By John Clifford Holt
Whilst the civil conflict in Sri Lanka among Sinhala Buddhists and Tamils led to 2009, many Sri Lankans and international observers alike was hoping to work out the re-establishment of quite harmonious non secular and ethnic kin one of the numerous groups within the nation. as a substitute, a distinct form of violence erupted, this time aimed toward the Muslim neighborhood. The essays in Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities examine the heritage and present country of Buddhist-Muslim family members in Sri Lanka, in an try and establish the reasons of this newly emergent clash. Euro-American readers unexpected with this tale could be stunned to benefit that it inverts universal stereotypes of the 2 spiritual teams. during this context, definite teams of Buddhists, often thought of peace-oriented within the West, are engaged in victimizing Muslims, who're more and more obvious as militant. The authors study the old contexts and noticeable purposes that gave upward thrust to Buddhist nationalism and competitive assaults on Muslim groups. the increase of Buddhist nationalism commonly is analyzed and defined, whereas the categorical position, equipment, and personality of the militant Bodu Bala Sena ("Army of Buddhist Power") flow obtain specific scrutiny. The motivations for assaults on Muslims might comprise deep-seated perceptions of financial disparity, yet components of spiritual tradition (ritual and image) also are obvious as catalysts for explosive acts of violence. This much-needed, well timed remark grants to shift the traditional narrative on Muslims and spiritual violence.
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Additional info for Buddhist extremists and Muslim minorities : religious conflict in contemporary Sri Lanka
He mobilized the panca bala vegaya (the five great forces), namely, Buddhist monks, vernacular teachers, indigenous physicians, peasants, and workers. He used Sinhala only official language policy (founded the Official Language Act) as a shortcut to power and announced that he would make Sinhala as the only official language of the country within 24 hours if he won the 1956 general election. That promise proved very attractive to the Sinhala masses. He also readily accepted the recommendations of the report on The Betrayal of Buddhism released by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress in February 1956.
The Muslims were also recruited to the high civil posts and “structurally assimilated” into society. However, after the arrival of the British, the situation changed. As Dewaraja (1994: 140) points out “the good relationship that had prevailed over a thousand years deteriorated into one of competition, suspicion and ill will. ” 25 26 b u d d h i s t e x t r e m i s t s a n d m u s l i m m i n o r i t i e s i n s r i l a n k a After the British captured the Kandyan Kingdom, some influential Muslims cooperated with them.
However, during the postindependence period, the Tamil language became the primary marker of Tamil identity in Sri Lanka mainly because of the domination of Sinhala in the public administration and the marginalization of Tamil (Kearney 1967). This political change brought Tamil Hindus and Tamil Christians together to fight for their linguistic and civil rights, submerging their religious identities. Thus, religion and language played a major role in the formation of Sinhala–Buddhist and Tamil–Hindu identities in Sri Lanka.