22 September, 2018

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The Muslims Are The New Tamils

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“This frenzy of stupidity….” Ernst Toller (Wotan Unchained)

Are we, the Sinhala people, so addicted to war, that we cannot do without one? Or are the Rajapaksas trying to manufacture a new threat and a new conflict as camouflage for their dynastic project?

A well organised and financed anti-Muslim campaign has burst into destructive life over the last several months. Organisations, manifestly conceived in the same pathological-womb, are trying to outdo each other in spreading anti-Muslim vitriol. In the name of Buddhism – the most non-violent and tolerant of all religions (in its original pre-Sinhala form) – these organisations break the law at will and sow seeds of a new ethno-religious conflict. Their members picket Muslim-owned shops, organise anti-Muslim demonstrations and attack mosques; they even invaded the Law College and the day’s TV news carried shocking footage of a monk-demonstrator attacking a layman (possibly an official) with his umbrella.

Who created these organisations? Who finances them? Who are the organ grinders of these destructively dysfunctional monkeys?

Organisations such as the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) seem to be above the law. They run around protesting and demonstrating, arresting people illegally and disrupting perfectly legal activities ordinary Lankans, while the police remain passive and mute. For instance, on June 26th 2012, a BBS mob surrounded the Ministry of Buddha Sasana demanding that the Minister cracks down on a rival Buddhist who ‘insulted Buddhism’ within two weeks. On January 21st, 2013, another BBS mob stormed a tourist hotel in Beruwala, where a private party was in progress, alleging that the hotel possessed a ‘Buddha Bar’.

The latitude permitted to these fanatics to sow hatred, the impunity enjoyed by them indicates connections – if not patrons – in very high places. According to DBS Jeyaraj, when an organisation calling itself Hela Sihala Hiru unleashed a rabidly anti-Muslim demonstration in Kuliyapitiya, several Muslim community leaders tried to lodge a complaint in police, in vain; the police claimed that “nothing could be done as orders had come from the top to let the demonstration happen. Some policemen said their duty was to afford protection to the demonstrators and not to take action against it”.

If accurate, this story points to a definite nexus between the orchestrated anti-Muslim hysteria and the Rajapaksas.

Seeds of Another War  

A majority of the Sinhalese are not affected by the anti-Muslim germ – yet. Most Sinhalese and most Muslims have lived in perfect amity all their lives. The official history taught in schools is suffused with tales of ‘Sinhala-Tamil conflicts’ and of ‘evil Tamil kings’ (of the long centuries of peaceful Sinhala-Tamil cohabitation, including intermarriages and the cultural, religious and linguistic cross-fertilisation, history books are largely silent). But there are no comparable stories about Sinhala-Muslim conflicts or Muslim conspiracies. Therefore there are no anti-Muslim ‘historical memories’ in the collective Sinhala-psyche which can be tapped into and exploited.

Nor are the Muslims requesting any political reforms, as the Tamils did.

Therefore Muslim-phobia must be manufactured through gross lies, absurd exaggerations and malicious misrepresentation. The Muslims are portrayed as the ‘Cultural Other’, a task made easy by the fact that liberal Muslims (like liberal Buddhists/Hindus/Christians) are in decline and the more extremist currents of Islam are on the rise. (InSri Lanka, public manifestations of every religion are sky-rocketing, even as morality declines and crime flourishes; every religion has become an excuse for bigotry and violence). Everything is the grist to the mill of the Sinhala fanatics in their effort to create the ‘Muslim enemy’, from Halal meat and the Sharia Law to the noxious fabrication of a conspiracy to turnSri Lankainto a Muslim country in 2020.

The project of these fanatics is not just anti-Muslim/anti-minority. It is also anti-democratic and socio-culturally retrogressive. Like fanatics of every religion, their dream is a society shackled in reactionary ideas and ultra-conservative mores. Like their Muslim/Hindu/Christian counterparts, the BBS is viscerally opposed to Enlightenment ideas and liberal values. At its first National Convention held last year, the BBS demanded that the government stop family planning, amend existing laws to protect Buddhist rights and “appoint a regulatory body to supervise the content of books and other materials on Buddhism and to do away with those that had distorted the doctrine” (The Island – 12.7.2012). The BBS has attacked Christian services and disrupted family planning clinics; Dharisha Bastians reported that a BBS leader wants a law which permits a Sinhala man to marry five (presumably Sinhala) women (otherwise how can they produce pure Sinhala children?).

A Sinhala-Buddhist Saudi Arabia would be their dream.

Currently organisations such as the BBS amount to a law-and-order problem rather than a political one. If the regime so wants, it can nip this anti-Muslim hysteria in the bud by treating law-breaking BBS activists the same way any normal law-breaking citizen is dealt with. The argument that the regime fears to move against these saffron-robed hooligans because it does not want to antagonise Buddhist clergy is ludicrous. The Rajapaksas snubbed the four Mahanayakes over the impeachment issue and used threats to prevent the holding of a Sangha Council to oppose the arrest of Gen. Sarath Fonseka. According to a Wikileaks cable (26.2.2010), “Two days before the Sanga Sabha was to open….temples had been told that bombs would be hurled at buses transporting monks to the council. On February 16th the Mahanayake of Malwatte announced the assembly had been indefinitely postponed due to security reasons” (Colombo Telegraph – 29.11.2011)

President Rajapaksa has reportedly promised tough action against those creating communal disharmony. According to the same President Rajapaksa “The Maha Sanga and all Buddhists are free of no racialism and regionalism” (Daily Mirror – 21.1.2013). Who does he think is responsible for causing communal disharmony? The Muslims? The West?  The President has also promised to “call the Buddhist clergy for discussions to resolve the issue” (Ceylon Today – 26.1.2013). What issue? There is no Sinhala-Muslim issue. The ‘issue’ is being artificially created by criminal elements. The ‘solution’ is not to dignify the mob by holding conferences but to apply the law, without fear or favour.

But will the Rajapaksas do it?

The Rajapaksas need justifications for their serial murder of democratic institutions and freedoms. The undead-Tiger does not suffice; other issues/enemies are needed, to addle minds with fear, to muddy the political-waters, to befuddle and bamboozle.

The Rajapaksas want a new over determination, so that the Sinhalese will be too busy chasing spectral-foes to confront the real enemy: the Rajapaksas.

A new war will fragment anti-Rajapaksa forces and enable the Siblings to justify the militarization of society, the exacerbation of economic burdens and the erosion of rights and freedoms.

A stage-managed war against ‘Islamic terrorism’ would reopen Western/Indian doors for the Rajapaksas.

A Sinhala-Muslim conflict can be in Rajapaksa-interests; but it will not benefit Sinhalese, Muslims or Tamils. The article by Hiran Gunaratne provides an excellent analysis of the politico-economic damage such a conflict will do toSri Lanka. We lost 30 years thanks to one ethnic war. A Sinhala-Muslim conflict will last longer, reach further (Sinhalese in the West/Middle East will become unsafe), cause more destruction and drag Sri Lanka down to the very depths of living-hell, below even Sudanor Somalia.

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gx0q-0Sj0Y

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Nabil – I am sorry. I was responding to Jamal’s comments on the Godhra
    train incident. The names were confusing. True. The facts in the incidents are in the public domain, as the PTI report I referred clearly establishes.

    Senguttuvan

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      I repeat a Retired Supreme Court judge Umesh Chandra Banerjee, who is lead the government inquiry, dismissed suggestions that inflammable liquid could have been thrown at the train from outside.

      “There has been a preponderance of evidence that the fire in coach number S6 originated in the coach itself without any external input,” he said.”The possibility of an inflammable liquid having been used is completely ruled out as there was first a smell of burning, followed by then smoke and flames thereafter.”Justice Banerjee said that according to eyewitness accounts people had been cooking in the carriage at the time it caught fire. He said the railway authorities had “pre-judged” the incident, and criticised them for not conducting a thorough inquiry.

      The Hindus aboard the train were returning from the holy town of Ayodhya when they perished in the blaze at Godhra.The incident triggered acts of revenge which swept the state for days. Some estimates put the number of people killed in the slaughter at 2,000.The riots caused divisions which have still to heal
      Gujarat’s state authorities say Muslims torched the train.Survivor accounts speak of a stone-throwing mob attacking the train. But doubts have persisted over how the fire started.
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4180885.st
      So there are two sides to the story ! How much Political influence and which report was tainted I leave it to the reader to decide. Sengu is free to take whatever suits his agenda.

  • 0
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    Joining the thoughts of reader Lester, I might state the major religions of the world – Judaism, Christianity in all its forms, Hinduism and Buddhism subject themselves to changes with the evolving
    times and the needs of society. They lend themselves amenable to reason and intellectual scrutiny leading to chages. Martin Luther in Germany, Calvin in Holland, Gandhi in India contributed to changes in their own religious beliefs, rituals and societies. This, I believe, is the essence of religions in an increasingly civilised, humane and intellectually tolerant world.

    Senguttuvan

    • 0
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      “Judaism,Christianity in all it’s forms,Hinduism and Buddhism subjet themselves to changes with the evolving”.

      Now we know the reason for the Fatwa issued last Sunday by the Grandmufti of J&K Bashirudin Ahmad prohibiting the ‘Girl Band’from singing.
      He has said that singing is un-Islamic.
      But the Chief Minister of J&K has encouraged the girls to sing and not disband.Will a fatwa be issued against him too?

      Mohamed Raafi and Naushad must be spinning in their graves now.
      Would all those Muslim shops in our island country stocking music CD’s and albums for sale stop selling them now to people like us non believers the kaffirs.

      • 0
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        Uthungan,Rafi and Noushad spinnig in their graves but
        Salim-sulaiman,A R Rahman and Rahat fateh must be
        rolling on the floor on stage.What about Katrina dance
        to the music?

    • 0
      1

      Senguttuvan

      Bahá’í faith is an off shoot of Islam (Shia). They are the reformist face of Islam.

      Men (always men) do not need a religion to brutalise humanity but it helps.

    • 0
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      Indeed, Senguttuvan, all the religions you mentioned have evolved to some extent. I would add, though, that there is an upper limit to such evolution, which is why secularism is so important. In my opinion, religion (in one sense) is the equivalent of therapy. Some need it, some don’t. Some do better with a weekly session, others an annual appointment, and yet others have the mental disposition to not require it throughout their lifetime. The danger is when you force it on people. As Marx pointed out, it then becomes the “opium of the masses.” The greater part of most religions require little in the way of logical deduction; most of the followers are familiar with a small segment and blindly adhere to the latter indefinitely. Hence the comparison to opium is apt indeed. One obtains a sense of high (sensation of pleasure) merely through osmosis (in this case, osmosis via the ego, if you will), regardless of mental aptitude. It is no accident that Sherlock Holmes had an affinity for opium.

      Islam is essentially where Christianity was a few centuries ago. Muslims need to realize that blind adherence to outdated dogma is not an end to itself but a vicious cycle, with each cycle more violent than the last. Religion alone can no longer hold a society together, as it once did. The days of caste, veils, fatwas, and halal are over. The next few decades will witness revolutionary new technologies that will further loosen the grip of dogma on the rational mind.

      • 0
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        *Is not an end, in and of itself.

  • 0
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    Further to my last comment, I hasten to add although John Calvin was born French, he fled France to Basel and lived much of his life in Holland and Switzerland.

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    Thank you, Uthungan. It is astonishing in today’s 21st Century we have gnomes trying to take others into the Caves. What is perplexing is
    there are Neanderthals – of course, encouraged not to commit the sin to read and write – believing in a Paradise if they maim and kill “the other”

    The Sulthan of Brunei paid millions of dollars to have Michael Jackson
    sing and dance at his daughter’s function. But, for good measure, he insisted Jackson does not feel his crotch while singing/dancing – a Jackson speciality. Gadaffi had a host of singers – including Lionel Ritchie – to sing for his family in a private party in Rome. Ritchie said his fee was $5 million for 45 minutes work. So it is a form of Kolombata kiri apita kekiri.

    Senguttuvan

    • 0
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      Senguttuvan

      “What is perplexing is there are Neanderthals – of course, encouraged not to commit the sin to read and write – believing in a Paradise if they maim and kill “the other”

      Don’t forget VP too followed the same path with different vocabulary such as Weera Maranam, Maaweerer, Maamanithar, Voice of nation………….etc.

  • 0
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    I am in agreement with the rational comments of Lester. Religion should be peaceful, tolerant and respectful to other faiths and
    only to serve the purpose of religion. Catholicism/Christianity,
    Hinduism, Buddhism have found this is ideal but sometimes abused to
    serve the cause of parochial politics. But none of these faiths view
    religion as an instrument that should be used for global conquest although between the 15th to the 20th century the Catholic/Christian
    powers did so. The world has since changed towards justice and reason thanks to the Ages of Reason-Enlightenment and the secular pluralism of the Great Thinkers of Western Europe and Britain in particular.

    The more tolerant Bahai faith, that Native Veddah refers to, as well as mystic Sufism attracted a great deal of respect and following outside of its native Persia for its intellectual content – that holds even today.

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    Lester,Hinduism is not a race,It’s an area and Ramayana is an
    idea and not facts.Basically all gods of Hinduism are only an
    idea.This is the view of historians on Hinduism.Simple.

  • 0
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    Lester,

    Congrads for the impressive comments.

    If you will allow me, your comment should have been Islam is where Christianity was MANY, MANY (instead of a few) centuries ago.

    As to the Upper Limit, I notice the industrial countries have sorted matters out without intruding into individual freedom – something which they, quite rightly, place much emphasis on. The separation of religion from governance is almost complete there as they realised. through careful and popular thought, a marriage between the State and Religion invariably destroys the societies that adopt them. Going to Church (or your place of worship) is an individual choice. Now we see more people filling the pulpits there – a return to spiritualism in a world made complex by the negatives of materialism. The other factor to the return to religion is the organised threat from other quarters to capture the world by threat, intimidation, disinformation and force – and if it comes to that – nuclear force. This new challenge has energised both active and dormant religious entities in the world
    who recognise the looming threat around them.

    Senguttuvan

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