26 May, 2022

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What Is ‘Bodu (Buddhist)’ In The ‘Bodu Bala Sena’?

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Way back in the year 2004, when the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) was formed to contest the April elections, I objected on grounds that the political/historical role of the Bikkhu was advisory. The mayor, I wrote to the Sunday Island (February 15, 2004) has to get the drains cleaned, but is not required to cover himself in muck. For all this, the key figures of the JHU conducted themselves with decorum; they made their points lucidly and treated critic with respect, opting to deploy word to counter word. That the JHU became something else later on is a different matter. The point here is that the JHU of April 2004 is a stark contrast to the BBS of April 2013.

Let’s consider the BBS. Their statements, at media conferences and public gatherings, as well as their actions describe them well. It is apparent in tone and facial expression, in word and deed. It is also apparent in the organization’s silence on or responses to actions done in its name. If there is one thing absent in all of this it is equanimity. Emotion has ruled reason. Attachment overrides all else. There is clear inciting to violence. There is fear-mongering and playing to the baser instincts of a community, a tickling of human frailty.
‘Buddhist’ is an identity tag as much as it denotes preference for a particular teaching. But if teaching is important (and it certainly is), then any organization containing the word or a derivative must be guided by that doctrine, in both word and deed. The BBS is at odds with the fundamental tenets of the Dhamma.

The most recent example is how BBS representatives behaved in Thunmulla when confronting a set of individuals who had organized an event tagged ‘Buddhists Question Bodu Bala Sena’. That particular event was either organized or hijacked by people whose political agendas are anything but innocent. On the other hand, they were not violent. They came to light a candle, recite some lines in Pali (printed for the benefit of those unfamiliar, Buddhists and non-Buddhists) and take a stand. The BBS representatives present were abusive. In word, gesture and tone, they were in clear violation of ways of conduct prescribed by the Buddha. They could have, for example, spoken to those present cordially, even while recognizing pernicious intent and mischief-maker, and invited them to chant the thun-sutra together.

That particular incident was rather mild, compared to the foul and violence-inciting language and rhetoric indulged in by the BBS leadership. The BBS can claim they had no hand in the attack on Fashion Bug, for example, but they are certainly guilty of whipping anti-Muslim sentiment and ‘Muslimphobia’ among Buddhists. The stone-thrower is guilty, so too are those who planted ‘stone-throwing’ in his mind, directly or otherwise. The BBS has deliberately distorted statistics gathered by the Department of Census and Statistics to buttress arguments about ‘Muslim Expansion’. If, as the BBS claims, Muslims are in ‘expansion-mode’ and if whatever they find objectionable is illegal, then the BBS must take to the courts.

If there’s nothing illegal but it still offends, hurts and threatens, then the BBS (or anyone else) must seek answers in the Dhamma, which prescribes as fundamental engagement factors, pragna (wisdom) and maithree (compassion). There’s a palpable absence of intelligence and absolutely no compassion in the way the BBS has conducted itself. They could find answers in the Kalama Sutra (the Buddhist Charter on Free Inquiry), use the Sapta Aparihani Dharma (Seven principles of indestructability) etc. They could find in the notion of sanvaraya (decorum) associated with the figure of the bikkhu a useful ally in conduct. They have not.

Buddhists are not Arahats and there is political dishonesty in demanding that kind of enlightenment from Buddhists in the face of aggression (real or perceived), but an organization that purports to uphold Buddhist doctrine, culture and values must consciously and actively strive to adhere to basic doctrinal tenets. The BBS is so far away from that point to justify using ‘Bodu’ in its name. If Buddhists find the BBS to be a slur on their identity and belief system, then they too should respond with the compassion, wisdom, moderation and other concepts that guide action embedded in the Buddha Vacana. This would include circumspect in who to stand with of course.

What non-BBS Buddhists and other non-Buddhists of whatever political persuasion do is their business. The BBS cannot play mirror-politics if they hope to achieve anything close to moral high ground. As of now (and perhaps for all time, given the arrogance and invective that they’ve adorned themselves with), ‘Buddhist’ is not a tag they can wear without insulting all Buddhists and Buddhism.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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    ‘Buddhist’ is not a tag they can wear without insulting all Buddhists and Buddhism’. –
    I like it. Well said Sir, on behalf of all Buddhists. This is what I have been trying to emphasize to BBS brigades that the fact they are spitting venom and condone the conduct of the rogue monks whose tongues have been wagging in hate and animosity ,shows that they are not Buddhists .But they may call themselves Sinhala nationalists.

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      Well said sir they should call them SINHALA NATIONALISTS or RAJAPAKSA BRIGADES that would suit them more than using the Buddhism to hijake the day to day problem n how we are going cope up with all the increase of The Goods and Utilities What we need today

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        Please translate into Sinhala!
        CONGRATULATION – Good for you Malinda, at least you are able to recognize your mistakes – the sorry and biased piece that you wrote on the vigil to protest BBS – and are able to correct your mistakes when pointed out by all who wrote back, which is more than the BBS can dream of doing!

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          Dude Malinda, please deploy your talents and write something about the electricity price increases and do NOT fall into the Rajapassa regime’s trap to divide, DISTRACT and rule Lanka!
          The BBS is how Rajapassa bros and sons, DISTRACT people from regime corruption, looting and murder.
          So Please post something on the electricity price increase and its social impacts..
          Enough now of this hate crime story which is a distraction from the economic crisis brought by the Rajapassa family’s corruption and white elephant development projects that guzzle electricity, particularly in Hambantota which is an environmental disaster zone. So please post something on the electricity price increase, the coming economic crash, and the use of BBS to distract from this.

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      Thank you for this excellent Article. Bodu Bala Sena is making us ashamed to stand up and acknowledge ourselves as Buddhists. What would the Buddha Our Teacher have said about these Crimes that are being committed in His Name

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    Malinda,

    why did you wait that long to raise this question ?

    I guess almost every non-BBS buddhist monks, buddhists grasphed this at the very beginning. Alone the fact – the leader of the BBS is proved to have crime records as CT revealed lately. Where on the earth that kind of criminals could teach innocent masses the better way of life ?

    All these were known to you very long ago, but just to hang on with the rulers, you though a chief editor of a newspager tolerated all these? I would say, your reactions are too late :(

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    Took you a lot of time.

    Nevertheless, glad you have spoken out. Finally.

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    how come such a late response Malinda? anyways better late than never but i just hope that you didnt write with ‘mala fide’ intentions of showing yourself as impartial!

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      I doubt.

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    This is highly appreciated.

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    “Buddhists are not Arahats and there is political dishonesty in demanding that kind of enlightenment from Buddhists in the face of aggression”

    I choose to disagree and dissent.

    This is precisely what Buddhism is all about and what I expect of anyone who calls himself or herself a Buddhist and I do not think that there is any “political dishonesty” in expecting such. Simply reading texts or attempting to follow this or that precept is not going to make one a Buddhist. Neither is belief going to make anyone a Buddhist. As far as I can see Buddhism is a sophisticated system of psychological practice that when consistently applied to oneself over time leads to a re-perception of the world and to new ways to live that are in harmony with the cosmos, new lives and livelihoods for each individual who engages this system of practice and in time a new world for us all generated by the networking and collaborative actions of all those engaged in this system of practice…all Buddhists that is to say. It goes without saying that anyone of any faith, any system of beliefs or any ideological persuasion can engage in this system of psychological practice and there can be Hindu Buddhists, Christian Buddhists, Islamic Buddhists and of course Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Buddhists and German Buddhists and French Buddhists and Hindi Buddhists and Buddhists of any language.

    Clearly Buddhism is no more than an attitude towards and way of life. Neither of these are much evident in Sri Lanka and so most Sri Lankans are not Buddhists and they should stop calling themselves Buddhists and we should stop calling them Buddhists. No one should be forced to call themselves Buddhists when they are not in fact engaged in such a system of practice and hence are not Buddhists and no one should be forced to call people who are not engaged in such a system of practice Buddhists.

    This is one of the few people who speaks and thinks in a way that I expect Buddhists to speak and think:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bREFYFJH-Rs&feature=player_embedded
    I have not seen or heard anyone else like him so far. He may be the only Buddhist or Buddha-like person in Sri Lanka. I would like to see more people like him around. Perhaps our teachers and priests can produce more people like.

    To me the BBS represents the character and psychology of the government and the majority of the people of this country regardless of whether they are Sinhalese or Tamils or whatever religion they belong to. It is the character of the human being when distorted by wrong perception of the world, tormented by fears and anxieties, a slave to its emotions and feelings, driven by Desire, Lust and Craving to steal and to plunder; suffering and yet unaware that it is suffering and lashing out destructively with violence at all and sundry in its agonizing pain and craving to control the world, its best intentions leading to more suffering and destruction than it seeks to avoid. This is not Buddhism and a country where this is the norm rather than the exception can hardly be described as a Buddhist country.

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      Fine comment, informative and enlightening. Told like a Buddhist!

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      It seems the people who follow the BBS variety of ‘Buddhism’, like to call themselves Buddhist, so that they could practise this Corrupt Excuse for the Buddha’s Teaching. That would be the best way to turn non-Buddhists and ‘Buddhists’ away from the Buddha’s Dhamma, and into the welcoming arms of other Religions.

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    Well said, Malinda, well said.

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      Dr Dayan, I dont know which side you are in now. Be in anyside, it doesnt matter but as an educated person as a diplomat as a Srilankan, isnt it your duty to fight against this tyranny Sir. Why dont you come out and educate the public tather than doint a trivia protest sitting in a corner. You know the real charactaristics of these people. Its your duty to save the motherland from your level and you can do a lot. Its high time Dr. Dayan.

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    Malinda, we are so delighted that for the first time you have taken a clear and unequivocal stand against the BBS.

    Let us hope that this piece is a harbinger of more enlightened commentaries to come from your editorial pen.

    I say, well done Malinda!

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    in general, Buddhists are among the most pacific group of people.There must be cause or extreme groups to rise.If unmitigated opposition to Buddhist way of life were to persist, it could lead to a serious outburst one day. As such,the presence of some form of extremism is not a bad thing altogether to diffuse the generation of excess heat provided it does not lead to violence. That will help keep others including Buddhists to think of the need for moderation in dealing with matters in a complex society.

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    Why is there no mention of the support rendered by the government to the BBS activities? Why doesn’t Malinda talk about Police inaction when the BBS is doing wrong, the open support given by the Police (e.g. dispersing protesters) and the open support given by the Secretary of Defence? What about the meteoric rise of the BBS in an absurdly short time? The failure on the part of the President and senior members of the Cabinet to strongly condemn the BBS?

    I believe that the reason Malinda doesn’t deal with these aspects is because it would demonstrate the nexus between the Government and the BBS. The fact that the support is not just tacit but explicit indicates that the BBS is carrying out the government agenda. If this be the case, Malinda’s generous arguments about “real and perceived aggression” is a red herring.

    In any event, having stated the obvious about the falsity of the Muslim Expansion theory Malinda still talks about “real and perceived aggression”.

    What Malinda insidiously tries to achieve by this Article is to rehash his old theme – that the BBS may not be responsible for all the evil that is said to be done by the BBS, that there are real or at least perceived aggression against Buddhist and consequently some reaction is necessary. It paints a benign picture of the BBS as misguided and slightly rambunctious group. The real picture is that it is a completely government backed, vicious, hate mongering, violent, bullying outfit headed by some undesirable people. [For a journalist isn’t it strange that he doesn’t talk about drinking and driving Monk at the helm?!]

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    This waa his ” Plan B”….

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    This was his “Plan B”…….

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    Malinda
    When I read your contribution this morning I was surprised because your previous writings on the vigil and references to BBS were quite different.
    Therefore, I expected you to say as the last paragraph something like- “My critics would have loved me more than their parents, spouses and siblings had I written something like what you have just finished reading!”
    I am happy that you have gained sense and wish you would continue to maintain it. I am confident you can sustain it not only for your maturity and goodness, but because you are the son of Gamini Seneviratne.
    You may wonder why I write as “Anonymous”, it is to hide identity, because in my old age I fear driving down Havelock Road passing the BBS HQ which is managed by people like Gnasara (Apologies for not tagging traditional respected ‘Ven’ for him due to his behaviour and speeches as you have said with vivid description, re: “Their statements, at media conferences and public gatherings, as well as their actions describe them well. It is apparent in tone and facial expression, in word and deed.”) and Dilantha Witanage who should be leading an underworld gang and not BBS, not been second to the former.
    My feeling is you are a bit late, but it is better to be late than never responding correctly. You will not regret it. Congratulations.

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      That is the GENERAL nature of many journalists of current day. Most of them incl. MS are very subjective.

      But recent articles by DJ contained almost only facts – there I myself raised the question why the SLGO failed to pay wholehearted efforts in terms of solving lanken lawful issues. It is naive to handle an impeachment process to the manner how MR and clans illperfomed it. DJ is a researcher AND his main focus is on the causalities. fURTHER to this his added views in terms of many of the issues cant have counter arguments; because they are simply facts. EARLIER I was easily decieved by some subject inputs, but today, I am very cautious when reading lanken news.

      If journalists would rethink the impact of their articles before being pulished, they can achieve a lot in our society towards the rebuidling of the mind sets of lankens. Consequences will be improvement of society, then only, the people will be able to grasph the ground realities.

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      Well said. Anonymous, you expressed what I feel….exactly!

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    Malinda,

    What took you so long to realise this?

    Most of us despite not having a major in sociology from Harvard University like you, realised this long ago :-)

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    The Example of the Bodu Bala Sena’s hate campaign, is enough to drive impressionable young people who have not yet understood the Buddha’s message, into the arms of other religions that are less obviously Activist! Their activity promotes the exact opposite of what BBS wants to achieve. Do you see another hand behind BBS activity?

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    I think you need to take a real hard look at religions playing politics and put a fullstop to it. Sinhala Buddhism is every bit as nationalistic as Burmese Buddhism, which is to say they are frequently hijacked by chauvinists. The reason being the ethno fascist agenda is built into the DNA of these religions over centuries and the majority are easily swayed by the us versus them rhetoric.

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    What did Malinda expect?.

    BBS to chant Pirith to the Focebooking Vigilantes.

    Just imagine if they call themselves Sinhala Bala Sena which is what it is.

    And it is a direct defence or shall we say a Fire Wall against the Anti Buddhist Bala Sena worldwide or ABBBS International.

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    Very well articulated Sir, But too little too late.

    Bodu Bala Sena has become a frightful name for us Muslims, from the first time we heard it, we understood it to be a sign of our suppression. It gets more frightening to see what the Buddhists are doing to Muslims in Myanmar, and can only pray and hope that our local BBS don’t get any ideas to physically harm Muslims in SL based on those same lines.

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    Malinda – you say “Buddhists are not arahats” and then you say, “If Buddhists find the BBS to be a slur on their identity and belief system, then they too should respond with the compassion, wisdom, moderation and other concepts that guide action embedded in the Buddha Vacana. This would include circumspect in who to stand with of course.”

    Shouldn’t the Sangha (to begin with), and those ‘pious’ Buddhist politicians who flock to temples for ‘favors’, be guided by your words? Particularly since they are the ones who have the ‘power’ to bring these beasts under control? Let’s have an editorial from you on this aspect – if you agree, of course!

    And just what do you mean by “…This would include circumspect in who to stand with of course.”??

    Finally, what do you think of the police’s actions in forcibly dispersing a peaceful protest? Orders from ‘above’, perhaps?

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    If I were one of the judges – I would have made MR and clans clear about the danger of BBS leader – former drunkard driver that has proved to the masses – he is rhyless by all means. Then all the lawful authorities could have put him jail while creating calm and quiet among the masses that have been desperate today.

    Root cause for all the BBS activities are the criminal energies in the leading monks. They cant be called as MONKS but pseudo buddhist monks that have emerged to destroy the buddhist image of the lanken that they have protected for many many years. Lankens buddhists in general have won the hearts among the international communities, but the lower behavioiurs of those monks – as got to see in kealniya area recently… behaving so violently far beyond to lay people, is absolutely not acceptable.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3gKvo-fAK4

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      They the rulers have to amend prevailing laws promtly so that these safron robed but criminals to be punished accordingly.

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    Ha ha ha Malinda is backtracking. I am under no illusion that he does this because he believes. Its more because his crappy senseless article last week got such a bashing from decent human beings wether Buddhist or otherwise. This is exactly how you and all politicians survive, An apology for last weeks article may have got you some sympathy.

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    I had to check the name and the picture twice when I read this article, because I thought it was someone trying to impersonate Mr. Malinda Seneviratne.

    Wonders never cease. Maybe Mr.Blocker too might have a revelation like Paul of Tarsus who was a Jew, and tried to stamp out Christianity until he had a vision on the Road to Damascus. From then on Paul became a missionary, spreading the message of Christianity. He also wrote a large part of the New Testament.

    Blocker of Colombo, [Edited out] has been a strong supporter of whatever the armed forces and the defence secretary have done. In recent times he has gone to the extent of defending the actions of the defence secretary in this forum, and it has made some of us wonder if Mr.Blocker is his mouthpiece or the secretary to the secretary of defence. :)

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      Perhaps Blocker is the starter to convince that no further cover up can help aynone. That is the reason why he himself wrote against the brutal acts of the current regime. U know, some would need more time to realize it. But it is commendalbe to see the opening of eyes later than never.

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        What should be commendable, Don, is that your eyes have opened and you are finally understanding my writing; unfortunately, the case is simply that we coincidentally agree on this subject, nothing more. Tomorrow you will be wondering again why I am apparently changing course again. It is not my course that is changing; it merely happens to cross yours at this juncture.

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      Unfortunately, Normally Pukapassa, you cannot find any proof of me defending “whatever the armed forces and the defense secretary have done”, and are forced to make personal attacks that CT is then forced to edit out. Your wonder about me being a mouthpiece s not surprising given your lack of basic intelligence, evidenced by the fact that not a single comment you have ever made on this site has ever had anything to say about any article. Every single one is merely an attack on some individual who’s writing is above your capacity to grasp. When monkeys throw shit at humans, they only reveal their simian limits.

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    I am glad Malinda has retracted from his original position,which was reactionary to say the least. Yet, for all that he seems to be having reservations and we notice that the former ghost is still there when he refers to the “agenda” of the Vigil crowd. Like the religious affiliations he claimed to have spotted with uncanny insight among the thousands of protestors how did he manage to spot their agendas? Has the BBS no agenda? Why then did the BBS get government backing?
    Second,Malinda,in the first para you suggest that the JHU is now “something else.” You follow up by stating that “the JHU of 2004 is in stark contrast to the BBS of 2013.”
    This is not at all clear. You compare the JHU of 2004 to the BBS of today. When the JHU became “something else,” was it the BBS that it became? Can you clarify this for the forum,please? Thanks

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    Malinda,
    BBS stands for ‘Bodu Bala Sena’. I am sure promoters of BBS have chosen those words very diligently. Think a bit deep. As for me, I clearly understand meanings of those words selectively and together. When think of ‘Bodubalasena’ as one word conception, it is obvious that it is a group force of Buddhists. Now take the group as a ‘Bala Sena’ of Buddhists in the reverse order if you like. ‘Bodu’ means belongs to Buddhists. In that setting too, it means, a force for Buddhists not necessarily for fighting.

    Everyone must know that, ‘Bodubalasena’ or ‘Bala Sena’ for Buddhists or ‘Sena’ cannot be meant to preach Buddhists ‘bana’ or teach meditation or have Dhamm talks. BBS is not a group formed to dessiminate Dhamma.

    So. question of inviting vigils holding candles to chant the thun-sutra together as Malinda says doesn’t arise. It is obvious that ‘Bala Sena’ mission should be to face ‘mara sena’ like candle light vigils that challenge the Buddhists unarmed. What ‘mara sena’?

    Unethical Halaal promotion is by such a ‘mara sena’. Parading against anti-conversion bill was by such a ‘mara sena’. Starting mosques in the guise of meeting centres was by such a ‘mara sena’. Bussing congregations to rented houses in village hamlets to disturb peace in the neighbourhood was by such a ‘mara sena’.

    As Malinda says ‘they (JHU) made their points lucidly and treated critic with respect,’ but I say; they miserably failed to meet challenges by ‘mara sena’ no where near successfully. We villagers have been waiting for someone or some group to come up with something to save what we love most – attacks on our heritage and way of life. And at last BBS has materialized to meet the challenges head on. Don’t you be mesmerised with Gospels here by Satans.
    Leela

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      @ Leela forget about unethical this and unethical that in your writings and please tell US ABOUT THE LEE POTTER HOUSING SCAM WHICH YOU HAD DONE IN KANDY IN THE 1980S and allegedy people have been played out of their money for houses that never existed

      Please Google Lee Potter Housing Kandy and you will even find and article in the Daily News (yes in the Daily News),when your a FRAUD how we expect you to talk sense huh? of is it the way of life that you love so much (by defrauding people)

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        Great remarks : )

        Leela is related to MR and the extended family. She may not see anything beyong her little world.
        She is talented to manipulate masses in Horana and other areas but days are numbered how long she could do so.

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          Leela is a man not a woman

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            Man, woman or in between donot matter to us, what she writes to CT are mostly bs and regime biased. My recherche proved that she or he is just 67 now and is living somewhere in Horana area. While entire world seem to be turning their eyes off from BBS – or most idiotic segments known to the people these days, she leela is stuck to them as she is to MR regime.

            If a person in late 60ties seem to be far from understanding the reality of this life – how can she add unbiased remarks to this forum ?
            Just looking at the surface, she makes statements – most of the time it is like that with her.

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              Don/Peacelover, Superb comments by both of you and you guys know this ‘Leela’ so well. who cares its a man or noman.
              BBS is not Bodu Bala or any Bala its a BeBaduSatan and that Machan sadu is GnanaSatan (as someone refered them in an other media, I have just copied the names)

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              Leela is a man in robes now doing full time research work for BBS. I saw him at BBS meeting in Horana. I don’t want to be identified because he is well connected.

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        His name is H Leelawardena

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          He is Rubert wanderkoon too right?

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      @Leela

      Since you know so much about the Bodu Bala Sena, could you be kind enough to enlighten us as to whether BBS are fans of John Cena?

      http://images1.fanpop.com/images/photos/2100000/John-Cena-john-cena-2116150-1280-1024.jpg

      …I have always wondered if some of the BBS monks had been trained by Mr.Cena?

      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UA9xr0kuRu0/TzqLJ7pQx_I/AAAAAAAAAI0/IbW0hc33ZUQ/s400/monks_fighting-colombo-telegraph.jpg

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        Bean,
        Great Kali is their fan for he is a committed vegetarian. And its Shaolin monks who train them regularly, not Cena.
        Leela

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          Sena or Cena but surely a Sellang Sena.

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    So he has some conscience after all.. Os is it that the Harvard boy is tricking all of us? You are a dangerous man, my son!

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    Survival tactics.

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      Yep True, of the beggar family, in order to keep us Sinhalese busy protecting our religion against nothing and for nothing. My concern is that this BBS and this regime in fact killing this philosophy. True ‘Boudhdhayos’ must come forward to protect our religion and our country from Animals like BBS, JHU & Pakses. The sooner they do this the better. Sinhala Buddhists in the country do not see the real threat and Pakses’ hidden agenda.
      I would like to add this, if I am an anti-Buddhist, I would love BBS and its mentor.

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    MADINAH – Former Dutch Islamophobe and a former leading member of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ party Arnoud Van Doorn visited the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah to pray and say sorry for becoming part of a blasphemous film.

    Doorn was among the Freedom Party leaders who produced the blasphemous film, Fitna. Last month he reverted to Islam after an extensive study about the religion and the Prophet (peace be upon him).

    He said that the worldwide outrage against the film made him study about the Prophet (pbuh) and that eventually led to his conversion.

    He headed for Makkah to perform Umrah after meeting the two imams of the Prophet’s Mosque, Sheikh Ali Al-Hudaifi and Sheikh Salah Al-Badar, who enlightened him on how to lead the life of a good Muslim and confront challenges facing Islam in the West.

    A member of the Dutch parliament and The Hague City Council, Doorn announced his decision to accept Islam on his Twitter profile. He also posted a tweet in Arabic declaring that “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet.”

    At first, other users took the news as a joke. After all, an active supporter of a notorious Dutch hater of Islam, Wilders, he repeatedly approved Islamophobic statements and public actions, and personally participated in them.

    But Doorn, who now serves as a regional adviser at the City Hall in The Hague, personally confirmed his decision to practice Islam in an official letter to the city mayor.

    Most recently, the politician filed a formal application to the mayor of the city to allow him to perform prayers obligatory for Muslims during his working hours.

    “I can understand people are skeptic, especially that it is unexpected for many of them,” Doorn told Al-Jazeera English satellite channel.

    “This is a very big decision, which I have not taken lightly.”

    “In my own close circle people have known that I have been actively researching the Qur’an, Hadith, Sunnah and other writings for almost a year now,” he said.

    “In addition, I have had numerous conversations with Muslims about the religion.”

    Driven by his party’s anti-Islam discourse, Doorn decided to dig in for the truth about the religion himself.

    “I have heard so many negative stories about Islam, but I am not a person who follows opinions of others without doing my own research,” he said. “Therefore, I have actually started to deepen my knowledge of Islam out of curiosity.”

    The 46-year-old has continued on The Hague Council as an independent candidate since splitting from Wilders’s party. Doorn’s decision to embrace Islam has won mixed reactions in the Netherlands.

    “According to some people I am a traitor, but according to most others I have actually made a very good decision,” he told Al-Jazeera.

    “The reactions are generally positive and I also received quite some support via twitter.

    “It feels good that people who do not know me personally have understanding of my situation and support me in my choice.”

    Asked if he now regretted joining the Freedom Party, he replied: “I have learned that every experience in life has a purpose. However, with the knowledge I have today, I would have undoubtedly made a different choice.”

    For the Dutch politician, finding Islam was finally guiding him to the true path in his life. “I have made mistakes in life as many others. From these mistakes I have learned a lot,” Doorn said.

    “And by my conversion to Islam I have the feeling that I finally found my path. I realize that this is a new start and that I still have much to learn as well.”

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    Well since we are all for justice to be done and peole like Leela too wants justice (s0 he says)

    as a 1st step ALL THOSE WHO HAVE LOST MONEY TO LEE POTTER HUSING SCAM DONE BY LEELA SHOULD FORM A GROUP AND START LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST HIM AS HE IS NOW IN SRI LANKA,THE SAME WAY GOLDEN KEY DEPOSITORS DID IT

    ITS TIME LEELA PAYS UP FOR HIS CRIME ,DONT YOU THINK SO ?

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    At last, you have started thinking correct. BBS, is no Bodu Bala Sena, its Balu Bala Sena. The way they behave in public shows they are not Buddhist.
    The leader of BBS, has violated most of the Pancha Seela preached by Buddha. Why are the masses allowing him to still wear the robe?

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    Well said, Malinda. Always fight for compassion and truth.

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