The Sunday Leader

Gnanasara Thero Reignites Anti-Muslim Sentiments

by Easwaran Rutnam

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero has reignited anti-Muslim sentiments after he warned that another “Aluthgama” was in the offing.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka wrote a letter to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujitha Jayasundara while a group of Muslim lawyers filed a complaint at the police headquarters last week accusing Gnanasara Thero of attempting to incite violence against Muslims through a speech he had made in Mahiyanganaya.

Attorney-at-law Shiraz Noordeen said that three complaints were filed at police headquarters against Gnanasara Thero.

Now extremist Buddhist groups have begun thrashing the Muslim Council and the Muslim lawyers through social media.

This has resulted in a social media war between Muslim groups and Buddhist groups which is posing a threat to reconciliation efforts in the country.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka last week wrote to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara saying BBS General Secretary the Venerable Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero had threatened a repeat of the Aluthgama violence against the Muslim community, during a speech he made in Mahiyangana on 23 June.

President of the Muslim Council N M Ameen said in the letter that the Venerable Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero had also threatened the police in his speech.

Together with the letter to the IGP, Ameen also enclosed a DVD containing the speech made by Gnanasara Thero in Mahiyangana.

“As you are aware, two years ago on the 15thof June 2014, Ven. GnanasaraThero incited the people of Kalutara district to cause violence, death and destruction to the Muslims of Aluthgama and Beruwela. The rioting caused the death of two persons, destroyed house and property and inflicted damages to businesses worth billions of rupees. The repeated calls by the Muslim community for a commission of inquiry and punish the perpetrators have fallen on deaf ears. Two years on, Ven. Gnanasara Thero is proudly claiming that he will repeat Aluthgama in Mahiyangana,” Ameen said in the latter.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka called on the IGP to immediately initiate an inquiry against the said threat and take necessary police action against the provocation to violence.

The Muslim Council also called on the IGP to conduct an inquiry on the Aluthgama riots against the Muslims and take necessary police action against the perpetrators.

When contacted by The Sunday Leader, Ameen said that he was yet to receive a response from the police to his complaint.

 

Gnanasara Defiant

Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero rejected the allegation that he had made statements against Muslims in the country.

He told The Sunday Leader the Muslim Council had misinterpreted his speech and  they must “go to Angoda.”

The monk later made an even more blasphemous comment on social media where he told the Muslim Council to send the letter they sent to the IGP to Prophet Muhammad.

Gnanasara Thero said he was not scared even of the letter was sent to Prophet Muhammad and insisted that Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese Buddhists.

“This is not Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or the UAE,” he said.

He said Muslims cannot teach monks about reconciliation or co-existence and if they confront Buddhists then Buddhists are ready to respond accordingly.

Noordeen said the threats made by Gnanasara Thero was raised with the police in the complaint filed last week.

He said that one complaint pertained to a threat made to the police through Gnanasara Thero’s speech including a warning to free some suspects arrested by the police.

Another complaint was over the statement made by Gnanasara Thero on social media where he had said that the letter sent to the IGP by the Muslim Council should be sent to Prophet Muhammad.

Noordeen said they expect the IGP to launch a comprehensive investigation on the allegations raised against Gnanasara Thero and take appropriate legal action.Meanwhile the Muslim Ulama Party condemned the failure of the government to take action against Gnanasara Thero.Gnanasara Thero earlier told The Sunday Leader that a group of Muslims had recently set fire to a Buddhist flag and Muslim groups were silent over that incident.

The Muslim Ulama Party said the Muslim community in Sri Lanka did not condone the action and had called for the arrest of the youth involved in the incident.However, the Muslim Ulama Party said that ordinary Muslims have now been targeted over that incident and so the government must act swiftly to arrest the situation.

Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera was freed on bail in February over another incident where violent behaviour was on show.

Gnanasara Thero was granted bail today by the Homagama Magistrate in connection to the case involving the alleged threat made to Sandhya Eknaligoda, the wife of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda.

Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera was initially granted bail by the Homagama Magistrate over contempt of court charges.However he was remanded for allegedly threatening Sandhya Eknaligoda but was released in February.Last year cabinet had approved a proposal to the amendment the Penal Code to prevent hate speech.

The government had said that in the past decades instigation on communal basis, hate speech focusing various religious and ethnic groups and related printed material have caused in breach of communal harmony.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) had recommended that laws should be enacted and empowered for prevention of such behaviour.

Accordingly, a proposal made by Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, Minister of Justice, to make suitable amendments to the Penal Code, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.However local civil society had in December expressed deep concerns about two Bills tabled in Parliament to criminalise hate speech and the instigation of communal violence and disharmony.

One such Bill tabled was an amendment to the Penal Code which creates the new offence of “causing of or instigating acts of violence, hostility…” which is punishable by imprisonment of upto two years. The other Bill is an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure which provides for the conditions necessary for the initiation of prosecutions for the new offence.Civil society had said the new offence under the Penal Code was particularly problematic as it is a near verbatim reproduction of the language in Section 2(1) (h) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Civil society noted that the offence as provided in the Bill at the time was overbroad and general, and was not a permissible restriction in relation to the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution and by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).Furthermore, they said the proposed amendment, if enacted, could lead to a culture of self-censorship and perpetuate a chilling effect on free speech.

 

17 Comments for “Gnanasara Thero Reignites Anti-Muslim Sentiments”

  1. Anton

    Dear Thero mind your own work.or go to hell.

  2. rabna

    how many of u know BBS is run by Tamil espora

  3. Jamalji

    The enacted bill and proposed amendment will not serve any purpose. Muslims should take remedial actions to counter the threat. In fact, Muslims are cause for the present state of affairs. Part of the country is looked like Saudi Arabia. Women wear dress like Arabian women. Houses are turned into mosques which are made as masterpiece with Arabian funds. From President to Police stations had offered Ifthar at the expense of Sinhalese public. Did Muslims ask for this ? There is no reciprocation from Muslims during Wesak. Arab university and educational institutions had cropped up with Arabian funds. Tamils got away from Majority with separate homeland policy. Muslims is showing that they are separate entity with their dress. In 1990 , Muslim Moulavi teachers attended schools with saris and no head cover. Today, Doctors in hospitals are with dirty black dress. Muslim women are brainwashed . Prophet said Muslims should take all endeavors in their country where they are minority to turn into a Muslim state with sharia rules in force. It appears that Ven Gnanssira has conquered the hearts of majority.

  4. Sangaralingham

    All individuals uttering hate speeches must be detained and questioned. They may be carry religious titles or other titles belong to a race religion. But whoever they may must be questioned by judiciary to rule out mental disorder psychopathic tendency assessed by psychiatrist being detained in mental institute or if sane and sound voicing hate speech contravene the law justice must be servrd

  5. Lima

    THIS IS THE FINAL WARNING TO THIS WAL BALU SENA AND PARA BALU GNANA TO STOP THE RACISM. BUDDHISM IS NOT RACISM . THIS WAL BALLA IS NOT A BUDDHIST. HE IS ACTING FROM THE MONEY HE GET FROM THEIR SPONSORS OF VIOLENCE. BLOODSHED TO BE STARTED ON THE OFFING. WE ASK PRES MS AND PM RANIL TO PUT A FULL STOP TO THIS WAL BALU SENA AND PARA BALU GNANA. IF NOT IT IS THE FINAL COUNT DOWN OF SRI LANKA

  6. Waiting to see what this no-nonsense, upright, politically unservile IGP will do against this open incitement to violence against communal harmony among the Sri Lankans

    John

  7. Ricky

    As long as you and other media give prominence to this mad man, he will act in a manner unbecoming of a monk and use his position to create division among faiths and race.

  8. SHM

    There are millions of our Sri Lankans of all faith working in Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf countries holding good positions without any discrimination of their faith..And five times of that number are living as their dependents and having a comfortable life. I hope these shortsighted speeches should not upset the good relations our country is enjoying with those. It is also on record that Gulf countries have contributed large sum of financial aids to our country for various developments. Unlike Western countries these are without any string tied to it. Absolute aid and not loan. Those who are criticizing these countries can get a first hand opinion of them from the Sinhalese Buddhists working there for decades. Please don’t kill the hen that is laying golden eggs. May sanity prevail. Let us all coexist as Sri Lankans leaving our faith aside. Let’s contribute our country’s progress without taking it back with new conflict. The thirty years of agony we suffered is enough and we don’t want any more please! Conquer hate with love! Long live Sri Lanka!

  9. Yasin

    Nip in the bud should be the motto. Ignorance will only ferment the poison brew
    and delay will cause enlargement of the issue. Gnassara has proved himself a thug in monks clothing.
    I do not know of any other flags except our national flag.
    If, as reported, that a Muslim has has set fire to a “Buddhist” flag the police must
    get deep into investigate the issue and arrest and severe punishment meted out to the perpetrator.
    Racial hatred is a sticky issue and must be dealt severely and enlarging the issue
    like Gnassara is an equally punishable offence.
    The Police under the able administration of the recently appointed IG and the defence forces must unite to prevent any racial issue from getting out of hand.

  10. gabriella

    This guy Gnanasara looks to be extremely well fed for a Buddhist monk. Obviously the Dalai Lama was misinformed when he said: “Most Buddhist monks don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

    Why is this clown referred to as Venerable ? I am sure most Buddhists’ would be mortified to have him as a representative of a peaceful and tolerant philosophy.

  11. Mohana Prabath

    this bugger must be killed.

  12. Sylvia Haik

    We need Gnanasera Thera’s sentiments like we need a hole in the head. Surely the sentiments expressed in his speeches has to be violating the bail conditions or is he subject toa different set of rules?.

  13. wimal

    You bare disgrace to the so called buddhist community,you are women and whisky in your room,you paraya bastard,your penis should be chopped off and you should be bodily thrown to the kalu ganga and nevefr to be found
    we curse you jadaya monk

  14. singing fish

    The muslims,should think twice the reason for the problem arises with the BBS and also with a sizeable amount of tamils.Muslims are chameleons,what ever goverment come to power they support it and get the maximum profit.Many of the muslim politicians work only for their community,forgetting that they must do their work irrespective of the faith.For example,recently the minister of water board and drainage Mr.Hakeem,appointed 259 persons in the east for some jobs,out of this 227 are muslims,20 sinhalese and two tamils.Are these appointments are according to merit?The prime minister and the president turn a blind eye towards the activities of these fanatics.Also the TNA is infested with fools who never fight for the rights of tamils.In the east there are politicians in the TNA,who are like donkeys bending their heads for all the activities of these racists including the members of the provincial council.This not a racial comment,but are the real facts.Any one who want to verify see how much of money were allocated to areas occupied by muslims,tamils and sinhalese after the present president of the east took over.

  15. P.Sooriaperuma

    Venereal Gnansara Thero is another Somarama Thero. His is the Sri Lanka face of Buddhist terrorism. Buddha said “Let all beings be happy.” The well fed Thero should eat less and desist from speaking in foul and inflammatory language..The ordinary people of this country is struggling have one square meal and there are several deaths in police custody. He should be preaching non violence and should not make inflammatory and hate speeches. The impotent ex-minister G.L .Peris said that U.K. was a failed state. I think that he wanted to say Sri Lanka but due to old age mentioned UK. Have you all forgotten that the police and security forces looked the other way when the hooligans went on rampage killing ,looting and burning in July 1983.?

  16. mr Gnanasana was wanted criminal why this criminal are wearing ,offering Buddhist uniform ,he was cause for Muslim temple was damage why he was not given jail term

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