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
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.
. . .
"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]
"An Unholy Alliance: Monks and the Military in Myanmar," Al Jazeera, March 18, 2019