1 October, 2020

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Recent Anti-Muslim Assaults In Sri Lanka: Fact & False

By Mohamed Fowsar –

Mohamed Fowsar

In the local government elections of 2018, the ruling political parties, United National Party and Sri Lanka Freedom Party did not achieve the expected victory. The political alliance of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa won the most of local government bodies all over the country. It gave a boost to the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist forces like Rajapaksa ally. On the other hand, the election results had created internal crisis within the national government.

In the midst of the political turmoil that emerged after the local government election, the agenda of Sinhala Buddhist nationalist forces began to work well. As the initial phase, these forces attacked a mosque and several business establishments in Ampara town in the eastern province. The violence was unleashed by mobs, claiming that sterilizing pills are used in the Muslim hotels. In particular, fraudulent allegations were made by some Sinhalese youths that the sterilizing pills are mixed in a food called ‘Kottu rotti’ which is sold in a Muslim hotel in Ampara.

The above incident was well-planned and provocative without any proven reasonable grounds. It is noteworthy that a number of doctors have been told that long-term sterilizing pills have not yet been discovered by the medical world and they have also demonstrated the fact that any efficient pills in the hot foods like ‘Kottu rotti’ will be inactive in any circumstances. In this regard, the Government report later confirmed that the sterilizing content was not used in the particular food.

One of the reasons behind this incident is the deliberate intent of the violence that has been planned against Muslims. Any argument may be legally permitted when it is found in any of the disadvantages substances within the food for the sake of an argument. Otherwise, the issue should be limited to those who are related to the particular business man. But something else happened.

A number of shops belonging to Muslims in the city were attacked on the planned basis by claiming that there was no one. One only religious worship place of Muslims in the city was subjected to severe attacks. During this time many Muslim vehicles were burned down and many of the Muslims were injured by indiscriminate attacks.

Following Ampara incident, the Sinhalese mobs unleashed the violence against Muslims in Digana area in the central province. The immediate cause of this violence was the attack on Sinhalese youth from Muslim youths who were drunk. However, the particular incident should be dealt in the legal ground. But Sinhalese mobs used the incident for their well-planned propaganda against Muslims. After the death of attacked Sinhalese youth, mobs destroyed Muslims’ mosques, business establishments and homes in Digana and surrounding areas. A Muslim youth was also killed by these attacks and many crores of valuable assets were wrecked. Although the security forces were invited to control the incident, they did not take any prompt action.

The above hazardous situations was immediately spread out to other parts of the Kandy district and resulted in a number of attacks against Muslims. It is noteworthy to mention that all these raids were in place when the police curfew was in force. In the midst of these bouts, peoples lost the confidence in the government forces and the government was accused of failing to act fast enough to protect Muslim minority. The pressures on the government were also increased. As a result, the government declared the state of emergency, imposed ban on social media and arrested ten suspects behind the wave of anti-Muslim attacks. 

These violence are not the first time in the case of Sri Lankan Muslims. There have been many unpleasant incidents in the past. All these incidents are caused by the rapid increase in anti-Muslim sentiments amongst the section of Sinhala Buddhist hardliners. From the beginning, these forces are making a number of false allegations on several matters such as halal food, Muslim women’s dress code, slaughtering animals, Muslims’ population growth and Muslim students’ entrance to the Law College. In fact, there are many factors behind the above accusations such as Islamic revitalization, Islamophobia, symbolic Islam, ethno-religious nationalism and external interests.

Even though the country has presently returned to so-called normalcy, the deep rooted factors that behinds to the above incidents are not yet addressed. In this case, the government must take immediate attention and need to work on the long term plans. It is in fact that this is the high time for religious, political and community leaders to initiate inter-faith dialogue at all possible levels to achieve sustainable peace and reconciliation among ethnic communities of the nation.

M.A.M. Fowsar, Lecturer in Political Science, Department of Political Science, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. E-mail: fowsarma@seu.ac.lk

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Latest comments

  • 5
    3

    Do you think killig of those two sinhala peole is by muslims is govt planning or NGO planning ?

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    0

    As with any group, no one doubts there is a very small share of deranged group of Muslims too, however most Muslims in Sri Lanka have proven time and time again to be patriotic and innocent and want to live in peace with the rest of the country. Here is a good example of how Muslims erupted in spontaneous joy soon after the war ended in an town called Akurana in the Kandy district. Surely the joy in their faces and smiles are enough to be convince anyone.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA-DaWPQ1Hg

    Here are parts of the same Akurana that was under attack by mobs last week.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXW3r-FEh28

    As the person in this video explains, The fact is, the Govt did not protect the innocent people. The problem here is that these innocent people are not thinking if the Majority Sinhalese including the Govt, Police are now deranged?

    • 0
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      IOooo ,

      Is this the joy clip of Akurana , for ending the war ? Didn’t you
      find a better way for your BS ? You thought this forum is full of
      stupid like you ? The song in the background is not Srilankan
      voices . The pictures are Mahinda supporters at election times !

    • 2
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      “No one doubts there is a very small share of deranged group of Muslims too” – What nonsense. If you get the opinion of people, they will say that most of the Muslims are deranged. Their true nature will only be exposed if or when they get power to them.

  • 0
    0

    My house was attacked thrice. They threw all the furniture out and torched the house. The Special Task Force was present when the attack took place. Although the attack was launched by outsiders, some villagers also supported them, especially in pinpointing the homes and shops belonging to Muslims,” complained Jameel.

    My house was attacked thrice. The Special Task Force was present when the attack took place.
    -N.S.M.Jameel
    Ambattena -Akurana

    • 5
      0

      How devastating to have your homes burnt to the ground…every precious thing gone so suddenly.
      Dear friends we empathize with you,and pray this will never happen again.
      We are one country, one people, one
      Race.
      The Human Race.

    • 1
      1

      Well, I am sorry to hear. But Muslims being the crooks they are, it’s hard to beleive you. And don’t blame us for that. Blame your own track record of being untrustworthy rogues for that.

  • 5
    1

    There’s nothing called Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism in Sri Lanka.

    It’s the habit of political pundits to derive such concepts to support their personal interests sacrificing national interests.

    Any country has their national interests.

    It’s natural for the majority of any country to inspire more on policy making.

    It was JRJ by making a Buddhism ministry attempted to make this controversy, that resulted in making ministries for every religion so that’s also not making a Buddhist society.

    MR was able to militarily defeat terrorism because it had been a national requirement & his success made him popular among the masses.

    Desperate internal & external forces are now looking for ways to destroy this national victory & MR’s said to be corrupt rule was used as a tool to topple I’m in an election.

    The result was unstable government called GG government in SL, that failed to fulfil the promises & tarnishing its own image mainly through bond scam.

    So it’s good for the public both SL & abroad to know that there’s nothing called Sinhala Buddhist nationalism in Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      1

      Then who are the Balakayas, BSS, JHU and such entities?

      • 0
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        Imperfect idealist

        “Then who are the Balakayas, BSS, JHU & such entities.”

        Then who are the TNA, Muslim congress etc. I don’t think they’re vying for things like Tamil Hindu nationalism or Moor Islam nationalism.

        Don’t talk about other’s faults without seeing your own errors.

        There’s democracy so political parties/organizations are formed to represent different social inspirations.

        There presence must have a relevance to the country

        They have to be under accepted norms unless be labelled as anti-social.

  • 3
    1

    In the midst of the political turmoil that emerged after the local government election, the agenda of Sinhala Buddhist nationalist forces began to work well.//

    I dont know what the author tried to imply here. However Sinhala Buddhist Nationalists and the islamophobes in these Balakayas are two groups. There is a reason why they are criticized and condemned by the like of Wimal Weerawansa. Sinhala nationalists work to safeguard the country from Tamil Separatism and neo colonial agenda. These anti Muslim Balakayas in fact work against Sinhala Buddhists and support the external parties that try to destablize the country.

    The author makes a valid point when he says government should take long term plans to curb the situation which I agree. But the current government and its policy of foreignization of the country is not going to help it. The policies and actions of the current government will strengthen the hands of these islamophobes.

    The best thing to do is having a SLPP government which is headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa who is a more pragmatic politician. He listens to the both sides.

    • 2
      4

      such,

      You try to put different twist! Basically, The Sinhala Buddhist fundamentalists like you dislike all Non-Sinhala Buddhists!

      “Mahinda Rajapaksa who is a more pragmatic politician. He listens to the both sides.”

      This is the biggest joke considering MR did not condemn the attacks on the muslims. His electoral success has precipitated the attacks!

  • 7
    1

    Dr.Fowar

    What do you think the muslims can do to combat the sinhalese ultra nationalists?

    Here’re some areas that seem lacking critical information and analysis:

    – birth rate and impact
    – women’s rights and under-age marriage
    – women’s dress code (imposition or free choice?)
    – Muslim “International” schools and their curricula
    – influence of Saudi and Iran in radicalizing Sri Lankan muslims
    – strategies in business and wealth accumulation
    – treatment of Tamils by Muslims and vice versa
    – the use of loud speakers early in the morning
    – identification as Sri Lankan as opposed to as “Muslim”

    I think the community would need to speak honestly and openly with all in Sri Lanka about the above topics, in order for the other communities to start to trust and not fear muslims in this world that is seeing a resurgence of nationalism and islamophobia, amid the devastation caused by muslim terrorists in the middle east and in parts of Africa and Asia.

    • 5
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      Iran is a Shia country. And Sri Lankan muslims are mostly sunni and hate shias. Sunni majority across the world hate Shias and that is one reason why the west has been able to do well playing both against each other. Most arab sunni states are working on behalf of western interests and Iran has joined Russia and Chinas side, mainly due to the Sunni vs Shia hatred

    • 1
      3

      Yet not one riot was conducted by Muslims against the Singhalese even in the Muslim majority areas; even during the past week as Singhalese Nationalist caused chaos all over Sri Lanka these past weeks. A very confused radicalization isn’t it.

      • 2
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        Don’t try to plead innocence by saying “Yet not one riot was conducted by Muslims against the Sinhalese”. Truth is that Muslims are scared of the Sinhalese and they know that if they try any tricks, the result will be a disaster. There are no Muslim majority areas for Muslims to attack Sinhalese. Even in eastern province, Muslims are living surrounded by Tamil and Sinhala Villages. If you take population count you will find that in Ampara district, Sinhalese are in equal strength as Muslims. Reality is that, despite a very confused radicalisation, Muslims cannot do anything.

        • 0
          1

          Al-fukk

          The reason Muslims do not want violence is not because they are scared of Sinhalese but because of majority of Sinhalese have barbaric mind. Just see what happened in the last riot. One Sinhalese was killed not because of racial motives but the Sinhalese at least cpuld have caught the culprits kill them and destroy their house but instead attacked all the Muslims. Muslims knows the barbaric mentality of Sinhalese so kept quite. See in few western countries and USA. Muslim terrorist attacked and killed many whites. Every white people can handle weapon, it is freely available. If they want they could have gone and wiped out all the Muslims after an attack but what they do is hunt for the culprits and punish them. That is civilized mind.

  • 6
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    Mr. Fowsar, Why you Muslims did not demand an impartial investigation to Aluthgama incident. Although Government promised to conduct an investigation they did not do it. The blame was credited to Mahinda Rajapakse but I heard several politicians saying that the culprits are in the present Government. The Aluthgama incident was a part of regime change project. Regime change did not affect Muslim politicians. As usual they jumped to the winning side.

    Ravi Karunanayake when he visited Digan said the people connected to the recent incidents are in the Government, not in UNP. Will this Government charge those people. Never.

  • 6
    0

    PART 1
    .
    Brother Fowsar
    .
    ” … these forces are making a number of false allegations on several matters …”
    .
    Whether a specific allegation is authentic or spurious depends on the point of view of the individual making the judgement. This is especially so when the subject matter is not based on fact, but on perceptions.
    .
    Bear in mind that perception is more important than reality
    .
    Therefore a specific situation which may appear to be ‘harmless’ to one group, may appear to be full of danger to another. Any allegations made by the second group will therefore be described as ‘false’ by the first group.
    .
    Take the case of the black burka as an example. The increasing piety among the Muslims during the past 3 – 4 decades, inter alia, motivated females to be more conservative in their choice of dress. A perfectly harmless act – from the point of view of the Muslims.
    .
    Unfortunately, the ‘BLACK burqa’ is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a symbol of ‘Saudi-based extremism among Muslims’ world-wide and perception is more important than reality.
    .
    The increasing visibility of black burqa – clad females would therefore have been intrepeted by the other Communities as a reflection of increasing extremism and intolerance among the Muslims locally. Intra-Muslim violence (e.g. Kattankudy, Beruwela) and public disagreements (e.g. MMDL) would have only served to strengthen and reinforce such perceptions. So the emergence of the BLACK burqa would have been perceived by the Buddhists as a warning of dangers ahead for our Motherland based on the havoc wreaked in other countries by ‘Muslim’ extremists.
    .

    • 0
      1

      Therefore you consider looting and pillaging innocent people a justified because your ‘perception’ is more important than the life of a Muslim person. Wow. Quite a satanic perception you got there.

  • 5
    0

    PART 2
    .
    So we have a single event (the choice of the black burqa as a garment) being perceived differently by two distinct groups – each insisting that their interpretation is authentic and the other’s interpretation is false. Most Muslims failed to realize that it was not the ‘burqa’ per se that upset the other communities, but it was the sight of BLACK burqas and what it signifed that made them apprehensive and concerned for the future well-being of their Motherland. Under normal circumstances, the Buddhists wouldn’t care two hoots for what the Muslims choose to eat, drink or wear.
    .
    If the shoe was on the other foot and suppose Sri Lanka was a Muslim-majority (70%) country with a minority (10%) Buddhist population. Would not the Muslims have responded similarly if they perceived the minority Buddhists as becoming more extreme and intolerant in their thinking and behaviour and a serious threat to the future well-being of their country ?
    .
    To obtain a proper understanding of the factors that have led to the deterioration of Buddhist – Muslim relations, the Muslims must not only examine their self-image critically (how they see themselves), but equally importantly, must examine their image as perceived through the eyes and minds of the Buddhists. It is only through the resolution of the differences in image, based on empathy and understanding, that will lead to stable, long-term reconciliiaton and ethnic harmony. Failure to do so will continue to create spaces for violent extremists on both sides of the religious divide and more frighteningly, for various internal and external forces to exploit to achieve their own political goals.
    .

    • 0
      1

      The Muslims of Sri Lanka are not promised slaves to the Sinhalese from Buddha. If you actually believe that the torching and pillaging of Muslim livelihood that happened last week was due to the Burka of a few Muslim women; then it clearly sends a message that it near impossible for the majority moderate Muslims to live alongside the Sinhalese because all those who lost everything today are moderate Muslims who chose to live alongside the Sinhalese peacefully.

      • 0
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

      • 0
        0

        Seeker, you don’t understand the Bitch Batcha’s comment. She regularly go beaches with her daughters and have a nice swim with their bikini She goes to the clubs to pass her time. She roams the street with tight pants and short sleeves T-shirts so she indirectly says whatever majority do we have to follow.

  • 3
    0

    All Sri Lankans want to be treated equally . On Fridays streets near places of worship are almost completely blocked by vehicles because their owners feel their need to go for prayers is more than everything else. This sort of blatant disregard for the rights of others , causes animosity among some sections of the community .
    A small change in attitudes can go a long way to build peace and harmony among all Sri Lankans.

  • 1
    2

    Going line by line , out of 53 lines on the whole of this article , every line is
    a repeat of many other thoughts by many on this forum .Nothing new , so
    nothing interesting emerges . Anyway , ” All these incidents are caused by
    rapid increase in anti-Muslim…………” catches my attention to say something .
    There are dozens or even hundreds of reasons why this happened a century
    ago and NEVER EVER STOPPED for good , since then ! As long as Muslims are
    called THAMBIYA and HAMBAYA by a good number of Sinhalese who speak
    street Sinhala language which is regarded uncultured and uncivilized by a
    decent minority of them , this hatred will not stop. The word Muslim has been
    interpreted to suit their HATRED and this usage , nobody never bothered to
    stop , INCLUDING MUSLIMS . This is a mark of open disrespect, enmity and
    aggression . This is not new ,nearly a century old now ! Anagarika Dharmapala
    in full racial hatred introduced this . Equally , Tamils are called DEMALA , PARA
    DEMALLU etc; also in hatred . This is the norm while leaders just ignore and
    carry on as if nothing to bother ! But deep inside evil minds , these are potentials
    to exploit in explosive situations like in Ampara and Kandy . SINHALESE ARE
    CALLED UPON TO ATTACK not MUSLIMS but HAMBYAS or THAMBIYAS !
    Someone here would certainly come up with an argument that Muslims call all
    non Muslims KAFIR or KUFFAR ? Well , in advance , the answer for this is simple.
    KAFIR is just infidel or non Muslim .It is not derogatory , and it is universal ,
    not limited to any particular faith or ethnicity . Purely religious . Certainly one can
    argue about that too ! Other circumstances are, absence of political will to advance
    the country to a peaceful multi ethnic direction . Instead , all political parties try to
    find escape routes and Criminals find their inability or unwillingness , to further
    their cause which is in steady increase .

    • 2
      0

      whywhy,

      I agree. There is nothing new. Wasting readers’ time. He is a university lecturer. He can put this in his CV under publications to get his promotion.

  • 7
    0

    There is no reason to believe these anti muslim attacks are going to stop. It seems that some political elements want the muslims to retaliate so they can then launch another civil war in the country.

  • 0
    0

    Any analysis needs to take into account , THE TIMING of these attacks !
    Soon after 2018 LG election ! Is this not the sounds of the consequence
    of a victory and a warning shot to the yahapalanaya who depends on the
    Muslim votes ? Taking advantage of the right moment to embarrass both
    SLPP and My3 Ranil ? That they will strike anytime of their choice no
    matter who controls what ! Even some medico in a hospital is reported to
    have unleashed his venom at a victim calling him a terrorist ! So , a well
    coordinated episode . No one reason to stop at . Respectable Sinhala
    Buddhists and the politicians can put a stop to this criminal acts .

  • 0
    0

    This is only a rehearsal

  • 1
    0

    Dear Dr. Mohamed Fowsar,
    Thanks for your article. I have browsed through this article. I think that I am not a racisit even though I belonging to the majority community. I think the major problem about reconciliation is that I and other major and minor community members do not trust your community. There is a general feeling that your community members do not behave as if they belonging to enhance the cultural, social and other values of Sri Lanka. There are many other problems. There are conflicts between the Sinhalese and Tamils but these two communities work together as one community except those bastard politicians.
    There is a general perception of people, that most of your community members are “Jawarankarayas” and can not be trusted. As mentioned that there are many other issues such as that your community members behave and practice some cultural and social ways that are alien to Sri Lanka culture and society. It seems that you try to import something from other countries but your community members do not adopt to the country in which they live.
    Your community can learn from a Roman Catholics in Sri Lanka. The Arch Bishop or the top leader of the Roman Catholic church always mentions that they recognise the cultural and social heritage of Sri Lanka. They try to go with that that culture. But you compare your community practices. I have visted Pothivil and I feel that you want to convert those areas of the country to separate alien land. We do not like that.

  • 0
    0

    One of the many comments in this pages needs more critical analysis and this is what I think:
    1. Birth Rate & Impact:
    Contrary to what the census may indicate I think there has been a very misleading count taken. No one has taken the MALAY factor while taking the census. The reason being Ceylon Moors are categorized as Muslims while Malays who are Muslims too have been taken into this category. In the 1950s the total Malay population has been 50,000 and how come it decreased to about 46,000 in the last census. The reason is when the enumerator asked a Malay if he or she a Muslim the answer would have been Yes since Malays are mostly Muslims by religion. Many enumerators as well Malay community members failed to correct this discrepancy which resulted in the MUSLIMS POPULATION SUDDENLY GETTING A LARGE INCREASE IN PERCENTAGE WHILE THE MALAY POPULATION DECREASED.

    2. Women Rights and Under-marriage:
    Muslim women have more rights in society than any other community – check real Islamic teachings.

    3. Under-age marriage: This is fast falling into line with other communities, though I am not sure how it is in orthodox families.

    4. Dress Code:
    I am one who oppose full face cover but agree that every woman has her own right to follow it or not.

    5. Muslim International Schools:
    Now I ask my Sinhala Buddhist and Catholic brethren, why do you show discrimination in admitting Muslims to your schools, especially to those so called big schools? Naturally, Muslims have to find a place to educate their children and International Schools has become the answer through necessity.

    6. Influence of Saudi and Iran in radicalizing Sri Lankan Muslims:
    I don’t know if Iran has any influence here. The fact is Saudis are not real followers of ISLAM, to my knowledge. Who wants to follow their ways when Quran and the Prophet’s traditions are sufficient to follow a simple, decent life?

  • 0
    0

    Sunil ,

    Firstly , let us understand one thing that NOBODY IN SRILANKA follows
    any religion close to his heart . All are in a drama and to do this they
    construct buildings , put on uniforms , change appearance , publish
    materials and some start working full time , some part time and in short
    many make it their life NOT FOR YOU AND ME ,for his own self BUT IN
    YOUR NAME AND MY NAME ! And there are National and International
    DONORS to help you organize people living here for the journey in the
    next life ! THEY HAVE THE KEY TO HEAVEN . And now in Srilanka a small
    group of Sinhala Buddhist Monks have bought sophisticated high speed
    coach to shuttle Extremist Violent Devotees to NIRVANA if they prove they
    can attack houses , shops and even non-Buddhist religious places and
    presently it should belong to Muslims ! Reason ? THEY HAVE A HEAVEN and
    non Muslims not allowed there ! But we have our Nirvana ? Yes but they can
    not have a Heaven !

  • 0
    0

    Muslim come to preacch to others. but, In Kathankudy, WAhabis cut Sufis with swords and do not allow sufis to buries in their villzage as the cemetry is reserved only for Wahabis. I Negombo and Piuttalama area other sects of muslims have problems getting the mosqaue from Sunnis to conduct their rituals. All over sri lanka intial frictions were began by muslims by not letting Bhikkus walk through their region or objecting to buddhist rituals. Muslims come and preach here. I heard you are Indian and South Asian but not Sri lankan and you do not know problems in Sri lanka. Why don’t you talk about muslim aggresiveness and the problems created by that in south India.

    • 0
      0

      Caged parrot ! Peththappu Bath Kewadha ?

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