Colombo Correspondent, July 9, 2019
In what could be described as an unprecedented event, Sri Lanka’s historic Kandy district Sunday evening saw a mass scale rally organized by the Buddhist nationalist group, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) that was attended by members of the Buddhist clergy, laymen academics, entrepreneurs and many others in diverse social strata, to promote unity among the Sinhalese to usher in a Buddhist led theocracy.
Lambasting the concept of democracy Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero pledged to build a Sinhala Parliament that would enable the Sinhala people to decide policy and laws as they wished to ‘rescue’ the country from what he described wasin an ‘utter helpless state.’
Interestingly the BBS monk who is often described by the international media as anti Muslim made it categorically clear that what he is advocating iscleansing the country of damaging extremist ideologies preached by those who have tarnished traditional Sufi Islam of Sri Lanka with Wahabism, Salafism and Tabliq which encroached the country starting from about fifty years ago with the influence of petro dollars from the new rich Saudi Arabia.
Focusing on political incompetency and Muslim extremism as twin issues part of a large scale problem the monk called for the abolishing of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) which is currently the representatives of the Muslims declaring them to be lobbyists for Wahabism.
Gnanasara Thero maintained that the Government was concentrating only on talking to the ACJU and ignoring the traditional Sufi Muslims of Sri Lanka who are decried by the ACJU.
“Everyone in the entire government today talks only to the Ulama. They do not consider the voices of the Moderate Sufis who have lived in this country for centuries in peace. They need to stop doing this immediately, and start talking with the Sufis. Let the Sufis be put in charge of Islamic affairs,” Gnanasara Thero told the crowds gathered bemoaning that the attendance of the moderate Muslims for the rally was barred by the Ulama organisation in Kandy by “spreading panic about the rally.”
The BBS General Secretary reiterated that all Sufis and traditional Muslims must rally together to save the country from Wahabi extremism.
Making a first if its kind declaration the monk urged the 10,000 total of Buddhist temples in the island to enter politics and contest for elections, stating that even if 7,000 temples join in this endeavor that the face of politics can be changed, insisting that the Buddhist clergy has the capacity to bring together the Sinhala population into one vote block, to elect a party with a clear majority in Parliament.
“We lost this country to the British in 1815 in this district of Kandy and when we wanted to have this event here I was told don’t have it in Kandy, it is a lost city. But I said that it is from the place we lost that we have to rise,” the monk told ardently listening monks and laymen.
He declared that democracy introduced by the British has not worked for Sri Lanka and that even if there was a true leader, he would find it difficult to put in place a strong set of policies because the democracy system does not allow for this. But he vowed to build a new ‘Sinhala Parliament,’ and a Sinhala governance administration as in the days of the Kings of yore which accommodated all non Buddhist Muslim settlers to the island, insisting that it is the only recipe for peace.
“We Buddhist priests should come together putting aside our differences. We need Buddhist unity to pull this country out of this mess that these politicians have put us in for seventy years,” the BBS chief said.
Stating that he has the Maha Nayakas’ blessings to unify Sri Lanka, the event elaborately organized by the BBS saw the extensive presentation of policy content with regard to aspects such as economic development, entrepreneurship, education and health. Presentations were given by several academics.
”This country is now divided and fighting each other and petty politics is the order of the day. What we want to do is unite this nation where everyone can live in peace and where development and education is not dictated by the West. The Maha Nayakas and Sanga Councils (Buddhist clergy hierarchy) have blessed what we are doing.”
He called on the monks attending the rally to join the cause of ‘uniting the Sinhala race,’ stating that they are the community who have been targeted the 21 April ISIS styled terrorists attacks.
“The only solution for this country is the following of the Buddha. Let us make a pledge today, that our leader is Lord Buddha and no one else,” Gnanasara Thero said and denied any political affiliation insisting that their only agenda is the national agenda to save the country from seventy years of post colonial political mishandling by consecutive Lankan leaders.