December 29, 2018

MAWANELLA INCIDENT OF DAMAGING BHUDDIST STATUES: SOME REFLECTIONS:

-By A patriotic Lankan-

                 A few days ago, this unfortunate incident took place in Mawanella. The entire Sri Lankan Muslim community has already condemned this incident. This is an isolated incident. It is very sad to see some extremists try to generalise this incident as if the entire Muslim community is responsible for damaging this statue. Making any generalization on this issue is wrong. Whoever has done this must be punished in accordance with the law of land. Islam does not permit any one to hurt religious sentiment of any community. We should not be judgemental on this issue. Let the Sri Lankan Police and intelligence service investigate it thoroughly and find the culprits on this case. We, the Muslim community in Sri Lanka must corporate with police and intelligence service to find the people who did this barbaric act. It is in the greater interest of Muslim community to identify any extremist group that operates in Sri Lanka. Broadly speaking Sri Lankan Muslim community is matured enough to know the dangers of religious extremism. Religious extremism has done a greater damage to many Muslim countries. There is no doubt that this form of religious extremism comes from Wahabi theological and dogmatic doctrines.

                  Unfortunately, neither Sri Lankan intelligence service nor Sri Lankan police service can detect or identify this type of Muslim extremism. They can not open the minds and hearts of Muslim youths to know who extremists are and who aren’t. Because, faith is something to do with human minds and human hearts. The phenomenon of extremism is very much subtle issue. Today, thousands of Muslim youths have been radicalised with Wahhabism and Salafism all over the world. Sri Lankan Muslim youths too have been exposed to this international socio-religious phenomenon.  We are living in this virtual world of social network and mass communication so, youths can be easily brain washed, indoctrinated and misguided. So, it is a duty of Sri Lankan Muslim community and Sri Lankan government to protect these Muslim youths from becoming victims of this religious extremism.

                Recently, President Donald Trump said that it was the former President Barak Obama who created ISIS. It is an open secret now that ISIS is a creation of US political establishment for its geopolitical needs. Unfortunately, the creation of ISIS brought utter destruction and disaster for the Muslim world. Muslim youths have been brain washed to fight for them in Muslim countries. Unfortunately, many Muslim youth around the world become victims of this dirty trick. This shows how wrong foreign policies of some western countries affect innocent youths around the world. This is a dirty trick. They made Afghani boys to fight Russian forces for their geopolitics. As a result of this, thousands of Afghani youths did in 30 years wars in Afghanistan. They are still dying. Even some youths from our country too tapped in this dirty political game. 

                       I feel that these 5 youths are innocent boys in their 20s and they have been wrongly brain washed with extreme ideologies. This is not to justify what they have done. This is not to support their action. What they have done is wrong. There is no doubt about it. Even many Afghani clerics and educated people think what Taliban did for Bamiyan statue is utterly wrong. They feel guilty for what their countrymen did for this historical monument. They feel that Afghanistan lost one of its historical treasures. They argue that Egypt, Morocco, Palestine and many other countries are earning a large percentage of their revenues from tourists who visit them annually. Afghanistan could have developed this historical area of Bamiyan statue to attract millions of Buddhist tourists from Asian countries and yet, radical Taliban did not see it in that way. This tells us how radicalism could destroy prosperity of any nation. 

                   Saudi government has now realised the danger of Salafism and Wahhabism. It has decided to destroy books that are written by Muslim radicals. It is not in the interest of Saudi government and Saudi people to support any form of religious extremism. A wrong religious extremism has already damaged Saudi economy. Saudi has a golden opportunity to develop its tourism industries. How many holy sites are in Saudi Arabia now? We have had hundreds of historical places in Saudi Arabia.  Due to wrong Wahhabi and Salafi ideological influence, Saudi government has destroyed many historical places. It is said many historical places in Makkah and Media have been destroyed. Graves and houses of many companions have been destroyed by Saudi government. Why do they do it. because, they are under influence of puritan Wahhabism and Salafism.  Saudi had a golden opportunity to protect these sites and build its tourism sector. But it has failed to do it. 1.5 billion Muslims may have been encouraged to visit these places many times.  

                 It is a duty and responsibility of Saudi government to stop exporting a radical form of Islam to the world.  Thousands of Muslim students come to Saudi each year from different parts of the world. It is reported that more than 300 Sri Lankan Muslim students are studying in Saudi Arabia right now. These students must be educated in moderate form of Islam.  They must not be brain washed and indoctrinated with Wahhabism and Salafism to preach a radical form of Islam in Sri Lankan soil. It is high time now that Sri Lankan government too guide those students on this matter. I do not say we should not send them to any country for education. It is a basic human right of each Sri Lankan student. It is good for Sri Lankan economy that we have more educated people in Sri Lanka. Today, Arabic language skills is an assert for Sri Lankan tourism industries. Yet, these students must not become victims of religious extremism. It is a duty of Sri Lankan higher education ministry to pay attention to these issues.  

           Moreover, Sri Lankan education ministry must start teaching comparative religious studies in Sri Lankan schools. US, UK and many western countries have incorporated a comparative religious education in their national curriculum for schools. Yet, we do not have such a system. What do Muslim children know about Buddhism? Nothing but pictures of Buddhist temples. What do Sinhalese children know about Islam? Nothing but pictures of Muslim mosques. Likewise, what do Hindu or Christian children know about other religions? Nothing but all about symbols of other religions. Sri Lankan communities have been living in water-tight compartment. In this modern world of globalization and social networks. Children learn quicker than parents and their teachers. If we do not teach them right things in our schools, they will learn wrong things from internets and social net works so, they must be educated about different cultures.

                 There is no point in merely blaming these young youths for damaging these statues. Our education system has failed on them. Education in Sri Lanka does not have any mechanism to educate our children on comparative religious studies.  We must examine what made them to do this? Why did they do it? what is the role of our school education in creating peace and social harmony in a multicultural society? I think it is high time to amend Sri Lankan religious studies. 

           Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country. There is no second thought about it. it is a reality.  More than 75% of its population are Buddhists and yet, the rest 25% population share diffident faith and cultures.so, children of other faith must know religious sensitiveness of the majority. So, there must be some educational mechanisms to educate children on other people’s faith and cultures. It does not mean we are going to convert children from one religion into another. All what we say is children must be educated in all faith to understand each other’s religious sentiments and culture. Yes, it is a common sense to know all about this and yet, now children are brain washed with different ideologies through social networks and mass media. So, it is a duty of Sri Lankan education ministry to incorporate a new syllabus in religious education. So that next generations will learn to respect one another in religious matters. I hope that this message reaches out to Ministry of Education to make some amendment in RE syllabus in Sri Lanka. More importantly, policy makers in NIE should think about this issue seriously. 

          Finally, I would like to say here that some Muslim organizations have rushed to give some hasty religious verdicts on this issue. They have pleaded law enforcement agents to give these youths severe punishment in accordance with the law of land. This is a judgemental statement and they have indeed, passed a verdict before judges examine this case. These youths are innocent until they are found guilty by court. These so-called Muslim organizations have no right to intimidate the families of these Muslim youths or shout at them. Sri Lanka is a democratic country with one of best judiciaries in Asia, and let the judges do their job. I’m sure that they will treat this case impartially considering all emotional, psychological, political, legal and religious implications of this case. Sri Lankan judges are clear enough to know political and legal stratagem of so-called radicalism, and extremism. 
             It is entirely for judges to study this case and its circumstantial causes. Why these Muslim organizations come into hasty conclusions? Why do they create fear in minds of Muslim community? I was told that police officials who are enquiring this case are shocked to see how these youths are radicalised in this manner. They felt sympathy and empathy for these youths and their families. If Sri Lankan police show sympathy and empathy upon these youths why Muslim organizations do not read this case objectively. We all know that social networks do a lot of brain washing these days.  We all know how books written by some radicals have done greater damage to minds and hearts of Muslim youths? So, we should take all into consideration in this case before we pass on hasty judgement on this case. 
    I strongly condemn this and yet, equally I ask these questions too. How Muslim mosques have been ransacked by Buddhist extremists in the past? How many times Almighty Allah has been mocked by some Buddhist extremists? How many copies of holy Qur’an were destroyed by these extremists in many Muslim mosques? How many Buddhist organizations spoke about these injustices and aggressions? As equal citizens of Sri Lanka we too have rights to ask these questions. Until now all those who inflicted harm and damage to Muslim properties have not been punished. Why this discrimination and double standard in application of law in this land. This is, indeed, a prejudice and a clear cut racial and religious discrimination. Why media hype on this case but not in any previous cases of racial attacks. We can not have one type of justice for the majority community and another type for minority community. We must have unconditional justice to all. Justice is equal to all. Wrong is wrong even if it is done mighty people or weak people. Sri Lankan judiciary has had a long tradition of maintaining the rule of law and justice equally to all and yet, recently some political influence has damaged this tradition. 

             Yet, I request judiciary to investigate this incident thoroughly so that they would know how did these youths are brain washed? Who thought them radical ideas? What made them to act like this violently. This is a unique case in Sri Lankan history. When Kandyan kings gave shelter to feeling Muslims from Portuguese onslaught they would not have thought Muslim children would do something like this. This is an unforgettable historical mistake. Islamic teaching will never accept such a behaviour. In one thousand years of Sri Lankan Muslim history no Muslim dared to do such a nasty thing in the past. Yet, I firmly believe that these youths might have been radicalised with bad ideology. This group has become like a religious cult. We do not need to generalise this issue. These youths may need medical help. They may need some psychological therapy, advice and guidance. They must be rehabilitated and educated on moderation in Islam.

             They may have been emotionally overwhelmed when they did this. They have done this early morning at 3am. No sound person will wake up in that morning to do this. In short, I think this is an exceptional incident and these youths have been motived with some extra religious zeal and emotion. So, we should not generalise. This is a wake-up call for the Muslim community to rethink about their religious education.  It is a wake-up call for the Muslim parents to take care of their teenage boys. It is a wake-up call for Sri Lankan government to redesign its religious education syllabus. It is a wake-up call for NIE officials to come up with some broader religious education policies in Sri Lanka. Let us take some good lessons from this bad incident and make sure we avoid such an unwanted thing in the future. May peace and harmony prevail in Sri Lanka. 

5 கருத்துரைகள்:

This article seems to be written by a patriotic kabur wanangi.

Long time ago all Sri Lankans are really grave worshipper who did all 30 days Kandoor in all viallges and homes ..
Sufi dominated almost all viallges...before this wahabi group ...isreal agents came to Sri Lanka with oil money ...

the writer of the above article seems to a sheeaa extremist, he is trying to catch fish in this bad situation. but i believe cultured sinhala people know very well, this incident not from muslims, but from hired culprits. so, you idiots don't blame any muslim in this regard

When you cannot defend ideas with ideas you will shout like dogs.
Even try to kill one another like Jamal murder

Very informative and useful article,sheds the lights on our problem started since 30 years when our Muslim youth fell for the Wahhabism ,our future in this country will be dark unless we try to get rid of this Wahhabism and return to the real islam preached by our imams and adopted by our forefathers.

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