Easter Sunday Attack by Islamic Jihadists in Sri Lanka – A Crime against Humanity – Lessons to be learnt
The multiple attacks launched by the Islamic Jihadis on April 21, 2019 on a number of selected targets including places of worship and leading hotels in Sri Lanka resulting in mass murder were tantamount to genocide and a crime against humanity. Over 300 innocent civilians lost their lives and scores were injured, some were maimed for life. A large number of families lost their bread winner. In some cases husbands who had remained in their homes lost the rest of their family members i.e. wives and children while at prayer in the church. It was the worst of times. The country was plunged into despair and mourning, and converted to a funeral house overnight with mass burials. Even foreign guests to Sri Lanka ended up in coffins.
This was a watershed moment in the history of Sri Lanka. The country witnessed an unimaginable level of crisis arising between the Muslim community and all other communities inhabiting this country. In the past Muslims were seen as a relatively peaceful community unlike the fractious Tamils who are persistently engaged in an unrelenting tug of war with the Sinhalese. That image of the local Muslims as a law abiding ethnic community minding their own business was shattered beyond recovery on the last Easter Sunday. Never has violence instigated by a group distinctly Islamic been able to cause such a high number of fatalities of innocent people over 300 in one single day and bring the country to a standstill. The multiplier effect of this mass murder was felt far and wide. Every single idea of foreign origin that had been foisted on the people of this country in recent times, without consent proved fatal failures – such as Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Secularism, Diversity and Appeasement, Accommodation and the like, fell overboard instantly.
All over the country people began to question the wisdom of placing trust and faith in foreign born rather than home grown propositions if the final outcome of such misplaced trust was a tragedy of genocidal proportions. The sequel was logical. Even the Christian Community the most affected by the Jihadist violence and closest to western religious values began to call for the first time for strong arm military type leadership nationalist in character that would resonate with the exceedingly tight protection given to the ‘Rata, Jathiya Agama’ by Sinhala Kings of yore. The unequivocal cry everywhere was that there should not be any further compromise with any minority, ethnic or religious, pursuing an Agenda, aimed at undermining at any level the control and management of this country by the elected representatives of the majority. Enough is enough. Time for experimentation with ideas more applicable in a foreign context no longer mattered.
As we approach the 1st year anniversary of this horrifying and unspeakable tragedy that rocked Sri Lanka, we need to re – focus on some important issues.
Lessons for the Nation: NO MORE APPEASEMENT OF MINORITIES
In 2015 as a result of regime change a bandwagon of fragmented elements, united only by sheer greed for power and desire for siphoning of public funds e.g. Bond Scam, joined hands to create a legally questionable ‘national government’ making sweeping legislative changes and propping sets of unsavory characters to various public and important roles. That laid the foundation of subtly and slowly collapsing the administrative system of Sri Lanka without notice. It also meant closure of intelligence units tasked to shadow suspected jihadi groups while at the same time well trained intelligence officers were simply thrown into prison without framing charges for arrest. With leadership lacking, it was natural that the defense establishments would not have been given the freedom to monitor and protect the territorial integrity & sovereignty of Sri Lanka. Numerous controversial appointments some even ending up contesting elections showed the nature of penetration into the heart of Sri Lanka. The diabolical intent was to break the back bone of the two pillars that have historically protected Sri Lanka, namely, both the military and Sangha. A sizeable number of patriotic elements drawn mainly from the aforesaid two groups ended up being put into prison for trivial reasons. With the administrative set up neutralized it was only a matter of time that all the vultures and hyenas would descend on Sri Lanka. Wherever countries are weak, the same bandwagon of nefarious rogue elements creep in incrementally to further destabilize, maximizing and manipulating the shaky set up that was keeping Sri Lanka afloat.
What or where were Sri Lanka’s elected leaders? The rulers were following an un restricted appeasing line. Everything external elements requested was given with open arms. Nothing was refused. Nothing was questioned. Nothing was investigated and nothing was monitored. Nothing was non – negotiable, including the deeply respected national Sinhala Buddhist heritage of the country. In the light of what happened on 21/4 this more or less answers why the government was hypnotized or rather paralyzed by following an appeasement policy. In the end, it did not know what to do and in the power vacuum created the defense establishment took the reins to quickly round up the Islamic jihadis they had kept watch over until their units were closed.
No Government can afford to adopt an appeasement policy. A Government is elected to represent the People and protect the People and not to give into whims and fancies of external troublemakers, that consistently maintain an unceasing line of demands on the footing ‘little now, more later’ and aimed at finally destroying the hold of the Sinhalese majority on the country.
Lessons for the Majority: Questioning Multiculturalism or Secularism
The majority must not fall prey to new concepts that are being shoved with foreign funding as an incentive for governments to launch but with a hidden objective to usurp or downplay the role held by the majority in building and protecting the nation. It is the primary duty of any Nation to duly acknowledge the role played by those who built the nation. The role of the majority in this endeavor cannot be downsized just because some elements promote the notion that it hurts others. The fact that the Sinhalese over a period of 2,500 years built the unique Buddhist Civilization that is the foundation of this nation is undeniable. It was they who defended the nation against every invader that tried to conquer/invade it. Surely, that role cannot be set aside just because some feel they or their forbears had no role in it. That is probably because they were not around when the majority was defending the nation or some were working in step with the foreign invader. Betrayal of the country, race and religion does not sit nicely in our Buddhist Sinhala sub – consciousness. That is why History must be taught again comprehensively with a patriotic flavor beginning in our kindergarten. It is the majority of the country who must be empowered to define who we are, our roots and our ambitions and aspirations. The moment this function is delegated to external elements trouble starts. Invariably the historical narrative will then be written distorting, sidelining and diluting the role of the majority.
Bhoomiputras (Sons of the Soil)
Though Sri Lanka is the homeland of all its citizens a special place has to be reserved for the Bhoomiputras (sons of the soil) – those who built the nation. Sinhala Buddhists are the undisputed Bhoomiputras of Sri Lanka just as much as Muslim Malays are constitutionally recognized now as the Bhoomiputras of Malaysia.
The fundamental collective group rights of the Sinhala Buddhists cannot be usurped by new nomenclatures. No one denies or wishes to change that people of many faiths and ethnicities live in Sri Lanka. All of them have rights to practice their faith but that cannot mean that they can demand the same status of the majority or those who built the nation, or demand that contributions of the majority be marginalized or erased and everyone brought in one line. The contributions and sacrifices made by the Sinhala Buddhists in developing the civilization and the foundations of the country cannot be glossed over. They far exceed that of any other group that has entered this country later in point of time. On this score of group contribution to the common weal of the country over a period of time spanning more than two millennia, there are no co–equals to the Sinhala Buddhists.
Multiculturalism – a flawed concept
The primary reason to promote notions like multiculturalism and secularism in short is to ensure that ‘nationalists’ i.e. people who are proud of their history & heritage and wish to maintain that status quo, do not come to power. The concept of multiculturalism was conceived and promoted by Jews. In the international arena it is called Jewish multiculturalism. Their unfortunate situation leading to ethnic cleansing during the Second World War is attributed by Jews and fellow travelers to the nationalism of the German Nazis, despite the undisputed fact that anti – Semitism is of Christian origin and rooted in Biblical scriptures.
We, in Sri Lanka need not necessarily follow Jewish or Western scripts to solve problems created mainly by troublesome elements of minority backgrounds. Patriotism and Nationalism constitute the ideological underpinning that have inspired the heroic Sinhalese warriors throughout the long drawn history of the country to defend the country sacrificing both life and limb in conflicts with country’s enemies. This hard stubborn fact must be acknowledged and repeated in the public discourse i.e. schools, places of worship, parliament. Patriotism is sweet. It is the life line that can keep the people and country together.
Those who accept the flawed notions of multiculturalism and secularism are ever ready to appease and wish to bargain by reducing Sri Lanka’s innate values to enable external values to be brought on par till they completely annihilate the native values & replace them with foreign ones. This landscape can also be understood by the many initiatives and programs that get funded by UN/USAID/WF/IMF/and other international entities with plenty of funding as ruse. Several other Asian countries have also fallen victim to this shameful foreign conspiracy to undermine and destroy the traditional Asian value systems and then replace them with failed western monotheistic belief systems and western models of governance and development.
In particular, Right wing groups in USA, backed by the US Govt. continue to fund a huge missionary campaign in India, to convert the locals with use of financial inducements, despite widespread misgivings about the conversion strategy of Christian missionaries, among the majority Hindu public in India. One of the silver linings of the on-going Coronavirus Pandemic is the universal acceptance of the failure of the Western model of development, which is based on destruction of the natural environment and its living creatures, to sustain the unrestrained greed of people living mostly in western countries.
Lessons for the Minority
Divide and rule colonial policy fast forwarded to post-colonial powers ensured that the same divisions were manipulated and exacerbated to present the notion of siding with the ‘discriminated ’minorities against the ‘aggressive’ majority. In so doing, the minorities have come to use this as a tactical political ploy for the gaining of undue advantages upon themselves. Minorities have enjoyed making unfair and unreasonable demands and when these are not met they unhesitatingly take their ‘grievance’ to international levels, mostly former western colonial countries (who have yet to compensate the uncompensated victims or their descendants in Sri Lanka for colonial crimes), who are waiting anxiously to name and shame the majority again and again ad nauseam. We need not give instances of how external elements have manipulated internal friction to their advantage, using the country’s ethnic and religious minorities as their cat’s paw to destabilize Sri Lanka.
The minorities are always taught to play the victim card at the point their actions reach levels of questioning by the majority. The next option has been to play the ‘we are all for peace’ ‘national unity-reconciliation’ chant. Flag these internationally and external media is able to quickly shift the notion against the majority in favor of the minorities.
The minorities are told to follow the Goebbels theory of repetition and so we see constant reference to a handful of incidents repeated and repeated sans much detail but plenty of sensational news. But total up these incidents and you get hardly 10 fatalities to count. But then when they strike it is to eliminate hundreds and hundreds of people. Mentioning these cannot offset against the killings of nearly 300 killed in a matter of a few hours.
Easter Sunday attack killed in one crippling blow nearly 300 people. One year on some are still in hospital beds while others are crippled for life. Not many like to have these statistics repeated and when they are done its always ‘let’s forget and move on’ but this standard is never applicable for their citing of incidents.
Not many like when mention is made of the Jihadis abortive plan to blow up the Buddhist Temples and unique heritage sites in the sacred Buddhist citadel of Anuradhapura. It was by sheer stroke of luck that the cache of explosives hidden at Lacktowatta in Wanathawilluwa, Puttalam were discovered in time. The narrative would have been different had that Plan succeeded. The Sinhala Buddhist majority have to be lucky all the time from Islamic Iconoclasts. The Maldives, once a Buddhist land and historically related to Sri Lanka is now a strict Muslim state that has totally erased its Buddhist heritage from the land. Even Buddhist statues kept in Museums in Maldives have been removed and destroyed by Jihadis.
Lessons for international community claiming to be battling terrorism
If there is a war against terrorism there cannot be preferred terrorists and disliked terrorists and then some favorites becoming hated and some hated becoming favorites. What we see is that terrorists are getting imported and exported to fulfill the geopolitical goals of countries whilst pretending to be working towards eliminating terrorism and helping countries with countering terrorism. It simply does not make sense in saying something but doing the exact opposite. Eventually the terrorists’ pawns who learn from the master decide to take charge and become the master and innocent people end up dead.
ONE COUNTRY ONE LAW – NO PARALLEL SYSTEM OF LAW
If citizens of Sri Lanka truly believe in the concept of one country-one law, it means there can be no parallel systems of law e.g. Sharia law or personal laws. It is ridiculous to have some citizens be charged for marrying multiple times without divorce while another citizen can legally have multiple wives. The same marriage rule has to apply across the board for all men and women and polygamy cannot be allowed. Similarly, there cannot be exclusive banking system based on one religion or food labeling based on one religion simply because the issue has been internationalized to a level that unless a certificate is issued with compliance countries where the exclusive faith buys the product refuses to buy. The power of political correctness has been raised to such levels that because of the economic bullying the moral correctness ends up being set aside. If Article 12 of Sri Lanka’s constitution claims all citizens are equal before law there cannot be exclusive ethno-religious privileges for any particular minority community.
Lessons from Overseas in tackling the threat of extremist Islamism (Jihadism)
How Myanmar deals with extremist Islam
Myanmar Govt. has passed four “Laws to Protect Race and Religion” in 2015
- Polygamy – Polygamy has been made illegal. Under the new law, people found guilty of having more than one spouse or living with someone other than their spouse can face a maximum jail sentence of seven years.
- Religious conversion – the new law i.e. Religious Conversion Act, requires individuals wishing to change religion to seek official approval from a state body that is authorized to question applicants to determine whether the conversion is voluntary or coercive.
- Restriction on interfaith marriage – Buddhist Women’s Special Marriage Bill explicitly regulates the marriage of Buddhist women with men from other religions.
- Population Control – Population Control Healthcare Bill establishes a 36-month interval between childbirths for women in certain regions of the country.
How Russia deals with extremist Islam
Russia has been a victim of Islamic terrorism and consequently has adopted strict regulations. Kremlin uses the phrase ‘traditional Islam’ and says only ‘traditional Islam’ is an integral part of the Russian cultural code. Kremlin has also defined hijab as not part of ‘traditional Islam’. Russian law allows the government to prohibit any activity of a religious association for violating public order or engaging in missionary ‘extremist activity’. ‘Fundamentalist Wahhabist, Salafist, radical’ is seen as a challenge to Kremlin.
The Russian court is also able to declare any material (book, leaflet, song, slogan, video website, webpages) as ‘extremist’ or ‘not traditionally Islamic’. The Justice Ministry can list these ‘extremist materials’. In January 2019 a Russian court in city of Samara banned a translation of Quran & blacklisted it as extremist. Kremlin says all foreign Muslims are to blame for the radicalization of Muslims in Russia. Which is why Russia seeks to ‘domesticate’ Islam so that the Muslims in Russia are part of Russia and not another Islamic state. Polygamy is illegal in Russia
How China deals with extremist Islam
Only religions that are permitted in China will have status in China
No one may use religion to make an attack on the order of society, harm the physical health of citizens, or impede the activities of the state’s education system.
Religious groups and religious affairs shall not be subject to the power of foreign domination.
All adherents are first beholden to the State of China not to their foreign heritage faith
Religious sites, religious ministers, religious schools, religious publications and collective religious activities in general need government registration or approval
Religion is not allowed to interfere in the performance of a business duty. For example, If a Muslim obtains a registration to sell goods, he cannot decline to sell Pork or Alcohol on ground of religion.
Polygamy is illegal in China. No multiple wives.
Only one child per family. Women cannot be used as Baby factories on a planned and deliberate basis to beget multiple children to naturally increase the number of any minority community in the country with a view to challenging in the future the power of the majority and its replacement.
China will rewrite the Bible and Quran to ‘reflect socialist values’. New editions must not contain any content that goes against the beliefs of the Communist Party. Paragraphs deemed wrong by the censors will be amended or re-translated. The party has called for a ‘comprehensive evaluation of the existing religious classics aiming at contents which do not conform to the progress of the times’. The order was given in November 2019 during a meeting held by the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which oversees the ethnic and religious matters in China.
Conclusion – Steps to be taken by the Govt. of Sri Lanka
- The State shall invoke the Dasa Raja Dharma in the governance of the country and accordingly establish a Buddhist Social Order as prevailed in the country prior to 1505 A.D. that is inclusive of all citizens and harmful to none
- The State shall take actions basing itself on the increasing popular phrase ‘ONE COUNTRY ONE LAW’
- This will mean PERSONAL LAWS will need to be removed and only ONE LAW for ALL CITIZENS to be applied and enforce Sharia law will not be allowed to function as a parallel legal system.
- Polygamy cannot be allowed because multiple marriages for some ethnic groups is considered criminal while for an exclusive group it is allowed. This is inconsistent with the equality of everyone before the law (Article 12 of the Constitution) and the ONE LAW for all principle
- Population control mechanisms must be developed such that no minority community, religious or ethnic, will surreptitiously indulge in achieving high birth rates and thereby through natural increase of their flock compete with the majority to dominate and rule the country. The steps taken by Myanmar to prevent the replacement of the majority by a minority community through a planned strategy of excessive natural increase is worthy of note.
- No religious banking – food labelling can be allowed only for internal circulation. If the argument is that foreign nations demand such then the exporting items should have label and the state must not allow a private party to tax all businesses a fee for such labeling – revenue must go to the State
- All religious establishments and religious schools must be registered or be subject to closure. The subjects taught in such schools e.g. Madrassas, must be approved and closely monitored by the State.
- Funding of Madrassas and Mosques by external sources i.e. Wahabi funds, shall be stopped.
- Buddhist schools established under the patronage of Colonel Henry Steele Olcott and leading Buddhist monks of that era must continue to be retained in order to provide a proper exclusive Buddhist environment for the study and growth of the Buddhist child. (schools that have a long history cannot fall victim to any multicultural slogans)
- Number of places of worship for any religion must be in direct proportion to the percentage of the population of that religious community in the country
- Religious freedom must not be allowed to be abused by allowing a proliferation of places of worship of any religious community far in excess of the community requirementsg. 58 Mosques in Kattankudy, and done with a view to changing the religious and cultural landscape of the country, which is predominantly Buddhist
- Daily loudspeaker use in mosques and religious places to be toned down to not disturb neighbors or banned.
- All visiting foreign religious preachers must initially be screened by the Foreign Ministry/Defense Ministry
- Animal Sacrifice in places of worship and private households shall be totally prohibited
- Slaughter of animals for food consumption must be permitted to take place only in registered abattoirs and done under strict supervision by trained and skilled persons. Slaughter by unskilled persons e.g. women and children in backyards of private homes must be strictly prohibited by amending the Butchers Ordinance, and the Municipal Ordinance.
- Exclusive ethno-religious towns/cities/enclaves/ ghettos must not be allowed
- The primary allegiance of any citizen should be to his/her country and not to any extra- territorial institution(s)g. Vatican or the universal ummah. Territorialized patriotism must be emphasized and must override the demand in Christian and Islamic theology for allegiance to the de-territorialised Vatican or ‘ummatism’, respectively.
- Ancient Buddhist sites for pilgrimage such as Sripada, must not be allowed to be diversified and ownership shared between the four religions under the banner of diversity and multiculturalism. This is tantamount to creeping invasion of Buddhist sites and final takeover at a later date. This country is full of sites of destroyed Buddhist Temples carried out under the direction of the Portuguese for which no compensation has been paid. Some destroyed sites have had Churches built on them (Queyroz).
- Culture of the country must be rooted and linked to the National heritage and not to something foreign
On 21/4 a tragic mass murder took place. Let us remember this with significance. Make 21/4 a National Day of Mourning with a 2 minute silence at 8.45 a.m. in memory of those whose lives were destroyed by the Jihadi Suicide Bombers.
Shenali D. Waduge