28 October, 2020

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Sri Lanka Besieged By Religious Conflict

By Tariq A. Al Maeena –

Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Notwithstanding all the glib assurances by Sri Lankan politicians, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the cohesiveness of its people in this island nation, ground realities tell another story.

The Tamil nation, whose struggle for a separate homeland began in 1983, were long targeted by government forces until the massive military manoeuvres by the Sri Lankan armed forces came to a head and defeated their representative military unit, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), in 2009.

An estimated 100,000 civilians were killed in the 26-year struggle, and there have been charges of war crimes against the Sri Lankan government during the final phase of the battle where an estimated 40,000 civilians were indiscriminately killed.

In 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released findings based on a study by experts of the 2009 events on the island. It indicated that along with the LTTE, government forces “conducted military operations with flagrant disregard for the protection, rights, welfare and lives of civilians and failed to respect the norms of international law”.

There was also a recommendation that an international investigative body be established to bring the war criminals to justice. The Sri Lankan government quickly dismissed the findings of the experts and scoffed at their recommendations.

A US report in 2013 said that the Sri Lankan government’s human rights record was rampant with “major human rights problems”, which included involuntary disappearances and unlawful killings by government security forces and pro-government militia groups.

The US State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012 stated that “the major human rights problems were attacks on and harassment of civil society activists, persons viewed as LTTE sympathisers, and journalists by persons allegedly tied to the government, creating an environment of fear and self-censorship, involuntary disappearances as well as lack of accountability”.

The government prosecuted a very small number of officials implicated in human rights abuses, but is yet to hold anyone accountable.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2013 identified “Sri Lanka as a country of concern with regard to human rights violation”, and guilty of increasing violent “campaigns against religious minorities”.

Both the US and the UK charged the Sri Lankan government with failing to conduct impartial investigations into the alleged war crimes committed by government forces against Tamil civilians, and that the government’s reconciliation committee was “deeply flawed, and did not meet international standards for such commissions, and has failed to systematically inquire into alleged abuses”. Tamils today are still waiting for justice.

Buoyed by the government’s indifference or perhaps encouragement of the violent crimes against the Tamil minority, a militant offshoot of the Sinhalese Buddhist majority has in recent times set its sights on the other minorities — the Muslims and Christians of the island — who unlike the Tamils have not been involved in any struggle for a separate homeland and have lived peacefully along with all other groups.

These militant Buddhists, operating under the banner Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and headquartered in the capital city of Colombo, have organised many campaigns and acts of violence against the island’s Muslim and Christian minority groups.

In February this year, the BBS general-secretary Galagoda Atte Gnanasara warned that “this is a government created by Sinhala Buddhists and it must remain Sinhala Buddhist. This is a Sinhala country and Sinhala government. Democratic and pluralistic values are killing the Sinhala race”.

Through campaigns of terror, the BBS and their militant followers have looted, burned and defiled religious citadels of both minorities. Their aim is simple. They want to rid the island of anything or anyone that is not Sinhalese Buddhist, and protect the island’s Sinhalese-Buddhist character.

In a sharp departure from the normally peaceful teachings of Buddha, these religious terrorist Buddhists are not averse to violence against individuals of other faiths and exhort their followers to do the same.

Writer Don Manu warns: “From the first virulent flow of vituperative slime that cascaded from the steps of the BMICH — where they [BBS] held their first convention last year in July — to seep into the nation’s collective thought stream, their venomous flood has continued unabated and, though it irrigates hotbeds of faith’s animalistic fervour sprouting violent passions and threatens to rip the fragile fabric of religious harmony, no serious effort has been taken by the government to dam its ebullient tide.

“For a nation still convalescing from the horrors of a 30-year war provoked by racial discrimination to complacently accept in its stride the potential birth of another war, this time based on religious acrimony, borders on criminal negligence. To acquiesce and watch it grow unchecked, to look askance while its parasitic tendrils that have lost its taproot spread around to ultimately throttle the body politic is to invite disaster on an unimaginable scale.”

At present, all the positive vibes coming from Rajapaksa’s government on his stern actions against the Buddhist militants lack credibility as actions against minorities indicate otherwise. The BBS are the new Buddhist terror group and their actions will undoubtedly give rise to the normally placid Muslim and Christian and force them into acts of defiance, with no other means of survival.

The policies of the present government prefer to sweep the antics of the BBS under the carpet at the expense of the abuse suffered by its minorities. It is the president and his cohorts who should be brought to book, or else the island will soon sink into another sectarian conflict that could well last for decades.

*Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@talmaeena . This article first appeared in the Gullf News 

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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      Abhaya, are you a relation of Gothabaya? Be good.

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        Tariq A. Al Maeena,

        You got the picture of Sri Lanka correctly, please spread the word in the Arab world, if not the whole Muslim world.

        You will be doing a service to your brethren in Sri Lanka and humanity.

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    Shukran Tariq for this write-up. But I must also emphasize that the majority of Buddhists in the country, both ordinary people and educated and well respected members of the clergy do not take this fringe group BBS platoon seriously at all. We Muslims have deeply entrenched roots in this country, and have lived peacefully through interdependence with many fellow Buddhist friends for generations. It will be tough call to uproot that deep trust in a hurry, overnight. If not for that reason alone, this country should be up in communal flames and in much turmoil today, for all the lies and hate speech spewed by these bigots against Muslims living in this country. Yes they attacked and destroyed both Masjids and Christian churches, in the presence of impotent and docile police force, as onlookers in the midst of mayhem. They government controls both, the BBS platoon, and the police force. We know that are kept on the leash, pulled and tugged to keep them in check when they go too far out of control.

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      I disagree. The majority of the sinhala buddhists think this way and in fact the BBS has emerged because the majority think this way.

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        I second this that the Majority Sinhala Buddhist tacitly support the Sinhala Buddhist Chauvinists. What it shows is that the Sinhala Buddhists in general are chronically insecure!

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          BBS didnt gather the support they expected and it is a dieing force now. The only strength it had was certian sections of Gov and media. That is exactly why muslims continue to live among Sinhalese and do their trading and every other thing as usual.

          just remember what Tamils did when LTTE was unleashing violence to people living in border villages and Muslims? what did the tamils do? Does their silence indicate any support?

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    Mr. TARIQ AL MAEENA:

    You are one of the Saudi Arabians, I suppose, Muslims that I saw that is not is not all a muslim.

    Unlike Sri Lankan muslims who always try to spread fiction book of QURAN, you talk very much like a CHRISTIAN.

    See you talk like a Christian and you talk about the IDOL-WORSHIPPING RELIGION Buddhism.

    You also give a wrong figure about Tamil Deaths in Sri Lanka during the LTTE war. Your beloved relative Joseph Rayappu – see you both Christians and Muslims are children of the same brothers even though you people hate each other – says the death toll is 147,000.

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    “Their aim is simple. They want to rid the island of anything or anyone that is not Sinhalese Buddhist, and protect the island’s Sinhalese-Buddhist character.”

    You are honest man. That is not like that of a muslim. It is Buddhists who are trying to be honest as much as they can.

    See how you Saudi Arabians preserve your culture. You are becoming more and more WAHABI. Bibles and IDOL statues are not Allowed in through the ports of your COUNTRY. You people are funding killers all around the world in order to preserve your CULT. SO, IT IS WRONG WE SINHALA BUDDHISTS TO PRESERVE OUT CULTURE AND THE CIVILIZATION.

    You SAudi Arabians also think that it is OK to RAPE your foreign MAIDs because according to your QURAN they are SLAVES and you own them.

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    [The Tamil nation,} ????

    Generally, Saudi Arabians are WELL TO DO because of OIL MONEY.

    But, this AL Mayna looks like a poverty stricken Saudi Arabian who pawns HIS CONSCIOUSNESS FOR MONEY.

    Other wise, who would write any crap just for money.

    Ohh, Saudi money to destroy Idol worshipping religion.

    Well, one day Quran will reign the world. but, at that time humans will be animals.

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      Like they did to Hindu & Pagan Mecca.

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    Mr. Tariq,

    Please carry this message through out the Middle East and it must reach the rulers of Muslim countries. Most funds that come to the BBS is from the expatriate Sinhala Buddhist groups working in the Middle East. These are the Sinhala group that conducts cultural events in the ME countries and collect funds for terrors of BBS/UPFA combined operations on the minorities.

    The Sri Lankan Embassies in the ME countries secretly follows the racist policies and discriminate the minority Sri Lankans with harassments (in most cases). Because, the employees of the Embassies are political appointees and they carry out the same principal of the Buddhist hegemonistic policies.

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      The authorities in Arabia are very techy and well aware of this form of fund collection, dumb parsal, and they purposely turn a blind eye as the foundation of Islam is build on moving the hearts and minds of people rather than enforcing direct action to stop spending as one pleases within reason.

      We Muslims believe,

      When truth is hurtled against falsehood, falsehood perishes, for falsehood, by its nature bound to perish (The Noble Quran 17:81)

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        Maghribi,
        You talk of falsehood perishes. Tell us whether or not Muslim scholars teach you that Muslims should generally be truthful to each other but they are allowed to lie in order to defeat unbelievers. I’ll give you examples.

        Does not Koran 16:106 establishes that there are circumstances that a Muslim can be “compelled” to tell a lie. What more if Koran 3:54 says “… Allah is the best of schemers.”

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    Buddhism Betrayed?

    Religion, Politics and Violence in Sri Lanka

    By S.J.Tambiah

    Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah is emeritus professor of anthropology at Harvard University, and was a former chairman of that department.

    Front Cover of an earlier paperback edition by the same publisher:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/0226789500/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0

    http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Betrayed-Religion-Politics-Violence/dp/0226789500

    Another excellent book, by another world renowned expert – in this case, a political scientist:

    The Break-Up of Sri Lanka: The Sinhalese-Tamil Conflict

    by A. Jeyaratnam Wilson

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0824812115/ref=dp_olp_all_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=all

    http://tamilnation.co/books/Eelam/wilson.htm

    //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

    SINHALA BUDDHIST ETHNO nationalism
    – masquerading as Sri Lankan ‘multi – ethnic civic nationalism’

    http://tamilnation.co/tamileelam/fundamentalism/index.htm

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    Thanks to the SinHellists (BBS/JHU/SR/BR) Muslims in Sri Lanka are increasingly continue to strive to unite as one nation and join the rest of the world. There are visible signs of those who took Islam lightly in the past are returning to practice their Islam as it was prescribed by the Noble Quran and the authentic sunnnah (way) of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).

    Work for this world as if we will live forever, but work for our next life as if tomorrow we die. In other words, do not neglect the externals of our worldly needs, all the while keeping in mind our end and final resting place.

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    Every thing Muslims minorities face in the world are caused by Muslim countries in Middle east which don’t tolerate other religions. For me I can trust christian who talk about religious tolerate as powerful Christian countries do so. But I can’t never trust a Muslim who do the same until Oil rich Islamists tolerate other religions. I feel very sorry for the peaceful Muslim minorities who face these problem because of countries that I have said.

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      Pure jealousy against Muslims because they have oil!

      If other countries let Muslims be no problem. Be careful when you talk against Muslims.

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        Forgotten what they have between the legs. They simply multiply. Sri Lanka will be soon Lankastan.

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          MUSLIMS ARE GOOD AT REPRODUCING. YOU BUGGERS ARE [Edited out].

          THIS IS WHAT BOTHERS SHENALI

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      All we ask from Islamic friendly countries is to put pressure on the SL government to safeguard minority rights of Muslims living in SL, as being Muslims of one Ummath (following) of Prophet Muhammed (PBOH) makes us all brothers-in-Islam. If they have the will, they will definitely find the way. No one expects anything different.

      You say Middle East countries don’t tolerate other religions. Why should they? Those countries have as citizens 100% pure Muslims and thus are bound by rules of Islamic Sharia Law. Everyone else who visits from outside must respect their culture and adhere to the laws of the land, or get kicked out for any violations. The law itself being strictly implemented without bribes, favor and nepotism, has had its impact on the low crime rate in those countries. Is this good or bad? With the Roman-Dutch Laws we have in our country, look at our over-crowded prisons filled to capacity. Even in a fully democratic country like the US, just look at their criminal justice system, and the extremely overcrowded jails. Where lies the solution? This is reality. May be hard to gulp but ultimately success in its implementation has been achieved.

      We don’t need nor expect your trust, we can survive on our own without it. It is you who will need our trust to treat you as an equal as one of us, if it comes to that someday.

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        Those countries 100% Muslim because they destroy pagans and put force rest of the non Muslims to pay tax until they convert to be a Muslim.

        Whatever against Sinhalese Buddhist, Sinhalese Buddhist should fight against Islam.

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          We do not believe the SinHellists have the knowledge, the resources nor the fighting spirits of the second largest populous nation in the world. Islam will continue to grow as it has done in the past. Historically the arch enemies of Islam have converted to Islam. Read the history.

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          but still keep sendinding their mothers, wifes and daughters to middle east to earn money working as house maids.
          and maids….

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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    MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES ARE 100 PER CENT MUSLIM.

    YOU BEGGAR BUGGERS AND YOUR MOTHERS WIVES AND SISTERS GO THERE IN SEARCH OF DOLLARS.

    IF YOU DO NOT LIKE THERE NOT PERMITTING TEMPLES ETC., .JUST DO NOT GO
    THERE. THEY CAN MANAGE WITHOUT YOU.

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    A SAUDI ARABIAN NATIONAL who may never have set foot in SL, writes about HUMAN RIGHTS violations in SL, now that’s funny. Well at least it a start, it’s a new frontier for them. Hope these so called Saudi human rights enthusiasts will change their savage laws and learn to be more compassionate to non-Arabs.

    The Saudi Arabian Monarchy is corrupted to the core. These Bedouins are busy funding terrorists and building pointless and hideous sky scrappers while the absolutely poor Muslims in Somalia, Ethiopia, Mauritania, etc are dying of starvation.

    Tariq A. Al Maeena looks mean and merciless.

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      how do you know Tariq never set foot in SL?
      You write about Suadi have you been there you are a real shit head and call your self JONES, what a moron.the tourists are waiting for you hurry up.

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    Saudis are mad bad fanatics that’s why organizations like the BBS exist.

    http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2156259,00.html

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      NOT FOR LONG !!!!!!!!!

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    Dear Mr.Tariq A. Al Maeena,

    A Questions about Practicing and non-Practicing Muslims ans non-Muslims.

    Q1. Who is a Practicing Muslim? What does the Holy Quran say here?

    Q2. Who is a Non-Practicing Muslim? What does the Holy Quran say here?

    Q3. What is the difference between a non-Practicing Muslim and a Jew or Christian, the people of the book? What does the Holy Quran say here?

    Q4. What is the difference between a non-Practicing Muslim and a non-Muslim? What does the Holy Quran say here?

    Appreciate your answers, with references primarily to the Holy Quran, and only secondarily to the Hadith.

    Thank you in advance.

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