By Ameer Ali –
From the 8th century, when history recorded its first evidence of Muslim arrival in Sri Lanka, to the 16th century, when the Portuguese set foot in the island, the Land of Rubies (Jazirat al-Yakut), as Sri Lanka was described by Al-Balazuri, a 9th century Arab historian, was the safest abode for Muslims in the Asian region. Arab and Persian traders, travellers and mystics frequented the island, not only in search of spices and precious stones but also in pursuit of that legendary footprint of the first man, Adam. It was commerce and curiosity and not conquest and conversion that brought the Muslims to the shores of Sri Lanka. These visitors were welcomed with open arms by the island’s Buddhist rulers, who, driven by the economic motive of gaining access to the country’s products in the then flourishing Caliphate markets, extended the Buddhist hospitality and tolerance towards Muslims and their Islamic faith. It was in the spirit of that tolerance and cordiality, and perhaps to ingratiate himself with Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, the Umayyad Governor of Iraq, that the Sri Lankan monarch sent as gift the widows of some Arab merchants who died in Sri Lanka. How this incident eventually became the casus belli for the conquest of Sind by Muhammad bin Qasim is a separate story. What matters are the historical facts that cemented the centuries old Buddhist-Muslim peaceful coexistence in Serendib, another Arabic name for Sri Lanka. Apart from the commercial interest however, there was another reason for this hospitality that has escaped attention in the writings and research of local historians.
Eighth century was the meeting point in history between Islam and Buddhism. While Islam penetrated into the heart of Central Asia and North West India at that time, Buddhism retreated from those regions and began spreading around the Bay of Bengal and inner Asia. Within the world of Islam, there was a dynastic change in 750 from Umayyads to the Abbasids, and the seat of the Caliphate shifted from Damascus to Baghdad. In the wars that took place in this dynastic struggle, there was one Buddhist family, which played a prominent role. This was the family of Barmakids, who controlled the famous Nawbahar monastery in Balkh in Afghanistan. One of the Barmakids, Khalid ibn Barmak converted to Islam and aided Abu Muslim in his war preparations against the Umayyad ruler Marwan. Later, during the rule of Caliph al-Mansur, Khalid became a vizier. His son, Yahya tutored Mansur’s son, the legendary Harun al-Rashid and the Barmak family rose to dizzying heights during Harun’s rule before the entire family had a fatal ending at the hands of the same ruler. However, Islamic civilization owes a debt to this Buddhist family because it was one of the Barmakids, who had a hand in designing the circular model of the Abbasid capital, Baghdad, based on the monumental Buddhist Round City of Erk Kala in Merv. The Barmakids were also instrumental in shifting the focus of the Abbasid translation movement, which until then was concentrating on the intellectual output of ancient Greece, towards India. According to Johan Elverskog,“the Barmakid viziers not only sent envoys to India to bring back medicines, texts, and scholars, but they also promoted Islamic engagement with the East. To this end they supported the translation of Sanskrit texts into Arabic so that this material be accessible to Muslim scholars.”(Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2010, pp. 60-61). Frederick Starr, in his seminal publication, Lost Enlightenment (Princeton University Press, Princeton, Oxford, 2013), goes on to add that, “For centuries the Buddhist Barmaks had served as cultural intermediaries between India and Central Asia. … Now the Barmaks continued this tradition as Muslims, forging a link between Eastern learning and Baghdad” (p. 135).
What is the relevance of all this to medieval Sri Lanka? At a time when there were no newspapers or other modern means of gathering information it was direct contact with people and the messages and stories that they brought with them that helped widening peoples’ intellectual horizon. The link with Buddhism and the rise to fame of Buddhists in the Caliphate must have been news carried to Sri Lanka through the Arab and Persian visitors. What news that circulated in the bazaar must have reached the royal household through state officials and spies. One cannot therefore avoid the conclusion that the Buddhist monarchs being aware of the coalescence of the two civilizations in the Islamic caliphate were too willing to accommodate the Muslim visitors and allowed them to become long-term residents, which formed the nucleus of the Muslim community in this country. This solidly built Buddhist-Islam and Sinhalese-Muslim religious and ethnic cohabitation, which the colonial interregnum failed to destroy and which withstood even the 1915 riots, made Sri Lanka the safest abode for Muslims in the Asian region.
Why then did it become an insecure abode?
Much of the blame should be laid at the door of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism. Before explaining this argument further a few words on nationalism are necessary as backdrop.
The spirit of nationalism, a product of 17th century Europe, can be a uniting as well as a dividing force in plural societies depending on the circumstance. Nationalism as a supra-force can unite the different components of a plural society to fight against a common enemy. In fact, it was the supranational spirit which was responsible in many cases to achieve independence from colonialism. However, when nationalism allows sub-nationalisms to crop up that can become the poison to destroy plural societies. This was the story behind the collapse of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and also the story behind the current ethnic tumult in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka did not achieve independence from British colonialism by way of any armed struggle, but rather obtained it like a gift when the British ran away from India. Hence, there was no need for a supra-nationalist spirit to grow up to unite the various ethnic and religious elements in the country’s plural make up, but several sub-nationalisms developed each uniting its own group to protest against foreign domination. The most prominent of these was Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism. This sub-nationalism that grew up in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was more or less an intellectual campaign with the primary objective of raising Sinhala Buddhist consciousness against foreign political and economic domination. In the post-independence era however, this sub-nationalism became a political weapon in the hands of politicians to win power through electoral politics. When SWRD, the Oxford educated and a brilliant orator in English, who struggled to speak his mother tongue Sinhalese, introduced the Sinhala Only campaign it was primarily intended to rally the Sinhala Buddhist masses to defeat the UNP at the elections. By the time he realised that he had sacrificed by that measure the long-term stability of the country for short term political gain it was too late for damage control and the Sinhala Buddhist nationalist genie killed him. Once the genie was taken out of the bottle no government that came after SWRD was prepared to put it back. They needed it desperately to win electoral political contests.
In the wake of LTTE’s demand for Eelam, which threatened to bisect the country physically, the psychological fear of the Sinhalese that they were about to lose the only land they have to call their home whipped up the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist myopia with virulence. Even a comprehensive military victory against the LTTE has not removed that fear. The fact that the Eelam campaign has now become transnational will keep this nationalism alive for years to come. But more importantly and in the current context this nationalism only serves the purpose of winning elections. In the hands of power hungry Sinhalese politicians supported by a small minority from the Sangha, and who have no solutions to offer to the grinding economic, environmental, social and administrative issues facing the common man, ethnic cum religious nationalism has become the only trump to capture power. Thus, Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism in the hands of a vocal minority has now transmogrified into a poisonous philosophy of ethnic cleansing. This philosophy created the political psychosis that produced the Ampara mayhem a week ago, and before that in Alutgama, Gintota and in various other places. It is that psychosis once again turned a crime committed by a few Muslim drunkards in Digana, into a pretext for Muslim cleansing in the hands of a mob led by one notorious Buddhist monk. The silence of the rulers to condemn the instigators, its failure to punish the criminals involved and its tardiness in compensating the victims speak volumes about its own readiness to exploit this psychosis whenever it suits them.
Have the Muslims themselves contributed to this sad outcome? Part II will answer this question.
*To be continued..
*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business and Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia
SF / March 6, 2018
Not only Sri Lanka but also other countries safe for uncivilized barbaric religion.
Simon De Silva / March 6, 2018
Anyways, what the writer meant is somthing else.
We had never kind of safer in this country to Muslims. That we should be very clear.
Sinhala extremists calling themselves as Buddhists have been caught by Rajapakshes clan. Latter make every effort to return to power no matter it would have been a destructive way.
Best would be Rajapakshes to be fated with what R Premadasa faced it in late 80ties.
These men should be out of lanken politics.
He says something and doing the other way around. He has been unpredicatable.
Media men like Derana and Hiru now together with Sirasa make it worse today. They just focus on headlines.
This is the current situatoni, This country will never learn a lession.
Ceylonee / March 6, 2018
One young Muslim boy was killed by Budda Terrorists yesterday . Many Racist Police and stf helped those Sin Kele barbarians to attack Muslims houses, Mosks so couldnt prevent this death.
If Siddartha Budda alive today, he will CURSE and ORDER TO KILL all these Rowdy Kaavi Terrorists in order to purify budhism and his followers.
We always with majority Budhists people who are crying and praying against these Venom Kaavi Terrorists .. May peace be upon mother lanka..
Chaminda / March 7, 2018
I think you are a Muslim and your comments shows What majority Muslims feel towards Buddhism. Gautham buddha did not encourage any kind of violence even to his enemies. it is the most peaceful religion in the world. then how can he instruct to kill or curse somebody. Those who take violence as a solution are not true Buddhists but some politically motivated stupids. Anyway that Sinhala driver was killed because he is a sinhalese. I have my own encounters with such accidents and those Muslim people most of the time does not like to deal with such things peacefully. If both parties are Muslims I have not heard of any such clashes between two parties. Muslim extremist foil this society in a way more dangerous than those so called Buddhist extremist (but according to Buddha’s philosophy they are non-existent). Unless those Muslim related terrorists give up spreading these misinformation this country cannot have a permanent peace.
Ralli Ameen / March 9, 2018
Are you a human being or donkey or fathered by lion. Everybody know Muslims fight among themselves like Sinhalese or Tamils and there had been murders too but percentage is very small compared to you all. That is because majority of you all are drunkards. Two Muslim youth (no good Muslim) who were drunk had an argument with the driver. They assaulted the driver, he got hurt and had gone to the police and had made a complaint. A racist policeman informed this to Gnanasara and the criminal organizing the riot found a good scapegoat and had beaten him severely put in the. Thereafter you know the story. Gnanasara had taken 1.5 million rupees to be given the wife and hush up the matter but the money was not given to the woman (l-enews). As you can see you Sinhalese beat your own kind to start a riot. You call Muslim extremist, just tell one incident where Muslim had burn Sinhalese shops and houses. They had done this to Muslims few time within five years and many times to Tamils. So who are the real extremist and terrorist? Sinhalese Buddhist (around 25%) and monks. If you are not a donkey or not born to a lion you will understand.
Fathima / March 6, 2018
I have to accept this time it’s the fault of Muslims. No point lying. This nonsense should end soon and normalcy should come fast. This is hurting business. Local new year is just a month away and these are good business days lost.
Please come to your senses.
If this continues Muslims must leave Srilanka to the barbarians. Let them do what they do best as the whole world knows. Otherwise Srilankan Muslims will also end up like Tamil Tigers or Burmese Muslims.
Tee Twenty / March 6, 2018
SF — why are you insulting Buddhism like this? It is religion of peace.
Mama Sinhalam / March 6, 2018
Hope Ameer would take into account the consequences of the Muslims suddenly becoming arabs, their men dressing like arabs and their women in long black dresses like arab women. They also alienated Tamils by joining up with the Sinhalese. Now they seek to dress the issue as a minority issue when it is a Sinhala-Muslim issue, the other minorities not being involved. In Mannar, the desecration of Hindu temples is ascribed to Muslims. They are going to be a troubled lot. Their leaders are beating communal drums the same way the Sinhalese are beating them, taking over lands and trying to spread their influence. So, there is bound to be a backlash. This is not to condone it but to indicate that you need two hands to clap.
rbh / March 6, 2018
All relegion teach wearing long clothes is better than wearing transparent clothes,
Black clothes that is worn is for easy spending.
Native Vedda / March 6, 2018
“All relegion teach wearing long clothes is better than wearing transparent clothes,”
Will you now give us the chapter and versus to support your above typing from each of the religion and its religious book?
You should visit Sigiriya, Hindu Temples, and Christian Renaissance art, ………………
rbh / March 6, 2018
What basis the does the Budhist Women monk and Sisters in the church wear
Lasith / March 6, 2018
Exactly my point.
In spite of the robes see how some monks are behaving.
its not the clothes that makes a man.
You can cover yourselves all you want and yet be the devil inside.
Haven’t you heard of the wold in sheep’s clothing?
Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese have much in common that Muslims have in common with Arabs. Stop trying to be Arab.
Arabs have spoilt the good name of Islam and few have projected Islam to be a dangerous religion which it is not.
When you all dress more like Arabs you get noticed and political Vultures use you as a soft target to channel the frustration in the minds of the suffering masses and divert their attention.
In a nutshell what i am saying is that if you want to maintain your peaceful lifestyles, try not to attract unwanted attention.
Naturally I am very much opposed to the ways of my people, attacking minorities but neither I nor most others who are of this opinion cannot do much, when some people do not use their Brains to make decisions, but go by feeble emotions stirred up by political vultures and religious extremists.
Like they say when in Rome be like a roman.
rbh / March 7, 2018
To cover from “evil eye” usually refers to harm that comes to a person because of someone else’s jealousy or envy towards them.
Please google evil eye islamic protection
Ralli Ameen / March 9, 2018
You and some others here says, “stop trying to be Arabs, stop calling yourself Arabs, you are not Arabs etc.” Why these people writing like this. Do they hate the Arabs a lot or hate the Moors a lot? Beside Muslim ethnicity written as “Moors” in all official document not as Arabs. They are known as a separate ethnic group and called Moors not Arabs. We say we are descendants of Arabs traders who took Sinhalese and Tamil wives and mixed with Persian, other Muslim traders and convert which is a historical fact. Sinhalese says they came from north India for which there is no proof but it was accepted so why can’t you all accept us as traders who came here and now a mixed race called Moors? You say we dress like Arabs but the fact is whatever dress women wear they always wear fully covered dress, this is universal. Men wear Arabs dress only in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Oman and some parts of Yemen. In some part of Yemen they wear sarong. Other places 75% men wear trouser and shirt. In Sri Lanka 70% of men wear trouser and shirt, 25% Sarong and 5% men’s style shalwar and kamiz. This is Pakistan and Indian style not Arab. One fact is even trouser and shirt, coat Arab origin not western. Europe burrowed from Arabs and made changes keeping with time. So the trouser and shirt you wear is western but the origin is Arabs.
Maname Saimon / March 6, 2018
You, who live in Melbourne might need that. But we live in Sri Lanka among them, and we don’t need chapter and verse. In the 60s there were no black wearing, hijab wearing Muslim women in Sri Lanka. They were integrating with the rest of the people. It is during the war that they began to occupy the space freed by Tamil and Sinhala migration to other countries. And they multiplied like rabbits, got into higher education through district basis and Z score fraud. Today lots of obstetricians are Muslims. Why do they choose that specialty mainly? We don’t condone violence. But humans react in a certain way when they see an obvious threat. That is what is happening now though the NGOs and foreign sponsored Christians don’t want to say that.
nalmen / March 6, 2018
this time it was not the sinhalese who started the trouble but the muslims
after ampara they should have been more careful in their dealings with the sinhalese
sinahaasle punditi / March 6, 2018
excellent piece of writing to put Muslim community of Sri Lanka in a historical context, So far, I have not read any article on Sri Lankan Muslim connecting their origin with Buddhist civilization in this way … First of all, why did not those Sinhalese kings did not predict that their public might persecute these minorities? why did not they keep Muslim community with them.. Had the Muslim community migrated to India those days they would have ended up in Pakistan or Bangladesh. DO you think Sinhalese kings did a mistake in history to settle muslim community in Sri Lanka? Or do you think that they did not believe their citizenship will become mobs and thugs like these? or do you think that these mobs and some politicians go against the wishes of all those Sinhalese kings who settled Muslims in Sri Lanka.
Sinhalese are ungrateful to Tamil community.. The country is run today by the foreign exchanges tamils send from Europe and from the hard working upcountry tamils who are exploited.. From hard working 24 hours working retail business people of Muslim community .. these Sinhalese people are ungrateful today .. 3 Million Sri lankan work in the ME to send money.. still Sinhalee want to more blood of Muslim community..
this is the mentality of sinhalese today.. Their consciousness of hearts gone very low now..
JohnSiva / March 6, 2018
I like how the author casually skims over the disappearance of buddhism across northern India as if it was some gentle and gradual process. Muslims played a vital role along with Hindu revivalists in wiping out buddhism across India. Muslims were also responsible for destroying the Nalanda buddhist university in India. Muslims may have arrived in Sri Lanka peacefully, but their arrival in the rest of the Indian subcontinent was of brutal conquest.
Muslims themselves in Sri Lanka are assisting Sinhala nationalists today by allowing Saudi style wahabbis to poison their faith and culture on the island. Everyone can see the transformation muslims are undergoing in Sri Lanka. Lankan muslims themselves attacked and destroyed Sufi shrines and homes on the island but are trying to hide this from the rest of Sri Lanka. It takes two to tango
Ralli Ameen / March 14, 2018
Don’t talk like an idiot without knowing the real history. Muslims and Hindus did not wipe out Buddhism, Buddhism had its natural death because you have to give up every things in the world to achieve Nirvana. Hinduism survived because it did not have such ideology. Afghanistan to other north western Asian countries were ruled by descendants of Genghis Khan and when they converted to Islam those countries became Muslim countries. Indonesia, Malaysia and other Islamic countries it was the same stories. When people came across a dynamic religion Islam they naturally converted. If not for the Portuguese, Dutch and British people of other eastern countries including Ceylon (Sri Lanka) would have converted to Islam. Now of course the Buddhist priest have built a priesthood in line with Brahmin priest with burrowed Hindu style they are ever evolving apart from original teachings of Lord Buddha.
Common Sense / March 6, 2018
You ask the question “Have the Muslims themselves contributed to this sad outcome? ” Without a doubt the Sri lanka answer is yes. The feeling is that during the Sinhalese and Tamils were fighting a 30 year bitter war, Muslims made hay. They acquired all the properties in Colombo, Galle Face to Panadura) vacated by Tamils and Sinhalese who migrated. Their clothes and other businesses boomed. One of their operatives within the higher education system introduced the Z score which greatly favoured them to enter university. the Arts, Law and Business Management Faculties of Peradeniya campus are filled today with hijab weairing Muslim female students. -Just go on any open day to Peradeniya and you can see this for yourself. Then the Wahabism took root and Muslims became aggressive and disrespectful of the majority and Buddhism in general. The Sri Lankan Muslim numbers are too high and their influence too much to be sustainable. A solution has to be found soon or the situation will go out of control. In the meantime, Sinhalese will boycott Muslim businesses.
Burt / March 6, 2018
Karma is a bitch.
“When the IPKF left the island for good in 1990, the Sri Lankan government started to use their Muslim Home Guards to ethically cleanse the Tamil population in East. Often times, the Sri Lankan military would stand on guard while the Home Guards would go around killing people. Only after these incidents did the LTTE resort to brute force. Thousand of Tamils were hacked to death by these home-guards as the Sri Lankan army stood by. Home Guards destroyed thousands of homes and even destroyed local Temples and churches. One of the most notorious incidents was the Veeramunai Massacre, where 200+ Tamils were brutally murdered by Muslim Home Guards with the help of the government.”
ekelbroom / March 6, 2018
The relations between the Buddhist and Muslim communities have deteriorated over the past 3 – 4 decades to such an extent that all it takes now is just a spark to start a fire between the two groups.
Subsequent efforts by the State and Civil society are confined to merely dousing the flames, thereby creating the perception that ‘things are now OK’, as illustrated by the thinking and behaviour of Muslims after January 2015.
But the Muslims did not (and still do not) realize that no fire is truly and safely extinguished until and unless it’s embers are destroyed completely. To accomplish this task effectively, one must have a clear idea as to what factors contributed to the creation of the embers in the first instance. And rather than standing on ceremony, the Muslim community should take the initiative in commencing this complex process.
Part 2 of Dr Ameer Ali’s article should in this regard provide much food for thought. In the meantime, the Muslims should take a long, hard look at themselves in a mirror and ask themselves a simple question : Is this how our Buddhist brothers and sisters see us ?
Real Siva Sankaran Sharma / March 6, 2018
Amir Ali Islam is only around 1400 year old. and originated around the 7Th century CE in Mecca. This , means around the 8TH century it was still consolidating and forming amongst the Bedouin Arab tribes in the Arabian peninsular and Muslim emissaries Arab or other would not have been travelling to Sri Lanka around this time. Please do not distort history. The first Arabs who arrived in the east were Christians and not Muslims. Nasrani Syrian Christian Mappilas of Kerala.. Even the Arab Muslims traders and one or two emissaries who arrived in the island later were only a few hundred who came over a span of a few centuries and only a few of them took low caste Tamil comfort women . These part Arab part Tamil halfcaste bastards would not have amounted to a few hundred and if I am generous one or two thousand. Nothing more. These people hardly contributed to the genepool of the modern Sri Lankan Muslims , who are Dravidian Tamil Hindu converts from South India and most of them fled their South Indian homeland in wooden boats called in Tamil Marrakallam and first arrived and settled along the then Tamil north western coast ( modern day Chilaw Puttalam areas) that was part of the Tamil Jaffna kingdom and this area and the Jaffna kingdom was famous for Pearl diving and harvesting. These Dravidian Hindu Tamil converts to Islam who fled South India a few centuries ago are the ancestors of the Sri Lankan Muslims. The so called part Arab part Tamil Muslims were a small dot in the ocean and got swallowed in the huge sea of Dravidian Tamil Muslim immigrants from South India.
Real Siva Sankaran Sharma / March 7, 2018
The so called Muslim security of the last 70 years was false , it was only obtained by overtly and covertly supporting the Sinhalese racists , establishment and armed forces to discriminate , commit genocide and war crimes on the island’s Tamils for petty gains. Now with the defeat of the LTTE the Sinhalese now feel they do not need the Muslims , whom they really spurned and hated more than the Tamils, as with the Tamils they share a common culture history and origin. If the Muslims from the very beginning had supported and sided with their fellow non Muslim Tamils against state sponsored Sinhalese Buddhist racism and fascism , instead of supporting it for petty benefits , in the name of Islam and a fake Arab/Moor origin , things would have been very different. I sincerely hope the island’s Muslims would have now learnt their lesson, as to never support evil , even for petty benefits and never deny your actual heritage, however have a strong suspicion they will not and will revert to their usual backstabbing tactics. Hope things will improve for them
Ralli Ameen / March 8, 2018
Here again the Moor bashing Australoid crow cawing. However much you caw you cannot change anything. Everybody knows you invent something to prove your point. Like the Australian court, Australian Arab communities against Sri Lanka Muslim etc… Now you shit writing It was Christian Arabs who arrived first in Sri Lanka. Christian Arabs were very small communities in the extreme west of Middle-east and they were not seafaring people. Europe was in dark age at theta time. Very recently (around 1500 AC) only the Christians venture toward east. Alexandra came up to India over 2000 years back but through land route and they were not Christians. It was I long ago pointed out to you how the title Marikkar evolved from Maraikalam manithar and the Sinhalese called them Marakkala. Marai kalam in Tamil is sailing wooden ship. Boat is Padagu in Tamil. If they had come in boat Tamil should call them Padakar. Before Arabs arrival, Colombo and other coastal area were monopolized by Kerala people (Cochchiya). Sinhalese were farmers in interior areas. These Cochchi fellows did barter trade with them. All these were broken when Arabs arrived and Sinhalese earned more for their goods by trading with Moors for money and other goods they brought from other countries. That was why Sinhalese king allowed them to freely move and live in the country. You crow don’t fabricate stories here. We know you Australoid crow and your kind Australoid crows (not good Tamils) were descendants of South Indian Australoid crows who pimped for Arabs by giving them comfort women. Came to Sri Lanka in Kallathonis. Among the good Tamils you crows are small percentage originally pimp by profession. These racist Sinhalese actually belongs to you Australoid groups since they like you filled with jealousy and hatred.
srinath.gunaratne / March 6, 2018
Muslim politicians must do some soul searching as well as Sinhalese ones!
We must ban all the race/religion based political parties in Sri Lanka.
Burning Issue / March 6, 2018
Implicitly you say that the poor Sinhala Buddhist have been provoked by the Muslims and Muslims politicians! What a pathetic nonsense and you live and enjoy absolute freedom living in the UK!
One thing that you need to learn that once a Ginny is out of the bottle it is very difficult to contain it! The Ginny being the Sinhala Buddhist populist fundamentalism that the likes of you overtly or covertly help to nurture!
Native Vedda / March 6, 2018
At the age of 11 years, srinathan.gunaratnam saved Tamil family in 1983 (probably stripping them of their assets).
Perhaps the UK government invited him to protect White man, Black man, Brown man, Yellow man from ISIS.
Soma / March 6, 2018
Yes, we must ban all race/religion based political parties in Sri Lanka.
Burning Issue / March 6, 2018
“Yes, we must ban all race/religion based political parties in Sri Lanka.”
I agree. Do you support banning MR? He uses race and religion to promote his chances!
Native Vedda / March 6, 2018
“Yes, we must ban all race/religion based political parties in Sri Lanka.”
Hence there would be only two historically racist parties in field free of other smaller parties to conduct their political competition without too much distraction.
I am sure you prefer to remain with Dr Mahinda Rajapaksa (LLD + 3 X PhD) …..
whywhy / March 6, 2018
“Yes we must ban……….”
And then ? Remember , none of us are religious , it is just a side dish !
We do have a system of law and order which needs outsourcing !
Everything in our country is imported , why not law enforcement ?
Native Vedda / March 6, 2018
“We must ban all the race/religion based political parties in Sri Lanka.”
And allow two main traditionally racist parties to monopolise political racism effectively.
Nana / March 7, 2018
Lets research the root cause of all these troubles and then address it instead of just keep arguing. When majority feels threatened minority is not safe. Some Muslim Teachings like Calling other religions infidels and practices like expansion, conversion creates such feelings and as long as these practices are not avoided, majority find them threatened and they act for self protection.
soma / March 6, 2018
Although one may nit pick here and there it is a very good, informative, useful article. Straight away it went into my collection. I am looking forward, not only to part 2 but 3 and 4 as well. Part 3 to deal with the status of Muslims in other parts of the world (are our Muslims worse off, Sunni Shia conflict etc.) and part 4 to explore some territory no other Muslim scholar has ventured into – inherent characteristics of Islam which are anathema to other ethical systems.
Burning Issue / March 6, 2018
Useful article but no outright condemnation for the attacks on Muslims from the likes of you. Do I detect tacit support form the likes of you, a big yes!
soma / March 6, 2018
Burning Issue / March 6, 2018
Are you? That explains a lot; a poor thing!
Mohomad / March 14, 2018
” inherent characteristics of Islam which are anathema to other ethical systems.
Soma”. I have seen the exact writing in few Islam bashing website and comments. So you are real copycat.
SAKI / March 6, 2018
According to Sri Lankan logic if Saman does a crime, Saman only responsible.
If Joseph does a crime, Joseph only responsible.
But if Abdullah or Ahamed does a crime, whole religious community, mosques and all the shops are responsible. It takes a whole lifetime of hard work to build a business, shop or a property but burnt in few seconds.
Wow ! Thank you Sri Lanka.?
Thiagarajah Venugopal / March 6, 2018
Dear Ameer Thank you.
“They needed it desperately to win electoral political contests…………In the wake of LTTE’s demand for Eelam..” There is a huge gap between these paragraphs with regard to what did really take place subsequenly leading to this scenario. I mention this for completeness.
I hope part 2 will capture how did anyone become a “minority” in their own country in the 21st century please?? Sorry I am not a big fan of historical arguments to make a case for human cohabitaion in their own country where they were born under the constitution we all suppose to live by/protect etc. We can not even correctly state why we are in this state today since 70 years, 70 months, 70 days, 70 hours till now to our young………..but we had to make reference to few thousand year old history to appease others to accept anyone as a citizen is fundamentally flawed and make an incorrect president??
Personally I never looked at 21 million fellow Sri Lankans as “this and that” ever and never thought of any national solution to “all our day to day problem” as a separated/segregated event. We need to stop making excuses for those criminals who thought they can rob someone of all they own(identity/education/heritage/dignity/wealth)/body snatch and somehow say this is justified because…..?????? This is not limited to any race/religion or language but shows we have all become very cocky/confused even at individual level started playing “god” with each other in the name of some hallucinated statehood???? We have reached a point we can invite “not tourist” but Hollywood and Bollywood film makers to direct some “life/real set pieces of violence” 365 days a year for all their action movies completely free of charge.
Mallaiyuran / March 6, 2018
Muslims seeing the problem of protecting quickly earned wealth. It might have been earned like Tamils’ hard works or might have been imported from recently made Middle East friendship Connections with the women slavery. If Muslims had paid attention to SJV’s talk of all communities ruling themselves, no 1958 might have to this land. Hat Wearing Sinhala Male Chauvinist Modayas wanted to infiltrate into Reda Wearing Sinhala Modayas’ territory and rule them thinking they are too fools to rule them. The dream Apathy ruling the majority has its sour taste too. If crooked Muslims leaders start to think, solution is on the doorstep. Yahapalanaya is being pressured to solve minority problems. Muslim leaders, instead of think like the cat thinks when it closes the eyes and drinks world doesn’t see it, can use this opportunity.
If they want two birds in one bullet, i.e. ruling Tamils in North east and ruling Sinhalese in South, Muslims are drying the more of the firewood and soaking more in gasoline. Next time when the fire catches, it will be explosion. Going as coattails to Sinhala Supporting actress is not long term strategy. Time to let go the skin to milked LTTE cow and think constructively for Muslims writers and leaders. There is no need tell Muslims that so far there was no Muslims statesmen like Ramanathan, SJV, Sampanthar figures were born within them. So have to make one and move forward.
Goraka / March 6, 2018
Simple Question – Where is the hell is the Maha Sangha during crisis among Sinhala Buddhists? Are they still dozing?
Jim softy / March 7, 2018
goraka: where is your Almighty to say this is how the Creator wants it so Muslims get your properties burn before Christians destroy it. sinhala buddhists get killed from Muslims before chgristians invasion completes.
Niro / March 6, 2018
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Patriotic Citizen / March 7, 2018
YES………..It Seems Sri Lanka Is Truly Un-Healthy For Barbarians To Commit Barbaric Acts……….More Over In Your Columns We See Lots Of People Talking About How Ungrateful The Sinhalese Are To Tamils And Muslims…………………Until 1920’s There Were No Muslims Or Tamils……. All The Two Imported Communities Were Malabars From India And Traders Comiing In For Trade From Persian Gulf…………..The Colonials Baptized Them……….And Our Fooled Politicos Continued the Colonials Divide And Rule Policy thus making things worse for the sinhalese…………….What We Have To Say Is How Ungrateful Now Things …..These Two Communities Attacking The SINHALESE When The UN Human Rights Conventions is Going On ………….Arousing The Sinhalese………Attacking The Sinhalese……..killing the sinhalese …….And Hiding For Human Rights Protection……How Long This Hide And Seek Process Will Go ON
Jim softy / March 7, 2018
AMEER ALI” There were recent several Muslims – sinhala confrontations. How many muslims have been killed and how many Sinhala people have been killed. Can you prove that at least one muslim was killed. but, one sinhala man has been killed. there were muslim property vanidalizing. WHAT DO YOU THIBK, WHEN WE READ YOUR KIND OF SO MANY FALSE GRIEVeNCES, what will sinhala people think. IS it fAIR TO THINK, THAT YOU MUSLIMS KIILED A SINHALA MAN, HARASSES SINHALA WOMEN AND NOW GREIVE FOR YOUR PROPERTY LOSS. Sinhala people will forgive you ? what do you muslims have done in Sri lanka in order to build any reconcialiation. I heard, Muslims ares till continuing the charging of Non-muslims hala Tax to build muslim mosques. You may think, you do not have to have any contributions. but take it you muslims are partly responsible. You neglected your responsibility. In developed, e.g. austrlia, you are not allowd to opiss off the majority. You will be doomed. In order to precent such clashes, barriers are in place. Go and build amosque any where you like. Piss of some white men talking their women.
Real Siva Sankaran Sharma / March 7, 2018
Whilst the Sinhalese are attacking Muslims in Kandy and Amparai. there are disturbing reports of Muslims youth attacking Tamil areas in the Amparai district and a Tamil in Kattankudi for no apparent reason. These people will never learn. Despite being of Tamil ethnicity and speaking Tamil as their mother tongue, they will never acknowledge this and only worship Arab in the name of Islam and still want to steal the east from its rightful owners the Tamils. I am sorry you can never trust them.
Prageeth / March 7, 2018
Is that why you people trying to take over the country by means of sterilization, vandalising archeological sites and trying to create a phony history? Isn’t that what you have been doing in other Asian countries centuries ago?
sing fish / March 7, 2018
The muslims aided and abetted the army during the war with the tigers.They were under the impression,that what ever they do the Sinhalese will tolerate.Now,they are unleasing their atrocities and their greediness for their benifits.This is due to the reason that successive goverments ,turned a blind eye towards their activities.Today,muslims at Kattankudy placed bombs in two houses at Araiyampathy,and placed a playcard with the slogan of ISIS.Whether,the muslims want the whole of Srilanka? The goverment must nip these fanatics at the bud.The policy of muslims is to migrate,multiply and finally ,when they get the upperhand,ask for an islamic republic.At this juncture,i earnestly ask my fellow Srilankans ,to beware of this invisible invading enemy.
sach / March 7, 2018
Muslim- Sinhala relationship has been excellent over the years until the rabidly racist Sinhala organisations came into existence. The basis of anti Muslim violence in SL is global islamophobic wave that has hit Sri Lanka in the worst manner.
I personally think if Muslims in SL used Sinhala language instead of alien Tamil, the relationship between the two would be more strong
Plato. / March 7, 2018
Muslims who live among the Sinhalese are bilingual. Thus,language does not play a role.Notwithstanding the fact that Muslims in the North/East region speak exclusively in Tamil,the relationship between Tamils and Muslims is far from cordial and warm.
Interestingly,the TNA has been trying like hell to rope in the Muslims to their side by calling them Tamil speaking people with little luck.The Tamils in the East and the Sinhalese in the Kandyan region and other areas in the south of the country have become wary of the rise of the Muslims over the past few decades when the Sinhala-Tamil divide was the main play on the political stage!