The Sunday Leader

BBS Turns Towards The Economy

  • Islamic banking system, if implemented, will spell economic disaster says BBS

By Ashanthi Warunasuriya

A osque

One of the major topics of discussion today is whether or not Sri Lanka needs a religious banking system. The Sinhala Buddhist extremist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) first voiced concern over this issue by sending a letter to the Auditor General giving reasons why such a banking system should not be introduced in the country.

The BBS letter made it clear they had received information of an attempt to obtain a loan to the extent of US$ 1 billion in order to stave off the economic decline the country is facing at present. The loan, the letter states, will be given subject to Sri Lanka agreeing to introduce and implement the Islamic Banking System in the country. The letter further states that initial steps in this regard have already been taken.

BBS Chief Executive Officer, Dilantha Vithanage says the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) that have ruled the country since Independence should take responsibility for putting the country into the grave economic decline we are witnessing today. Therefore, they must not drag the country into further chaos by introducing a religious banking system, he says.

Vithanage said the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka had visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and fulfilled preliminary conditions to obtain a loan from its Islamic Development Bank to the extent of US$ 1 billion. The BBS Chief Executive further said Saudi authorities have put forward terms and conditions in order to grant the loan, one of them being that the domestic banking system be changed in accordance with Sharia banking law. If that happens, the country will face major issues in the future, Vithanage said.

The February 26 letter had drawn the attention of President Maithripala Sirisena resulting in the Presidential Office seeking clarification from the Secretary of the Ministry of National Policy and Economic Affairs, W.I. M. Ranjith, as to whether the Ministry has taken any steps to implement a religious banking system in the country. The Presidential Office has also instructed the Ministry to submit a report on the BBS claim within two weeks.

“Wahhabism, the official religion of Saudi Arabia, is an extremely virulent, narrow and militant interpretation of Islam. Over the last few decades, Saudi Arabia has spent more than US$ 100 billion on spreading Wahhabism to all corners of the globe,” Vithanage said. He said thousands of mosques, seminaries, universities, schools, and community centres have been built, while thousands of preachers, teachers, and activists have been educated, trained, and dispatched across the world along with Wahhabism approved text books and literature. The BBS said according to M.C.A. Hameed, President of the All Ceylon Thareekathul Mufliheen, a Sufi order whose name means ‘path of the fearless victorious,’ Sri Lankan Muslims began to seek employment in Saudi Arabia, and many young Sri Lankan Muslims were awarded scholarships by Saudi Universities. Those who completed their studies returned to Sri Lanka and propagated the ideology of Wahhabism. To pursue their goal, the sect resorted to violence: intimidation, killing and destruction. The All Ceylon Thareekathul Mufliheen was not spared and had to face many hardships.

Security experts are increasingly pointing fingers at the Wahhabi ideology that is being aggressively exported by Saudi Arabia as the single biggest cause for spreading extremism in the world. Unquestionably, the Saudi-Wahhabi nexus has become the greatest single threat to peace and stability in the world today. Across Sri Lanka, religious terror has been correspondingly radicalised. The tolerant Sufi Muslims have been overtaken by the rise of the more hardline and politicised Wahhabism. Sri Lankan cricketers were ambushed in Lahore by armed Wahhabi Jihadists, the BBS said quoting the president of the said association.

The BBS also pointed out that the Indian Express newspaper had reported that Wahhabism had infiltrated Sri Lanka. Almost all the staff members in the Muslim Section of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC), it is alleged, are followers of Wahhabism, and they use State property to propagate the religion. Those who are against this new development drew attention to the arson attack carried out by Wahhabism followers on the Thareekathul Mufliheen Meditation Centre at Kattankudy a few years back. The Urban Council in Kattankudy had ordered the dismantling of the Centre and declared it an unethical structure on December 12, 2006.

The Sunday Leader made several attempts to contact Minister Kabir Hashim in this regard, but failed. The newspaper also sought comments from several chief executives of Muslim banks in Sri Lanka who refused to comment. The Acting Commissioner of the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs also refused to comment on this issue.


8 Comments for “BBS Turns Towards The Economy”

  1. Sumaiyya Ahamed

    What a travesty – Now Priests are trying to debate on High Finance.

  2. Anderey

    Famous saying of Deng Xiao Ping “It does not matter the cat is black or white so long it catches mice”

    Like wise it does not matter what label is attached for money lending so long people are not exploited.

    Ask small businessman and many poor people in slums, when they are in need of cash , who lend them money? It comes from old aunties , underground world bosses and possibly even monks giving out money at very very high interest rates. Nothing less than 10% per month.

    If the Shariah banks are worse than these illegal money lenders, then our Government should not give them the license to operate.

    We should not let racist monks who has political agenda to interfere in legal commercial activities of the country. It is possible these rowdy monks doing a favor to all the illegal money lenders by blocking legitimate business.


  3. Gobba

    Islamic Banking under Sharia terms and conditions have been in existence in Sri Lanka for a long time now and even leading Sri lankan banks have established Islamic Banking Units. So it is surprising that the BBS is now racking up this issue as if this is just ABOUT TO HAPPEN in Sri Lanka.. The Poli mudalalis who see a threat in the Islamic banking system are surely behind this BBS move and it is the Sinhala Buddhist who MOSTLY line up to avail the Poli Mudalali’s services.

  4. Under the caption “Sunday Leader” you write “Unbowed and Unafraid”. In fact we like your fair and true news, but little advice I like to give is when your journalist or contributors touch sensitive issues of religion see they write the truth after doing little research.

    Now this writer has written Wahabism as the official religion of Saudi Arabia and this is 100% wrong. Saudi Arabia is the birth place of Islam and their official religion is Islam. They follow strictly Quran and Sunna (teaching of prophet). Wahbism is not a religious sect like shiya, Ahmadia etc but it is the original teaching of Islam. To tell you shortly during Mr. Wahab’s time so many innovations, new teaching and ceremonies by religious leaders purely for money making, controlling people and expanding their sects were many and thislearned and pious man protested, took up to the highest authorities who were Kings at that time and this lead to bringing back pure Islam. Now west and innovators branded this as Wahabism.

    Even in Sri Lanka pure Buddhism is not followed and what priest preaches is followed. Like prophet Muhammed Lord Buddha never said to worship him. Prophet Muhammed never said to worship him, to celeberate his birthday or to do anything taking him as a creator. The difference between lord Buddha and him was while he said there is a creator (god) lord Buddha did not say there is a god and a person only attain peace by restraining from doing bad things. Now imagine if a true follower of lord Buddha protest about the innovations and brings true teaching of lord Buddha. Definitely he will branded by his name by the priest (who will loose commanding positions) and their followers.


  5. Ibn Yusuf

    The BBS is just scaremongering the public in Sri Lanka. From where did they get the statistics of the thousands and thousands and thousands. From where did they compile these figures. There is no religious banking in Sri Lanka though it is called Islamic Banking. It is in fact a system devised purely to ensure that it does not violate Shariah in terms of interest and gambling. No one is forced or compelled to deal with such banks. All Ceylon Thareekathul Mufliheen is a bankrupt body that is fast losing face in Sri Lanka and operates and functions purely for the pecuniary benefits of its adherents. It has nothing to do with Sufism but more to do with feasting. Most of its adherents are involved in rackets and malpractices and use the movement as a tool to placate their religious conscience

  6. sufilankan

    country is heading from wrong to right path. in future people will feel the good atmosphere of harmony. MAY GOD SHOULD SAVE SRI LAKA FROM THIS BBS extremism. Every Lankan will see very soon. this BBS creates another extremism act against the all communities of UNITED ISLAND OF SRI LANKA (UISL). they wanted instead of building Buddhism wanted to destroy it.

  7. Marwan

    BBS monks should stick to what they know best, and that is preaching Buddhism. Let the economists and monetary boards decide on the best form of benefits the country can gain by legitimate means without violating its core principles. Islamic banking has come to stay, and it is one way of attracting Arab oil rich wealth, free of interest into our country. Dilantha has got his ‘knickers in a twist’. He is bringing in confusion to survive as his usually his main strategy to dumbfound and confuse the general public. Mixing Wahabism with Sharia compliant Islamic Banking together as coming from same source. Islamic Banking is headquartered in Malaysia and is a great success around the developed world. If Sri Lanka doesn’t want it, then it is they who lose, not the interest free but profit or loss sharing Islamic Banking System .

  8. Rev. Gnanassara

    The govt. should close down all Islamic banks and confiscate their funds and provide them to Sinhala Budhist businessmen to carry out their businesses.

    We do not want any finance from Thumby Muslim countries.

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