Category Archives: Islamic fundamentalism

The Eastern Regions of Sri Lanka in British Times

Michael Roberts

My D. Phil dissertation at Oxford in the early 1960s centred on British agrarian policy in the mid-nineteenth century and therefore included the British efforts to revive the tank irrigation systems of the Sinhala past. Several British colonial personnel as well as visiting dignitaries were captivated by the ruins of the Anuradhapura/Polonnaruwa periods which they observed during adventure trips. A few saw it as a challenge for their imperial capacity. Some British governors, notably Ward, Gregory and Gordon, took up the prospect.

 Sir Henry Ward and SJV Chelvanyakam

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Ameer Ali draws the Battlelines for the Muslims of Sri Lanka

     in DailyFT, 11 September 2020, with this title “Muslim prime movers in Parliament”

Muslims of Sri Lanka, after more than a millennium of integrated and peaceful coexistence, have become a hated, or to put it mildly, highly-suspected minority at least in the perception of ultra-Sinhala Buddhist supremacists, led by Bodu Bala Sena and a coterie such movements supported by influential political monks.

“It is a strange irony that it is from the hated Muslim community that a Minister of Justice has been picked before the election, brought to the Parliament through the back door and entrusted amidst opposition with the task of amending the Constitution to empower and disempower the President and Prime Minister respectively and simultaneously, all in the name of easing the path for developmen.” Continue reading

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Richard Koenigsberg’s Succinct Summary of the Law of Sacrifice

Richard Koenigsberg: “The Proof of the Pudding is in the Dying”

  • The desire to die and kill–in war, genocide, revolution and terrorism–grows out of attachment to an ideology conceived as absolute
  • Dying and killing are undertaken with the purpose of validating an ideology (“proof of the pudding”).

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Fresh Insights on the 4/21 Salafi Bombings in Sri Lanka

Samanth Subramanium, in New York Times, 2 July 2020, where the title reads “Two Wealthy Muslim Brothers became suicide Bombers, but Why?”

There’s a video of the exact moment Inshaf Ibrahim decided to abandon his life as a rich young man and turn into a mass murderer. In one sense, he had made up his mind weeks earlier, which was why he was loitering in the Cinnamon Grand hotel’s breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday last year in Colombo, strapped into a knapsack of explosives. Once he arrived, though, he appeared to dither. Later, investigators picked him out of CCTV footage, standing near a vacant table, wearing a baseball cap and a T-shirt, his back to the camera. In the footage, he moves like a perplexed penguin. Two steps forward, half a step back, a turn, another turn: a choreography of hesitation. Perhaps he is reconsidering? But no, the investigators concluded; he is waiting for more people to come in. Finally, a microsecond of stillness, arms heavy by his side; then his hands reach toward the front of his waist, and the film goes dark.

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Imbalanced Task Forces in Sri Lanka?

Jehan Perera, in Island, 30 June 2020, with this title “The Need For Better Representation In Divided Societies”

There has been a trend of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa making senior appointments in which those who are outside the established administrative systems are being brought in to provide leadership and ensure effective and non-corrupt practices.  As a large number of these appointments have been from the security forces this has given rise to a perception that the country is heading towards eventual military rule. There is a concern that the forthcoming general elections will be followed by constitutional changes that will entrench the military in governance as in some other countries such as Myanmar. This is unlikely to be the case in Sri Lanka as democratic traditions upholding civilian control of government are deeply ingrained in the fabric of political society.

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Mahela’s Leadership in Aftermath of Lahore Terrorist Attack Recognised

In a previous study of the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket entourage  at Lahore in 2009 I was guided by several news reports and chats with a few players in marking the resolution and actions of the bus driver  Mohammed Khalil, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chris Broad during the initial ordeal and the resolute work of Lal Thamel in aiding the injured at the stadium and in hospital. Our thanks now to Rex for revealing Mahela’s firm leadership when moves were afoot to keep the two injured players Paranavithana and Samaraweera back in the air force hospital. Those who play together stick together….Michael Roberts

Rex Clementine, in The Island. 27 June 2020, where the title runs thus: “Paranavithana and Warnapura recall Lahore attack”

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Honeycombed with Societal and Political Fissures: Sri Lanka Now & Ever Before

Michael Roberts, reiterating the original draft sent to a few on 10 June 2020

Recent forum discussions on the topic of “Reconciliation” and correspondence with concerned friends have prompted me to essay an analysis of Sri Lanka’s societal problems over the last 150 years. This is a tendentious quest.

This Map showing districts served by Regional Malaria Officers happens to suit the metaphor “Riddled” and/or “Honeycombed” in my title

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Sacrificial Devotion in Comparative Perspective: A Workshop at Adelaide University in Late 2005

Daya ….. Rohan…. Shyam…. Riaz ….. what a South Asian spread! …………………. a dinkie-die curry’

I = Michael Roberts: An Explanatory Preamble Cast in May 2020

By 2004 I had retired from teaching in the Anthropology Department at Adelaide University and was proceeding with the pursuit of my research interests at my own pace within my limited resources. Sri Lanka and my connections therein was one such resource. When researching in Colombo in late November 2004 I flew to Jaffna on a wing and a prayer[1] with the intention of exploring the Tamil Tiger “cult of suicide.” Previous contacts with two Tamil Canadians and a visit to the University of Jaffna as soon as I landed assisted me no end: partly via the invaluable support provided by the Krishnaswamy family[2] and the readiness of their medical student son Chenthan to become my aide and guide during peregrinations within the Peninsula.[3]

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A Comparative Examination of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Demographic rends in Sri Lanka

 Chandre Dhamawardana … with highlighting emphasis added by the Editor, Thuppahi

It is a common belief that the Moor population, nearly 99% Muslim in faith, have high demographic rates and also have to capacity to have high birth rates because of Islamic laws that provide for the possibility of having several wives. Hence it is of interest to examine these contentions in the context of demographic data available from the Dept. of Census and statistics, Sri Lanka.

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The Horrific Terrors of 21/4: Three Pronouncements

ONE = Ellise Ann Allen: Sri Lanka: One year after the Easter attacks,” Daily News, 23 April 2020, http://www.dailynews.lk/2020/04/23/features/217020/sri-lanka-one-year-after-easter-attacks

On the one-year anniversary of a series of Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka that killed nearly 300 people and injured 500 more, the nation mourned in silence, as the Government continues its investigation and families struggle to move forward.

To mark the anniversary of the April 21 attacks, the Sri Lankan government asked the entire nation to observe two minutes of silence at 8:45 a.m., the time the first bomb went off in St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Colombo.

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