22 October, 2020

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Deteriorating Sinhalese-Muslim Relations II

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The year 2009 marked a turning point in the history of Sri Lanka. It was not simply a year of military victory alone, but lot more than that. From the point of view of the Sinhalese and specially Buddhists, that victory wiped out from memory the historic fear they carried over centuries of a possible Tamil invasion from the subcontinent. The betrayal of the India and particularly Tamil Nadu during the final stages of the civil war taught LTTE and the Tamils that in international politics national interests would always prevail over ethnic and religious affiliations and sympathies. This is also a lesson to those local Muslim leaders who entertain the hope that the Arab majority outside will come to rescue the ajam (not Arabic speaking) minority inside, if any danger faces the latter.

India’s neutrality demonstrated to the Sinhalese that their historic fear was misplaced and misconceived. At the same time, the 2009 victory, won by an overwhelmingly Buddhist tri-forces, injected a fresh hope, confidence and resolve at least amongst the most ardent  Buddhist nationalists that Sri Lanka in future should and would be transformed into a supreme Theravada Buddhist State. 2009 therefore, marked the emergence of a Buddhist supremacist wave in national politics.   

Among these supremacists are university academics, public professionals, business leaders, media moguls, and more importantly, “political Bikkus”, a category of monks identified by Ven. Walpola Rahula. It was this scholar monk, who declared in no uncertain terms that, “Sri Lanka is a Buddhist Sinhala country. Let no one make a mistake”1. Unfortunately, he left unsaid about the place and position of other minorities in Buddhist Sinhala Sri Lanka. Not surprisingly therefore, political Bikkus are the ones who are currently leading the campaign for a Buddhist State. After the civil war, and once the Tamil threat had been overcome, they and their followers, turned the focus on Muslims, who had been a thorn on their side for some time.

After nearly one thousand years of indigenisation and integration with Sinhalese, Tamils, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians, Anagarika Dharmapala, the father of Buddhist nationalism, branded all Muslims aliens and demanded them to be repatriated to Arabia, a sentiment that echoes in the propaganda slogans of today’s supremacists. Perhaps, Dharmapala was confused at that time to identify and distinguish the indigenous Muslim majority from a transient minority that arrived from India to enrich from the plantation economy. They were birds of passage, and it was their exploitative business and commercial practices that partly contributed to the impoverishment of rural Sinhalese in particular. But, in targeting these exploiters Dharmapala dumped all Muslims in one basket, which ultimately ended in the 1915 riot, marking the first fissure in the millennium old Buddhist-Muslim amity and coexistence.

However, Dharmapala’s call for repatriation never happened, although local leaders of the indigenised majority realised the dangers of identifying themselves with the non-indigenous, and when the opportunity arose in 1951 with the Ceylon Citizenship Act, Muslim parliamentarians had no qualms in supporting that bill, even though that Act disenfranchised hundreds of their Indo-Pakistani and Afghan Muslim brethren.  

Now, after almost five decades, a number of political, economic and religious issues relating to Muslim community, which were discussed in Part I, and which were irking Buddhist nationalists had compounded and become the source of paranoia. A systematic anti-Muslim campaign has been unleashed by organizations such as Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Ravana Balaya, Sinhala Ravaya, Sinha Le, Mahason Balakaya and so on, which are apparatchiks working for the cause of Buddhist supremacy and its proponents. Together, they constitute a powerful pressure group, which is able to influence government policies and programs. Professor G. H. Peiris, whose publication was cited in Part I, is of the view that these groups are manipulated by foreign powers that are interested in ‘regime change’. Adding substance to his contention was Colombo Telegraph’s recent exposure (30 April 2020) of the Chinese Embassy in Colombo, “spearheading” anti-Muslim hatred in this country. Be that as it may, even foreign powers cannot instigate violence and riots on their own without local support and connections. That anti-Muslim violence increases its intensity especially in times of elections is testimony to the involvement of local political elements. Muslim community and its historic friendship with Sinhala Buddhists has unfortunately fallen victim to this sinister exercise.   

Soon after the war, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered the victory speech from the podium, he made a timely and momentous statement, that ‘there would be no more Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims in the country but only Sri Lankans’. People who listened to his words enjoyed a great sigh of relief. It looked as if MR was about to achieve what previous leaders failed to do over sixty years, and the country would witness the dawn of a new era. No wonder then, when he contested the Presidency for a second term, MR won with an outright majority.  

Alas! To the Muslims in particular, MR’s second term proved to be a period of increased anxiety and existential worries, because of the outbreak of a new wave of anti-Muslim violence. Unlike those 24 major Sinhalese-Muslim clashes happened between 1976 and 2002, which had been researched in detail by a team of academics and published in 20082, and in which economic grievances had been the primary motivator, anti-Muslim violence after 2009 has taken a more dangerous trend moving towards another July 1983. 

According to a submission by SLMC to UNCHR, already in 2013 and just two years before another Presidential Election, a total of 241 incidents had occurred between Sinhalese and Muslims, and of which 51 were described as violent. Quite several of those incidents might have been “trivia”, as Professor Peiris reckons, but among those fifty-one, the lavishly funded (probably from abroad) BBS – a breakaway group from JHU, with “a spatial scatter of loyal youth” had been prominent by its presence at the scenes.  Already in 2013, Muslim businesses had been under attack, starting with Fashion Bug, a Muslim retail store in Pepiliyana, near Colombo, which was followed by an arson attack on another retail fashion store, NoLimit at Panadura. In mid-June 2014, a major flare up broke out in Alutgama in which the firebrand monk Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, the secretary of BBS had been a notable participant. Soon after this, on 26 September 2014, MR spread the red carpet to welcome Myanmar’s Ven. Ashin Wirathu, “The face of terror” according to Time magazine, whose 969 movement was fully behind Myanmar government’s genocide against Rohingya Muslims. BBS stalwarts were even protesting against providing asylum for Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka. MR obviously wanted to appease the anti-Muslim BBS, whose support he needed to win the Presidency for another term. The Alutgama riot was followed by a series of similar convulsions in Gintota, Ampara, Digana and Katugastota.  

The Alutgama riot is of particular significance, because it took place when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) was Secretary to the Defence Ministry. If these riots were intended to alienate the Muslim community from the Rajapakse regime, as argued by Professor Peiris, why didn’t his brother who was the Defence Secretary at that regime take any action to stop it? Didn’t he know that it was an attempt by foreigners to swing Muslim votes against MR? GR absolutely took no action to intervene, because, as is clear now with hindsight, that he also needed the support of Buddhist extremists in his own plan to contest for the presidency. Even in the case of the other riots, security forces appear to have turned a blind eye, as video recordings bear evidence, allowing Muslims, their businesses, places of worship and property be looted, destroyed and burnt by drunken rioters, often in the payroll of politicians. It should be recorded with great concern that until now not one rioter had been brought before justice. Even those who were arrested by the police were released later, apparently due to pressure from political hierarchs and Buddhist hierocrats. 

After 2009, Buddhist supremacists focused their attention in eliminating the bargaining power of Muslim political leadership on the one hand while removing on the other the commercial rivalry of Muslim entrepreneurs. In this aggressive phase of anti-Muslim violence, just as the threat of a Tamil invasion was employed to rally Sinhala masses in the war against Tamils, the myth of a Muslim population explosion to take over the country demographically and create a so called sharia state, became the battle cry for mass mobilisation to fight Muslims. In that propaganda Muslim wombs were suddenly turned into destructive weapons to convert Sinhala-Buddhist majority into a minority. Members of BBS and JHU were in the forefront of spreading this canard, which has now been exposed and ridiculed by experts in Seri Lankan demography.2  

The supremacists have tried to replace the old fear of a Tamil invasion with a new one about Muslim fecundity. In this fear mongering, the publication in the Sinhalese language, Al-Jihad Al-Qaida, authored by the former minister from JHU, Champika Ranawaka and distributed within his party members and members of the Sangha was a deliberate ploy to deepen the fear about Muslims. Two TV channels, Hiru and Darana are openly behind this malicious campaign.     

Thus, the process of Islamization with its Wahhabi conservatism and radical tendencies, disrupted the historic and peaceful interaction Muslims had with other communities. This disruption, engendered a self-alienating tendency in the name of strengthening Islamic identity. At the same time, an aggressive post-2009 Buddhist nationalism turned into a supremacist movement, considered Muslims as aliens and accused them of surreptitiously designing to convert Sri Lanka into an Islamic state with sharia laws. In the violence that ensued Muslim places of worship and businesses became main targets of attack.  Government’s relative inaction to protect the Muslim community from street thugs and larrikins drove some Muslims into the fold of Islamism.  

The emergence of the National Thawhid Jamaat (NTJ) from Kattankudy under the leadership of a madrasa dropout Mohamed Zahran Hashim should be seen as a response to the post-2009 anti-Muslim wave. As pointed out in Part I, Kattankudy had already been a hot-bed for intra-religious Muslim violence in 1990s. The birth of NTJ from this conservative mullah-merchant enclave is therefore not a surprise. The complete story about NTJ’s origins and spread, and circumstances surrounding its macabre killing of hundreds of innocent and mostly Christian lives during the Easter Sunday celebrations of 2019, are yet to be unearthed and told in full. There are a number of unanswered questions. However, given the post-2009 anti-Muslim violence which was allowed to spread under the watchful eyes of government authorities was destined to invite retaliation of some sort. Yet, that infamy could have been prevented had the authorities taken prompt action on information received from multiple sources. Nevertheless, that tragedy provided further ammunition to supremacists to continue attacking Muslims. In Chilaw, Negombo, Minuwangoda and other places Muslim businesses and property were targeted and at least one Muslim was killed.

Anti-Muslim incidents did not cease even after GR came to power. The outbreak of Covid-19 is the latest episode giving yet another occasion for accusing Muslims. A malicious campaign through the Sinhala print, voice and tele media has been launched to create an impression among ordinary Sinhalese that it was Muslims who brought the virus to the country and it is they who are spreading it. In this context, the decision by the health department to cremate Muslims who died of Coronavirus, with utter disregard to Muslim religious and cultural susceptibilities appears to be more of a punishment for crime committed than a preventive measure to check the pandemic.   

How one sided are sections of the mainstream media and how selective are they when reporting on Muslims was demonstrated recently during the coronavirus shutdown. Of all private sector employers in the country, only two business establishments owned by Muslims came forward to pay the wages of the employees in full, in spite of complete shutdown of the shops. Among thousands of their employees were hundreds of Sinhala Buddhists, Christians and Hindus, men and women. That exemplary act received no mention at all from the supremacist media outlets, which are always ready to portray Muslims as destroyers of the nation. Similarly, Akbar Brother’ contribution of 50 million rupees to MR’s Covid-19 Health care and Social Security Fund hardly received publicity in the same media. These fashioners of falsehood and feeders of friction are the cruellest agents in the country today dedicated to destroy the historic Sinhalese-Muslim friendship.   

Reversing the Slide

Sinhalese-Muslim relations must get back to its historic normalcy. Not every Sinhalese or Buddhist, I insist, is a racist and anti-Muslim, and likewise, not every Muslim, I promise, is a terrorist or jihadist. In fact, the vast majority of people in all communities want to get on with their ordinary life in an environment of peace and mutual respect. At the same time, there will always be occasional clashes between ethnic and religious groups, sometime triggered even by the most trivial of causes. These, as happened in numerous instances before, could be settled no sooner than they started by intervention of community leaders initially and by law enforcers eventually. What made the situation catastrophic now is politics.

To reverse the deterioration, Muslims must use their political skill intelligently to defuse the supremacists’ propaganda among the Sinhalese, while undertaking reforms internally to remove such elements of Muslim culture and behaviour that encourage alienation. If Muslims feel allergic to internal reforms then those reforms will be forced upon them externally. Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera’s private motion in the last parliament to do away with the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, and the clamour from him and his maverick colleague Ven. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, urging government to take over the madrasas are the result of Muslim leadership’s resistance to carry out reforms from within.          

Politically, given the prevailing constitutional constraints the only way to make Sri Lanka a country ruled by the Buddhists for the Buddhists and with Buddhism as the sole denominator of all laws in the country is to abolish that constitution or amend it radically so that GR could enjoy limitless powers to rule without challenge.  If that happens, Sri Lankans can wish good bye to democracy and forget about any more elections. The next election may put an end to all elections, as Islamists want to do when they assume power, or as what RSS trying to achieve in India. It is in preventing this eventuality that Muslims and other minorities could live in peace with dignity. Homogenization of Sri Lanka’s heterogeneity is not the way to build a united Sri Lanka.

It may not be possible to stop SLPP winning the coming election, but the danger however is not in its victory but in a victory with two-third majority. How can this be avoided?

As pointed out already, Muslims, and for that matter all minorities, should avoid thinking that every Sinhalese and every Buddhist is a racist. In fact and I repeat, Sinhalese are one of if not the most friendly people in the world to live with and Buddhism is not an enemy of any religion. Muslims should retrace their pre-1915 history in Sri Lanka and teach their children how in that golden era Buddhism and Islam commingled and coexisted without any turbulence. Even in the last presidential election, among the forty-eight percent who voted against the supremacist backed GR, a large proportion were Sinhala Buddhists. It is only by strengthening their hands and by joining them that Muslims and other minorities can withstand the onslaught of the supremacists and save democracy.       

An important prerequisite to do that is to forge unity between the two minorities on the one hand and within each of them on the other. It is pointless at this stage to engage in blame game; similarly, this is not the time to compete for leadership and create factionalism within each minority. The more disunity this competition creates greater is the chance for GR-MR regime to achieve its objective. Unfortunately, a few leaders among both minorities still seem to float with the idea that they could achieve more to their community by joining the supremacists controlled SLPP. That strategy lost its relevance after 2009.  The supremacists may throw some crumbs for minorities to bite, but they are not going to allow minorities sit with them on the same table.  Helping to build a strong opposition to prevent such an outcome is the primary task facing Muslims. Under an enlightened Buddhist leadership Sinhalese Muslim relations will get back to its normalcy.

Finally, Muslims must think of the nation (watan) first and the universal community (umma) second.  Believing should not be allowed to clash with belonging. The community’s robust participation in this year’s Independence Day celebrations showed that it has turned the corner.   

Notes:

1. De Votta and Stone, “Jathika Hela Urumaya and Ethno-Religious Politics in Sri Lanka”, Pacific Affairs, vol. 81, no. 1, 2008, pp. 31-51.

2. Nimal Siripala, “Facts and Figures of Muslim Population”, Colombo Telegraph, 31 December 2019.

Part – I : Deteriorating Sinhalese-Muslim Relations

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Latest comments

  • 9
    8

    Srilanka is the homeland for Srilanka Tamil speaking communities. This includes Hindus, Christians and Islamists. Religion should not play in politics of Tamil speaking people. Even within Sinhalese speaking people include Buddhists and Christians. Tamil speaking people are majority in the North East. Similarly Sinhalese speaking people are majority in the South West. Therefore, Srilanka should have a two nation (state) solution will recognise the rights and aspirations of the both. If the Tamil speaking people unite together with common principles of democracy, the supermacist Sinhala racism will have to surrender.

    • 4
      7

      Ajith “…… If the Tamil speaking people unite together with common principles…”

      you are still living in cloud cuckoo land….

      The reason the Sri Lankan Tamils are today where they are is due to disunity ….

      LTTE was not defeated by the Sri Lankan army…but defeated by the disunited Tamils

    • 4
      8

      Mr Ajith
      I am with you, one hundred percent. Probably I am the only Sinhalese in this forum who supports that position.
      All Tamil speaking people scattered across the country should unite irrespective of their religion, caste or the date of arrival. Sinhalese should not be reluctant to offer them a Homeland in the North if they wish so and make arrangements for physical relocation of ALL Tamil speaking people with international assistance if need be. However I personally plead with them, as I have always done, to accept the other option of retaining the right to live anywhere and help build one Sri Lankan identity despite unfortunate conflicts in the past. If and when their political leaders solidly affirm this position tough laws should be brought in to punish any Sinhalese sowing discord and discrimination. Sinhalese should categorically refuse any hypocritical position of pedaling both options at the same time.

      Soma

      • 1
        2

        somass

        “All Tamil speaking people scattered across the country should unite irrespective of their religion, caste or the date of arrival.”

        Good.
        All Sinhalese and Buddhists will join them.
        The rest (Sinhala/Buddhist fascist tendency) will join Shavendra Silva, Rajapaksas, crooks, ……………. and be deported to Palaitivu (discovered by Christopher Shavendra Columbus Silva) situated somewhere between Keerimunai and Velanai (9°28′39″N 80°00′45″E).

        You are rest assured eventually all your fellow tendency will be rounded up and deported to Palaitivu.

      • 2
        1

        Soma,
        I have heard you many times. Are you saying that the country should be divided into two independent nations. One Nation consists of Northern and Eastern Provinces and other one is rest of the provinces. Don’t forget Sinhalese currently in the North East should relocate to south as well. Can you ask your Sinhala government to do this with an international assistance?

        • 1
          0

          Ajith
          You seem to be totally confused over what you want. I had thought that YOU ( I mean Tamil political masters) wanted a separate Homeland and Vadukkodai resolution coupled with formation of LTTE to achieve that end was the explicit expression of that desire.
          What I am doing is asking the Sinhalese to oblige provided that ALL Tamils (Tamil speaking people scattered across the country irrespective of their religion caste or the date of arrival) are included. MY preferred solution ( for them) is not that.
          I have never failed to emphasize my ‘advice’ and request to my Tamil brothern – INSTEAD of a separate Homeland choose the option of retaining the right to live as equal citizens anywhere in the island of SrLanka , one of the most beautiful pieces of real estate on earth.
          I also assume that only a lunatic Tamil would ask for both.
          ( You find them only on Colombo Telegraph)

          Soma

      • 0
        0

        Soma, This article was about the Muslim people.

        But to diverge; there is no need for all these concern. Ceylon Tamil community, it would be good to recall — though GG Ponnambalam made some mathematical gymnastics within Ceylon at the time of independence– that they simply settled for the united country in 1948. Until annexation by the British, the north and the south had maintained its distinct characteristics, even when the King Rajasingha(m) was in the throne.

        [Everyone with basic historical aspects will be aware that Jaffna man has been native person long before Vijaya took the boat. Lanka is the name given in Ramayana and the old names are different to put it non-politically. Ravana was known as a Siva worshipper and that story is over 5000 years old.]

        It is utterly silly and irrelevant to keep going on the history instead of today’s Sri Lanka. All can be made to feel children of the nation if the ethnic majority feels comfortable in a just and fair society. We need a society without one community grieving since independence, and say a person like Sumanthiran to argue before the Supreme Court Judges that basic democratic rights of a citizen is sacrosanct and ought to be respected by the executive branch. Just have a fair society, that’s all a nation needs.

        That will solve the Sinhalese-Muslim conflict as well.

    • 9
      11

      Ajith,
      I have told you several times how Demalu (Tamils) became the majority in the Northern part of Sinhale and Demala (Tamil) Muslims in the Eastern part of the country. Can tell the truth to the don kee but cannot force the don kee to accept the truth.

      Demalu in the North are the descendants of Dravida slaves from Hindusthan brought to Sinhale by Portuguese to work in tobacco plantations in Yapanaya. They were called ‘Malabar’ by British until a guy named Ponnambalam Arunachalam involved in preparing the Census Report in 1911 changed the term ‘Malabar’ to ‘Ceylon Tamils’.

      Demala Muslims in the Eastern part of the country are the descendants of Muslim refugees from Hindusthan who came to Sinhale to escape persecution by Hindus and settled there by King Senerath who was the king of the Kingdom of Kandy from 1604 to 1635 to save them from persecution by Portuguese.

      Both Demalu (Hindu and Christian) and Demalu (Muslim) are originally from Hindusthan. They were given Citizenship by Registration in Sinhale by Native Sinhalayo.

      Talking about a separate State within the Land of Native Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo for the descendants of these ‘Para’ people is a big joke displaying the stupidity of those who suggest this.

      • 4
        1

        Eagle Eye,
        I would like to see the book you wrote on the history of the arrival of Para Sinhalyo from Afcanistan jungle. Have you had your tobacco plantation or worked as a slave when the Portuguese came to Jaffna?
        Can you please go and check in Angoda whether you have got corona infection. Some analysts say those who got corona had previously had brain damage. I am very sorry for your current status.

      • 0
        0

        Eagle Eye ,

        I have read winners write history ! And that history is in dispute
        today all over the world so , I don’t blame you ! Though I’m not
        from the Eastern part of the country , the history of Muslims in
        the country should not be wronged by anyone in my view . How
        do you say ” Demala Muslims in the Eastern part of the country
        are the descendants of Muslim refugees from Hindhustan who
        came to Sinhale to escape persecution by Hindus ? ” When East
        India company was formed in 1600 , 90% of India was under
        Mughal rule . You might learn more if you spend a little time to
        search “Proto-Dravidian language roots that will take you to
        Indus valley civilisation . If you don’t want that , no worries ,
        enjoy yourself !

        • 1
          1

          whywhy,
          Instead of asking me to search ‘Proto-Dravidian language’, I suggest you learn the history of Sinhale and talk.
          Muslims who were in Sinhale at the time Portuguese arrived were Arabs engaged in trade and Demala Muslims from Hindusthan. Majority of Demala Muslims were refugees and lived in the Western Coastal belt. Portuguese who also came to engage in trade considered all Muslims as a threat and wanted to eliminate them. King Senerath saved them and some of them were settled in Eastern part of the country. You guys are in this country thanks to kind hospitality of Sinhala Buddhists. Be grateful for that instead of trying to slaughter Native Sinhalayo as ‘Para’ Demalu did.

          • 1
            1

            Eagle Eye ,

            Thank you for reading and commenting on my post . And It is
            understandable that all the contents were read but ignored and
            only the last line which was ” If you don’t want that , no worries
            and enjoy yourself ” was eagerly followed . That is what “Eagle
            Eye” means I suppose ! But I must say one thing if you go with it
            or not ! Major commercial cities around the country were built
            and operated by Muslims who imported and exported from and
            to overseas thus introducing materials to the locals of a whole
            new civilisation . And one more thing , King Senerath gestures
            towards Muslims were not one way journey and Muslims had
            been quite generous to the King in reciprocity . However , It is
            Sinhalese and not Muslims who have doubts about the two step
            sons’ death after the crowning of King Senerath’s son . So , as I
            said before , history is written by winners and that history
            everywhere now is in dispute . So , for now why not enjoy yourself
            going round shopping in cities built by Muslims ?

  • 0
    0

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    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 9
    10

    “The supremacists may throw some crumbs for minorities to bite, but they are not going to allow minorities sit with them on the same table.”

    What Native Sinhalayo saw during ‘Yahapalana’ Government was racist Vella Ala elite politicians and Muslim politicians were sitting on top of the table while Sinhalayo were sitting under the table.

    TNA became the opposition and Sambandan became the Leaders of the Opposition but instead of playing the role of the opposition, TNA slept with the ‘Yahapalana’ Government and protected it. UNP gave a luxury house to Sambandan in Colombo for him to stay until he leaves this world for saving the Government.

    Rishard Badudeen got a Minister Post with 42 institutions including CWE which is a cow with lot of milk. We understand that he converted CWE to a Muslim colony and milked the cow. Some Sinhala UNP MPs were grumbling that they could not get even a State Minister post. Rishard was eating bread and butter while Sinhala MPs were eating bread crumbs.
    During ‘Yahapalana’ Government Muslims built Mosques all over in Sinhala areas even without obtaining proper approval.
    Muslims have Sharia Law that gives special privileges that others do not have.
    Yet, Ameer Ali does not stop his ‘Adonawa’.

  • 9
    5

    Ameer Ali,
    “Muslims should retrace their pre-1915 history in Sri Lanka and teach their children how in that golden era Buddhism and Islam commingled and coexisted without any turbulence.”

    Your suggestion for Muslims to trace their history in Sinhale is commendable. While so doing one thing that they should not forget is the role played by King Senerath in saving Muslims from persecution by Portuguese and the willingness of Sinhala Buddhists to accommodate Muslims in Sinhala areas in interior parts of the country, allow them to marry Sinhala women and convert them to Islam. Some Muslims were settled in the Eastern part of the country. Forgetting this historical fact, some Muslims tend to think that Eastern Province is the ‘Traditional Homeland’ of Muslims.

    • 2
      2

      Stupid Mahindapala, similarly you should not forget the role played by King Vijaya, in killing and driving away the original Dravidian inhabitants and settling Sinhalese in all parts of the country. Forgetting this historical fact, many Sinhalese tend to think that the entire land belongs to them.

  • 10
    9

    Before LTTE occupied Eastern Province businesses in towns in the Eastern Province were owned mostly by Sinhalayo. After LTTE moved to the East, they chased all Sinhala Businessmen. One of my relative had his business in Eravur. He also had a vast track of paddy land. After LTTE was defeated, Muslims grabbed his business premises as well as the paddy lands. Same thing had happened to many Sinhala businessmen.

    While the country is grappling with COVID-19, some Muslims had encroached land belong to Muhudumaha Viharaya and had erected fences. Already, Muslims have encroached a vast track of land belong to Muhudumaha Viharaya and destroyed archeological sites connected to Sinhala Buddhist heritage. These things happened mostly during ‘Yahapalana’ Government because don kees of that Government turned a blind eye to these things.

  • 5
    3

    Dr. Ameer Ali -With due respect I don’t think “Deteriorating Sinhalese-Muslim Relations II” warrants Two parts. I hope you are stopping with Part II

    Reminds me of another Muslim writer who drags on Part 1, II, III, IV on various subject matters …..

  • 23
    6

    Not again!
    /
    When are these cries of persecution, discrimination and racism end and these people have a look at themselves to try and see the other side of the coin?
    /
    For Ameer’s information, Rev Walpola Rahula was the closest to an enlightened Buddha we had in the modern world, and Anagarika Dharmapal has gone down in history as the person who fought British Jewish colonialism in our country most effectively. (That is why the Jews imprisoned him on bogus charges after the 1915 Muslim aggression, encouraged by the British incentives to Muslims since 1815). Your disgraceful attempt to paint these noble humans as ‘racists’ will be condemned by the people of this country.
    /
    The most despicable assertion in this article however, is the attempt to paint the Easter bombing atrocity as “a response to the post-2009 anti-Muslim wave”. It is a strange reaction of the Muslims to bomb Christian places of worship ‘in response’ to alleged ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ discrimination!
    /
    Such shameless, obvious lies are not going to help Muslims continue to undermine this Sinhala, Theravada Buddhist country and its people with aggressive Middle Eastern secretive religion and culture.
    /
    You are wasting your time, Mr Ameer. SriLanka woke up in 2009.

  • 3
    4

    Mr Ajith
    I am with you, one hundred percent. Probably I am the only Sinhalese in this forum who supports that position.
    All Tamil speaking people scattered across the country should unite irrespective of their religion, caste or the date of arrival. Sinhalese should not be reluctant to offer them a Homeland in the North if they wish so and make arrangements for physical relocation of ALL Tamil speaking people with international assistance if need be. However I personally plead with them, as I have always done, to accept the other option of retaining the right to live anywhere and help build one Sri Lankan identity despite unfortunate conflicts in the past. If and when their political leaders solidly affirm this position tough laws should be brought in to punish any Sinhalese sowing discord and discrimination. Sinhalese should categorically refuse any hypocritical position of pedaling both options at the same time.

    Soma

    • 3
      3

      Soma,
      “Probably I am the only Sinhalese in this forum who supports that position.”
      Instead of repeating your threadbare clever-dick mantra every time you get a chance, why not meet Amir Ali’s arguments with your own?
      At the very least, it would prove you aren’t a broken record.

      • 3
        2

        old codger
        I have to highlight that repeatedly as long as I am accused as a racist.
        My position is clear. Tamils ( all Tamil speaking people scattered across the country irrespective of their religion caste or the date of arrival) should be encouraged to choose the option of right to live anywhere in preference to a separate Homeland which the Sinhalese should consider accommodating if that is their choice. What could be fairer than that?
        I was responding to Mr Ajith’s comment not the main article.
        .
        Talking about broken records you can’t beat Native Veddah.

        Soma

        • 2
          2

          Soma, according to archaeological findings only two ethnic groups lived in the land in pre-historic times. First the Veddhas who walked their way from Africa more than 60,000 years ago settling in caves along hill slopes of UVA and in eastern and south-eastern parts of the land. The second is the Dravidians who walked their way from Indus Valley more than 20,000 years ago setting in Northern and north-western parts of the land. These are the two ethnic groups who are the rightful owners of the land and not Sinhalese who claim Aryan or Bengali ancestry, who came in about 2,500 years ago, killed and drove away Veddhas and Dravidians and usurped the land. Therefore this land has to be ruled by Veddhas and Dravidians in a federal arrangement and not by Sinhalese. Sinhalese should be given the choice of either living under such rule or to trace back to their original habitat in Western or Eastern India. What could be fairer than that ?.

          • 1
            0

            Dr. Gnana
            I am not interested in history.
            I hear scientists are working on a time travel machine and Colombo Telegraph has ordered one unit for the benefit of Tamil racist donkeys.
            Presently I concentrate on the EXISTING demographic distribution within the island and inter ethnic relationship ships arising out of that.

            Soma

      • 3
        5

        old codger

        I never knew an active card carrying member of Sinhala/Buddhist fascist tendency ever having an argument.

        An “Argument” at least must meet two conditions, its premises (if argument to be cogent, premises ought to be true) and inferential link between the premises and its conclusion.

        One cannot and should not expect such cogency from bigots, racists, supremacists, ….
        As you know bigots like soma, Hela, sach, …. thrive at least among their fellow Fascist tendencies on not having an argument but on irrationalism.

        • 4
          0

          CT readers would be laughing with their rearends1
          /
          Any one who reads and smelt the irrational, racist, abusive, uneducated garbage coming under the pseudonym Native Vedda (Neither Native, nor Vedda but a land thief hiding behind rubber stumps) will think his key board is connected to his anus.
          /
          What more needs to be said?

    • 2
      3

      somass

      “All Tamil speaking people scattered across the country should unite irrespective of their religion, caste or the date of arrival.”

      Good.
      All Sinhalese and Buddhists will join them.
      The rest (Sinhala/Buddhist fascist tendency) will join Shavendra Silva, Rajapaksas, crooks, ……………. and be deported to Palaitivu (discovered by Christopher Shavendra Columbus Silva) situated somewhere between Keerimunai and Velanai (9°28′39″N 80°00′45″E).

      You are rest assured eventually all your fellow tendency will be rounded up and deported to Palaitivu.

      • 1
        0

        NV
        Problem is Sampanthan aiya insists that ‘ Tamils must be considered a distinct ethnic entity’.

        Soma

  • 0
    0

    Ameer Ali ,

    If you can hear me , just listen , Stop Wailing , praying and begging !
    Please don’t sell out Muslims in the guise of protecting ! Not only
    Muslims , all communities are having a bad time because all they
    know is how to cultivate bad times ! That was the past , that is the
    current and that is going to remain the same because of the past
    and present . So , don’t waste your time !

  • 0
    1

    Deteriorating Sinhalese-Muslim Relations II wanted to happen as the zahran activities was known before as one miister did to attend to the church and the attack not bought under controlled or notice having backed up by the intelligent of indian and srilanka, Today’s the leading figures can no longer write their own speeches there is some evidence that they can’t read them either. So how can they place the intelligent before something happens

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