“This is a Sinhala country, Sinhala Government”: Bodu Bala Sena

  Published : 12:37 am  February 18, 2013  |  11,612 views  |  36 comments  |  Print This Post   |  E-mail to friend
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  • Call on supporters to become Sinhala civilian police force against Muslim extremism
  • Extremist group wants Halal Ban in effect by 31 March
  • Urges President to protect the sacred Sinhala franchise that swept him to power
  • BBS leaders make speeches charged with ethno-religious rhetoric
  • Claim democratic and pluralistic values are killing the “Sinhala race”

By Dharisha Bastians
This is a Government created by Sinhala Buddhists and it must remain Sinhala Buddhist, the Buddhist extremist organization Bodu Bala Sena resolved at a massive rally in Maharagama yesterday.
In an address charged with provocative ethno-religious rhetoric, Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to ensure the protection of the “sacred Sinhala franchise” that swept him into power.
Thousands of supporters and representatives of the Bodu Bala Sena gathered at the Maharagama Junction last afternoon for the organizations grand convention. Clad in white or t-shirts bearing a ‘No-Halal’ slogan, the supporters carried Buddhist flags and cheered enthusiastically when extremist Bodu Bala Sena monks denounced alleged Muslim extremism, referred to the community’s conservative clothing as ‘gonibilla’ outfits and called for a total ban on halal products by 31 March.

Police anti-riot squads were deployed for crowd control after a monk led demonstration resulted in an attack on a Muslim-owned enterprise in the town in January. The organization also unveiled what they called a ‘historic’ Maharagama Declaration, a 10 point resolution that seeks to impose a ban on halal certified foods, sending Lankan women to the Middle East, mosque-building with Middle Eastern funds and certain birth control methods that they claimed were aimed at stunting the Sinhalese population. The monks alleged that 80,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers in the Middle East had been converted to Islam and claimed that several organizations operating in Sri Lanka were receiving Middle Eastern funding to convert Buddhists in the island.
Issuing an ultimatum to the Government, the Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary said the organization would give the administration until 31 March to ban the halal certification. “Don’t make us take the law into our own hands,” the monk said, pledging to commence a relentless anti-halal campaign until the Government announced the ban.
“From today onwards, each of you must become an unofficial civilian police force against Muslim extremism. These so-called democrats are destroying the Sinhala race,” Gnanasara Thero charged at the crowds, who cheered in response.
He said pluralistic values had robbed the Sinhala people of money, jobs and enterprise. “This is a Sinhala country; there is a global principle that minorities must reside in a country in a manner that does not threaten the majority race and its identity,” the leading Bodu Bala Sena monk said.
Gnanasara Thero told the crowd that the Muslims were an ungrateful people. “Anagarika Dharmapala fought for your universal franchise too; today you have laws that allow you to take four wives, we said then that if you have four, we have to be able to take at least seven wives,” he said, adding that a country had to have a single legal system that applied to all ethnic and religious groups.
In a scathing attack on the more liberal members of the Sanga, Gnanasara Thero said that the only philosopher, socialist and democrat of the Bhikkus was Lord Buddha. He also called on Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcom Ranjith to create a Catholic force of his own against evangelical Christians who were attempting to perpetuate Christian extremism in the country.
The Buddhist extremist group has been leading the charge on virulent anti-Muslim sentiment spreading in Sri Lanka, that has led to several incidents against members of the Muslim community in recent weeks. Last week, Muslim shop owners in Narammala in the Kurunegala District received letters threatening them with death if they fail to vacate their places of business by 31 March.


36 Responses to ““This is a Sinhala country, Sinhala Government”: Bodu Bala Sena”

  1. upul on February 18th, 2013 6:25 am

    How do you say that bodu bala sena is an extremist group? Have you ever referred muslim congress or TNA as extremist groups? what is this double standard? This double standard is making us more gritty.. Now we have no any faith on government except few leaders like defense secretary..That is why thousands of suppressed sinhala buddhists are rallying round the its newly sought leadership through bodu bala sena..So i think the government has to heed grivences of sinhala mass. Still there is no any system to address the problems of sinhalese who fled the north eastern provinces..Dont you see any justifiable cause in this movement?

  2. Nirosh on February 18th, 2013 6:36 am

    There is no such Halal Certification Prominence in Countries like India where the Muslim Population is above 10%

  3. Ruwan on February 18th, 2013 7:12 am

    Something else in behind this. This is a distraction to something else cooking. We need to stop this before its become uncontroable. Please do not give first page advertisement for such groups.

  4. Clinton Wijesinghe on February 18th, 2013 7:21 am

    All old timers :)

  5. Fernando on February 18th, 2013 8:46 am

    Dear Daily FT crew,
    Please stop publicizing articles on activities such as these since it would stir up more problems. Act with care on sensitive issues such as these.

    Thank you

  6. Kalu Albert on February 18th, 2013 9:06 am

    If five star hotels can sell liquor on a poya day, if ministers can own liquor shops and brothels, if murder and mayhem can rein in Buddhist Sri Lanka why cant a minority who have never proved treacherous harassed and persecuted by the very custodians of Buddhism? This does not make any sense at all.

  7. Mr Retort on February 18th, 2013 10:14 am

    Most Rev. Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, would understand that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

  8. Ha Ha Ha on February 18th, 2013 2:01 pm

    Good , Stop buying oil from muslim countries

  9. Iyanthie on February 18th, 2013 2:52 pm

    Such a disgrace!!! I do not know the teachings of Buddhism but I do understand that moderation in all is one of its key philosophies. In fact all religions promote tolerance and harmony. Extremism by anyone, any religion should never be tolerated. It is not a single race that ruins a country, it is those who choose to ignore the rights of each individual.

  10. Ziyad on February 18th, 2013 4:47 pm

    This is reminiscent to Shiv Sena tactics in early 80′s. It is shame to see a group of extremists here who could not sell democratic ideals, and having failed in political arena are garnering support by unleashing unwonted religious outburst from the poor and modest background of Sinhala society. I can only call them shameless idiots. In what way does a “halal” certificate harm their food! There are Muslim dietary laws that they are bound to observe, and it is no business of anyone to stop here. Think about Sri Lanka’s relations with Arab and Muslim countries! Think about the remittance money flowing here, feeding millions! Think about 95% of fuel import from Iran! Your biscuits and frozen products could be out of many market shelves overseas by behaving irresponsibly! Time for sane segments of society to contemplate.

  11. Shaik Anwar Ahamath on February 18th, 2013 5:34 pm

    Of all the religions in the world, Buddhism has to be the most enlightened and the most peaceful, respecting the rights of every living thing on earth. Sadly, some of the people entrusted to safeguard Buddhism appear tainted with a sense of superiority that was never the remotest intention of Lord Buddha. The speeches by these monks and supporters are reminiscent of the speeches by LTTE in Sri Lanka, Nazis in Germany and the National Front in UK. Fortunately common sense prevailed and all three organisations have been kicked out. We should also follow the UK and pass laws outlawing incitement to racial hatred and incitement to violence before these bigots begin to corrupt the vulnerable amongst us.

  12. Azmi Muhammed on February 18th, 2013 7:40 pm

    What’s the lesson from this meeting. Does it has any relevance to the teachings of Lord Budha. Nothing other than hatred, voilence and intimidation.

  13. Napoli Fernando on February 18th, 2013 8:42 pm

    Did the buddist people forgot that Rajapksa is born catolic ? his name is Percy mahinda . This year will be a big test of the christians and muslim onthe island a new wave of enemies created by the buddists ….first it was the hindus now it is the muslims and the catolics.

  14. Dr. Rushdi on February 18th, 2013 9:05 pm

    As a Singhalese Muslim physician, born from the womb of a Singhalese Buddhist woman, I must protest this terrible departure from the teachings of the Lord Buddha. My whole life, my practicing Singhalese Buddhist mother has given me the core teachings of both Islam and Buddism. Both faiths teach that the prevention of harm is a religious duty. My Singhala family are the most loving, welcoming and hospitable people in the world. This article is a shame on both me and my family. What has always made Sri Lanka great is the pluralism and unity of all of its faith groups.

    Having provided free medical care to several senior Buddhist monks over the years I call upon the holy community of monks to make a stand against the mistreatment of Muslims, Christians and Tamils in Sri Lanka. Remember we are a proud race and what gives us that pride is our goodness, humanity and selfless service to others, not anger, hostility, and malice towards defenseless minorities. Remember, we are the antithesis of the stereotypic gulf Arab. The words in this article are like poisoned arrows. And they pierce the hearts of good people to foster hate.

    Counter to what is written here, Muslims worldwide continue to condemn the mistreatment of our girls many of whom are treated inhumanely in the gulf states. No one has a louder voice in speaking against this barbaric behavior than Muslims from Sri Lanka. My Singhala brothers stand up with me and let your voices be heard, as silence condemns your neighbors to living in fear. The Buddha and monastic sages teach, “use your power against yourself, never against others.” Communal anger rots the hearts of our people and must be challenged vocally by the Singhalese community across the globe.

  15. Jimmy on February 18th, 2013 11:57 pm

    After receiving all the support from our Middle east countries it is Sinhalese who are ungrateful to our Muslims. Independence was given equaly to all 4 communites.

  16. Beva on February 19th, 2013 8:26 am

    I’m Australian srilanakan dual citizen living here in Australia. I was born here. My mother purely kandyan Buddhist Sinhalese.
    Even I’m a Christian I have great respect for Buddhist. Now my mother very angry the way Bodu Bala Sena doing in Sri Lanka. I don’t know that much of language Sinhala but mum does and explained to me.
    We have gone through some of the media conference held by BBS it was so disturbing words, disrespecting Muslims, Hindus and other religions.
    Do you agree that HALAL should be taken away from Sri Lanka? I am sure BB’s doesn’t know what the meaning of Halal according media conference secretary of BB’s said that halal meaning means the way of killing the animal. That really bushtit and purpose of the BB’s is not halal they want to destroyed Muslim like they did for Tamils over the 30 years. I am not telling LTTE is good organization but they are better than srilankan politicians. I don’t want to talk about it.
    I am very shame to believe and say that as half of Buddhist a monks in sri lanka are racist and they became a monk their own purposes.
    They having luxury nobody else in the country does. They are eating all the meets, most of them take alcohol, having sex with women or boys etc.. you name it. Even get betted from public many times.
    As a pure Buddhist we not allow to eat or kill any animals as per the PANSIL
    Now tell me who is having most of alcohol consumption in Sri Lanka? Is it Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist so shame right. We are highest alcohol consume country year 2003 April. We made great world record. Where was Buddhist monks that time? Not even think about disrespect all over world as Buddhist country.
    We love sri lanka now we not sure even we go there because of theses racist monks.
    Those days we talking about high on sri lanka try to attract many people as possible. Now it’s change bro my mum hatred lanka.
    I am very disappointed. They are destroying the beautiful country day by day giving very bad impression to the world.
    You got to stop other we know how to stop…..

  17. Sri lankan on February 19th, 2013 8:59 am

    All communities in Sri Lanka should be able to live peacefully and be able to practice their religion and culture freely. Only then will be have true independence. If minorities are unable to practice their cultures and religious values where they conflict with the majority’s religious value systems, then tolerance, humility and compassion for others needs to be observed if peace if to be preserved. Otherwise, the majority will rule and the minority will never have true freedom to practice their beliefs and religious values. If this happens, brain drain, outflow of wealth, impact on local businesses and the economy is going to be irreversible.

  18. Althaf on February 19th, 2013 5:14 pm

    I am suprised as to how these change of events started so quickly. I love Sri Lanka and it saddens me to think that a some small group can create so much chaos and fear among people who didn’t interfere in other communities freedom of practising their religions. Hope and pray this doesn’t turn out to be a situation where friends will have to take sides….

  19. RealLankan on February 19th, 2013 7:00 pm

    I am very sorry to say this… if this is hate campaign is not been controlled at this stage, there is no doubt that this is a beginning of an end for the Buddhist majority in Sri Lanka as it happened in some other parts of the world in the past. The next generation not impressed by the so called boundaries of narrowly defined social or religious identities. World has already gone very far from the concepts that BBS promoting today. Our children will not have a strong eager to believe or practice Buddhism when they see the guardians it themselves not standing strong on its teachings. Gradually we can witness more and more younger generation departing from its religious believes not by publically declaration, but in their attachment to religious institutions. If this trend continues, we can see soon our Daham Pasala also will be corrupted by these kind of narrow minded selfish idea. If we reached to such extend … How many of us ready to seed the poison in our innocent young kids?

  20. welaya on February 19th, 2013 8:19 pm

    Carrying Buddhist flags doesn’t make you a Buddhist. The monks who are promoting this insanity should be sent to prison. Racism is nothing but a crime against humanity.

  21. Jehan on February 19th, 2013 11:03 pm

    When I read the comments what I understood was, No one understand the story behind the situation. No one need to make issues. But when there is something bad happened to Sinhalese community, and they want express their unhappy it always defined as racist movement. If you ever live in muslim community, indeed they are do ‘only’ for them.
    Since Bhudda ask for peace way and tolarance Muslims take it as a reason to point that Monks should be in temples and not interfear with such things. Though I don’t support BBS they are the only people came out to point out what sinhalese loosing as by giving others rights. Sri Lanka is not a multi cultural country. It is a hoax spread reasently. As Islam ment Peace though it says ‘total submission’!
    The Halal is also the same thing. Tell me how you expect all other SL people to eat halal foods when it really want by Muslims? It doesn’t matter their %. Not only Sinhalese but as a Tamil also need that right! If Muslims need it, they ust pay additional cost to buy halal ingredients for them. That is simple maths!
    I bet any Muslim wont answer this.. tell me pal.. where in the quran ask to form such committee and collect mney fro certificate?
    And also the letting eat halal for non-muslims is very much like, Muslims ask to pray over the air by loudspeakers in the early morning by getting up non muslims also! and if when one protest it, they claim it is good to get up early morning!
    It is up to you to decide your brain is there or not.

  22. Fara on February 20th, 2013 8:24 pm

    After reading all the expressions of shock and sadness as to what is happening to this country of ours I read Jehan’s position and I can only shake my head. I can only tell you, Jehan, please read all the comments above from your fellow buddhists and Sinhalese and try to see what your thinking is missing. Halal means “clean” and “permitted.”
    You are saying that as a good buddhist you should not eat the clean and the permitted. as for ACJU charging a fee why is that nobody understands that despite all the religion behind it halal is a marketing tool. Manufacturers want it on their goods not because they are respecting Muslims’ religious feelings alone, no? They want Muslims to buy their products. And why are they not charging Muslims extra for it ? Because the cost is negligible. My point is that there is really no substantial issue here at all. In a country where we have so many problems why is this an issue. Our issues about the rising cost of living the breakdown of our education system, the breakdown of law and order, these are our issues, yes? Surely not the label on the biscuit packet? As for the call to prayers in the early morning – that has been done away with no? So why an issue? I am glad that you dont support the BBS Jehan but how are the Sinhalese losing to Muslims who are only 10% of the population?
    If its about population increase, maybe as I heared a Muslim state recently maybe the state should give incentives for the Sinhalese to increase their family size? And provide jobs for them and schooling for them and housing for them and land for them and all the rest of it. Please broaden your mind a little bit. The Muslims are the least of this country’s problems.

  23. TrueLankan on February 20th, 2013 9:01 pm


    you have to study Buddhism first and study other religion
    Most of Sri Lankan sinhalese are good, BBS like racist only destroy the country
    these type of racist first destroyed cultures and traditions of Veddas
    then Tamils
    now started with Muslims
    next they will start with Christians
    Nice, these are teachings got from loard buddha
    Racist going to isolate one and only sinhala country from the world and destroy beauti of our Country

  24. deepthi on February 23rd, 2013 12:21 am

    The BBS is making an issue out of a non issue. The result would be a divided Sri Lanka and Chaos. Stop is insanity by any means before they shed this lovely and peaceful island in to bits.

  25. Prasa on February 23rd, 2013 11:33 am

    There is a right to use “Hala” for Muslim community in Sri Lanka and there is no doubt it. The issue is this Halal certification came up in year 2000 as request made by 3000 members of ACJU. but just before all muslims in Sri Lanka buy food and services which were not marked as Halal.

    ACJU recently announced in there media conference that Halal should be sold only for Muslims and separated process for Non- Muslims.

    This has to be done by ACJU when they started this certification in Year 2000, because of this mistake it has been an advantage of the people who wanted to protest against it.

    When you introduced any certificate related to any religion it can become an issue in multicultural soceity and If ACJU wants to issue this certificate they had to issue it free of charge.

    and the funds making through this certificate will be used for development of Muslim community. This is also a good point those who protest against Halal.

    Therefore, 50% of this issue has to be taken by ACJU as they have not comminicated properly this among the Sri Lankan.

    There was a protect against Jewish products(Fanta, Coca Cola) in Galle by Muslims Young community and I believe if they have a rights to protest against Jewish products there should be a rights to protest against “Halal” for non- Muslims if they do not want to buy it but extremism is not acceptable

  26. Appuhamy on February 28th, 2013 7:20 pm

    I am ashamed to call myself Sri Lankan when I see these “kalawedda” politicians and thugs in robes trying to create another ethnic conflict in our beloved motherland Sri Lanka. I wonder sometimes if there’s a hidden hand fanning the flames of ethnic violence in Sri Lanka. Since the end of the Eelam war against terrorism, the “International war mongers” have lost a very lucrative market – and this must be one of their strategies to create another war in our peaceful country once again. The Sri Lankan government must immeiately stomp out these elements and ensure that all Sri Lankans feel they are part of the Sri Lankan community – whether Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay anbd any other citizens of our country. As a Buddhist, I believe in religious toletance which our Lord Buddha himself has preached. Its high time for a “Dharma Sangayanawa” to weed out these rogue monks and chase them out of the “Buddha Sasanaya”!

  27. Rachi on March 2nd, 2013 1:52 pm

    They are the biggest racists in this country. The whole world watch these issues from the right beginning, It's pretty transparent who is "Right"and who is "Wrong". There is only one thing which had prompted these monks to attack these Muslims is "Jealous". Because Muslims are having a good wealthy life in this country although they are minority in this country. Why they want to take this Halal certification as an issue? Please try to study about “Islam”and the meaning of Halal! According to BBS’s statements, it clearly shows they are not only bothering about Halal and it talks about mainly ruining the Muslim Community in Sri Lanka. What harm the Muslims did to Sinhalese OR to any other communities in Sri Lanka. They are peace lovers and they have never made any trouble with Other Non-Muslim Communities. If I tell you this, some of the Sinhalese would say they are “Cunning’. I know that this word comes from their mouth since they can not prove that the Muslims are wrong. But Brothers please think positively before making comments on other religions, specifically on Muslims. Have you ever thought, why these BBS boycotting No-Limit and Fashion Bug? What harm they have done to Sinhalese Community? It’s simply because they are Muslims and they are No.1 clothing dealers in Sri lanka. Purely “Jealous” Nothing else.

  28. Akhmed on March 16th, 2013 12:39 am

    Although I am not a Srilankan by nationality.I was born and brought up there and spend the best years of my life there.The nation has already payed a huge price in the past 28 years ,and the sons and daughters of sri lanka have laid down their lives to make a better future.irelletive of therir religon,cast or creed.If we try to create a conflict, we will be spitting on their graves…

    WAKE UP, dont be fooled by these narrow minded extremists and work to gether to build a prosperous country.

    one that all our children can live hapily in….

    “”its an utter joke if one man has a problem with the food another man wants to eat”..if the muslimsare a threat then tell us how…….

  29. Firdous on March 17th, 2013 2:22 pm

    Though this kind of incidents deliberately planed demonstration against their own minority community, it is essential that the intelligent layman in the non- Islamic community correctly identify the fact. I believe that Jamiyathul Ulamah has done the job some level but I urge they have to continue their work in a peaceful way as done in the recent past. An important barrier to non-Muslim community understanding is the widespread lack of information regarding Islam and its teaching. Lack information leads to misunderstandings and prejudices which in their turn leads to bitterness. Out of bitterness come tensions, national and international. It is essential that Jamiyathul Ulamh , interlectual and laymen become aware that the richness of cultural and intellectual traditions is viewed with respect and admiration by non Muslim communities . The cause of inter- community harmony urgently requires that bridges of appreciation be built between non-Islamic and Islamic communities.

  30. nasrulla on March 27th, 2013 2:45 pm

    this is sinhala country that is true but sri lanka gives equal right to all religion. no one can blame to other religious people.

  31. kevin on April 14th, 2013 12:30 pm


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  35. Methew on August 13th, 2013 4:44 pm

    Most of the Buddhist Monks are acting very rudely. Even though they preach about
    loving each other, they do not follow any teaching of Buddha .

    They are just like beasts.

  36. sachini on December 17th, 2014 7:49 pm

    In Sri Lanka majority people are buddhists and Sri Lanka is also a Buddhist country.This is a peaceful country.But in this peaceful country some muslim people have become a big problem to other religions. Most of the people in Sri lanka follows our sri lankan culture.But sometimes muslims they try to bring their cultures into sri lanka and for others by insulting their cultures.If they want to do so they are mostly welcome to leave Sri lanka because this is not Saudi Arabia.First of all they should respect our culture and other religions because they are also sri lankans.

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