Mangala hits back against Asgiriya chief monk’s call to ‘stone Muslims’

Thursday, 20 June 2019 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



  • Finance Minister urges ‘true’ Buddhists to unite against ‘Talibanisation’ of Buddhism
  • Chief Prelate warns of Muslim shops allegedly trying to sterilise Sinhalese
  •  Ven. Gnanarathana says he agrees with female devotees that Kurunegala doctor should be stoned to death

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday hit back at controversial and racially charged comments made by one of the top Buddhist monks in the country against the Muslim community, calling on ‘true Buddhists’ to unite against the Talibanisation of the philosophy. 

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera

Minister Samaraweera, who has spoken out fearlessly against religious extremism targeting minority religious and ethnic groups, even after the devastating Easter Sunday terror attacks and subsequent harassment and persecution targeting the island’s Muslims, tweeted the criticism from his official Twitter handle. 

“True Buddhists must unite NOW against the Talibanisation of our great philosophy of peace and love of all beings. No Buddhist can condone a statement to stone another human being to death, even if it emanates from the robed orders. #lka,” the Minister’s tweet said.  The criticism follows widespread shock across social media after remarks by the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter, Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero, who launched a tirade against Muslims at a temple near the sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy last weekend. 

The Asgiriya chief monk, who is one of two of the most senior Buddhist monks in the island, urged devotees not to patronise Muslim-owned restaurants, saying they were systematically working to reduce the population of Sinhala Buddhists by making them sterile. 

"Don’t eat from those (Muslim) shops," he said. "Those who ate from those shops will not have children in the future. In another 10 to 15 years, we will know the consequence.”

He also referred to a Muslim doctor in Matale, claiming had done destroyed “hundreds of thousands of Sinhalese children”. The Asgiriya chief monk was referring to a doctor from the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital who was arrested after claims police are yet to prove were made, that he performed sterilisations on Sinhalese women without their consent when he performed caesarean sections. 

According to Ven. Gnanarathana Thero, female devotees had wanted the doctor in question stoned. 

"Such traitors should not be allowed to stay free. Some 'upasaka ammas' said he should be stoned to death. I don’t say that, but that is what should be done,” he said. 

The remarks were made in the presence of UNP MP Mayantha Dissanayake, whose own speech had urged Buddhists to be tolerant and not isolate the country’s Muslim community. 

The Asgiriya chief monk made it clear that he disagreed with Dissanayake’s remarks before launching into his own speech against Muslims. 

The monk also claimed that former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa would be the next Presidential Candidate. He urged Dissanayake to cross over and support the SLPP. 

State Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva also made an attempt to criticise the monk’s remarks. “Ven. Asgiriya Maha Nayaka Thero should retract the statement condoning stoning the controversial Muslim doctor to death; also the Thero should advice other priests of the responsibility of wearing the yellow robe,” the state minister said. 

No politician from the SLPP or SLFP factions have so far disavowed the monk’s shocking remarks calling for the stoning of a minority community, or as not representing their own views about the Muslim community.