslims on religious grounds.

  • 0
    0

    “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT”……This is what Sir. John Kotalawela told SWRD Bandaranaike 60 years ago…..not to let loose the yellow robe dogs who he tight and kept under leash. But SWRD let them go and paid the ultimate price with his life by unleashing these pingutharayas. Now they are been unleashed again and now they play havoc to the society.

    If anybody could research to these buddhist monks parents and their lives…..99% of them come from families of absolute poverty, uneducated, uncultured and simply becomming monks due to getting a sure meal, free education while release from burden to their parents. That’s why they are called pingutharayas as their lives are pre occupied with sustaining by food to sustain and education and learning bana and pirith and gatha which no one understand…

    There is no religion they follow other than Philosophy and due to uneducation they can be easily manupulated and could be used by anybody.

    That’s why MARA using them as his third force to cover behind his sordid activities and seek protection while instigating violance among communities to divert public from economic misery.

    Govt. will be the biggest looser if there going to be a Buddhist Muslim conflict with economic boycott on Halal food. Middle East countries could ban Sri Lankan products, while avoiding Sri Lankan Airlines and restricting investments to Sri Lanka.

    Also this will pave way for foreign Islamic extrimist groups to atttack Sri Lanka and it’s installations and boycott it’s products.

    If the Govt. allow a handful of uneducated Buddhist fanatics to control it’s economy, it will be the biggest blunder in Sri Lanka’s history.
    It clearly show how Sinhala thattaya is modaya kevum kanna yodaya.
    They will not eat kevum….but Punnakku in future.

  • 0
    0

    Guys… Guys… Stop all these nonsense! The govt. might be playing a game to please the Americans to show us as Anti-Islamic regime, in-order to get out of those accusations they are going to face with UN! Why should we fight. Think about the colleagues and friends of yours from various religions/communities. Some might feel that commenting about the govt. will make us a traitor. Guys, govt. is not the state/country. We gave them the right to rule us. That doesn’t mean they are the country. We are the country. If the govt. does anything foolish we have the right to question them! They have different agenda. We have to be united. Don’t spit your words! Be patient. Ignorance is the best medicine. Don’t get pulled by these stupid things. We have enough things to worry about!

    • 0
      0

      Dissapointed,

      “The govt. might be playing a game to please the Americans to show us as Anti-Islamic regime, in-order to get out of those accusations they are going to face with UN!”

      Your above comment is pure bullshit………America was never Anti Islam……….it was only Taliban and Al Kaida that USA was against.

      Infact Saudi, Dubai, Bahrain,Qutar,jordan are all USA’s best friends and business partners. It is only our Govt. modayas and uneducated thug BBS who are the biggest loosers from anti Islam stand.

      Await for next boycott of Sri Lanka at next UNHR and it’s exports from Islamic countries….

  • 0
    0

    We seem to be going downhill faster than what the country can afford.
    Ranil complains in Parliament both the Leader of the House and the IGP
    are lying to the House in stating there are no attacks on Muslims and their mosques anywhere in the island now. Ranil says not only mosques continue to be under attack but in one Buddhist priests with mobs have entered the Mosque and started chanting pirith after throwing everything within. Incidents are reported in places as diverse as Inguruwatte, Hiriyala, Makulewa and other places in the Kurunegala District. Has the Govt lost control of the situation or are they afraid of the JHU/BBS mobs. The Muslims have a right to expect the protection of the State and should not be sacrificed like Tamils were in 7/83. Today, every Muslim in the South lives in fear and uncertainty. They seem to be much safer in the NEP.

    Senguttuvan

    • 0
      0

      It is the Govt. that nurtured JHU and BBS to be used as a third force to intimidate and suppress both opposiution parties, opposition sinhala race, minority races,and other religious organisations to maintain it’s political superiority.

      Govt. does not care a hoot about the economy, people’s rights, democracy or liberty. It’s sole intention is to stay in power……and may be MARA has given assurance to his parliament members on his intentions.

      The need of the hour is for all opposition parties, minority parties and minority races to look for a third force…….preferbly UN,US, ME,EU, Malaysia, India, Pakistan etc. to come into their assistance if GOSL instigate another mass slaughter similar to 1983.

  • 0
    0

    The attacks on Muslims have been directed at everything: the certification of food products as halal; the practice of hijab, abhaya and nikab among Muslim women; the beard worn by Muslim men; the azaan or call for prayer from the mosques; the Muslims’ practice of closing businesses for Friday prayers; the prevalence of certain sectarian differences among Muslims;and the ongoing debate regarding methods of slaughter for the consumption of meat.

    PLEASE TELL ME HOW ALL WHAT MUSLIMS DO AFFECT YOU.JUST CHOOSE TO IGNORE
    YOU GO YOUR WAY AND WE GO OUR WAY. IS THAT ASKING TOO MUCH?????
    THEN THERE WILL BE PEACE.

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