My life is under threat
BY PANCHAMEE HEWAVISSENTI (Ceylon Today)
This monk quotes a verse from Quran out of context to justify his hatred towards Muslims. The verse is in the penultimate paragraph of this interview. -TW
In an interview with Ceylon Today, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara said several recent incidents have compelled him to live in hiding as there is an attempt to assassinate him after arrest. The Thera further said he had to keep changing his hideouts for the protection of his life as he has hardly any faith in the government to protect his life. “Several unidentified people were loitering around my temple in Rajagiriya a couple of days ago. On inquiry, they replied that they were on a mission to apprehend narcotic dealers who were passing by the temple. I have been surreptitiously observing them for over an hour, but they did not seem to stop any vehicle passing along the road. I observed them looking around the neighbourhood of the temple,” he said. He further said he could sense danger in the manner they behaved and he immediately left the temple and is in hiding at present.
Commenting on the destruction of Buddhist archaeological sites by Muslim settlers in areas which were widely spoken about in Parliament this week, he said Muslims hardly possess any cultural or archaeological values and they attempt to deprive other communities of their lofty traditions out of malice. The Thera also mentioned that Buddhists and Hindus are being converted to Islam by offering financial support, marriage and various other material benefits. He reiterated during the interview that BBS has no malice against Hindus. “Buddhists and Hindus are culturally interrelated and both religions share similar values. When Hindus face injustice, BBS is prepared to speak for them,” he said. The Thera added that BBS has no animosity towards Muslims who moderately practice their religion and those people are in fact not harmful to the coexistence at all. “We are against Muslim extremists who spread Wahabism which is the greatest threat to the existence of non-Islam believers,” the Thera said.
?Your presence was not felt until recently after the change of government. What made you make a sudden comeback?
A: This is not an abrupt comeback. I have been engaging in various endeavours overseas such as in Japan and Korea. I spent a limited time in Sri Lanka and that may be why my presence was not felt in a strong manner as today. Although we remained active and continued to reveal the injustice faced by the majority ethnic community, some media organizations did not support us merely out of malice. When an arrest warrant was issued, they exaggerated the news. They also continue to condemn the BBS in a malignant manner as in the past.
We met President Maithripala Sirisena on several occasions. We discussed in details the destruction of archaeological sites, deforestation at Wilpattu and setting up of illicit Muslim territories, drug and the human trafficking taking place via the settlements in Wilpattu. Unfortunately, the government failed to take action against culprits. Muslim extremism has crept into the administration. The so-called Sinhala Buddhist rulers act according to the whims and fancies of Islam extremists who spread Wahabism. Extremist Muslim politicos in the government are extremely powerful. When the misdeeds of Muslim extremists began to escalate, we too had to rise against them. One may refer to this situation as an abrupt comeback. In fact, we abruptly reacted to the escalating injustice faced by Sinhala Buddhists.
?It was clear that the former regime did not curb BBS and allowed it to function on its own. Why does the government attempt to suppress BBS? Is it due to political animosity because BBS is supporting Mahinda Rajapaksa?
A: I do not agree with it. Repressive measures were applied even by the former regime. Former government plotted to apprehend the Chief Executive Officer of BBS Dilanthe Withanage. It even attempted to ban BBS.
Extremist Muslims were active in the Rajapaksa regime as well. Yet, they were not as powerful as they are today. That is why the repressive measures applied by the government on BBS appear to be severe in comparison to those of the former regime.
?If you are apprehended or surrender to the Police, do you suspect of any plot to assassinate you in the manner that of the underworld figure Samayan was killed?
A: I dare claim that I have no faults. While the Police have fabricated allegations against me for my arrest, various politicos such as C.V. Wigneswaran, Sivajilingam, Vijeyakala Maheswaran, Rauff Hakeem, Rishad Bathiudeen, Azath Salley and the Eastern Provincial councillor Shibly are plotting against me. I dare say the law of the country is partial. It shows the ulterior motives behind the moves to apprehend me. Muslim extremist politicos want to silence me so that they could implement the agenda of Arabian countries to convert Sri Lanka into a Muslim country.
If you take recent incidents, underworld gangsters were killed by the goons clad in Police uniform and Police Officers were killed by drug dealers. How can you provide security to my life? There is a clear threat to my life. President Sirisena was informed by a person in March about an attempt to assassinate me and to create unrest in the country with the intention of destabilizing the government. The person further alleged that some Police Officers might be involved in the plot to assassinate me. When the Police wanted to arrest me at Kurunegala, they did not have a warrant or a valid reason to do so. Moreover, some of the Police Officers were drunk at the time. The arrest warrant was issued on 25 May 2017 stating the reasons. They tried to arrest me in a Muslim area. It aroused my suspicions that they could be killers posing as Police Officers. There have been many political conspiracies and assassinations in this country. Therefore, I believe that there is a plot to assassinate me after apprehending.
?Your contentious remarks against minority communities propelled the idea that you want to be a martyr. Isn’t your hiding contrary to your aggressive behaviour?
A: I dare to be a martyr, but this situation is akin to State terrorism. Muslim extremists in the country have become extremely powerful with the unconditional backing of the government. Muslim extremists were instrumental in bringing the government to power to serve their selfish aims. They are in dire need of getting rid of me. Should I allow that to happen? Although I’m not scared of facing death, I do not want to become a victim of Islamic terrorism.
As a Bhikkhu I strongly believe that I have not committed sins even in my previous births. Those merits will protect me from dangers.
?Do you perceive that Sri Lanka needs a separate court system (Sanghadhikarana) to deal with cases pertaining to Bhikkhus as it is unethical to arrest a Bhikkhu by lay people?
A: Where does it state in the law that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist state? Although Sri Lanka should be one, it is not. I do not think the rulers of this country will think of forming a Sanghadhikarana. It is in fact vital to set up a Sanghadhikarana and appoint a Sanga Raja (Head of the Buddhist monks’ judiciary system) to solve the disciplinary matters pertaining to Bhikkhus.
?You are alleged to have been maintaining links with the Norwegian government. BBS is alleged to be funded by Norway to trigger communal violence in the country. Can you refute such allegations?
A: Yes, I can. Could you cite any instance where the Norwegian Government has funded any Buddhist organization? Sri Lanka is famous for bringing baseless allegations against opponents. People of this country are carried away by rumours easily. Even the leaders are of that nature. This is a rumour created by a group in the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime to tarnish the BBS image. Their intention was to keep people away from BBS and to deprive us of their support.
Has anyone been able to prove the allegation that BBS is funded by the Norwegian Government?
?BBS has alleged that Arab countries are on a mission to make Sri Lanka an Islamic State and Sri Lankan politicians have been beguiled by Muslim politicos to make that happen. Is that true?
A: According to Islam, there is no God other than Allah. The extremists who follow the teachings of the Quran are on a mission to convert the entire world to Islam. It is said the Jihad battle will not be given up until the entire world becomes Muslim. Sri Lanka has already become a victim of that Islamic extremism.
Unfortunately, leaders of this country are reluctant to admit it. BBS warned that there are ISIS members in Sri Lanka. And it has been proved. An ordinary school principal in a rural area who appeared to live in harmony with other communities became an ISIS terrorist and got killed in Syria. When we warned of this, the authorities laughed at us. We keep on enlightening the government of the acts of Islamic extremists, but it turns a deaf ear. Moreover, we came to know that ISIS terrorists received salaries from Ulama organization in Sri Lanka. They had studied Sharia Law in Pakistan. Today Sri Lanka has become an academic centre to teach Sharia Law. There is a university being set up in the Eastern Province that provides free education on Sharia Law. Sri Lanka has become a safe haven for international Islamic terrorists to get military training due to the slack nature of the immigration process.
During Chandrika Kumaratunga’s government in 2002, the President’s Commission Report clearly mentioned that Sri Lanka is slowly becoming a victim of world Islamic invasion. Fifteen years have elapsed and we can clearly see the accuracy of that statement. Muslim population is expanding. Foreign Muslims are being settled down in the Wilpattu area. Hindus, Christians and Buddhists are being converted to Islam.
This government was elected with the political support of ISIS. If the government is an elephant the spear that control and frighten it is akin to extremist Muslim politicos. Hence, it is apparent that Sri Lanka is slowly becoming an Islamic State. I can predict that in another 15 years, Muslim extremists will start a war in the country and that will be worse than the one we fought against the LTTE. Islamic extremists will fight in a clandestine manner so that no one in the country will know that they have become victims. I claim that Islamic extremism is far more terrorizing than the LTTE.
As I said, Muslim politicos work according to Islamic Fundamentalism which is called Wahabism. That is why Azath Salley says he will form a Jihad terrorist group to kill me and the Eastern Provincial Councillor threatens that there will be a bloodbath in Sri Lanka. Countries that accommodated Muslim minorities in the past have today become Islamic States. That is how they grow.
?BBS often speaks about Wahabism. What does that mean? It is difficult for lay people to understand that word?
A: The pernicious side of Wahabism cannot be elucidated in a brief interview like this. The word is often used by BBS. I may provide you with a very brief account of Wahabism. Wahabists are the extremist and fundamentalist Muslims. They follow the austere form of Quran and claim that whoever does not submit to the will of Allah, should be killed. If I am to quote the Quran; (2:191-193) “And kill them wherever you find them…,. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…,. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone…
ISIS is completely based on Wahabism. In short, Wahabists stress that the entire world should be converted to Islam and there should not be any non-believer left. That is why ISIS is engaged in killing non-believers of Islam.
This verse from Quran has been quoted by the monk out of context. Otherwise Muslims who ruled Spain for 750 years would have exterminated the Christians and made it a Muslim country and so the Mogul Emperors who ruled several Indian states for centuries. -TW