agenda of the far-right and extremist groups like Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Mahoson
Balakaya, Sinha Le and so on, in respect of the Muslim community needs be
understood in light of what was announced in that rally by BBS secretary,
Gnanasara. From the beginning, and at least since the Alutgama riots of 2015,
the BBS and its obstreperous secretary, were vociferous in demanding the
expulsion of all Muslims to Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country, reinventing
a 19th century argument advanced by Anagarika Dharmapala and Co. in a different
context, that Muslims were ‘aliens’ in Sri Lanka. The fact that this community,
like the Sinhalese and the Tamils before, were also foreigners but arrived last
and that they were indigenised over one thousand years ago did not matter in
the BBS’ twisted history. Its ultimate goal is to make this island one hundred
percent Sinhala Buddhist. It was this aspiration that was once again reinforced
in Kandy, when Gnanasara announced that, “every home must have an owner and
Sinhalese are the owners of Sri Lanka.” When saying that he quite naively
expected the Tamils also to accept their status as tenants and live until they
too would be ejected one day.
after realising the impossibility of wholesale expulsion of any community,
especially in the current context of a globally integrated nation state system,
the BBS now believes that a solution to the so called ‘Muslim Problem’ should
be found within the country. There are three models in recent history which it
could adopt, when given the power, to make its dream comes true.
extreme of the three was Hitler’s ‘final solution’ to the Jewish problem. His
Gas Chambers and organised pogroms killed millions of Jews and provoked the
infamous Holocaust. “Never again”, vowed those who escaped the Holocaust and
never will the world tolerate such monstrosity to take place anywhere. Even
though one thoughtless monk wished that Gotabaya Rajapaksa should play the role
of a Hitler to clean the country out of its mess, it is doubtful whether that
priest was thinking of a final solution to a Muslim problem.
model, although of equal horror but on a lesser scale, was that executed by the
regime in Myanmar, which allowed the soldiers and a vengeful mob to kill and
rape thousands of Rohingya Muslims, burn their houses and crops, and forced
hundreds of thousands to cross over to Bangladesh. One of their monks, U
Wirathu aka Win Khaing Oo, who the Economsit described as the ‘Face of Terror,’
and who blessed that cleansing in the name of Buddhism, also visited Sri Lanka
and was accorded a red carpet welcome by the then President, Rajapaksa.
horror were to be repeated in this country, there is no land border for Muslims
to cross but only the Indian Ocean to drown. The BBS and its partner groups
like Mahoson Balakaya and Sinha-Le may welcome that. But they have to face the
wrath of the majority Sinhala Buddhists of this country whose spirit of
tolerance is unparalleled in the annals of Asian history.
model is the softest and is the one that lurks behind Gnanasara’s ‘moulding’ of
is the one currently being experimented by the Chinese government to produce a
new generation of Uyghurs who would forget their ethnicity and religion, Islam,
to become completely merged with the culture and values of mainstream Chinese.
to several but reliable accounts, Uyghurs are now locked up in a huge
concentration camp and are undergoing an intensive cultural cleansing. Of
course, no government in Sri Lanka would dare to adopt this experiment, and
that is why Gnanasara wants a mandate from President Sirisena, who released
this man from prison, to undertake this moulding. Is he and his fellow monks of
the same ilk going to turn their temples into correction centres where the
ulema could be forced to attend lessons and training? Or, are they aspiring to
invade mosques and madrasas to brainwash its attendants with their
de-Islamisation program? Gnanasara is trumpeting that he wants to eradicate
Islamic fundamentalism in this country.
confuses religious fundamentalism with Wahhabism and extremism. These three are
not mechanically connected. A religious fundamentalist can remain non-Wahhabi
and moderate. Similarly an extremist need not be a religious fundamentalist nor
a Wahhabi. In any case how can any of these be eradicated without the
cooperation of Muslims?
understand this type of half-baked and nationally destructive ideas of the BBS
and other such elements in our society. But, what one cannot understand is the
determined silence of a Presidency, Government and parliamentary Opposition to
counter this madness.
Buddhist majority has shown its utter disgust by not answering the BBS call to
rally in Kandy. Where is the voice of sanity from national leaders? Either,
they do not want to give importance to the utterings of a few miscreants, which
is understandable but not at the expense of the damage they are causing to the
country’s economy and societal harmony, or, they are hypocritically awaiting to
reap electoral benefits from politicised Buddhism in the forthcoming elections.
there is no question that the Muslim community and its religious and
educational institutions need be reformed. That reformation has to be
undertaken by Muslims themselves under an enlightened leadership that
understands the current dilemma. No outsider has any mandate to dictate and
force reforms upon a community. The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulema (ACJU) and
Muslim politicians who are in bed with them have been too lackadaisical or
obstinately obstructive in initiating and implementing reforms.
stand against reforming the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act for example,
illustrates best their obscurantism. To start with, the ACJU must include
within its hierarchy qualified men and women from other fields.
religious class has arrogated for too long the name ulema exclusively to
itself. That name, which is simply the plural of alim, meaning a learned
person, applies even to secularly educated intellectuals. Why aren’t secular
experts admitted into the ACJU? Once the ACJU itself is reformed that body can
become a progressive force to stimulate changes.
Source: The Sunday Observer
piece and an a'lim's/ scholar's call..
said, there is no question that the Muslim community and its
religious and educational institutions need be reformed”.
This fits all.
calls have been made for centuries now with no effect, as the
amplified din from Churches and million minarets always drowned them.
Thus inviting individuals, extremists and often States to inhumanly
everybody in this world came from everywhere else, ironically for
Siri Lanka, being the first to receive Great great grand Dad Adam
cannot order others out as he too – a non-religionist - had come
from somewhere else.