By Imtiyaz Razak –
Well, much has been said and written about the Bodu Bala Sena with regard their attack and violence on Moors of Sri lanka [also known as Muslims] and their symbols such as mosques. What the BBS did should not be encouraged, but need to be condemned to build more inclusive society in the island of Sri Lanka.
Having that said I would not think Moors of Sri Lanka are perfectly peaceful nor all of their actions contribute to peace and harmony. The recent trend and development among Moors of Sri Lanka are not very conducive to build peace and trust with non-Muslims.
The growth of Wahabists and Wahabist movements generously backed by the Middle Eastern countries and local agents, rise of Madrasas in the major corners of areas where Muslims pose predominancy, the growth of Muslim mosques on major roads and localities, steady rise of hijabis [muslim women wearing حجاب-a veil that covers the head and chest] are a few that contribute to the BBS actions and politics.
Note that I am NOT justifying what the BBS has been doing against the Moors, but Moors, for that matter Tamils also need to understand the concerns of majority, and thus should not contribute to the growth of extremists.
Tensions and conflicts are very likely to occur in a society where there is a politicization of relations/symbols to win votes. Hence, there need be actions from all sides to ease tensions and breed peace. Any failure would not only trigger further tensions in Sri Lanka at popular level, but also would provide perfect opportunities to external forces to exploit sri Lanka’s local tensions for their own interests.
*Dr. A. R. M. Imtiyaz’ research and teaching are mainly focused on ethnic politics. He has published widely in peer-reviewed international journals. He currently teaches at the Asian Studies/Department of Political Science, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA.