Sunday 24 July, 2011
Scare Sinhalese – Provoke Muslims
Hameed Abdul Karim
When a few friends invited me to join them to watch some films produced by some extremists purported to be Sinhala Buddhists. I thought the guys were getting ‘het up’ over nothing. But what I saw shocked and shook me like I never imagined.
In one of the films the narrator, while preaching what he said was the sublime teaching of Gautama Buddha, extolled Sinhala Buddhists not to buy goods from a popular retail chain owned by Muslims and instead buy from a famous outlet owned by a Sinhala Buddhist, which in fact is patronised by Muslims in very large numbers. Going further he urged Sinhala Buddhists not to believe Muslims when they say the human race is one because this line, the producers believe, is somehow intended to dupe the poor little gullible Sinhala Buddhist.
Frankly, all of this was nothing new.
What was new was a strong and hysterical line of attack on Islam itself. No doubt the producers were drawing on the hate-Islam and Muslim propaganda that is dished out day in and day out in the West’s media, including movies produced by Hollywood to further their agenda. In one of the stilts, taken from a foreign website, the producers show a caricature depicting a Muslim on horseback brandishing a sword and at his feet lie chopped bodies of ‘infidels’. This is intended obviously to scare viewers into hating Islam and Muslims. Fear is followed by hate. As if this was not enough, the producers portray yet another cartoon. This time a hooded skeleton holding the word ‘ISLAM’ and below it the words ‘The Evil of our Time – Let’s Not Leave it for Our Children’. How do these extremist groups plan to wipe out Islam and save their children from the ‘curse’? The only line of approach that comes to mind is violence. Clearly the cartoons were hijacked from some ‘Islamophobic’ foreign website.
The propaganda theme in these movies is jarringly similar to the anti-Semite hysteria unleashed by the Nazis in Europe prior to ‘World War II’.
Like in every propaganda gimmick these films have a double pronged purpose. One is to scare Sinhala Buddhists and the other is to provoke Muslims into doing something rash. Provocation is the name of the game. I have a sneaky suspicion the producers of these films actually want to provoke Muslims into doing something silly, so that they can use this as a ploy to unleash their agenda to eradicate Islam and Muslims from the dhammadweepa. The target groups in these films on both sides of the divide are the untutored minds, mainly from among the youth. The ones who will gain from any backlash will be the ‘white clothed’ extremist Sinhala Buddhist politicians in a particular political party, who are now realising that their ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ line is fast diminishing among its supporters. So something must happen for them to grab the attention of their support base once again.
To be sure there were some funny parts in the films. The narrator thinks that Muslim women who wear the hijab and niqab (face cover) are actually forced to so do by the men folk in the family. All the hijab and niqab wearing women I have spoken to tell me they are doing this out of their own volition. But our champion of women rights in the film urges the kind and social minded Sinhala Buddhists to help release these poor oppressed women from the ‘imprisonment’ of the hijab and the niqab. There were stills in the film portraying hijab and niqab clad women behind prison bars and to contrast these pictures there was a still of a lovely Sinhala girl clad in a redda-heta. The message here is clear. Sinhala Buddhist girls are free and Muslim women are not. I wonder if these guys will accept any claim by any of these Western websites that might say the Redda-Hetta is backward and to be truly free, Sinhala Buddhist girls must dress in mini-skirts and other skimpy dresses if they want a place in the modern world.
To cap it all, the planting of a date palm by a Muslim politician in the east was described as an act of terrorism. I am only glad that the politician who suggested that we import camels to please Muslims was not a Muslim, or else he would be charged with an act of terrorism!
A leading Muslim activist opined that whenever certain non-Islamic aliens* increase their profile in the country, discord between Sinhalese and Muslims is sure to follow. It’s a case of making friends with your enemy’s enemies in true Machiavellian style.
Hopefully, the authorities will step in and shutdown these hate mongering websites. After all, if a news website could be shut down for alleged anti-government propaganda, the rationale to close down these hate websites is screaming in your face.
This missive is not intended for the parochial among the Sinhala Buddhists or the Muslims, rather it’s aimed at saner counsel among Sinhala Buddhists – the clergy included – to get the extremists among them to conduct themselves in a manner befitting their faith.
*the reference is to Israel