Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In Sri Lanka, Radical Buddhist Party Stirs Up Anti-Muslim Sentiment

In Sri Lanka, a Buddhist country with a 10% Muslim minority, the radical Buddhist party, Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Strength Force), is stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment. It is calling on the government to ban halal food certification, ban the building of mosques with funds from Middle Eastern countries, and prohibit sending Sri Lankan women to work in the Middle East. Yesterday's Khaleej Times reports that thousands attended an anti-Muslim rally last Sunday. Bodu Bala Sena Secretary Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, claiming that Muslim extremists are threatening the Buddhist race, said: "Hundreds of monks are ready to fight....Our country is a Sinhalese one and we are its unofficial police." He also called for an amendment to the constitution to allow Buddhist men to have seven wives.