« Untold Stories from Kandy » by Groundviews

 

Featured image courtesy Vikalpa/Ishara Danasekara 

Featured image courtesy Vikalpa/Ishara Danasekara 

“This is the money that my daughter and I collected every day in a till. It used to be on the cabinet. The notes can no longer be found. The coins were caught in the flames and were burned.”

He took the coins one by one and held them in his hands. His breath caught in his chest.

To him, the value in these coins was clearly more than the rupee or two that they were worth.

“We’re not angry with the Sinhalese”, were his last words to me.

Vikalpa traveled to Digana and surrounding areas in the aftermath of riots targeting the Muslim community in March. The following story is a translation of Vikalpa’s coverage.

Read the full article here.

source: Groundviews

« Why South Asia’s majorities act like persecuted minorities » by The Economist

When it is pointed out that Sri Lanka has, in fact, never experienced an act of violence attributable to Islamists, and that at this rate of conversion it will take the island’s Muslims about 10,000 years to convert the rest of its 21m inhabitants, Mr Gnanasara simply shrugs. His hoard of evidence does not really need to add up. In Sri Lanka, as across most of South Asia, surprisingly large numbers of people among groups that enjoy overwhelming numerical superiority seem eager to convince themselves that their identity is somehow in mortal danger.

via:https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21740416-no-conspiracy-theory-about-minorities-too-implausible-cause-outrage-why-south-asias-majorities

​ »Towards Recovering Histories of Anti-Muslim violence in the Context of Sinhala-Muslim Tension in Sri Lanka » by Vijay Nagaraj and Farzana Haniffa

This research paper explores three incidents of Anti-​Muslim violence in Sri Lanka: ​Puttalam in 1976, Galle in 1982 and Mawanella in 2001. This paper intends to cast light on anti-Muslim violence over the past three to four decades outside of the north and east, episodes that have been masked, lost or suppressed in the commonly narrated recent histories of political and religious violence in Sri Lanka.

The history of violence against Muslims during this period is overshadowed by the armed conflict and extreme polarization precipitated by Sinhala and Tamil nationalisms. The incidents recorded are often limited to those in the north and east. It is necessary that the post-war resurgence in anti-Muslim hostility is historicized and placed within the wider sweep of anti-Muslim hostility within Sri Lanka over the past few decades. The distinct experience of political and ethnic violence experienced by the Muslims in the context of Sinhala-Muslim tensions requires greater empirical attention and theorizing than it is has received.

This paper is posited as a step towards addressing this lacuna. This research is also motivated by the possibility that a deeper understanding of the temporal, spatial, political economic and social dynamics of anti-Muslim violence can illuminate the broader conditions that generate and reproduce communal violence more generally.

http://ices.lk/publications/towards-recovering-histories-of-anti-muslim-violence-in-the-context-of-sinhalamuslim-tensions-in-sri-lanka/

« Tolerating religious intolerance » by Meera Srinivasan (The Hindu)

Developments unfolding in Sri Lanka over the last few weeks look ominously similar to those in 2013-14, when a surge in targeted attacks against minority Muslims and Christians went unchecked by the Rajapaksa administration. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, an umbrella organisation for civil society groups, has recorded 25 attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned establishments since April, and the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka has reported over 40 incidents in 2017.

via : http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/tolerating-religious-intolerance/article19141628.ece

« Statement on 25th Anniversary of Mass Killings, Disappearances and Displacement Carried Out in Batticaloa in 1990 » by Batticaloa Peace Committee

On the 29th of July 2015, the Batticaloa Peace Committee and friends gathered together to remember all those who died in the senseless violence of 1990 and also those who still live with its consequences. We did this with a deep sense of sadness for the past, but also hope for the future.

see: http://groundviews.org/2015/08/04/statement-on-25th-anniversary-of-mass-killings-disappearances-and-displacement-carried-out-in-batticaloa-in-1990/

« First Sri Lankan Killed In Syria With ISIS: Investigate And Punish All – Muslim Council Tells Sirisena » by Colombo Telegraph

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka has today called upon the President Maithripala Sirisena and the Government of Sri Lanka to conduct a thorough investigation, punish all who may have violated the laws of the land, and ensure that no more Sri Lankans are misled in to joining any terrorist movement.

see: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/first-sri-lankan-killed-in-syria-with-isis-investigate-and-punish-all-muslim-council-tells-sirisena/

« Muslim Hating Ven. Gnanasara Thero » by Hilmy Ahamed

« Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, the Bodu Janatha Peramuna (BJP) and candidate for the Kalutara District, has launched his political campaign by once again attacking and branding every Muslim as a terrorist. His clarion call for the Sinhalese to “wake up”, his ominous augury “Abasaranai” to the Muslims in Aluthgama and the hate speech on 15th of June 2014 that led to the riots against the Aluthgama Muslims destroyed the peace that existed between the two communities. Now, his verbal diatribe and racism meant to help him to step in to Parliament, seem to get more vicious and venomous as the symbol for his new party, the cobra. He has now condemned every Muslim Civil, Religious and Political organisation as sponsors of terrorism in Sri Lanka. The media reports of the death of a Sri Lankan following a twisted ideology while fighting with IS (ISIS) has given him the ammunition to call every Muslim a terrorist or sponsor of terrorism. »

see: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/muslim-hating-ven-gnanasara-thero/

« How young Sri Lankan Muslims are exploring the meaning of Ramadan » by Smriti Daniel

The Ramadan Project on Instagram, started by a dozen Colombo youngsters and open to people of all faiths, captures hidden dimensions of the holy month.

via: http://scroll.in/article/739942/how-young-sri-lankan-muslims-are-exploring-the-meaning-of-ramadan

« Internal Political Power Bashing in the Name of Justice for War Victims » by Rajan Hoole, N. Sivapalan, Ahilan Kadirgamar and K. Sritharan

« The UN Human Rights Commission’s decision to investigate violations and the huge loss of life during the last months of the war concluded in 2009 was a significant victory for the victims. The dignity of the victims required that the truth must be told without fear or favour, and processes of justice and restoration set in motion. And the wrong was not all on one side. Dignity also demands that we await the verdict of the judges with restraint and reverence for the name of justice. »

via: http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=120781

« Remembering Lasantha six years on: Launch of photo-essays on Sri Lanka » by Groundviews

Journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge‘s murder on 8th January 2009 was utterly horrible and yet, even more unforgettable was the Rajapaksa government’s reaction to it. Lasantha’s last editorial, published posthumously, didn’t mince words.

It is well known that I was on two occasions brutally assaulted, while on another my house was sprayed with machine-gun fire. Despite the government’s sanctimonious assurances, there was never a serious police inquiry into the perpetrators of these attacks, and the attackers were never apprehended.

In all these cases, I have reason to believe the attacks were inspired by the government. When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me.

Six years on, his killers remain at large.

To commemorate Lasantha’s death, Groundviews, in collaboration with The Picture Press and supported by Sri Lankans Without Borders, is pleased to release a set of three compelling investigative photo-essays, looking at Sri Lanka’s religious diversity as well as flagging to what extent it is under threat today.

As noted in the introduction to each photo essay, this content is « a tribute to a journalist whose brutal murder has impoverished us all, irrespective of whether we agreed with him or not… and also a tribute to Sri Lanka as it has always been and must continue to be – a rich, diverse, multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. »

Click on the link to access each essay:

The photo essays use Microsoft’s new Sway platform, which is completely responsive and tailors the content to whatever browser you are viewing it from, from desktop to mobile.

« Sri Lanka’s Electoral Dysfunction » by J. S. Tissainayagam

« On Jan. 8, two years ahead of schedule, Sri Lanka will hold a presidential election that could help restore democracy by scrapping the country’s authoritarian presidency and replacing it with a strong parliament. Real change, however, seems unlikely. »

via: http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/24/sri-lankas-electoral-dysfunction/

« Hardline Buddhists in Myanmar, Sri Lanka Strike Anti-Islamist Pact » by Voice of America

A Myanmar monk accused of inciting violence against Muslims and a hardline Buddhist group in Sri Lanka said on Tuesday they would work together to rally other Buddhist groups and defend their faith against militant Islamists.

via: http://www.voanews.com/content/reu-hardline-buddhists-myanmar-sri-lanka-anti-islamist-pact/2467590.html

Research Paper from the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, « Competing for Victimhood Status: Northern Muslims and the Ironies of Post-war Reconciliation, Justice, and Development. »

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies is pleased to announce the launch of Working Paper No: 13 on the theme of Post War Reconciliation titled,Competing for Victimhood Status: Northern Muslims and the Ironies of Post-War Reconciliation, Justice and evelopment by Farzana Haniffa.

The northern Muslims together with all protracted IDPs displaced prior to 2008 became a low priority case load for return and resettlement assistance in the aftermath of the ‘end’ of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009. Framed in terms of an ethics of ‘greatest need’ connected only to funding availability, all Old IDPs lost out in the resettlement process. This paper attempts to decentre this idea of economic limits and humanitarian need by discussing the manner in which such ideas of ‘greatest need’ actually emerge from discourses about victimhood that are part of an ethical humanitarian project to which local politics are irrelevant. This paper will show, however that these initiatives consistently intersect with local power hierarchies and local ideas of legitimacy and belonging. Therefore this paper will look at the manner in which the war related victim discourse of International Humanitarianism, helped to exacerbate northern Muslims own marginality and continued exclusion from the north. Looking also at the manner in which victimhood narratives are mobilizsed in Sri Lanka by electoral politics, and displaced IDP activists themselves, this paper will speculate about the efficacy of the victim identity for political and social transformation during this time of transition in Sri Lanka.

This paper can be downloaded via this link

Box: PDF 

Scribd PDF (Facebook required for download)

source: ICES

“Muslims Pose A Threat In Sri Lanka”, Ranay Sharma Interviews Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara

Just like in Burma, the recent years have seen the unrest between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority on the upswing in Sri Lanka. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, general secr­etary of the Sri Lankan ultra-nationalist Buddhist organisation Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)—Sinhalese for Buddhist Power Force—actually claims to perceive an international Islamic conspiracy that aims at marginalising the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. He believes his organisation can unite all the Buddhists of the island and turn them into a nationalist force, thus countering this ‘foreseen’ Islamic threat. He has been widely accused of being the mastermind of many anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka and gained notoriety for publicly avowing his racist inclinations.

via: http://www.outlookindia.com/article/Muslims-Pose-A-Threat-In-Sri-Lanka/291662