THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
May 18, 2018
The Independent

Violent Buddhist Extremists Targeting Muslims in Sri Lanka

by Andreas Johansson

When the civil war ended in 2009, many hoped that Sri Lanka's ethnic groups would find a way to coexist in peace. But it didn't take long before the country's Buddhist extremists found another target.

Currently, Sri Lanka's most active Buddhist extremist group is Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist power force, or BBS). BBS entered politics in 2012 with a Buddhist-nationalist ideology and agenda, its leaders claiming that Sri Lankans had become immoral and turned away from Buddhism. And whom does it blame? Sri Lankan Muslims.

BBS's rhetoric takes its cue from other populist anti-Muslim movements around the globe, claiming that Muslims are "taking over" the country thanks to a high birth rate. It also accuses Muslim organisations of funding international terrorism with money from Halal-certified food industries. These aren't just empty words; in 2014, one of their anti-Muslim protest rallies in the southern town of Aluthgama ended with the death of four Muslims.

BBS also has links to Myanmar's extremist 969 movement. Led by nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu, who calls himself the "Burmese bin Laden", it is notorious for its hardline rhetoric against the Rohingya Muslim community. . . .

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Sudha Ramachandran, "Sri Lanka's Anti-Muslim Violence," thediplomat.com, March 13, 2018

"The Face of Hate - Anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka ," TRT World, May 26, 2018

[The monk, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, leads the hardline Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or "Buddhist Power Force", which government ministers and Muslims have accused of stirring up violence against Muslims and Christians, allegations he has denied.--Ranga Sirilal, "Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka gets six years' jail in contempt case," reuters.com, August 8, 2018]

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