19 October, 2021

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Evenhandedness Is Needed To Prevent Radicalisation

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The government was elected on a platform that stressed national security and unity. The elections took place in the aftermath of the Easter suicide bomb attacks of 2019 that caused the highest numbers of casualties in Christian churches. As the bombers were all Muslim, the Muslim population in the country came under public suspicion which was spontaneous and widespread. There was also equally widespread fear and anxiety about follow on attacks that could target Christians in particular and also the population in general. The cause of the attacks and the master minds behind them were a mystery then as they are now.

Due to the timely intervention of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, in whose diocese the two most serious attacks took place, there was no retaliation against the Muslim population by those who had lost their kith and kin. However, in the weeks that followed, there were mob attacks against the Muslim community in parts of the country that were distant from the bomb attacks. These attacks were not spontaneous but organised and intended to loot Muslim property and cause fear in them. The government, which was under political siege for having failed to prevent the suicide bomb attacks, failed once again to adequately protect the Muslim community.

It is in this context that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’s statement on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Easter bombings takes on significance. About two months ago he gave a deadline by which he asked the government to identify who was behind the Easter attacks and the cause for them. The Cardinal has consistently spoken up on the issue of the Easter bombing, first to ask for restraint on the part of the victims, then to ask the government to identify the perpetrators and prior to the elections to take the position that the people needed a government that could protect them. Now he has said that “Our brethren were attacked not by religious extremism, but by a group that exploited it to use the attackers as pawns in order to strengthen their political power.”

Muslim Outreach 

Two years after the Easter bombings in which they were branded as supporters of religious extremism, the Muslim community seeks in many different ways to overcome the suspicion that once engulfed them and which they fear can do so again. The use of the black Islamic dress that was an increasing trend among Muslim women has been much reduced. Muslim organisations are making energetic efforts to network with other religious organisations, join inter-religious groups and to liaise with civil society. They make available to them the Islamic teachings on peace and coexistence. This weekend I was invited to the opening of a community centre in the Kurunegala District by a Muslim organization.

On the walls of the community centre there were panels put up with sayings from the different religions on a number of important matters, such as how to treat others, and the role of spiritual values in everyday life. The foremost place at the opening ceremony was given to Buddhist monks who had come to attend the ceremony along with government officials and police officers. The monks who spoke said that the Muslim community living in the village had good relations with the Sinhalese living in the neighbouring villages, and this had continued for generations. Another monk said that after the Easter bombings they had heard there were violent gangs heading in the direction of the Muslim village, they had come there to ensure no harm would befall those people.

In this context, the announcement that the government will ban 11 Muslim organisations sends a negative message to the country at large about the Muslim community. It creates an impression that Muslims organisations are under suspicion and possibly even close to performing acts of violence which necessitates them being banned. Of the 11 banned organisations, two are foreign ones, the Islamic State and Al Qaeda which have been reported internationally as engaging in violence. However, the other nine are Sri Lankan organisations which do not have a track record of violence or illegality. Four of them have the name “Thowheed” in them, which in the Arabic language means “faith.”

Different Treatment 

The ban on these Thowheed organisations may be due to the fact that the leader of the suicide squad, Zahran, was part of an organisation that had the name “Thowheed” in it. The ban on them may also be due to the fact that the Commission of Inquiry into the Easter bombings recommended such action against them. However, the Commission also recommended that other non-Muslim organisations be banned which has not happened. This suggests that the Muslim organisations are being treated differently. The danger is that when it treats organisations differently, the government may be generating resentment in the Muslim community, especially the youth. If the words of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith are correct, the problem lies not in Muslim extremism but in partisan power politics.

Sri Lanka has experienced Sinhalese youth insurrections twice and even the Tamil militant movement was started by youth, who were once called “the boys.” Perhaps in anticipation of such a radicalization phenomenon, the government has recently passed an add-on called the “De-radicalisation from holding violent extremist religious ideology” to the Prevention of Terrorism Act. This will permit people who fall into its ambit to be send to rehabilitation centres for up to two years without trial. This may provide the government with an opportunity to release up to 250 Muslim citizens currently under detention on suspicion of being involved in the Easter bombings and send them for rehabilitation. On the other hand, this regulation may be used in the future in regard to other persons and other groups. The better way to prevent radicalization is to make people feel that the law is even-handed to all, and also to encourage engagement between communities.

During the discussion that took place at the opening of the community centre in Kurunegala, it was noted that the younger generation had fewer inter-community linkages than those of older generations. This may be due to the changing nature of society and the economy where people spend less time with other people and more time with machines or doing narrow and specialized jobs. In multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies in which there is conflictual relations, the tendency on the part of those from different communities will be to live in their own silos rather than interact with those of other communities. Living in peace in plural societies requires purposeful and energetic interaction which is organised. Where there has been ethnic and religious strife the world over, the better answer has been to provide people with encouragement and incentives to mix together, which is what the Muslim organization in Kurunegala was trying to do.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 27
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    For the type of racist politics that is practised in SL there must be an enemy. Once it has been proclaimed that the war was won by certain “war heroes”, Tamils have ceased to be an enemy. The new enemy is the Muslim. He will be pummelled until he loses his breath. That is happening but once that is completed, one has to think of a new round. The resurgence of the LTTE will be dawn of another story to keep the myth alive. Sinhala-Bhuddist hegemony cannot thrive without an enemy. This politics will of course lead to the impoverishment of the Sinhala peasant and the thriving of the corrupt sinhala politician. So SL goes around and around, like a dog chasing its tail.

    t

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      Even handedness is useless when a so called Superpower/rogue state is funding ISIS terrorism and weaponizing religion in small countries, while using Fake Human Rights and minority rights discourse to pretend it loves Muslims, particularly Muslim women. US loves Muslims rights in third world in order to protect the very Muslim terror networks that its CIA is funding and backing!!!
      What a bloody diabolical circus.
      Please read Columbia Uni. Prof. Jeffrey Sacks “End of American Exceptionalism” which unmasks the truth about Amercia’s never ending war and export of Islamic terrorism all over the world with its Saudi partner in crime.
      Even handedness in such circumstances enables cascades of inter-religious violence

  • 4
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    Right on JP, even handedness is needed, and so you need to recognize the GEOPOLITICS in the Easter Crime and protest outside your funders – the US and Saudi embassies in Colombo – for all their hideous Wahabi-Salafi ISIS project atrocities all over the world crafted by the CIA and SOF to divide, distract, colonize and loot Asia , Africa and the Indian Ocean region.
    Who needs to create “Cascades of Inter-religious violence” using the ISIS narrative and engineer a “Clash of Civilizations” between Asia’s 2 great religious tradition – Buddhism and Islam, to destroy the rise of Asia?! The crashing and morally bankrupt Euro-American empire which stoops to weaponizing other peoples religious values and ethical systems.
    China and Russia which are communist do not mess with other peoples religions and value systems and knowledge systems. This is where I draw the line on the US deepstate crimes against Humanity.

    Once again we see JP talking about Muslim bombers and Christian victims only in Sri Lanka although it was China’s Shangri La that was hit with 2 suicide bombers reflecting the US-Saudi-Isreal nexus. Hope people will protest outside US embassy and Saudi embassy in Colombo on the 21st.

  • 10
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    Dr. JP: The Muslim community needs to speak out against their corrupt political leaders and their foreign dirty Money politics which is spreading the Wahabi-Salafi Saudi funded US trained ISIS project slush funds to all Muslim politicians across the UNP-SLFP-PP- SLMC etc- M.L.M Hizbullah, Rishard Bathudeen, Hakeem, Kabir Hashim all take the money and weaponize Islam from within. destroying Islam for the love of power and money. All these corrupt politicians went on Haj Jaunts to Saudi when Sri Lanka was in Crisis.
    Meanwhile USAID and its funded local NGOs love to talk about Muslim women’s rights after US-Saudi has invaded and destroyed whole Muslim countries.
    Enough of this ethno-religious-gender divide and rule Identity Politics and fake Human rights NGO industry.
    JP finally, please read the book ” The United States of War” by David Vine, and understand that the US and its Saudi partners are the biggest Rogue state in the world. Now they are trying to do to Myanmar what they did in Syria and Venezuela – engineer regime change and next it will be Sri Lanka’s turn. That project is already ongoing Using the Muslims and NGOs as Cat’s Paw and ScapeGoat! Wake UP JP!

  • 17
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    It is sad to see the Cardinal M.R. has made to retract the statement he had made 24 hours before. Truths can not be spoken in certain countries[Russia/China/ North Korea/ Myanmar & SL]. It is extremely UNLIKELY that any Terrorist Organisation could have been formed after 2009 as the Military Intelligence was very solid. Event like Easter Bombing[EB] and defacing of Buddha’s statues could have been only carried out by a group that had the FULL backing of some group working for the security forces.
    The choice of Churches in the west and East of SL was to minimise HARM to the Buddhists and to maximise it on Tamil and Sinhala Christians. Sacrificing few hundreds of its citizens +few Tourists, for the Political Masterminds’ BENEFITS shows their EVIL SOULS.
    INCENTIVES for tolerance between races and religious groups has to start from the Nurseries and Kindergatens. History lessons should NOT stress on wars between Indian & SL Kings. Buddhist and other religious Dignitaries should lead the efforts to bring peace and harmony in the country.

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      Naman,
      “History lessons should NOT stress on wars between Indian & SL Kings”
      Actually there are no history lessons in school nowadays, because teaching real history will offend the monks. But the monks get a chance to teach racist history in the Daham Pasalas. All the young racists are created by the Daham Pasalas.

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      Naman,
      “INCENTIVES for tolerance between races and religious groups has to start from the Nurseries and Kindergatens.”

      If racist separatist GG Ponnambalam and SJV Chelvanayakam did that Sinhalayo and Demalu could have lived peacefully in this country. GG Ponnambalam was the father of anti-Sinhala racism in Sinhale. Ponnambalam’s main political theme was to focus on evils of the majority oppressing and denying the rights of minority Tamils. Ponnambalam ignited the first Tamil-Sinhala riots in 1939 by giving a racially charged speech at Nawalapitiya denigrating the Sinhala-Buddhist culture, its history and the people. He is the one who asked for 50:50. When he demanded 50-50, Sinhalayo offered him 43 per cent. Ponnambalam rejected it. Which majority in the world had given 43% to a minority of 12% on an issue of so fundamental as power-sharing? Even now Vellala Tamil politicians have not changed their anti-Sinhala racist stance. Look what Vigneshwaran is uttering from time to time.
      Throughout history Tamil leadership blundered and the blame is put on the Sinhala-Buddhists.

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      Naman,
      “History lessons should NOT stress on wars between Indian & SL Kings.”
      —-
      Why not?
      The wars were not between Kings. Wars in Sinhale, the Land of Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo were between Demala invaders and Sinhalayo. Demalu invaded Sinhale 52 times from 3rd Century BC, destroyed Sinhala Kingdoms Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa located in the North East of the country by massacring Sinhalayo and burning their settlements forcing Sinhalayo to abandon that area and move to South.
      Simply because Demalu get embarrassed as perpetrators who massacred Sinhalayo do you think Sinhalayo should not tell the truth to their children?

  • 18
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    Jehan, appreciate your intentions but pity that you could not wait few days for politician Ranjith to flip flop so that you could have avoided mentioning him. Apparently soon after Ranjith made his theatrics Ape Man Ganasara accused Ranjith of being “double agent” and warned him, so Ranjith like any politician , made U turn stating people mistook him “what he said was international political terrorism and not domestic . In the mean time SJB is threatening to expose the master minds behind Easter soon. Now we need to wait for their turn to see where it will end.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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  • 20
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    “As the bombers were all Muslim, the Muslim population in the country came under public suspicion which was spontaneous and widespread.”

    Jegan,
    You are right and wrong. It is true that it is natural for public to think that Muslim population is supported the Easter bombing. It remind me that Tamils and LTTE suspected Muslim population when Muslims were used by Sri Lankan politicians and military to bring language based standardisation using a Muslim Minister and in the military actions against Tamils. Similarly, Muslims may have been used in the Easter Bombing which targeted mostly Tamil Christians and western hotels. The fact is Muslims were used for political opportunism by rulers.

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      A
      It remind me that Tamils and LTTE suspected Muslim population when Muslims were used by Sri Lankan politicians and military to bring language based standardisation using a Muslim Minister and in the military actions against Tamils.
      *
      Standardization was not planned. It was a knee jerk response to a weird outcome of a flawed examination system based on spoon feeding.
      The minister was there well before the event. It would have happened even if Chelliah Kumarasuriyar was the minister.
      *
      Tamil-Muslim relationship was soured by a series of events. One-sided criticism blinds us to reality. It is not as if all Tamils were Angels and all Muslims Devil’s disciples.
      With such attitude one cannot hope for healthy relations for Tamils with any community.
      *
      Many Tamil politicians abused Sumanthiran for apologising to the Muslims for the tragedy of 1995.
      Does it not tell us that we are a long way from civilized conduct?

  • 1
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    U.S., India Warned Sri Lanka Weeks Before Easter Terror Attacks advanced informationwas available for Investigators that could protect them

  • 1
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    Since when did JP become a terrorism expert?

    Leave these matters to the experts. They have the medicines.

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    ” The monks who spoke said that the Muslim community living in the village had good relations with the Sinhalese living in the neighbouring villages, and this had continued for generations. “

    The Muslims are able to co-exist with the Sinhalese but what about the Tamils? Muslims were chased out of Jaffna and other places. Gunned down in the mosques and their properties and valuables confiscated by the LTTE. Ethnic cleansing is a war crime but it is never mentioned in the reports of the human rights champions.

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    Tamil Diaspora and LTTE were behind Sinhala-Muslim clashes after LTTE got defeated in 2009 to give the impression to International Community that Sinhala Buddhists are violent people and oppress minorities to get their sympathy to continue with their anti-Sri Lanka campaign.

  • 1
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    What the Muslims who happen to be in Sri Lanka need is thoroughly edited out ‘the book’ of very dangerous stuff/verses.
    /
    Remember, muslim terrorism is global, historical, eternal, and franchised. The Easter Sunday attack is not their first and the last.

  • 1
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    It is unfortunate that religion has been used as a tool by politicians to divide and conquer. The minority have always been demonized, and used in divisive language as the “other”, or those inferior to the majority, they are made to look like transgressors and aliens on this island, and made to look as if they do not belong here.
    Our nation never progresses because we are deliberately divided. Many other multi religious nations have got the point, and make sure the country is united, but unfortunately we are not one of those nations.
    The minority have played a huge part in the development of this country, we have had doctors, lawyers, engineers, and leaders, contribute to our success, and many generous donations towards helping the poor in this country, building wings in hospital, feeding the poor, and employing Sinhalese people in their businesses.
    Why are our so called leaders not making an effort to unite this country, and are they willing to hamper with the progress of this country, by setting one against the other? I guess when all they care is themselves and their deep pockets, who cares for unity and strength?

  • 0
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    The fundamental problem in this “Body Politics” is the game players analysis of the “Voter Base”, classified as “Sinhala/Tamil/Muslim/Burghar/Malay/the newest being “Adivasi” and further subdivided into another classification based on “Religion” and little further down to “Caste”. During the last general election, a prominent candidate, (a well “educated” ) from Gampaha District appeared in a TV discussion and when the “Host” asked him, what are the chances of his winning, he gave very “Disgraceful” (in my opinion) answer, thus: “My father is a “Buddhist” and my mother is a “Christian”, so I am “Assured” of votes from both these “Religious” factions. Therefore, I am sure to win”. He won and today he is a “State Minister”- a very “Powerful” and an “Inner Circle Intellectual” of the President. What more to talk of these “Dirty” political games that the “Game Players” are manipulating to win in an election. This “Game” is played right across the length and breadth of the country and that is a “Cancer” spread into “Politics” germinated by the “Politicians” of all the political parties. Until this “Durty” mindset and the “Psychosis” is removed, there is no “HOPE” of any march forward. We will “Stagnate” and “Perish” as a Nation and a Country.

  • 4
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    Jehan today in U.S the cop who killed Floyd was found guilty by jury of murder and man slaughter charges and will face years of prison term.Though its delayed it is still a turning point in history of racial injustice. Biden / Harris and nation in general hailed the judgement. There were almost 40 witnesses of different races . As I believed there is light at end of tunnel but not in Lanka because the tunnel never ends.

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    Also Jehan, hundreds who stormed into capitol on Trump, s advise are now behind bars on sedition charges..

  • 0
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    @Jehan,
    To believe radicals are those wrapped in arab gabs , large beards , eating food that their scriptures recommend , which has become more evident the necessity with somuch of unethical food trade practices not caring for human lives, justifies the neccessity of Halal & Kosher to be respected and permitted for those communities who considers food as a sacred provision rather than filling their gutts .
    This is why you will always see Jews , Christians and Muslims pray and honor their meals , The dress code,beards and dietry have
    nothing to do with radical and religous extremism , it is to do with
    the ideology ,the programming of the minds of a segment of Religous groups to believe hurting , harming and destroying those who do not believe as they do, it is what need to be adressed , its not Just Islam, while I addmit today its the Misguided muslims segment who use mostly direct violence against innocents , there are few others too do it, but hardly reported and few in discreet methods , The Muslim terorrists are used for various agendas , because their warped ideolgy makes them an easy agent to convince .

    to be continued ..

  • 0
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    cont.
====
banning religous schools , books and branches and their schools of thoughts have to be considered as total prejudise and discriminative.
    This also includes The BBS, am not buttering them, after all they are not bread to be..
    Its being reasonable , As a Muslim , yes I feel hurt and angry , but not with Ven.Gnanasara’s call for protection of Sinhalese Buddhist rights , he and all Sinhala Buddhists have the right to do so.
    I am only hurt and angry with his choice of words in his narative, which have lead to lot of misunderstandings and damage besides that nothing personal.
    Getting back to the Islamic radicals , the right Arabic word is Modern kawarijs ( you can google for Silmi Haamid in canada to further varify about Modern Kawarij , just because the term Wahabi is randomly used by some Scholars and accademics and shieks , does not mean its correct )
    The Leaders of Sri Lanka are being .misinformed and mislead.
    By banning religous institutions , books and theirs organizations will only give to breeding of a new evil
nemesis, where we may , endup exactly where we ended the 30 year war.
    But then that was for land , this will be for ideology , being fake or myth for some of us is irrellevent, for the kawarijs their ideology gives them the licence to kill indiscriminately and they believe deeply its their God given right

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      The real danger of banning the Islamic organizations based on suspicion and speculation , instead what would be wise is to monitor them is by given any chance of even a single group is afliated to.ISIL Kawarij radicals & by banning them they dissapear underground , none will be able to predict what could happen next.
      These are men who are completely gone insane with their blood thirsty ideology ,where not even Muslims outside their branch of Kawarij Islam will be spared , there is no room for compassion or forgiveness on earth , their ideolgy is litteral, only God can forgive them in the next life , but on earth they have to dealt with what they interpret as God’s law & nothing less , their dogma’s interpretation of the religion says cut the hand of the thief , just cut it , even if its a hungry child who steals a bun , sexual .is misconduct , stone them to death , so it goes.
      People must understand these crazy men are easily manupilated by eilites from all races , religions , even athiests , who are the biggest Arms manufactures and dealers.
      If there are any radicals and by banning them they go underground , then their Slave masters will start rolling in billions , transfer foreign terorists and sophisticated arms.

  • 1
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    M.R. talked about the ‘FILES ON MPs’ he was keeping in order to have a strong hold on them. That file is also used by NGR to make the Muslim MPs to vote for the 20th Amendment etc etc. If the Country wants to start fresh on a RECOVERY PATH, it needs to dissolve the parliament.We need a high standards of requirements to contest in the elections. Being a SL citizen[not Dual]; Proof of earning their wealth legally; No pending criminal court cases; No criminal convictions; have had a psychoanalysis & Psychiatric report to exclude Psychopaths; Educated; …..

  • 1
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    This liar and opportunist Cardinal is another Blind Eagle alias HLD. A third grade opportunist and a double agent and a bum sucker and this fellow could be bought with little snathosam. he must be getting money from vatican and abusing it. How on earht this fellow wants memorial prayers when he kept his arse shut when thosands of tamils were killed in Churches and hospital. The fellow now wants to go to UN. This fellow changes his story from time to time. We should remove his cassock and chase him away. A baby faced liar and an opportunist.

  • 0
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    BL,
    You are 100% correct about the Cardinal. His silence during massacres between 2005 and middle of 2009 can be called collusion to the criminal acts. Cardinal is a biased unblessed soul and is good at playing dirty politics.
    Radicalisation can result from minority bashing but pseudo radicals[ Easter Bombers] were created to serve a purpose–to bring back the previous rulers.Human sacrifice!!!

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