The Real Enemy is Complacency
The following post arrived on my Facebook feed this morning. Thanks to my friend Jojo for posting it.
Of course Jojo had to ask how I would respond to the article he links to. Well, respond I will. It won’t be as eloquent as the author, Nayomi Munaweera, a liberal author, and frequent blogger at Huffington Post. Please do yourself a favour and read the article before continuing.
Now, I am not an expert on Buddhism. For the purpose of this article I don’t need to be. I don’t need to be a scholar on Christianity, Islam, Judaism or any other religion or philosophical belief system. The only thing I need to know is the definition of “fundamentalism”.
Fundamentalism (noun) 1. A form of a religion, especially Islam or Protestant Christianity, that upholds belief in the strict, literal interpretation of scripture: there was religious pluralism there at a time when the rest of Europe was torn by fundamentalism
What Ms. Munaweera doesn’t mention in her article is the full name of the Sinhala Buddhists. It is Sinhala Buddhist Nationalists. This group, while following the tenets of Therevada Buddhism, is more a political movement than a religious or philosophical one. There is nothing fundamentalist about Therevada Buddhism, at least not in accordance with the definition of fundamentalism. So what is the issue in Sri Lanka?
The Sinhala Buddhist Nationalists more identify with the definition of radicals.
Since Buddhism has, as one of its core ethics, To refrain from taking life (non-violence towards sentient life forms), or ahimsā;1 , We need to question how Ms. Munaweera arrives at her conclusion that the problem in Sri Lanka is Fundamentalist Buddhists. Indeed, a Fundamentalist Buddhist would be non-violent to the extreme. So what is the REAL issue?
People seem to be shocked that Buddhist Monks are leading rallies and inciting violence. Since the actual problem is a group called the Sinhala Buddhist Nationalists, the problem is more a political one than a religious one. Personally, I find the problem to be interlopers in an historically Buddhist country, be they Muslim or Christian. We are, in North America, facing the exact same issues. The difference is, we are allowing it to happen and not forcing our leaders to stand up for us. It seems pacifists are much more able to stand up for themselves than we are. the very fact that the Bodhu Bala Sena (Buddha Power Force) exists proves this is not about religion, but about political power, and perhaps about saving a country from its own liberal leaders, against an interloping immigrant religion. A religion, by the way, that is being fought in its own place of origin because of its intolerance and backwards beliefs. Should the Buddhists sit back, in Buddhist fashion, and simply allow radical Islamism to wipe them out as is the Islamist plan for all infidels?
Sri Lankan civil wars have been raging for decades since its declared independence from Britain in 1948. While the combatants were historically Buddhist v. Hindu, the wars had more to do with the official language than religion. The wars, in other words, were being fought by people of different religions, but they weren’t about religion. It is only since about the year 2000 that civil strife in Sri Lanka have been about religion.2
Face it, 74% of the country is Sinhalese Buddhists, and 12% Tamil Hindus, with the rest made up off immigrant religions, such as Christians and Muslims. Within the Buddhist realm there are, of course, internal conflicts between various leaders, all seeking power and riches. They seek notoriety based on their positions on religious minorities. I find it hard to believe that Muslims in Sri Lanka are any less fundamentalist than Muslims in any other country are. So while they make a good target for these battling buddhists, the battle has, once again, nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with political positioning.
One thing that strikes me is, using the excuse that religious minorities are a threat to their way of life, these monks will gain power by limiting the growth of these communities. Why then, do we sit here simply waiting for religious minorities to move in and remove the rights we have held dear for CENTURIES? Unlike the Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalists, our leaders are more content to seek favour with the religious minorities than from majority.
None of this really has anything to do with religion, even in Canada. It has everything to do with a way of life being challenged. Will we have a leader who finally says “enough is enough?” Will fundamentalist religious minorities, with radical leaders fight back when our leaders finally pass legislation protecting our historic and traditional way of life? Will it be called a religious dispute? Will those standing up for the majority be called fundamentalists?
In any conflict, there will be numerous motivations for the existence of the conflict. Some will definitely be political, others religious, and yet others will be of a more fiscal nature. Regardless, it will start from a fundamental belief that a way of life, and tradition is being threatened by an interloper. In the case of Sri Lanka the interlopers are Christians and Muslims. In the case of Canada the threatening minority is Muslims.
In Canada’s case, practitioners of Islam are taught, as in the case of the school in Toronto, to hate Jews and any other infidels. When investigated, the teachings are deemed concerning but not illegal. This is an example of the government either pandering or failing to act out of fear of the repercussions. Are they afraid of fundamentalist Islam or of radicals? I would say both, except I don’t think there is any such thing as fundamentalist Islam. Muslims who don’t follow the teachings of the prophet to a ‘t’ are not truly Muslims. This is evidenced by the fact that those practicing the teachings to a ‘t’ have no problem cutting off the heads of any they feel aren’t truly Muslim. Regardless, the government doesn’t fear an uprising of Jews or Christians. Empirical evidence exits, either in media, or social media proving the government will do anything it can to pacify Muslims to the detriment of all else.
So when the government fails to protect the people of Canada from having our way of life destroyed by an immigrant religion, will anyone stand up for us? Will the religious leaders start a civil war? If they do will they be touted, by the likes of Huffington Post bloggers as fundamentalists? I can almost guarantee any fight will be socially, politically, and ideologically based. I highly doubt anyone will be able to call it a religious war, but a war being fought by members of distinct religions.
Of course, left wing bloggers, regardless of the reasons for the dispute, will find some way of making the situation unfair to the minority while demonizing the majority. It won’t matter that their arguments aren’t actually based in fact. All that will matter is making the immigrant interlopers into the victim. This is precisely what Munaweera is doing in this article and the other articles she has submitted on Huffington Post. She does, much like many left wing supporters here do, point out that she is a member of the Sinhala Buddhist religion. She then goes on to slam the leaders of the religion and call them “fundamentalists.” This is in line with leftist Christians, or Jews who stand up for terrorists and Islamic nations when said nations are guilty of the most grave human rights abuses. They don’t let facts mar a good left wing demonstration.