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Buddhist extremists and Muslim minorities : religious by John Clifford Holt

By John Clifford Holt

Whilst the civil warfare in Sri Lanka among Sinhala Buddhists and Tamils led to 2009, many Sri Lankans and international observers alike was hoping to determine the re-establishment of quite harmonious non secular and ethnic kin one of the numerous groups within the kingdom. in its place, a unique kind of violence erupted, this time aimed toward the Muslim neighborhood. The essays in Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities examine the background and present country of Buddhist-Muslim family in Sri Lanka, in an try to establish the motives of this newly emergent clash. Euro-American readers unexpected with this tale should be stunned to profit that it inverts universal stereotypes of the 2 spiritual teams. during this context, sure teams of Buddhists, normally thought of peace-oriented within the West, are engaged in victimizing Muslims, who're more and more noticeable as militant. The authors study the old contexts and considerable purposes that gave upward thrust to Buddhist nationalism and competitive assaults on Muslim groups. the increase of Buddhist nationalism normally is analyzed and defined, whereas the explicit position, equipment, and personality of the militant Bodu Bala Sena ("Army of Buddhist Power") circulate obtain specific scrutiny. The motivations for assaults on Muslims might contain deep-seated perceptions of monetary disparity, yet parts of non secular tradition (ritual and image) also are obvious as catalysts for explosive acts of violence. This much-needed, well timed statement grants to shift the normal narrative on Muslims and non secular violence.

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Extra resources for Buddhist extremists and Muslim minorities : religious conflict in contemporary Sri Lanka

Sample text

Dharmapala “leveled a surprising burst of hate against Muslims: ‘What the German is to the British, that the Muhammedan is to the Sinhalese … shoot, hang, quarter, imprison or do anything to the Sinhalese but there will always be bad blood between the Moors and the Sinhalese’ … [A]‌few months later the London Daily Chronicle received from Dharmapala an anti-​ Muslim diatribe and clippings listing death-​ sentences meted 33 34 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 out to Buddhists in Ceylon” (Blackton 1967: 55–​56).

During the 19th century, new economic channels were opened up for all indigenous ethnic groups as well as foreign trading communities. Ameer Ali’s (1989: 247–​248) concluding remarks, after giving a detailed account of the Muslim participation in the export sector, are relevant here. He says Between 1800 and 1915, the export sector of Sri Lanka underwent a radical change marked by the advent of the plantation economy in the 1840s. The Muslim community participated actively in the export sector both before and after the transition.

Each of these ethnic groups includes minority religious groups, for example, Protestant Christians, Catholics, and Buddhists. Sinhala Buddhists and Sinhala Christians are primarily identified as Sinhalese by their language. In the same way, Tamil Hindus and Tamil Christians are primarily identified as Tamils because they choose the Tamil language as their primary ethnic marker. However, religion was also used by the elites of the majority religious groups of the Sinhala-​and Tamil-​speaking communities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to consolidate their ethnic identity and to differentiate themselves from the Christians, the economically and politically privileged groups dominating the British administrative sector, because of their English education and Christian identity.

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