17 September, 2019

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ISISing The Entire Muslim Population Of Sri Lanka

By Nanda Wanninayaka

Nanda Wanninayaka

Much water has gone under the bridge since the cowardly terrorist attacks on April 21, 2019 inside Sri Lankan Catholics’ and other Christian places of worship on one of Christendom’s holiest days, Easter Sunday, an unexpected massacre now being glibly referred to as the Easter Sunday Attacks. 

ISIS, the ruthless Muslim terrorist organization that has become a menace to the entire world, claimed responsibility for the dreadful attack after a few days, but all the perpetrators were found to be local Muslims. I was intrigued to write on this and the aftermath, but not being a career journalist, I had my own limitations on the access to the right information, just like it would be for many of you, as to what REALLY happened on that fateful Sunday. We, laymen, never expected this to happen after enjoying more or less 10 years of relative peace since the “guns were silenced” with the conclusion of the Civil War, or whatever you may call it. 

Let alone us, the general public, even the bigwigs of security establishments, seem not to have taken the impending radical Islam/Muslim terrorism’s early warnings in Sri Lanka. Whenever the subject in question came up in certain platforms we thought we were all seeing a storm in a teacup if not “crocodiles in a basin,” the local version of the idiom. Maybe those who alarmed us were not convincing enough due to the hatred, extremism, intolerance they themselves showed against Muslims in general in their awareness campaigns, so much so that we thought they are more extremist than the suspected group of people, the extremist radical Muslims.

I won’t budge on implicating those responsible for the constant failures by the government(s) in understanding early warnings sent by intelligence, scholars, futurists, about possible local Muslim terrorism growing under the radar as most of those sources are highly politicized, or biased, or made to look so by the politicians with hidden agendas and ulterior motives. 

With all this endless bickering, what was inevitable, which we feared happening, has happened and hundreds of kids, women and men were perished and left strewn into pieces by leaving them dead or seriously injured. The damage done to the tourism industry and the rest of the economy at large was so colossal, it will take eons for the country to recover fully. Above all, the esteemed image the country had earned as the World’s Best Tourist Destination by prestigious organizations with the conclusion of the Civil War and the subsequent relative calm and orderliness vanished beyond repair within a span of a couple of hours. Like it happened previously too, the country was headlined on leading international media, once again, unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.

Now we all know how the whole saga unfolded and the dirty politics behind it. Ignoring reliable intelligence reports and passing the buck after the catastrophe, showed how unprofessional the security establishment and how lethargic and shortsighted the so called leaders of the country are. They were infighting and in fact, it was that very reason that led to this avoidable carnage. Due to the same reason, our security forces that have eradicated, the then world’s most lethal terrorist organization, the LTTE, we lost a golden opportunity of arousing the country and eliminating Muslim fundamentalist terrorism for good. Politicians’ greed for votes resulted in the government failing to decimate these terrorists at the outset, as extremist Muslim politicians became stronger, while the government and the security forces became weaker. Can there be any more shame than that?

While His Eminence, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith of the Archdiocese of Colombo did an exemplary job by pacifying the bereaved, grieving  and enraged citizens preventing islandwide riots, many others tried to make things worse by spreading hatred, and disrupt the then ongoing security measures too by creating unnecessary pressure on the security forces by diverting their attention to communal or interfaith riots that spread in some parts of the island. 

There is no use in criticizing the government, as we have been unlucky enough to see similar mishaps since Independence and they keep happening and no one in the higher echelons of power ever learn.  

It is true that the terrorist activities were supported by some Muslims without doubt while a few of them informed of suspected activities to the responsible authorities. Therefore, it is not fair to single out a community and punish them for heinous acts that were perpetrated, mainly due to the ineffectiveness of the rulers. We saw very well that even after a slaughter of this magnitude, politicians were trying to enhance their vote bases rather than punishing the culprits, their accomplices and the politicians and businessmen who either financed or protected them right from the beginning. Such traitors should be brought to the book and the maximum penalty imposed without any hesitation. as a result, is it fair to marginalize the Muslim brethren of the country and look at them as terrorists for crimes someone else committed? ISISing an entire community is too much of a punishment, overlooking ground realities.

I am not too sure how far the businesses owned by the Muslims have been affected by non-Muslims boycotting them. Maybe it will change in time and their businesses might recover if it is bad at the moment. Whether one likes it or not, Muslims are citizens of this country and also they comprise a sizable portion of the population and economy. Leaving them out totally will only encourage them to join extremist forces than remain in the mainstream, just like the infamous Black July in 1983 forced even moderate Tamils to join terrorist outfits in the hundreds of thousands. 

Even though it is extremely difficult to forget and forgive after such a devastating scale of a killing spree, we do not have a choice. If we don’t, there will be even worse repercussions. This does not in any way mean that we should give into violence or be complacent about any such possible attacks in future.  This is only to display unity and let everyone feel that they are a part of one nation. Muslims themselves have an even bigger role here to win back the damaged trust of the other communities in the country by chipping in, and sacrificing some of the privileges they enjoyed in the name of religion such as compromising to give up customized laws and agreeing to one common law for the entire country. Cultural differences are welcomed as they beautify the social fabric with the diversity, but extreme legal measures on common issues of the nation should be addressed by one law.

If you can remember well, when the late Nelson Mandela became the president of South Africa after decades of apartheid, the white businessmen had many doubts as to whether their businesses would be affected with hatred unleashed on them by the majority black community. But Mandela ensured none of the white people’s business would be disturbed by the new black majority government. If the white people left South Africa with all their money South Africa would have ended up as a beggar nation. But Mandela being such a far-sighted statesman, foresaw the danger and prevented an exodus of investments out of South Africa. So, in the same way, ISISing Sri Lankan Muslims is not the solution to the problem, but extending compassion instead, while at the same time the intelligence services and security forces are strengthened to ensure everyone’s safety.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    4

    Your argument of falling in under one common law is not valid.

    Sharia law in Sri Lanka is only applied in a few fields (inheritance, marriage, divorce, etc.) and is only applied WITHIN the muslim community, ie. when all parties involved are Muslim. So it does not affect dealings of people of other communities at all.

    This system has been a part of Sri Lanka’s judicial system since the early years of Independent Ceylon. Sure it needs a bit of reform, but calling for its abolishment when it does not affect anyone adversely does not seem sensical.

  • 4
    5

    Dear Nanda Wanninayaka,
    There are only a few among many Sinhala who can understand the real problem in Srilankan politics that inhibit the prosfer of this nation since independence. The blame culture of Sinhala politics on others is the fundamental problem. Sinhala politics put the blame on British first, then Tamils and now Muslims. Most of the countries in the world were captured by Eurpeans invaders (Industrialized Nations) and ruled by them. It is a true fact that non of our kings and rulers did not have the power to stop that happening. It is true that they also wanted to spread their religious believe with natives of the country and gave benefits to those who wanted to convert the religion. Almost all the Sinhala and Tamil political leadership were at some point accepted that offer and coonverted to Christianity and had benefits of education, employment and politics. Proportinately Tamils got some of those benefits more than Sinhalese but the political power was given to Sinhala converts. DS Senanayaka to Mahinda Rajapakse family are one of those who benefitted from converted religion. (continued)

  • 6
    4

    British also needed labour to introduce plantation sector (Tea, Rubber) in the upcountry but they couldn’t get the labour locally, so they brought Indian Tamils as labourers. This increased the Tamil speaking population. The educational benefits gave the oppotunity to Tamils to get the civil service. Political competition started the blame culture of both Tamils of this island and Indian Tamils as the reasons for the under developed status of the Sinhala massess. The political power enabled them to introduce policies to eradicate Tamils from this island and started a violent campagin of creating fear against Tamil as enemies and a threat to Buddhism and Sinhala. Sinhala politics was very successful in eliminating Tamils population, economy, education and living standard. It took nearly seventy years. Even though they succeeded in doing this, they couldn’t get the expected benefits to the Sinhala massess and Sinhala masses suffered and lost large number of resouces (financial and human resources). Only the ruling community (a few who benefitted from British) benefitted from this. For this they successfully divided Muslims and Tamils. For this they gave full benefits to the Muslims such as education, business and political power. Now they started to put the blame on Muslims getting more ministers, more jobs, more population, more businessess etc. In fact, Easter bomb blast is nothing to do with Muslim community and it is not targetted Sinhalese.

    • 4
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      Are you still blaming the Britsh? We have been an indpendent country running it ourslelves for over 70+ years, the question is what have we done to improve ourselves in all those years. Singapore at the time was a backwater port. But look at it today and look at Sri Lanka today. The Sri Lankans, all Sinhalese, Tamils & Muslims are all to blame. The Burgher commuinty all but a very few have all immigrated to Australia, Canada, UK, USA & NZ and are all doing well in thier adopted countries. At the rate we are going we will always be a developing nation and never a developed nation. Do not blame others blame ouselves.

      • 1
        1

        Dear Faqir,

        It is a known fact that countries with shorter histories (very examples you mentioned – Australia, Canada, UK, USA & NZ) have a better chance of developing than the countries with longer histories. New countries do not have much baggage to carry hence the ease in creating one nation whereas ancient countries have a lot to carry and nobody likes to shed their weight on the way to progress.

        • 1
          2

          I beg to disagree with your assumption above. The UK definitely does NOT have a shorter history than Sri Lanka, nieither does many other countries around the world which have been inhabited by humans for centuries. So according to you all developed countries have shorter histories? Your assumption is disproved when one looks a South Korea, Japan, China, Thailand and many others around the world . It appears Sri Lankans are good at the blame game and not good at developing themsleves.

          • 2
            2

            Sri Lanka history is older than the touted 2500 year myth. Several urn burial sites and potsherds similar to those found in Tamil Nadu have been unearthed which goes back more than 2500 years. Recently a seat of rule of Veddhas has been found in Vakarai and two sites of ancient civilization of more than 20,000 years found in Mannar districts. But unfortunately for Sinhala propaganda, these suggest the presence of Dravidian ethnic group inhabiting Sri Lanka after Veddhas. In those days Sinhala archaeologists tried to link Sinhalese with Aryans which is now conclusively proved as wrong. Now there is move by some archaeologists to say that Sinhalese descended from Balangoda man, when the genetic composition of both are different.

    • 6
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      The Islamic Doctrine encourages violence and refuses to live in peace with non-muslims , it also freezes the human mind and kills the creativity , besides that it cancels the important role of women as co-builders in the modern society.

      The thing wrong with islam is the same thing inherently wrong with almost all religions (granted all of them contain some absurdity), and that is they have no basis for their beliefs beyond an ancient book. Now there is no problem with this, if muslims want to remain ignorant, go ahead, doesn’t effect anyone. What DOES effect humanity is how they use this to control people and to justify harm & violence against other people. This is the problem with islam, it allows muslims to justify inflicting pain on others who do not believe in this nonsense.

      Islam is a religion of peace, they say: but if you dare to question any of its teaching you might get killed. & end up in pieces.

  • 2
    3

    For me this is a very stupid article, This writer has accepted that he did not have access to all the information and that statement is not correct. The best is he should have said he did not know how to find it or his objectives were different and did not articulate the facts in the rightful way. Even after your claim, so-called ISIS, because even the govt intelligence service says it was not implemented by the ISIS, blew up over 320 people (initial 290 people and injured continued to die in the hospital) and maiming 500, during the last four years of this govt’s existence only ONE muslim was killed by non -muslims. IT is stupid to say there ANTI-MUSLIM – BIGOTRY and every muslim had been made ISIS. You should have published some facts from muslims and not just what you think.
    Anyway, you article provides some useful references for United NATIONS Organizations which want to build stories on this. One or TWO Rapporteurs came to question Sri lanka and they are gone. I heard one more is coming to study about Religious freedom in Sri lanka. I think that guy will find this article very useful.
    In the USA, TRUMP has asked Israel to not to allow Two Democratic party, I suppose they are Senators, members who had muslim names, to annexed territories of ISRAEL. what do you think about religious freedom in the most democratic country.
    I know, Saudi Arabia is very weak even though they dig oil in millions of barrels a day. Saudi Arabia is bankrupt and they had thought at one time about austerity measures too. what happened to those billions. SINCE Jimmy Carter times, they were spending money, in so many billions a year, to Terrorist muslims because they want to hold onto the falling down empire.

    • 1
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      Dear JD,

      I haven’t said that the Lankan Muslim terrorists were ISIS. I too have pretty doubts about that. The ISIS claim came pretty late from the nefarious Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi himself but this is not their style of claiming responsibility. I wrote “ISIS, the ruthless Muslim terrorist organization that has become a menace to the entire world, claimed responsibility for the dreadful attack after a few days, but all the perpetrators were found to be local Muslims.” Anyone who reads between the lines will understand what I meant by it.

      About writing about facts and figures, that is for an investigative journalist. I write my opinions as a hobby and I have every right to write what I think is right. You have the holy right to contradict. That is the beauty of it.

      I don’t think UNO will be interested in my article at all. If they will, that is fine. But they have better sources I guess.

      I don’t write for Colombo Telegraph for money. I write because it has a bigger readership and the editor has never censored any of my writings. As long as that happens, I will contribute to CT whenever I have time.

  • 1
    2

    As you try to emphasize, UNHCR might try to say, it is the Sri lankan govt that influenced Non-muslims avoiding muslims businesses. But, at the ground level, non-muslims for sometime knew muslim atrocities in Sri lanka against non -muslims. Everybody is aware of that. so, the Easter Attack is the boiling point. Now, they avoid muslim businesses. It is time for Muslims to change and mingle with other communities. It is muslims who says, their GOD is the allmightiest and is the most right. Why the author is so stupid (for a reason) not to acknowledge what Wahhabis are doing all over the world. Naturally Muslims are very extremist..
    It is shame that for money, people are writing any damn thing. You write western journalism, which is sensationalism and ratings. In this case, it is fabricated lies for some ulterior motive.

    • 2
      0

      JD,
      You are a classic example of those who represent the opportunists who are trying to ISISing the Easter Bombing for cheap political gains. Other than the SLPP organizers, who else were the the organizers of post Easter Bombing attack on Muslim communities who were cooperating fully with authorities capture the members of the anti-social small deviant group?

    • 2
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      You are dead right about the need of the Lankan Muslims to mingle with other communities (as they did till the late 1970s I guess) and be part of one nation. Alienating them didn’t happen from the other communities as far as I understand. As you said, this Wahabism is the main reason for Muslim extremism as they fund radical Muslim movements around the globe to extend Wahabism to every nook and corner of the world, which is ridiculous and harmful. Extremism in any religion is equally harmful to world peace.

  • 8
    4

    Not all Muslims are practicing terrorists, but all terrorists are definitely Muslims. Before 9/11 there were no women in Sri Lanka who dressed stupid abaya, views, etc. And don’t forget that they follow a warlord who drew blood.

    • 6
      2

      John,
      All terrorists are NOT definiteltey Terrorists. If you are referring to Easter Bombing those who bombed may be Muslims but Srilanka had Terrorism since 1956. This includes, Sinhalese, Tamils and MUslims.

  • 2
    3

    People seem to loose the point. What is IS fighting for? IS wants to revive the caliphate form of government which existed in the middle -east from 622-1924. Which was dismantled by the crusaders.Mainly Britain,France for a dictatorship governments in the former caliphate. Be it saudi arabia,turkey,Libya,somalia,Egypt, etc…The context why islamic state inspired bombing in Sri Lanka was due to Quran being burnt by the buddhist mobs and muslims being killed and businesses burnt. From 2003 mawanalla/ 2014 aluthgama, 2018 DIGANA In kandy . The last sermon put out by the bombers alude to this. Even Sarath fonseka stated to the BBS at the parliament commission. This could have been avoided if justice had prevailed for every-one. As we see again and again, in Sri Lanka , justice is selective.
    Gota/MR -killing of Lasantha/thajudeen , Dr shafi being set-up by the pohotuwa MR and gang.
    Ranil and central bank scams???
    List goes on and on. We need justice for all before we can go forward.

    • 5
      0

      You talk of Mavanella, Aluthgama, Digana etc. not a single Catholic / Chritian was involved in any of the above, why bomb the Christians and not the Buddhists who were involved? I also have a problem with Muslims who think they are ‘God’s chosen people’. Many do. Many believe that they follow the only true religion and they are here to save the rest of the world from hell fire. They can live in any delusion they want to, but it must stop with them. None of us want to be saved, and many of us are quite content the way we are. My problems don’t end there. I have a problem with Muslims who wear a Niqab, a type of attire that was intended to help mitigate the effects of sand storms in deserts. I have a problem with those wearing the Nikab walking around in a tropical country in the scorching sun in black head-to-toe attire. A change of colour won’t help, but the colour, which absorbs heat the most, to me is a significant pointer of the underlying irrationality. But that problem is sociological –

      • 5
        0

        Jehan the Islamic infidel, you are a typical apologist to Islamic atrocities. ISIS was not known before 2013 until USA decided to topple Azad of Syria after finishing off Iraq. The concept of Islamic state of Iraq and Syria was put up by them to harness Muslim extremists to fight Azad regime similar to creation of Taliban to fight Russia in 1979. When US troops fought Sadam Hussein there was no ISIS. The statement that ISIS is fighting to revive Islamic caliphate in middle east is only partly true. Before bombing of WTC in September 2001, Pakistanis in the London pavements in several places, were openly distributing literature and canvassing for an Islamic caliphate to encompass the whole world and not only middle east. After that they went underground for the fear of being arrested, but to think that they have given up that is naive. It is this concept of an Islamic caliphate of the world that USA took to hoodwink the Muslim extremists and formed ISIS. Now they are in the back seat watching self destruction of Muslim countries. Do not try to find excuses for carnage committed by Muslims. It was Buddhists who burnt the Koran, but those who were targeted were Catholics and Tamils. This clearly shows that Muslim extremities it does not matter as long as they are non believers.

    • 4
      0

      Jehan the Islamic infidel, you are the one who has lost the point and behaving like an idiot. If ISIS wants to revive the caliphate form of government in middle east which was dismantled by crusaders, the same logic applies to Buddhists and Hindus who have the right to revive Buddhist and Hindu forms of governance that existed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh which was destroyed by Muslim invaders. This is exactly what India under BJP has started in Kashmir, by getting rid of Islamic rule and re-establishing Hindu and Buddhist forms of governance. Pakistan can only bark but it cannot bite. The attempt to internationalize it failed with only China supporting and no OIC country anywhere seen. Islamic terrorists in Sri Lanka cowardly attacked soft targets, because Muslims are mortally afraid of Buddhists.

  • 4
    0

    Islam isn’t able to coexist with any other religion or culture, their problem, not ours, we need to stop treating them as victims and more as an aggressive sociopolitical cult that isn’t able to live in a multicultural world! These ideas come directly from the Prophet Muhammad in the Quran.
    “Kill them wherever you find them” (Qur’an 2:191, 4:89); “Kill the idolaters wherever you find them” (Qur’an 9:5).

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