24 September, 2020

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Multi-Religious Society: No More Conflicts 

By N.M. Rishard –

N.M. Rishard

As we all know that world order has changed dramatically. Many countries particularly western countries experience different challenges due to its new phenomena resulted by this new world order. For instance, migration to west as refugees is significant consequences of modern days. The war in some part of Middle East countries compelled their respective citizens to migrate to another country hoping to lead a peaceful life. Besides, they are given opportunities to pursue their higher studies in high ranked universities such as oxford and Harvard. The PhD holders prefer securing any related jobs for their respective fields to returning to their motherland. This is the same thing what happens to the people who go to western countries to gain any jobs. This unprecedented trend that brought various cultures, religions, ethnics and castes into a specific environment, has created some major challenges.

When it comes to Sri Lankan context, it is totally different to that of above mentioned reality. Many studies have apparently proved that all communities in Sri Lanka irrespective of their identities have led a peaceful and harmonious life for more than thousand years without downgrading each other, even though there were few exceptional incidents emerged in the past history. Therefore, pluralism having different religious identities and ethnic backgrounds is not a new phenomenon to us as Sri Lankans; rather it rooted very profoundly in the blood of this nation. Unfortunately, ethnic polarization erupted in middle of 70s and later, it emerged as a war between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE which claimed for a separate and autonomous land. Three decades of war were filled by black memories such as eviction, robber, murder, kidnapping, torture and bomb explosion that put the country down economically, politically and socially. During the war that was intensified in Northern Province, entire nation including the people who were in southern region faced many difficulties and hardships. For instance, bus journey from Kandy to Colombo that was only 115 kilo meters had to pass through more than five check points where all passengers should get down with their bags for the security purposes.

Another black page of this bloody conflict is explosions which were carried out by the terrorist group in public places. This scenario created fears and tension among general public. Moreover, we had to lost many lives of our relatives and neighbours. Specially, northern people suffered a lot. Most teenagers, at their age of education, were compelled by the terrorist group to join and carry weapons. Thousands of people including children, pregnant women and elders were evicted forcibly from north region and they were not given permission to take land deed or other documents with them. The war continued without having a sustainable solution even though several the peace negotiation talks were conducted very frequently with the mediation of foreign organizations in several occasions. However, the prolonged war came to an end after continuous sacrifices and dedications carried out by military forces. Former-president Mahinda Rajapaksha’s regime was able to eradicate the clutches of terrorism and the entire citizens, irrespective of religion and faith, celebrated the victory that is still considered as “second independence”. The expectation of the society at that time was to bring a real peace and co-existence among the communities that were not prevalence for approximately three decades. Mahinda Rajapaksha had a golden opportunity to re-unite the nation and to be celebrated as a national leader or hero. But, unfortunately, what happened was totally different to the aspirations of general public.

New public figures, who were totally absent during the past, emerged instantaneously and became the leader of some movements that appeared with religious identity even though directed by political players. Hate speeches against Sri Lankan Muslims stormed very often in public meetings and media conferences. Further, the newly emerged group of racists fostered the mistrust and misunderstanding among the communities. Such intensified propaganda had created some negative consequences in the collective phycology as well as attitude of both Sinhalese and Muslims. Brutal attacks, which were staged repeatedly in several places such as Aluthgama and Kandy, made a rift in the relationship between two respective communities. Both regimes, which came to power following to the victory, have somewhat failed to fulfil their promises in terms of the security of minority Muslim who played a pivotal role in nation building process throughout the history. Those who were in high positions and authorities, except few, prefer not to utter even a condemnation against the unethical and injustice attacks led by some religious leaders on innocent people.

Social media, especially Facebook and WhatsApp, played a negative role in promoting racism and bigotry. It is obvious that some people forwarded and shared what they received in social media without verifying the information. Some past incidents got rebirthed again and again. Hatred speeches that played with the emotions and feelings of the society were circulated by the followers.

However, we had to confront some crucial times and we still have hope on the people who stand with justice and impartiality. We should not let any space paving the way to violation and discrimination even against any single human being whatever his or her ethnicity and religion. I strongly believe in that there is no division between ourselves but two. One is the people who stand with justice and second is the people who stand with injustice. This is the right time to realize and work on together to curb the violators and extremists. If we fail to do so, we would be drawn into a grave yard in near future. I would say, apart from governmental reforms to protect its every citizen in constitution and judiciary, there are some steps should be taken by the government as well as the society. Projects with the objective of eradicating communal violation should be initiated from both Top-down approach and Bottom-up approach. On the one hand, Sri Lankan government has to launch and impose some strict rules and regulations that provide guarantee to punish the extremist who spread hatred speeches and statements in social media. On the other hand, civil organizations including religious and educational institutions have a great responsibility in strengthening the relationship of the ethnic communities. Some valuable chapters or points, which explain the circumstances where peace and coexistence prevailed in this nation, can be added in teaching materials and syllabus from grade one to university. Teachers, lecturers and trainers could play significant role in educating the young generation and building a connecting bridge among the communities. Voluntary Sunday schools such as Daham pasala and Ahadiyya can be utilized to spread the religious thoughts on peace, harmony and respecting neighbour groups.

In brief, re-uniting the hearts is one of the essentials of our time. We all, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, social status and caste, should do our best to build a nation that respects diversity and pluralism.

N.M. Rishard – MPhil Student – Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Malaysia

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    ” Voluntary Sunday schools such as Daham pasala and Ahadiyya can be utilized to spread the religious thoughts on peace, harmony and respecting neighbour groups. ”

    Those schools don’t. They teach only to prioritize their issues first, like here you are doing. They divide further the societies. Teaching the value of the secular democracy is the solution. Sundays should be left alone to parents to decide without religious leaders programming the innocent people. Would you be willing to be your kids taken out of home on Fridays and taught politics, the one you preach? Why is not going into your head that Sundays may have their value for other communities? Racism?

    ” Hatred speeches that played with the emotions and feelings of the society were circulated by the followers. “ Why the Muslims ministers are not ready to talk in Parliament for a hate Speech Bill? Your perks will cut down?

    “One is the people who stand with justice and second is the people who stand with injustice.” Do you know what category for the above two you are. If you don’t know, please read the para below, then you will be able to tell that easily. This Para is well describing your convoluted, injustice mind!
    .” Unfortunately, ethnic polarization erupted in middle of 70s and later, it emerged as a war between the Sri Lankan government and LTTE which claimed for a separate and autonomous land. Three decades of war were filled by black memories such as eviction, robber, murder, kidnapping, torture and bomb explosion that put the country down economically, politically and socially. ” When were you born and started to read. You really don’t know the history of Lankawe before 1970 and what happened in 1915?

    Before you go to Malaysia to study, you should have studied local history like: Who killed SWRD; why did he bring Sinhala Only;,

  • 6
    3

    Rishad: why don’t you first ask ISlamic countries to be multi -cultural and multi religious. In digana you people killed a Sinhala Driver simply for the reason that he was Sinhala. when STF had come some of you had attacked STF with sticks. Why don’t you leave our country to us. If you Shia or Sufi go to a Sunni country and talk these things or vice versa.

  • 2
    2

    here we go..another brainwasher trying to paint colors and normalize the secret . When the countries like Turkey and Saudi practice what you trying to say..we will believe your bull crap.

  • 3
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    This all stems from Identity
    Who am I?
    Race
    Cast
    Religion
    Social standing
    Up country Low country
    Indian origin
    Language
    Ancestors
    Education

    Unless we develop an overarching identity
    As a country we cannot move forward

    For that we should have a good constitution
    that delivers the objective of belonging and fair play for all

    The law and order should function without bias or favour

    Is there a political will for this in Sri Lanka?

    At least NOW?

    • 2
      1

      “Who Am I”
      According to the Buddha, all the problems in the World, starts with the Concept of ‘I’!
      A Separate Identity that is struggling to find Something/Someone else to Identify with!
      Why not Identify with all Living Beings in this World, and any Other Worlds we have yet to Discover!
      Then We would have no Problems with an Artificial, ‘Mind Created’ Other!

      • 2
        1

        @Rationlist

        Buddhism is full of superstitions , Irrational Philosophy with utmost errors came out from a man who was incapable to run a family life and deserted wife ,kids so went to take refuge in Jungle from which he preached some doctrines that were and are far away from natural life style in the earth..
        A video film below portrays the philosophy of Siddartha and its irrational practices. Those who regard Buddhism as a road to peace and contentment should pay close attention to the truths described in this film.. Unless you watch and ponder with the open mind, you – the so called Budhists will never realize..

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPPPBQEy2SA

  • 5
    3

    When Portuguese started massacring Muslims, King Senerath, a Sinhala Buddhist King rescued them by allowing them to settle in interior parts of Sinhale. But in 1915 these rascals forgot that and obstructed a Buddhist procession in Gampola which led to the first Sinhala Muslim clash. British colonial bastards used that event and massacred Sinhala people using Hindian Sapoys. Both in 1915 and in 2014 as well as more recently in 2018, action by Muslims triggered clashes between Sinhalayo and Muslims but unfortunately whole narrative is written omitting key facts and putting the blame on Sinhala Buddhists to tarnish the image of Sinhala Buddhists.
    One thing Muslims should remember is Sri Lanka or Sinhalayo do not need Muslims but Muslims need Sri Lanka and Sinhalayo. If Muslims push Sinhalayo against the wall, they will pay a heavy price worse than Nandikadal.

    • 0
      1

      ‘Sinhalaya do not need Muslims’…………….. Yes they do not need anyone except the INDIANS,CHINESE, PAKISTANI Muslims and all the Western powersto massacre the Tamils and periodically the Muslims in installments
      Is religion necessary for man to exist? NO!.. But man is necessary for religion, (what ever name it may carry) to exist. If you analyse carefully- religion is/was the cause of murder and mayhem all over the world. Buddhism although a philosophy is considered a religion part of it borrowed from Hinduism to seek the unknown,unheard and unreachable.

  • 3
    2

    Jim Softy has twisted the truth on Digana incident. in Digana no Muslim attacked a singalese because he is singhala person. it was a street clash between three so called Muslims who were drunkard rots and a singhala person. It shoul have been dealt under the law. why the innocent Mulims who were not anyway connected with this incident were mercilessly attacked. Further, Sri Lanka Muslims are citizens of this country and they are entiled to equal rights. They will live and die here. If Sri Lankan Muslims have to leave this country because they came fron anither country then what about other communities who also came from other countries. Dont speak racism as it is worst than animal’behavior. we all are children of Adam and Eve, descendents of one parents. Lets live like brothers and sisters.

  • 1
    2

    Jim, Eagal Eye,

    “Rishad: why don’t you first ask ISlamic countries to be multi -cultural and multi religious” Jim, why do you want Rishad to ask Islamic country? he is rightly or wrongly talking about our country as of his right. It also seems that you believe that only Singhala- Budhists have got title deed for Sri Lanka. keep dreaming.

    “In digana you people killed a Sinhala Driver simply for the reason that he was Sinhala.” So you ‘re saying that only one Sinhale man has been living in Digana??????

    “If Muslims push Sinhalayo against the wall, they will pay a heavy price worse than Nandikadal” Thank you so much for your red notice. Nadikadal was in 2009. Don’t be so foolish. You will never know. It may happen other way around.

  • 2
    0

    Dear Richard good to hear you are in Malaysia and at the Petronas University which is a familiar territory for me too. Good for you.

    As young people you should all have the opportunitiy lead a dignified life in your own country and your observations/concerns are all very healthy too. Specially when you have to travel and study you appreciate the imporatnce of having a place you can call home and be proud correct?. You have the think called “patriotism” in all the issues you shared with us in your lovely writing and we are all “working” for a better Mother Lanka and our special focus are all about the next generation of Sri Lankans children like yourself too. You are so forgiving and mindful of others misfortunes too. Respect.

    We the Sri Lankans are all with you Richard and have a great stay in MALAYSIA bro.

  • 2
    0

    I can not understand the Sri Lankan’s who tries to tell others to put their house in order first than PUTTING OUR MOTHERLAND IN ORDER. One doesn’t have to redirect the complaints back to them. No one wins. Problems remain unsolved.
    It is well known SL is not a single homogeneous country. It is a multi ethnic multi religious country and everyone needs to be treated EQUALLY by Law enforcing Public servants. They should uphold the law and should not take sides. Our armed forces needs retraining urgently. If we are to progress WE NEED THE NEW CONSTITUTION that will rectify/solve our problems/issues.

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