Saturday, April 28, 2012
The ticking time bomb of Islamic Radicalism in the Island
Sri Lanka does not seem to have learned anything from the past 30 years. We have not investigated why we had so much conflict and why so many could be drawn to violence with such hatred for people based on differences, in this case Language.
I hate to say the difference is race as if we look at the genetic map of each of us there is very little to differentiate between Tamil and Sinhala, and in many cases Tamil people have more local genes than Sinhala who have Portuguese and other European blood. I will challenge the radicals to have their genes tested and will find that they have less rights in the inherited sense than some Tamil, who they say should pack there bags and go to India!!
In similar light, I believe that intolerance of the Muslim people is growing, pushing many young Muslims who feel it, to the extreme fringe of Wahabism that is being taught in the Madrassas in the Coast, and which could overtake the views of the Moderate majority at present. The moderates are reasonable people who wish to concentrate on their businesses with as little interference as possible by the government apparatus, and they are generally keen to help those of the same community to grow and prosper, often quite unlike that of the Sinhala population.
The insane act of a rabid priest ( I have no idea of what possessed him) to storm a small Muslim place of prayer, no matter what its origin was, was a very foolish event. It just provided fodder to the extremists of that community to say that moderates can go to hell, and the government is bent on oppressing their beliefs.
This is very similar to the Tamil problem, and due to the Jihadist mindset of some of these people who have been brainwashed, the LTTE can look like pussies. I therefore believe it is the Government’s responsibility to tackle this issue head on, caution the Chief Prelate of the Dambulla Temple and generally take a hard line on what happened, and proclaim, that as he took the law into his own hands he jeopardized religious amity and so forfeits any rights to the sacred area land he had claimed and previously been granted.
In the earlier entry in the blog I referred to the feudal behavior of such people which if it is unchecked creates untold misery for religious tolerance. The priest in question effectively becomes the feudal lord of the area for the rest of his life, and I believe he has forfeited his rights, by this act. If he is removed by his order, which I believe is the Asgiriya Chapter, then it would calm and allay fears of a future recurrence and it is in the interests of the country to do so. Otherwise history will show that this event was a turning point, where the sovereignty and integrity of the country was compromised. This is too much of a sacrifice to face in the future and so the matter must be resolved without delay.
It is important at the same time to establish clear rules with regard to establishing religious places for ALL religions as they all abuse their rights, due to people being frightened to challenge for fear of reprisals by the community. If the law is clear it can be enforced, and no one who tries to steer a different path is tolerated.
The constitution of Sri Lanka guarantees religious freedom to all, but with it must come responsibilities so as not to intimidate cause a nuisance to other people. In that regard, I believe the use of loud speaker in Temples, Mosques and Churches must be banned as it is a modern day appendage that was never contemplated at the times the religions were set up. If the lords of the time knew of this I am sure they would have banned them, and it is only the people in the 21st Century who have decided to interpret the use of such antisocial means as being acceptable.
I am not writing here to benefit or destroy any faith. I would like to encourage the pursuance of at least one faith, as it disciplines the person and if he or she follows the faith it must make that person better. It is the interpretation of the faith by today’s sermonizers that I have an issue with. They appear in general to be intolerant of other people’s belief and for that I immediately box them in as intolerant heathen in the guise of the pious who we should ignore.
Think for a moment what one’s religion really should be. It should be a personal relationship with one’s maker or creator and not with one’s neighbor or friend. The personal one to one factor is what is important here, as one cannot hide from above or below. When we forget that notion and make it one where it is about what others see in us, from what we do in public that it takes a sometimes artificial flavor, where the faith is not deep, but shallow and multi-intentioned, to preserve one’s place amongst one’s peers.
We must avoid radicalism, (taking an extremist view of one's religion, which does not tolerate other beliefs and whose aims do not fit within a multi cultural and multi religious state) as it makes people of other religions uncomfortable, and we should not do anything that is incendiary. Radicalism if it has any place it must be inside the heart of the radical not spewing into religious fervor for public consumption. It is in the end how true to one’s belief that one lives one’s life, in a world where we live within the law.
Radicalism by one begets radicalism by others, so let us not beget it in the first place and prevail upon religious elders to nip radicalism in the bud, as they must surely know that the end result of this is irrational behavior in the name of one’s religion. It is better that all communities in a multi-faith country live in harmony with one another in the interests of peace and unity.