Bigoted monks and militant mobs: Is this Buddhism in Sri Lanka today?


Frame grab from News 1st TV broadcast

As noted by Raashid Riza, the Multimedia Editor of The Platform,

Last Friday a mob of about 2,000 Sinhalese, led by a group of Buddhist monks, stormed into a mosque in the historical city of Dambulla. They caused disturbances so severe that Friday prayers had to be cancelled. Reports suggest that the mosque had been hurled at with petrol bombs the night before, causing minor damage, and security forces were deployed to control the situation. The targeting of the Muslim community was instigated by a group of racist Sinhalese individuals, consisting largely of hooligans, who were motivated by the uproar and attention such an act would create, rather than by any identifiable ideology.

News channels have since broadcast footage from the incident. It is extremely disturbing, and warrants attention. Since the content is in Sinhala, we offer rough translations of the most disquieting sentiments.

00:47: Buddhist monk in orange robe: “The Divisional Secretary promised that on Monday, which is to say in two days, there will be a meeting at 3pm to take a decision on this matter.”

1:15: Buddhist monk in brown robe: “This is how the written promise came. Listen carefully. 2011.4.20. This is a historic day for us. In the Kingdom of Dambulla, in the absence of a Sinhala King, when there was no King… the Head Prelate, led by Ven. Jayaratana in front of the Buddhist clergy we will come to a verdict. This verdict is not just for Dambulla, but all of Sri Lanka… We are number one in self-governance. Because of this, against the courts, without the President, this written promise is a first, a victory for those who love the race (hela), have Sinhala blood, and are Buddhists. This is what it says. There are reports of an illegal Muslim mosque near the Rangiri Dambulu Temple. That a huge swathe of people were part of a protest is also reported. After 1.11pm no Muslim, for whatever reason – you can’t even go to the toilet – (derisive laughter from crowd) I promise to the Sinhala Buddhist people who love the country. Signed – is he Muslim? (derisive laughter from crowd) Senior Police Superintendent… With this victory, we temporarily depart. To be continued with your pooja”.

3.20 to 6.20 features Sri Lanka’s Prime MInister speaking about the incident, which he said he first got to know about from the newspapers. He notes that for around 500 Muslims in the Dambulla area, the contested mosque is the closest place of worship they have. What’s quite bizarre about the PM’s statement is that he notes (3.19 to around 3.36) that the Dambulla Temple grounds have been declared a sacred area by the Town and Country Planning Ordinance. But as Namini Wijedasa notes in Lakbima News,

The government last week withdrew an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Ordinance that if passed would have given the Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs vast powers over any private property in the country.

The Town and Country Planning (Amendment), a copy of which was obtained by LAKBIMAnEWS, consists of just eight clauses. Legal practitioners described the bill as ‘bizarre.’ It was presented to parliament close on the heels of another controversial law–the Revival of Underperforming and Underutilised Assets bill–under which the government acquired overnight the assets of 37 private sector companies.

Thus, the illegality of the mosque, going by the PM’s definition on TV, is very suspect. In fact, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs A.L.M. Hizbullah notes that the mosque is over 50 years old,

..If there is any dispute, it must be discussed and seen to. Surrounding the mosque and staging a protest only disturbs the harmony in this country that has been restored after a 30 year war… I have prayed at this mosque as early as 1985 when I was still in university. There have been no issues in the past. Only recently have there been problems when the number of people coming into the mosque on Fridays for Jummah prayers increased.

In the clip above, at around 4.47 the PM says that there is no provision for the erection of temples belonging to other religions within the land owned by Buddhist temples. Smiling, he wonders aloud why there was a sudden inflammation of disharmony around the mosque in Dambulla. Noting the government’s foremost responsibility to protect Buddhism, at around 5.36 the PM notes that the government’s responsibility is also to ensure that people of other religions can fairly observe their own religious practices. He ends by stressing the need for religious harmony and peaceful co-habitation, and flags the need to follow the tenets of each religion.

However, a longer clip of the segment first broadcast on TV suggests that some leading members of the Buddhist clergy in Dambulla are, clearly, not even remotely Buddhist in thought, expression and action.

There are members of the Sangha engaged in mob violence. There is a member of the Sangha who disrobes, jumps up and down and exposes himself, in public, against the mosque. Others break down the entrance of the mosque. A Chief Prelate from the Dambulla Temple suggests that the mob is a shramadaanaya, and that destroying the mosque is something that they should in fact be helped by the government.

At around 3.47 in this video, there is a particularly chilling exchange between one of the Chief Prelates of the Dambulla Temple and a Hindu resident of the area. The female resident, who is not once dis-respectful in her submissions to the Prelate, says that from when she was small, she had worshipped at a Kovil in the area. The Prelate’s immediate answer is whether she is referring to the 1800′s. In a menacing Sinhala idiom that loses a lot of its original violence in translation, the Chief Prelate threatens to either remove the Kovil, or have it removed along with the homes of the Hindu residents, noting that they are all there illegally. The Chief Prelate notes, through a Sinhala adage, that not only are the crows attempting to fly over their heads, they are now attempting to enter the nest as well – a clear reference to the Hindus and Muslims in the areas. The woman assures the Chief Prelate, in a very deferent expression, that there is nothing for him to fear about their worship. However, the Prelate’s answer is again menacing in Sinhala, noting that she can take her gods wherever they want to, but away from the sacred ground of the Temple.

The whole exchange and clip is sickening.

As Concerned Citizen in Spirtuality, Religion and Human Conflict avers,

In Sri Lanka, we can also see the negative impact of nationalizing Buddhism as a state religion and the obligation of the state to give it primacy of place over all other religions and foster its practice as required by the Constitution. The politicization of Buddhism favours the majority Sinhalese as it happens to be practiced only by Sinhalese in Sri Lanka and therefore marginalizes all other ethnic/religious minorities, particularly the largest minority group, the Tamils which has contributed to the ethnic conflict. Although the conflict culminated in a war resulting in the successful decimation of the extremist terrorist movement by the state, it has given rise to fanatical Buddhist supremacy which is intolerant of other creeds.

In a Twitter conversation with Dinouk Colombage (@Dinoukc), a journalist with the Sunday Leader newspaper, he notes that according to reports he has received, people of the Dambulla area are ashamed at the behaviour of the Buddhist clergy.

https://twitter.com/dinoukc/status/194048557710454784
https://twitter.com/groundviews/status/194070746845290496
https://twitter.com/dinoukc/status/194077915145703425
https://twitter.com/groundviews/status/194078343212179456
https://twitter.com/dinoukc/status/194079851848802304
https://twitter.com/dinoukc/status/194082897257447424

Forgetting and moving on, however, is easier said than done when mob violence, outright racism and violent expression are so closely associated with the practice of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Late last year, a similar mob also led by Buddhist monks destroyed another Muslim place of worship. Photos of the incident show Police just standing by, and a green flag with Islamic iconography being burnt. Mervyn Silva, a senior government Minister whose public record of violence is well documented and is protected by no less than the ruling family, openly threatens to maim and kill human rights defenders and, literally, in the same breath says he is a good Sinhala Buddhist. Some of these statements were made in a leading temple in Colombo, with members of the Buddhist clergy present, who went on to bless the Minister.

Positively frightening Facebook groups that go unnoticed in mainstream discourse because the content is completely in Sinhala demonstrate the fringe lunacy that drives Sinhala-Buddhist extremism. Each of these group have over 4,000 fans, and by the looks of it, are extremely active and influential. Both feature incredibly inflammatory content over the Dambulla incident.


From https://www.facebook.com/pages/මාගේ-හෘද-සාක්ෂිය/351343628228268


From https://www.facebook.com/pages/Protect-the-Buddhism-බුදු-දහම-ආරක්ෂාකරමු/318576704821497

Though the denigration of Islam and Muslims in these respective Facebook pages is too outrageous and maniacal to translate, in every single instance, it is justified by way of protecting Buddhism and the motherland (a violently reductionist conflation of maathru and punya bhoomi).

As Raashid Riza’s article goes on to note,

I have seen Facebook and Twitter updates of Muslims visibly upset, as they should be. But the actions of the Muslims should be based on rational thought, accountability and logic, otherwise they will play into the ploys of those who seek to have them driven by their emotions. These communities should be patient and understand that, despite the odds, their interests will be best served in acting within the confines of ethics, morality and legal jurisdiction.

Muslim politicians have to realise these matters and work with the government and the opposition in consolidating their status as a community that has always acted in the best interests of the Sri Lankan state, and continue to enjoy their status as fully integrated Sri Lankan citizens bar none.

Conversely, given damning silence of the Chief Prelates of all the Nikayas over the violence in Dambulla and hate speech in the name of Buddhism, how do you think the Buddha, were he present, would have responded to this frothing chauvinism?

  • hasthi

    Rashid Riza’s observations should be valid for all religions and all citizens. In the name of religion, if we attack others, slander others etc, the black mark is not oly on ourselves, but our religions too. If this is a real sensitive issue to the Buddhists, the right way to handle it is to have a frank discussion, find the Muslims a better place to conduct their prayers and then volunteer to construct it step by step, brick by brick all the way. That is the way to demonstrate our love for peace, our compassion to fellow human beings etc.

    Of course, if one day all religions can worship side by side or even in the same place, becuase religion is not buildings, but your commitment to the teachings of your religious leader(s), (all of whom have respect and commitment to peace as the cornerstone of their teachings), that day, the world peace is automatic and UN can shut down without being a burden to the tax payers the world over.

  • Keynes!

    The Triple Gem is in full swing!

    The keepers and defenders of the faith would argue that “No true [Buddhist]would do such a thing.”

    Where are these champions to buttress the No True Scotsman Fallacy? Eh, I meant No True Buddhist Fallacy?

  • luxmy

    ”damning silence of the Chief Prelates” ????

    NO, NO.

    Selective silence !!

    Where are they vociferous? That speaks volumes !! Care-for-Sinhalese !!

    NO care for Sri Lanka.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2008/04/080420_wimal_kandy.shtml
    Prelate urges JVP unity, 20 April 2008
    http://www.srilankamirror.com/english/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4006:prelate-asks-ravi-k-to-work-with-president&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50
    Prelate asks Ravi K to work with president, 11 May 2011
    http://www.colombopage.com/archive_11B/Nov23_1322029722JR.php
    Buddhist prelate points out need to replace leadership and Working Committee of Sri Lanka major opposition , 23 November 2011

  • Happy Heathen

    The “Facebook Issue” has two resources;

    1. You can raise the issue with Facebook admin pointing that it is citing racism, so they can take it down.

    2. Or you can put it down as freedom of expression……didn’t Voltaire famously claimed “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    After all, I thought Groundviews stood for freedom of expression……..?
    I guess the hypocrisy sets in when once own ideology is questioned!!!

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      Suggest you learn the distinction between advocacy for free speech, and approbation of hate speech. The former is never an excuse, frame or reason for the latter, and to argue such is in fact to agree with and promote content that intends to hate and harm. If you are confused about what we stand for, and encourage on this site, read this.

      • Happy Heathen

        Groundviews
        April 23, 2012 • 12:29 pm
        “Suggest you learn the distinction between advocacy for free speech, and approbation of hate speech. The former is never an excuse, frame or reason for the latter, and to argue such is in fact to agree with and promote content that intends to hate and harm. If you are confused about what we stand for, and encourage on this site, read this.”

        How do you differentiated between hate speech and free speech.. We are on slippery grounds mate….

        Revelation 21:8 “But for the cowardly and UNBELIEVING and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

        According to you the Bible should be banned…. because as a non-believer I find it deeply offensive…. now who is confused???

        • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

          Kindly read either of the two Facebook sites noted above for what we believe is hate speech (in Sinhala). When exactly did we call for the Bible to be banned? Please keep your comments related to the post.

      • Happy Heathen

        Groundviews
        April 23, 2012 • 12:47 pm
        Kindly read either of the two Facebook sites noted above for what we believe is hate speech (in Sinhala). When exactly did we call for the Bible to be banned? Please keep your comments related to the post.

        Exactly, it proves my point …YOU BELIEVE that it is hate speech … highly subjective and it’s just your opinion, because even Facebook admin doesn’t seems to see that in that light.

        I guess you didn’t get my comment on Bible (not surprised!)
        Let’s try it again….step by step this time;

        1. The Bible advocates that all non believers go to hell. (see my post above)

        2. Do you or don’t you BELIEVE that it is hate speech?

        3. As an atheist I find it deeply offensives! (I BELIEVE lot of non-believers would feel that way)

        4. According to you all the hate speech should be banned, therefore the Bible should be banned. Comprendez? (of course you wouldn’t)

        Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for free speech (including what you categorise as hate speech) and for banning all organised religions.

        • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

          Again, where precisely have we called for a ban? We have already flagged what we believe in are ways to disagree on principle, and communicate that in a civil manner. Religion is peripheral to this specific point.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        Heathen, the Bible claiming that non-believers are destined for Hell can’t be defined as hate speech. If the Bible had instead called on Christians to send the non-believers to Hell, that would be hate speech. The speeches by the priests in the videos fall into the latter category, I believe. Being offended is a different matter; I am offended by the design of most Indian cars, but they cannot be banned because of it.

      • Keynes!

        David,

        How? How? Long time.

        Surah 9:5 states “kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.”

        I guess this would be hate speech. If so, how can one derive legitimacy to protect a place of worship that advocates such hate?

        I look forward to your scholarship on this.

      • Keynes!

        David,

        Why are you so offended by the design of Indian cars? I think they are pretty innovative.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        *Keynes, advocacy of a particular piece of scripture comes in the practice of it, not simply in the belief of it. The law cannot dictate what you can believe; only what you can do about it. So you are free to believe something incorrect, but not to carry it out. It doesn’t take scholarly thought to understand this simple precept.

        How can I explain the subjectivity of taste? If you believe Indian cars are innovative, however, I must ask you how.

    • Not-A-Rajapaksa

      Happy Heathen
      Since when did counselling to kill become “freedom of expression?” If you keep this up they’ll adopt you into the Royal Family and make you, perhaps, a surrogate Clown Prince!
      Get off it, man. Stop displaying your ignorance and racism in a very poor attempt to hide it under some sort of “intellectual discourse.”

    • http://www.twitter.com/ThilinaRa Thilina Rajapakse

      for your info Voltaire didn’t say “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” (“Je désapprouve ce que vous dites, mais je défendrai à la mort votre droit à le dire”)

      What Voltaire actually said was “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too” from Voltaire’s Essay on Tolerance – that certainly doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

      The misquote actually comes from a 1907 book called Friends of Voltaire, by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.

      http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=349&Itemid=27

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        Good point.

      • http://etofinda yapa

        Dear Thilina Rajapakse/ Daid Blacker;

        Point relevant here is not who said it, but whether the statement is valid or not. Do you agree with the statement or not, tell us.

        Good but irrelevant point.

        Thanks!

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        No, Yapa, that is not the point Thilina was making. Why don’t you read it again?

      • http://etofinda yapa

        Dear David Blacker;

        I don’t get any other meaning, can you clarify?

        Thanks!

  • FM

    It certainly is very disturbing how quickly we seem to resort to violence and aggression in the face of any problem or disagreement. Not to dilute the importance of sacred ground, but I think herein lies the main cause for all this dissension. This isn’t the first territorial dispute over religion and it certainly won’t be the last. I find it rather sad that one (irrespective of one’s religion) chooses to resort to harmfulness and violence rather than exercise compassion, generosity and understanding.

    What is this Sacred Ground we refer to really?? I fail to understand. I remember hearing in the clip that the Buddhist Monk referred to the ‘Dambulu Gala Paamula’. Pardon my ignorance… but what does that mean exactly?? Did Lord Buddha proclaim it as sacred ground? Did he instruct his followers to build boundaries around it and ensure no one came within the perimeters of the ‘Gala?’

    That being said I do not condone ANY such territorial claims, by any religion. I believe it pushes us further and further away from core beliefs and values that any religion advocates… and that is truly sad. Unfortunately, that will also always be how it is. This, like many others will go down as ‘an incident’. No lessons learned, no proper solution until the next time a similar event occurs, and this one is made reference to as a previous example. Sigh…it is futile. And I can’t help but think, ‘why bother?’ But I would like to know, have all the buildings been ordered removed or just specific ones that they felt Lord Buddha would deem appropriate? And if yes, then who gets to decide?

    And so, you succeeded in kicking the unwanted inhabitants out. So what now? Do you feel a strange sense of gratification that you’ve been able to protect ‘your’ ground? Was it ever yours to begin with? If yes, who bestowed it upon you? Also, do you gain an odd sense of pleasure by spurring animosity between people, disrobing yourselves etc in public; have you stopped to think about the discord you might be instigating among followers of different faiths? If the situation got blown out of proportion and created irreparable damage and loss of lives, could you have stopped it? And would you have accepted responsibility for it, considering the example you set?

    I believe that argument can be extended to any sort of territorial dispute, in all honesty. And I think that like any other, this dispute too, is baseless and senseless. The day we start to look inward and exercise humane love and respect for others is when religion will truly prevail, sadly we seem to be steadily moving further and further away from that objective. We profess allegiance to religion, but are too taken up with worldly possessions, emotions and pride to observe its teachings to the fullest sense.

    We are sadly lacking in humanity and are too self absorbed to be able to uphold or advocate the values of ANY faith. Pardon my cynicism, but as long as people and revered advocates behave so callously, I have no reason to believe otherwise.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      It is also clear that the existing Sri Lanka legal framework does not provide for the declaration of ‘sacred areas’, although there is regular practice of such terminology increasing the confusion. It is therefore extremely important that the Government addresses such confusion and initiate steps to regulate land development and protect rights of the people as provided by existing laws.

      See http://www.scribd.com/doc/91824125/Legal-Framework-Governing-Places-of-Religious-Worship-in-Sri-Lanka

  • Happy Heathen

    Groundviews
    April 23, 2012 • 1:09 pm
    Again, where precisely have we called for a ban? We have already flagged what we believe in are ways to disagree on principle, and communicate that in a civil manner. Religion is peripheral to this specific point

    1 Again, where precisely have we called for a ban?

    Then please do clarify your stand on hate speech – do you ban it or let it go as freedom of expression?

    Do you accept there there is substantial subjectivity and/or relativity in differentiating hate speech and free speech (for me they the same as I don’t like to make value judgments)?

    Just tagging something as hate speech would not do anyone any good.

    2. and communicate that in a civil manner.

    Now, who called me confused?

    3. Religion is peripheral to this specific point

    No it is not…. please read the title again!
    Let me get it for you “Bigoted monks and militant mobs: Is this Buddhism in Sri Lanka today?”

    It seems that in Groundviews the saints and the sinners are already being established… Buddhism being one of the latter.
    I dare you can write about Christianity and/or Islam in the same manner.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      It is about improving the signal to noise ratio, which as an audiophile, you will recognise as important when you seek clarity in output. Hate speech obfuscates and repels, and does not seek to or encourage meaningful debate and discussion. Without daring us to do what you want, suggest you attempt to engage with your own bias against doing something more useful to this debate – and take on bigots who, whether you are atheist or not – bring shame to this country.

      • Happy Heathen

        Again your answer just beats around the bushes without answering the simple questions I raised, which I consider amounts to intellectual dishonesty.

        The basic premise of my argument is; on what basis do you take moral high ground in order to determine which is hate speech and which is not?

        I have no qualms about anyone taking up bigots, however your commentary is only restricted to Sinhalese, Buddhists and Rajapaksas which I find bordering on hipocricy as I am yet to see anyone writing about Christians, or Muslims or Hindus who are all very well immersed in bigotry.

        On a different note, any genuine Audiophile would know signal to noise ratio is purely academic as anyone who is familiar with valve amplifiers would laugh at those figures.

        • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

          On the contrary, it’s your inability and unwillingness to engage with the thrust of the post and the content of the two Facebook pages that’s particularly revealing.

  • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

    Those monks depicted storming the Dambulla mosque are nothing more than punks.
    Since 2005 when Rajapaksa came into power, several kovils, mosques and churches were bombed by the armed forces. Since the end of the war, kovils, mosques and churches have been burnt or vandalised by Sinhala mobs and Buddhist monks/punks. And Rajapaksa has remained silent, pandering to the whims and fancies of these racists.
    There are quite a few Hindus, Muslims and Christians who voted for Rajapaksa and the UPFA in the Provincial,Presidential and General Elections.
    I think it’s time for them to rethink who they are going to vote for in any future elections.

  • Alex F

    This is not just the face of sri lanka today. Buddhist fanaticism has been intertwined with the sinhala mob for decades. In 1983 monks again led mobs on anti-minority violence. The state’s failure to act against religious zealots continues to be a problem.

  • http://etofinda yapa

    I do not approve taking law into anybody’s hands and to act harming others rights or interests. However, one also should not be hastened to take this incident to paint Sinhalese/Buddhists as one of the most uncivilized ethnic groups in the world, as such a conclusion has severe counterproductive ideological repercussions on others as well.

    It is not deniable existence of extreme groups among Sinhalese/Buddhists population, however, this is not a case limited to Sinhalese/Buddhists alone, it is existent among any other communities in the world, some es lesser among some and more among others. So, I think other outside things such as the extremist Sinhalese groups should not be added to salt the incident even to uplift the news value of the incident. Let the incident have its own gravity and let none of us add extra value to it or enlarge it.

    We should not take this incident as an opportunity to fulfill our general or special dislikes to Sinhalese and Buddhists as well, Since, when one finger is pointed to others four fingers are pointed to the himself. It is a common occurrence we become saints at others faults. Such things happen not to taste and enjoy, but to take as examples to understand sort of things that should not happen in the future.

    No one should take it as a point to quench our desire to overly humiliate others. Not only the blunder should not be tolerated but tasting and enjoying it in large proportions in the name of anything should also not be tolerated. There are some kind of actions that are better when refrained from than doing them. Giving publicity sometimes could be counter productive, especially when it is not done or cannot be done objectively. I think in such cases, if we have nothing to do, it is better not to do it in a public forum, as mob has no brains, control or responsibility than converting everything into some consumables to keep chewing as chewing gum just to keep their moths active. The whole world can be burn with a one irresponsible spark of fire. Irresponsible mouths are worse.

    Thanks!

    • kadphises

      A predictable response from Yapa. He is only upset that this thing got in the news papers and that people are talking about it.
      If it was an isolated incident, does he not wonder why Rajapakse, the Mahanayakas or any of the Sinhala politicians have not condemned this foul mouthed buddhist monk. We hear Yapa and Wijeyapala talk no end about unseen anti Buddhist forces in Sri Lanka. To me, if anyone is harming buddhism it is the monks themselves. Watch how he threatens the poor woman. Watch how he threatens the moslems with violence. Then consider the silence of his bosses the Mahanayakas. In my view, Buddhism is dead in Sri Lanka and it is greedy and sinister monks (together with their dayakayas) that killed it.

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @kadphises
        There are basically four types of Buddhism that is practiced in the world today – They are Hinayana Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Vajrayana Buddhism and Sinhala Buddhism…the most important of them all.
        The king of Sri Lanka and his courtiers, the Sinhalese mob and the group of Buddhist monks who stormed into the mosque in the city of Dambulla including people like Yapa and Wijeyapala are ardent practioners of the latter kind also known as Sinhala Buddhism. May the blessings of the triple gem be upon all these people.

  • Happy Heathen

    Hi David,

    Perhaps it was a mild example.

    However if you read the old testament there is plenty of such expel where ‘hate’ speech is clearly evident. Please do read Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens on specific instance of hate speech against non-believers as there is no need to waste space here.

    My argument is there is no such thing called hate speech.
    For me, they are all parts of freedom of expression and I agree with you that they shouldn’t be banned.

    For example If you allow freedom of religion then you should also allow animal sacrifice as some religions stipulate such barbaric acts to please their imaginary Gods!

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      Heathen, while you are correct that parts of the Old Testament of the Bible might fall into the category of hate speech, I don’t think we should be banning books. However, if anyone were to preach a literal interpretation of any such passage and exhort believers to follow such violent edicts, they should be punished, as has been done against certain Muslim clerics in the west.

      Freedom of worship (or any freedom) is permitted only as long as it doesn’t impinge upon another’s freedom. It’s a very simple principle, and doesn’t require great debate.

  • Happy Heathen

    Groundviews
    April 23, 2012 • 3:54 pm
    On the contrary, it’s your inability and unwillingness to engage with the thrust of the post and the content of the two Facebook pages that’s particularly revealing.

    haha…. I am still waiting for your answer……

  • Happy Heathen

    Not-A-Rajapaksa
    April 23, 2012 • 1:28 pm
    Happy Heathen
    Since when did counselling to kill become “freedom of expression?” If you keep this up they’ll adopt you into the Royal Family and make you, perhaps, a surrogate Clown Prince!
    Get off it, man. Stop displaying your ignorance and racism in a very poor attempt to hide it under some sort of “intellectual discourse.”

    The erudite members of Flat Earth Society all come out of the woodwork to bash Sinhalese, Buddhists and Rajapaksas.

    See my reply to David. Read Deuteronomy and Leviticus and tell me that there is no hate speech or is it freedom of expression?

  • DoNotFeedTrolls

    My god this troll is so well fed. Can you lot please stop encouraging this fellow?

    And Muslims around the country are sitting around and praying for god to save them from what’s coming. If that’s all they’re going to do then I dare say they deserve what’s coming.

    I don’t know what more needs to happen for them to realize that god is not going to come down and make them a nice happy place to live in Sri Lanka.

    And for my Muslim friends who have their head firmly wedged in the sand when they say ‘Oh no, this is only a small minority among the Sinhalese’, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. The numbers have grown since the Dargha destruction in A’pura and it’s only going to grow more.

    If you keep your head in the sand for too long before you know it there’ll be a pecker up your bung hole and it’ll be too late for you to get the lube.

    • Happy Heathen

      DoNotFeedTrolls
      April 23, 2012 • 4:39 pm

      I feel sorry for you mate….. there is no God(s)

      Stop believing in Bronze Age mythology.

      As Arthur C Clark once said ” “One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion.”
      (Cherry, Matt (1999). “God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke”. Free Inquiry (Amherst, New York: Council for Secular Humanism) 19 (2). ISSN 0272-0701)

      ‘Tis time to ban all organised religion.

      • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

        And a great place to start would be by banning state patronage of any particular religion.

      • justitia

        Dear Happy Heathen, Please visit
        http://www.richarddawkinsfoundation.org
        “There is no God.The universe created itself and evolves according to the Laws of Physics” Etc………………

  • kamal nissanka

    Religion is the opium of the masses.(Karl Marx)

    Greatest tragedy is religion has hijacked moral life of man( somebody said)

  • SG

    This is simply thuggery, criminality and outright lawlessness given that the police is watching while one person (irrespective of his standing in society) is threatening to violently displace and destroy property of another! What more evidence do we need to prove that there is absolute anarchy in the country?? (Wonder what the accused in other criminal cases in the country think!!! Inequal treatment???)

    Has any magistrate in the country got ‘balls’ to issue a warrant on the monk or summon/ warrant the ASP who watched helplessly? Sri Lanka has to come to terms with the truth prevailing… it’s a Failed State. It won’t be long before these ignorant puppets recreate Ruwanda, Bosnia or ’83 SL at the rate things are happenning. Denying culture and religion, forcing people to flee… what more than signs of a destructive future? (not to mention ethnic cleansing, genocide,etc etc)

    Institutionalising Buddhism is the first sign of the very truth of Buddha’s vision that Buddhism itself is subject to extinction as all ‘Sanskara’ would…we are seeing only a stage of it…If only there is someone left to realise that need is to prolong such annihilation to preserve this unique philosophy for generations to come…Can there be greater compassion among the Hindu and Muslim brethren to forgive, forget or move on when others ‘behave’ in the name of ‘most unharmless of all philosophies’…!

  • Rohan

    My goodness! Look at the bady language and choice of words of the Chief Monk when he talked to the Tamil girl. By the way, any Buddhist here wants to invite the Monk in maroon for alms?

    • the way of the dodo

      what make you think she’s tamil. She seems muslim to me. not that it matters

      • kadphises

        He tells her to remove the Kovil as it is in the viscinity of the Rangiri Dambulu Gala. She replies in perfect Sinhala that she has been worshipping at the Kovil since she was young. fyi women are not usually found around moslem mosques.

      • anbu

        many sinhala budshist worship Deviyos too. COuld it be she was sinhala after all who also has an alter to the hindu gods.
        If so this shows the growing wedge between post anagarika dharmalaeaque puritant city based philosophical budhism and the syncretic village one

  • myil selvan

    Sinhala-Buddhist terrorism. This is the cause of Sri Lanka’s problems. Now we have some of it on camera. Let’s give it to Channel 4 for another documentary.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      “The compassionate philosophy of the Buddha has as much to do with the recent brutality and thuggery as the compassionate teachings of Christ had to do with the actions of the Crusaders. Just because, evildoers use the name of the philosophy to justify their crimes, it does not mean that the philosophy is evil. In responding to our turbulent emotional reactions, do not blame the tree for offering shade to the axeman who would fell it !”

      Ranil Senanayake, via Groundviews.

      • Nithyananthan

        Intellectually an excellent repose –that is drafted, by the noble mindset of the expositor, to convey the dormant righteous message and explain what is very difficult to understand or not accessible to average human. It should be useful – will it be! My sincere appreciation goes to GV. Nithy!!

      • http://etofinda yapa

        Dear Nithy;

        Average people like me can understand most of it, if not all(really no yone is supposed to understand it fully). You don’t understand?, You seem to be not an average man. (Genius??????)

        Ha! Ha!!

        Thanks!

      • Rohini

        I agree with your comment about the philosophy of the religions. I only wish that most people would actually read and understand the basic philosopy of all religions. I find there are no differences among religions. It is the self serving politicians,ignorant monks,priests and practitioners of rituals(of religions)than the spiritual are the main cause of creating problems to others. Very very ignorant people indeed who fight among themselves in the name of religion or race.

      • Keynes!
    • http://etofinda yapa

      “Let’s give it to Channel 4 for another documentary”

      Why choosy?, giving chasing away of 100,000 Muslims from Jaffna in 5 hours to Channel 4, to show the “Tamil terrorism” (if you say that is Sinhala-Buddhist terrorism, in the same sense, however, I apologize to innocent Tamil people for calling so, in response to a single terrorist’s opinion)to the world would be a better idea.

      Thanks!

  • Dev

    Look, if we ought to ban hate speech in Sri Lanka, then we ought to start by removing large portions of the Quran and Bible that are sold in Sri Lanka, because both these books contain a heck of a lot of teachings that are extremely hateful towards non-believers.

    Secondly, I don’t understand why Groundviews never covered the Muslim-on-Muslim violence that left a mosque attacked and several people dead in Beruwala? Also there have been graves destroyed and other mosque attacks in Kalmunai and Kattankudi carried out by Muslims themselves on other Muslims – again no big posts about “Is this how Islam is practiced in Sri Lanka?” I wonder why?

    Thirdly, it’s interesting how this incident is being used by Groundviews to paint all Buddhists in Sri Lanka as somehow supporting this violence and extremism which is far from the truth. How come there is no post on how religious harmony in the country is actually pretty good in comparison to many other countries? How Muslims have all the rights to practice their religion in freedom in Sri Lanka? Is it that Groundviews only focuses on the negatives? What happened in Dambulla is not the norm, it is an aberration.

    • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

      “Thirdly, it’s interesting how this incident is being used by Groundviews to paint all Buddhists in Sri Lanka as somehow supporting this violence and extremism which is far from the truth.”

      Where exactly did we say this in the post above? On the contrary, the post quite clearly flags tweets by a Sunday Leader journalist noting that the public in Dambulla are ashamed at the violence condoned and orchestrated the Chief Prelate.

      But on this topic, since you are obviously tuned into religious disharmony in Sri Lanka, kindly point us towards any statement condemning the outrageously uncivil, racist expression by the Chief Prelate of the Dambulla Temple, other monks from the Temple – including those who disrobed themselves in public – and damage wrought by the mob in general, by the President, Secretary of Defence, Parliament, any of the Chief Prelates from the main Nikayas, any line Ministry responsible for religious affairs, the YMBA, or any collective of citizens who are also Sinhala and Buddhist and wish to completely disassociate themselves with this violence?

      As the civil and progressive Sinhala Buddhist featured in the following video flagged in our Twitter feed quite clearly demonstrates, all is not lost. We would like to believe that there are many more like him. Sadly though, it’s racist bigots, and their online apologists, who often overwhelm more moderate voices, and in the case of Dambulla, the rule of law.

      https://twitter.com/groundviews/status/194401161208537091

  • Bandu de Silva

    After reading all these comments i thought i should say something.Buddhists are not the only people who oppose building places of religious worship near other established plaes of other religionists. In the last century my wife’s grandfather built a Buddhist temple at Akkaraipattu for his family and other Sinhalese but a section of Muslims opposed and there was a tense situation.A’Pattu was then desolate country and grandfather was the first pioneer developer. He built the entire town and owned it exept the Post Office.The seaside half was was given to my mother- in -law as part of dowry.We gigted the properties to the Muslim tenants in 1972 thr’Deeds of Gift.
    All leading Muslims in the east caost were grandfather’s close friends and some depended on his largesses for political work.Some rivals set up a section of the local people. There again the protest came several years after the temple was established and when the Stupa had reched its pinacle laying event. The protesters had said thhat the event would not be allowed but gradfather was not a man who would yield. This was no sacred land of Muslims, Yet they protested.Violence was avoided through quick and diplomatic action by the DRO TBM Ekanayake who invited leading Muslims who all came for the ceremony.AGA G.S Peiris presided.
    It was a mistake on the part of anyone to build a mosque near the sacred labd of Dambulla for the 500 Muslims in the area.Even now good sense must prevail and the it is appreciated if the Mosque is relocated.Govt could help funding as it is funding Churches and Kovils now.I would have myself made a financial contribution as my wife and me helped build A Kovil for Estate Tamils on my wife’s land.

    These matters have to be settled peacefully.Looking back, I am sure grandfather would not have built the temple withut consulting Muslim leaders who were his close friends.Even though he had good reasons I do not condone his building a Temple at Akkaraipattu, despite it being desolate country and he was the pioneer developer.
    Let sanity prevail.

    • Mohan

      Why….Christianity is not Represented in the Sri Lankan Flag?

  • Burning_Issue

    Dear Yapa,

    I have been lead to believe that goodness has prevailed over evil; evil being the LTTE/Tamil terrorism. If what we see is the evidence of goodness, we have no hope at all. Giving the foremost place to Buddhism in the constitution I have been told has no significance. But I see the rogue/chauvinist elements of the Sinhala Buddhists are being empowered by it! What do you say need to be done? What hope is there for the minorities?

  • Lanka Liar

    In Nallur Hindu temple there is a section for Muslims to pray to on of Muslim saints.

  • magerata

    These frigging priests are the bane of SL. They should be calming the people, not directing them in to violence.

  • Mohamed

    IT is a unacceptable, most disgusting incident in Sri Lanka. Lord Buddha has never preached act of violence, or terror of this nature. THis is an act of buddhist extremists, may be red robed men from Southern part of Sri Lanka. In fact, this is an old praying place recently refurbished. The place no seen by any travel on the main road. The buddhist extremist came from outside Dambulla in large numbers demosntrated the terrorism even infront of the security personel because they had the silent attitude /supportive attitude. This is the second incident of this nature. It will continue to other towns as well by these extremists. Sri lanka will enjoy another era of killing field not by army but buddhists[because they had brought fire bombs to attach innocent, praying Muslims in the mosue. What religion these robed men preach will definitely will not be Buddhism but vandalism and terrorism. Liquor and all sorts of other anti-buddhist activities are sacred for them except muslims peacefully praying in a sacred mosque.????

  • Mohan

    Since the arrival of those Buddhist Monks to our Lanka/Eelam, those Monks convert our Native skin people into Buddhism and urging/ordering them to kill the Indigenous People. And now, they are creeping on Christians and Muslims.

  • luxmy

    ”… the illegality of the mosque …” ??

    How legal are these Buddha statues:
    ”Over 28 Buddha statues have been counted along this route since the war concluded in May 2009’’ – 28 Buddha statues erected along A-9 Highway since war ended in May 2009,
    http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/8355#more-8355

    • http://etofinda yapa

      It is legal the way the mosque is legal, dear Luxmy.

      Are you advocating for the legality of the mosque Luxmy?

      Thanks!

    • Mohan

      Evil Religions are destroying Lanka/Eelam/Hela and killing the Native and the Indigenous People.

    • Walter

      I am a Sinhalese. There is one undeniable fact, the so called ‘Sinhalese Buddhist’ including most of monks are ignorant of the teachings of Lord Buddha. They are an insult to the great Master. Unfortunately there is no prospect of these attitudes changing.

      • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

        @Walter
        During Buddhism’s 2,500 year history, several thriving sects have emerged, each with a unique take on the teachings of Buddha.
        The four dominant strains of Buddhism are Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, along with Zen Buddhism, that grew out of Mahayana and has gained increasing popularity in the West.
        The shit hit the fan, when after independence in Sri Lanka, a fifth strain emerged called “Sinhala Buddhism” and this has been one of the main reasons for most of the problems this country has faced in the past 64 years.

  • Happy Heathen

    @ Rohini
    April 24, 2012 • 12:16 am

    ” I find there are no differences among religions. ”

    No that’s wrong…. that is the most prevalent fallacy about religion… that they are all the same.

    ” I only wish that most people would actually read and understand the basic philosophy of all religions.”

    Well, it appears that you yourself haven’t been listening (or reading) to what Richard Dawkins has to say when he graced the Galle Literary Festival early this year.
    Dawkins famously claimed that teaching religion(s) (especially the theistic ones) to children is CHILD ABUSE.

    However, it’s never too late to start reading.

    I would suggest reading Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett and my favourite Peter Singer.

    • makageyalak

      Suggest reading the gospels of your heathen Gods??? Evangelising much?
      This has all the marks of an unethical conversion. You can be tried for that these days you know?

    • Rohini

      Happy Heathern,

      People see and perceive what they want to see and perceive. Stephen hawkins is not my reference point but buddha and Swami Vivekananda is. You and Hawkins prefer to concentrate on the differences of rituals in the religions I and most decent people look for the common grounds between religions and or in people. I see a lot of agreements in the basic philosophy than disagreements. As I said dont concentrate in rituals think spiritual.
      I suggest you read about thoughts (look in the internet, youtube). Each person creates a world around him with his own thoughts and then start believing in that world and acts accordingly but in reality it does not exist.

      • Happy Heathen

        Rohini
        April 24, 2012 • 8:02 pm
        Happy Heathern,

        People see and perceive what they want to see and perceive. Stephen hawkins is not my reference point but buddha and Swami Vivekananda is…

        That answer aptly demonstrates your total ignorance in the matter….
        I never talked about Stephen Hawkins…. It was Richard Dawkins. They are poles apart. One is an evolutionary biologist the other is a physicist.

      • Happy Heathen

        Rohini
        April 24, 2012 • 8:20 pm
        Happy Heathern,

        “You can use a knife to cut vegetables or it could be used to murder a person. It depends on the person using it. Good person uses it cleverly bad person misuses it….”

        If that’s the case it shows independent thought regardless what is written in bible, Koran , Tora or Veda……which automatically nullifies the need for religion which has been my argument from the beginning. Because rational person can take a moral/ethical stand. (also refer my post on Arthur C Clarke)
        Here is little question for you, give me ONE example where a ‘religious’ person could morally /ethically excel than a rational ‘non-believer’?

        “In the mean time name dropping or suggested reading list is not going to impress anyone. ”

        Shows utter contempt to new knowledge and fundamentalist religious arrogance. It was YOU who suggested that people have not read enough!!
        FYI all those afore mentioned people are considered as top most intellectuals of 21 century. If you want to live in bronze age so be it, then why use internet and a computer? Hypocrisy proliferates…..

      • http://etofinda yapa

        “I suggest you read about thoughts (look in the internet, youtube). Each person creates a world around him with his own thoughts and then start believing in that world and acts accordingly but in reality it does not exist.”

        But dear Rohini does it suggest all the worlds so created have no differences among them?, Or act the same way according to the “same worlds” so created?

        I think it is difficult to cover up things put on a boulder, as per cat’s experience.

        Thanks!

  • Jack

    The Sinhalese thought Tamils were the number one threat to their mythical homeland… hahaha, they have no idea about Muslims. I am warning the Sinhalese (Buddhists) not to mess with Muslims. Hell hath no fury like a Muslim scorned; it will be the end of Sri Lanka, mark my words.

    • http://etofinda yapa

      Your aspiration is marked as “Wrong”, dear jack.

      Thanks!

    • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

      But, “Jack”, do you know who won the Vietnam War, whether there were general elections in SL in 2001, and that North Korea is a member of the UN?

  • laksiri

    no lord buddha’s teaching follow by any of monk in sri lanka.he never told to insult other people who follow any religion or having different opinion way of life.our society is more corrupted than ever due to these monks who sale buddhism to keep their owned way of living.theses people do every thinks today including politics.cheap action make no contribution to the country or people.if many place we can see hindu kovil or muslim masque.people have right of freedom for religion.so what they can decide what religion they want to follow.muslim people should have full right to practice their religion any where in the country.no matter what place or city. some cheap monk who does not follow teaching of buddha like to card board heroes in front of people.this nation can no where due to such animal action.if you want to have fight do it against corruptions and all kind of dirty game going on today in the country.look how many rapes,murders,robberies and cheating as well as corrupted political leaders in the country.this the problems when you get free foods to eat in daily.

    • http://etofinda yapa

      “muslim people should have full right to practice their religion any where in the country.no matter what place or city.”

      You mean within the cities of this country only? Shouldn’t other people have that full right in cities of other countries as well to practice?

      Here extremism is limited to some informal groups obstructing others religious freedom, but in some countries, the governments themselves are extremists, in this sense. No any other religion is allowed to practice by law. What do you call such countries, if you all are painting this country this way, Oh!, mohamed?

      Please judge as it is, not out of proportions.

      The incident is unacceptable, but not the way you all are trying to paint it.

      Thanks!

      • Mohan

        BEFORE army and other thugs started to kill the Indigenous People, the normal good Buddhist converted people led by the White Skin Monks KILLED the Indigenous People recently in 1958,1977 and 1983 mainly. Then the govt urged by the white skin Monks, to kill the Dark Skin Tamil speaking Indigenous People.

        Muslims are the 2nd majority people in Lanka. LTTE will never equate to the Mulims’ chopping talent.(Lanka must remember 1920′s Muslim Rage)

      • muzammil

        yapa,”the incident is unacceptable but not the way you all are trying
        to paint it.” Look at it from the opposite, the incident is not only unacceptable it’s despicable,deplorale and PUNISHABLE and one of the
        best solution should include the removal of this unholy contemptible
        monk from the venerated position he’s holding so that meaningful lessons are learnt and some respect restored on Budhism.People like yapa is wasting time talking about how other religions are treated in
        “some other countries.” If my guess is right,you are talking about
        oil rich gulf countries.Very typical.All purpose oil(koakatath thailaya).Remember,people of those countries are living under monarchies and not democracies.Even the recent Arab spring uprisings
        have failed to produce any results.Are we living under a monarchy or
        democracy?AND REMEMBER ONE MORE THING.IT IS THE INTERNATIONAL LAWS THAT PROTECT US FROM RACIST ATTACKS LIKE THIS AND NOT THE CROCODILE
        SYMPATHY OF ANYBODY ELSE.WHEN CALAMITIES STRIKE MUSLIMS,THEY HAVE TO
        RUN TO MUSLIM COUNTRIES FOR HELP.ALL GOVTS DISPATCH MUSLIM MINISTERS IMMEDIATELY TO ARAB COUNTRIES.And they generously provide assistance
        which is a relief to our treasury.To get back to Dambulla,can you honestly,putting at least one hand on your chest,tell us that you trust and venerate these monks?Sinhalese are not in full heart about it.And also ONE MUST STOP THE HABIT OF ASKING THE AFFECTED VICTIM TO
        TO BE PATIENT WITH THE CULPRIT BECAUSE OF VICTIM’S STATUS OF BEING IN LOW NUMBERS.

      • http://etofinda yapa

        Dear muzammil;

        Do you think you are any better than the monks who came there? I don’t see any difference. Proposing to take law into your hand is similarly bad as anybody else taking into their hands.

        On the other hand what are you asking for? Want to settle the matter or asking for full revenge? What I have been asking is not to take this as a special incident never ever happened in this universe to begin the end this world over this incident. I think nobody could or should be expected to live anywhere in the world without a slightest disturbance from others. Such things happen and one should not try to make it a reason to ask for the pound of flesh, everybody has a duty to tolerate at least not to make it a bigger problem. You have two options, I suggested one if you do not agree with it you can go for your option, and bear the fruit of your action as well.

        This country had enough problems due to irresponsible acts of raged nuts. A blunder cannot be countered with another blunder.

        Thanks!

      • Mohan

        When the LAW kills; then the people has to take the LAW in their Hands.

  • MV

    This is not an act of a very few but what happens when religion is mixed in with politics and forms part and parcel of the Sinhala Buddhist construct of the state. If it is merely an isolated incident, then let us see what decision the government makes with respect to the so called “sacred” area. Already, there are buddha statues coming up under every “sacred” bo tree in the NE – that warranted very little attention in the mainstream media. Is it an isolated incident by a few? NOT. But certainly one that warranted lot of attention.

  • Mohan

    Native Skin Buddhist Converted Monk gave more violent speech than the White Skin Buddhist Monk. Our own Native skin people are the most dangerous to our Native and Indigenous People for the past 1000 years since the arrival of those Mongolian Buddhist Monks.(Wood Axe is cutting the other Woods)

  • Happy Heathen

    Hi David,

    Agree whole heartedly with both comments.

    After all FREEDOM FROM RELIGION is a basic human right.

    • http://srilankalandoftheblind.blogspot.com/ PresiDunce Bean

      How about FREEDOM FROM Happy Heathen & Yapa and other assorted bigots and racists? I wonder when that human right will come into existence?

      • Happy Heathen

        PresiDunce Bean
        April 24, 2012 • 5:31 pm
        How about FREEDOM FROM Happy Heathen & Yapa and other assorted bigots and racists? I wonder when that human right will come into existence?

        When you can’t play the ball you play the player… typical pseudo- intellectualism.

        Please refrain from personal attacks. Just because you are unable to understand some rational arguments, doesn’t; make it racist or bigoted.

        Please do provide evidence for my racist and/or bigoted comments, if you can’t, you are not only a hypocrite, but a bigot and a LIAR!!!

      • http://etofinda yapa

        Dear PresiDunce Bean;

        You have never been responsible for your insults, allegations and claims. You always level them unsubstantiated and unjustified on the basis of your own unreasoned gospels. Don’t make use of anything to throw at others just because they do not agree with you. Please reason out what you say, then only your version would be acceptable to all. Just narrations or utterances or pronouncements have no value, any —- can do such things.

        I am not a racist and I will never become one. That is a determination for my whole life.

        If you feel I am a more racists than all these outraged protesters here,I am inclined to tell you that there is something wrong with your perception. You seem to see rat as a cat. Just a difference in one letter, but it makes a huge difference. Mind your “c”s and “r”s. You could be a better racist than me, look at the other four fingers.

        Thanks!

      • Nithyananthan

        Dear Mr. Yapa, Greetings to you!

        Quote: ‘I am not a racist and I will never become one. That is a determination for my whole life’

        I am so overwhelmed by joy to read and learn the superficial nobleness hidden beneath your self-assertion. Please let others say it – don’t say it to yourself publicly. The substance, the quality and the level of seriousness and truthfulness in your intent and mindset that reflect in your postings are not convincing but fail you miserably. Yet, I find you as a tireless valiant debater and enjoy your posts at my leisure. Let’s hope for the best! Thanks, Nithy!

    • Rohini

      Happy Heathern,

      The only answer I could give you is this. Fire can be used for cooking. If misused it can burn a house down. You can use a knife to cut vegetables or it could be used to murder a person. It depends on the person using it. Good person uses it cleverly bad person misuses it. Therefore it is not the fault of neither the fire nor the knife but of the person. If you have not still understood a day will come and you will eventually understand. In the mean time name dropping or suggested reading list is not going to impress anyone. Least of all me. Be Happy and God Bless

      • http://etofinda yapa

        Dear Rohini;

        Despite the above post, you are yet to substantiate/justify your claim that there are no differences among religions.

        Where did that statement originate, in a clean slate?

        Thanks!

  • Prasad Seneviratne

    All religious preachers should be kept in place where they belong, not to over rule other religion. Those who don’t know the right path of their own religion only behave in such activities, the preachers should preach the nation for peace and harmony, not the violence against the innocent in

    • Mohan

      In short; the world is the Peaceful Place when there are NO Religions.

      • Rohini

        Mohan,

        Humans will find something else to fight over. Each persons ego will insisits that he or she is right and others are wrong.

  • Lanka Liar

    Muslim speak Tamil but started to identify as Muslims and were propped by the Sinhalese to divide and rule the Tamils. Muslims benefited a lot by this new identity. It is true LTTE made a big blunder in removing Muslims from Jaffna. But majority of the Muslims co existed and were treated well by the Tamils in East and North except for the LTTE debacle. But Muslims were always playing opportunistic politics for their unproportional power and benefits from the Sri Lankan government. Then they played the middle eastern card. Then the anti LTTE card. Now there is nothing to play. It is very wrong of the monks to behave in this manner I agree. But for one moment think what will happen if you carry a picture of Lord Buddha in your bag to Saudi Arabia Or try to build a smallest of Buddhist Shrine. You will come out headless. It is time Muslims too correct them self in tolerating other religions in other parts of the world.Then they have greater credibility to speak. No Muslim spoke out when the Tamils were massacred when scores of Hindu temples were demolished. They cooperated with the SL government and some outdid them when it came to torture. Now a stone had been thrown in their direction. You want to make a hell out of this. That is another opportunistic politics when you ran out of cards. If the Muslims countries supported Sri Lanka just because of the Muslims of Sri Lanka, then the Sri Lankan government should think carefully. In another opportunity another politics will be played by you know who.

  • Bongsy

    As a buddhist, I have to say this is embarrassing. Every buddhist I talk to agrees that this was wrong to do.

    There are some extremist elements who also tend to be quite nationalist that promote these types of acts. I feel that these types of people are living in the past, the world is so open and crowded today that we should actively shed nationalism and move on (that’s another story).

    For the time being, Sri Lanka needs to dissolve the concept of a national identity based on race and religion and at the same time promote a Sri Lankan identity that protects individual rights including individuals right to religious practice and actually take seriously the rule of law (that means you, the Judiciary and the Police, get yourselves in order).

    It is high time that we remove the clause in the constitution that gives Buddhism prominence in Sri Lanka, and equally protect all religions, and at the same time ensure extremism from any religion or race is not given a ground to stand on and actually ridiculed (whoever they are, Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Christian).

    This will solve all our problems including the ethnic issue.

    The reason for this not being done is because the rural areas where most of the majority hail from happen to be exposed to more extremist ‘Sinhalese Buddhism’ than a more secular way of life (ironically one of the hallmarks of the Buddhist faith actually).

    My humble opinion is that the only remedy for this is spending more on our education and changing the syllabi to teach the importance of individual rights and freedom and of ethnic and religious harmony and get rid of schools based on religion or ethnicity (no matter who shouts and screams).

    I am sure then, the later generations who grow up will be better informed and that will mean a shrinking support base for any type of extremist based policies and politics.

  • Rohini

    Lanka Liar,

    Here here agree entirely. Though we should not blame all Muslims as it may be racist definitely their politicians. Next it will be Sinhalease themselves who will be complaining about their treatment. Human rights will bite their back.

  • muzammil

    My dear Yapa,where in my post do you find,I’m proposinging people have to take law into their hands?Make sure you read with understanding yapa.Thanks.

  • muzammil

    Sorry for the error.It should be read “proposing.”

    • http://etofinda yapa

      Dear muzammil;

      “Look at it from the opposite, the incident is not only unacceptable it’s despicable,deplorale and PUNISHABLE and one of the
      best solution should include the removal of this unholy contemptible
      monk from the venerated position he’s holding so that meaningful lessons are learnt and some respect restored on Budhism.”

      Tell me what you are proposing in your statement above, if you are not proposing to take the law into hand.

      Did you hold a judicial inquiry before you proposed to punish them with the prescribed punishment by you? Are those punishments in the book of Law, and are the punishments in accordance with the “so called crime committed” as per the law of the country?

      Punishments should follow “Due Procedure”, otherwise they are “Extra Judicial”, and hence you are proposing to take law into hand.

      Do you understand the gravity of irresponsible words. They can burn the whole world.

      Thanks!

      • muzammil

        Yapa,I take responsibility to what I have said and you are free to look
        at it from any angle convenient to you.My whole point was,the man who
        organised,took part and led the mob attack must be punished.The man
        must be removed and the relevent ministry can do it.If the ministry
        can order removal of the mosque,it can also remove the man who enterd
        the mosque by force.Thanks

      • Rohini

        Yapa,

        As I said perception is not reality. Muzamill is not instigating anything. It is what your mind is interpreting as he is saying.

  • http://www.blacklightarrow.wordpress.com David Blacker

    Keynes, advocacy of a particular piece of scripture comes in the practice of it, not simply in the belief of it. The law cannot dictate what you can believe; only what you can do about it. So you are free to believe something incorrect, but not to carry it out. It doesn’t take scholarly thought to understand this simple precept.

    How can I explain the subjectivity of taste? If you believe Indian cars are innovative, however, I must ask you how.

  • Don Quixote

    I am a former Basnayake Nilame and have had close associations with the Buddhist clergy in this Country. I have been watching the steady erosion from the real path of a monk to the path that is followed now of materialism and empire building.

    Most temples are now run as businesses and the main objective is making money !

    Just think about it you so called buddhists of this Country. Think about it and repent for what you have condoned.

  • muzammil

    Don,I did part of my higher studies in a popular Pirivena,I was a good
    friend of some family members of former Dalada Maligawa Basnayake Nilame and I watched in my school age how my father was dragged into a dispute with a Chief monk over our land through which this monk wanted public access into a village.If anyone talked to my father,this could have been easily achieved because the villagers were already enjoying this facility.They plotted with the monk and my father resisted but made alternative arrangement to the villagers.The monk had to withdraw and at a later stage became my father’s friend.With hands on experiences,I believe it’s easier to share views on forums like this rather than exploding with rage under “sheep skin,”like some nuts with rage do.You are perfectly right Don,Budhism is a pretext for the monks to pull money and racism with politics in the background has become the most convenient tool.Sinhala people must strongly detest and reject this wave.

  • Surendran

    I received the following Press Releaase from my friend which I fund it relevant and useful. So I am posting it for your consideration. Thanks

    25 April 2012
    TIC Press Release
    Dambulla mosque attack threat to peaceful co-existence of Sri Lanka’s ethnic communities
    The Tamil Information Centre (TIC) is deeply concerned and saddened by reports of the attack on the mosque in Dambulla and the threat of the Buddhist leaders to demolish the mosque. The TIC learns that the Buddhist leaders have listed 72 cultural and religious structures, including the mosque and a Hindu temple, marked for demolition in the region.
    Attacks on religious communities and places of worship motivated by religious intolerance, particularly against vulnerable minorities, must be condemned without reservation.
    In Sri Lanka, the adherents of four major religions of the world, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity have co-existed for a long period of time, and the people have taken pride in celebrating religious festivals in a spirit of friendship. Religious intolerance has taken a virulent form in the last few decades and has affected the religious practices of minority religions. The targeting of minorities on religious grounds is now increasingly becoming the order of the day, although freedom of religion is guaranteed in the Sri Lankan Constituion, and people find themselves at the mercy of ever growing state controls, religious discrimination, hatred and violence.
    Sri Lanka’s future depends on its ability to live and work harmoniously across racial, ethnic, religious and cultural boundaries. There can be no peace in Sri Lanka without peace among the religions. It is indeed depressing to observe that the current trend of religious intolerance and politicization of religion with state support, instead of the work towards healing wounds and rebuilding right relationships across religions and ethnic groups, is severely damaging communal harmony.
    While expressing concern over the deteriorating situation that threatens peace and security in Sri Lanka, TIC wishes to extend its support and encouragement to the civil society and in particular to religious leaders as they work for peace, communal harmony, security, reconciliation, religious tolerance and justice for all.
    End://

  • Mohan

    Still, Christianity is not represented in the Lankan Flag.

  • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

    A week ago, a violent a mob of about 2,000 Sinhalese, including a group of Buddhist monks led by the Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, stormed and vandalised a mosque in Dambulla. The mosque was declared an illegal structure, but it is unclear how this far this is accurate.

    The shameful behaviour and expression employed by the Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, along with the monks he led and the crowd of thugs is not remotely associated with or reflective of the philosophy of the Dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha, or the way in which a Buddhist monk is supposed to behave and speak. Many online have already expressed their dismay and deep concern over the actions of a few, placing Sri Lanka in the media spotlight again for all the wrong reasons.

    We have a choice, but time is running out. Speak up. Put your name in a comment below and say that this violence was not in your name, and that more calls to violence are futile. Renounce a fringe lunacy and resist extremism. By putting your name below, you are opposing mob violence and bigotry as ways to resolve disputes.

    If we have to fight, let’s fight to keep Sri Lanka free of extremists who threaten not only what they seek to destroy, but also who and what they claim to represent. Add your name below, and please pass the message on.

    Read and sign up today – http://notinournamesl.wordpress.com/

    • Happy Heathen

      Could we amend that post to get rid of all organised religions?

      As John Lennon once famously said Imagine there is no religion……..

      • sabbe laban

        Happy heathen

        “….above us is only the sky”

        Greetings! You seem to fulfill all my efforts on G.V. so far, in achieving the goal you just mentioned!

        Welcome to the family to rid the world of lies!

      • yapa

        Dear Saban;

        It seems that what he meant is a little bit different. He says “all organised religions”, and if my memory is correct, he had differently identified philosophies from religions.

        Do you include everything?

        Thanks!

  • Kumi Samuel

    This is not the compassionate, tolerant Buddhism I respect. This is so far from the loving kindness it teaches. This is impunity for hatred. Not in my name ever! Kumi Samuel

  • http://www.groundviews.org Groundviews

    Well over 500 people have, in a single day, signed up to Not In Our Name. The comments they have left showcase a Sri Lanka that’s extremely diverse and deeply loved. There are Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese, including hundreds of Buddhists, who have expressed their outrage at the violence in Dambulla recently.

    The statement is now available in Sinhala and Tamil. Comments left behind in the English version on the first day include,

    Lionel Bopage: This violence is not in my name. I live in Australia though my heart and soul remain in Sri Lanka where I was born. I am a Sinhalese with a Buddhist background.

    David Blacker: Some of us fought, killed, died, were crippled, and watched our friends die beside us so that this country would remain united and free. We did not do it so that another bunch of violent extremists could divide our country again in the name of religion; nor for you, the government, to support it.

    My name is Chhimi Tenduf-La. I am not Sri Lankan but I am embarrassed. I am proud to live in this amazing country and, for the most part, I think you would be hard pressed to find nicer people than Sri Lankans anywhere in the world. Most foreigners would say this (except, to be honest, when driving). The actions of this mob, and the official response which as good as sanctioned it, is very sad indeed. We can only be proud of the brave woman in the video who stood up to these bullies. She is a Sri Lankan. Not really sure what the other people are.

    Ashvin de Vos: This is a watershed moment. We either stand for unity or we stand for nothing. I am Ashvin de Vos and I am Sri Lankan. This was not in my name.

    I am Leah Marikkar Bazalgette. My father is a Muslim, my mother a Christian who is also a mix of Colombo Chetty and Sinhala. Never, ever in my name.

    I am Mohamed Niyas, a Sri Lankan Muslim, professionally a Teacher. I respect all religions and beliefs in this country and teach the same to all my students of all ethnic groups. I was shocked how can the monks who always preach saamaya, maithriya, karunaawa like great philosophies could lead such a racist mob in Dambulla. I feel relieved to know many of Buddhist people in Sri Lanka condemned this violence.

    fahima7s: This is the first time the violence towards other faiths has been filmed so vividly. Many churches and kovils have also been bombed and burnt in the past. What do these Buddhist monks want? Don’t they know that our culture is enriched with other faiths? We have already lost a lot of our Burghers and Tamils and we are impoverished by it. Even if we build highways and prosper economically, we will still be poor. Cannot Buddhism flourish without the Buddhist monks protecting it?

    As we noted earlier, we have a choice, but time is running out. Speak up and spread the word. If we have to fight, let’s fight to keep Sri Lanka free of extremists who threaten not only what they seek to destroy, but also who and what they claim to represent.

    Add your own name here, in Tamil, English or Sinhala – http://notinournamesl.wordpress.com/

  • sabbe laban

    Yapa

    The result of philosophies becoming organized religions in amply evident in the events described in this article! And where do you find the philosophy in its prestine form?(if it is not found in this Dharmadveepaya?)Thailand, Burma, Cambodia or what? Who is responsible for turning a philosophy into an organized religion? I think its the blind followers, who have killed the philosophy with their faith!

    • yapa

      Dear Saban;

      I do not totally deny the allegations leveled in this forum. However, I also do not agree with some of the allegations and their general nature, especially with their inability to find their specific target. Naturally, haste prompted by aroused emotions must have attributed to it. Many allegations hit the bush not the rabbit, I should say. It is not justifiable to bash the deer hide at home for deers’ faults in the paddy field and it is wasteful as well. I think Ranil Senanayake has a better answer to offer.

      http://groundviews.org/2012/04/17/a-vision-for-our-nation/#comment-43362

      We should not seek the shelter of fallacies even in a case of a disturbance. We should not bash the “straw-man” at any event. We should not throw away all the food in our hand just because a morsel was fallen, as the monkey mentioned in a Jataka Story. We should look into the whole plethora of causes, not just the causes you find at your hand’s length. We should look into the perspective what make it wrong even more than who make it wrong, I think. Do you think it is the contents of Buddhist philosophy that led to these violations?

      My idea is lack of proper institutions or the inaction of of them in the governance is the problem. Many of the issues that should be addressed and taken care of by the action of state governance are abandoned to be solved themselves or take care by the informal institutions, objectives and roles of which are not meant for the particular purpose. But the graveness of the problems demand these inappropriate institutions to intervene. When the appropriate tool is not there it is difficult to prevent using alternatives.

      Our society is in a sea change becoming more and more complex. Old tools we had in the past to handle social problems is not sufficient in today’s context. A group of geniuses should be sent to the parliament to be vigilant of the issues and requirements of the society to formulate legislation in accordance with them, we should stop sending ignorant culprits with ill-gotten money to this most vital centre of the country. The society needs a handful of bureaucrats too who are deviated from “bureaucracy” and corrupt practices.

      All in all this is an indication of the demand for reforms in the political system in this county. Instead do you demand the head of the mongoose (who really protected the baby), just because some blood stains can be seen around its mouth, dear Saban?

      I am not for that. I am for protecting the mongoose.

      Thanks!

  • Pragmatist

    It is well known that Buddhism is not a religion but a philosophy that was first preached by Buddha – and he did not claim to be a God. How is it that a rock in Dambulla is considered so sacred to buddhism that no other religious faith can be practiced near that rock? These practices have been created by men who chose not to follow the true buddhism and appear to have created a new religion in Sri Lanka, as someone else wrote here, called “Sinhala Buddhism” with kovils and devaleyas etc. The thuggery and foul language by monks as displayed in the video is typical of an increasing number of extremists among buddhist clergy. What is amazing is that I have also listened to Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka preach to an audience in USA saying that buddhism is a philosophy that can easily co-exist with other religions such as Christianity and Islam etc. It is sad to see religious harmony inside Sri Lanka breaking down while a different picture is portrayed to the outside world.

  • farah

    @ keynes!
    in rep to your question -”Surah 9:5 states “kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush.”

    u can find the rep from this link here,just to give u an idea of wat it means,written by former christian music minister in texas -

    http://www.islamnewsroom.com/if-someone-leaves-islam-hot-topics-45/#story

    just for those who want to now wat it means exactly.pls visit the link and read.

  • farah

    @ keynes-

    also further insite into that verse that u were referin to ..
    Why did you jump to 9:5, when you never even read 9:4 in the first place.
    Read 9:4

    [9:4] (But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Pagans with whom ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor aided any one against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of their term: for Allah loveth the righteous.

    5. But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    6. If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

    hope this helps broaden ure understandin abt wat that means…

    • sabbe laban

      Farah

      Hope Ground Views would publish this re-pharsed post, if they thought my first post was offensive!

      In spite of your defence of the Qu’ran and your “interpretation”, the fact remains that, those “pagans and polytheists” who DO NOT repent have no mercy from Allah, according to your scripture!

      And do you still call it “tolerance” and “freedom to follow other religions”, Farah?

  • Citizen

    There are lot of hatred on Muslim community are also promoted via http://www.elakiri.com.

  • yapa

    A post praised by DBS Jeyarajas “sensible”

    http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/6092#comment-67227

    Thanks!