Muslims in Post-War Sri Lanka: An Opportunity Lost for Conflict Transformation
Keywords:Wahhabism/Sufism, masjid, monk, Islamophobia, Halal, identity, conflict.
AbstractThis paper examines the post-war Sri Lankan conditions among Sri Lanka Muslims, also known as Moors. The article will attempt to argue that state concessions to Muslim political leaders who supported the successive Sri Lanka’s ruling classes from independence through the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, have meant an isolation of the community from the other two main ethnic communities. The concessions that the Muslim community has won actively helped the Muslim community to be proactive in their religious practices and thus paved the way for exclusive social and political choices. The rise of Islamic movements and mosques in the post-1977 period galvanized Muslims. In time this isolation has been reinforced by socio-religious revival among Muslims whose ethnic identity has been constructed along the lines of the Islamic faith by Muslim elites. Despite this revival it has been clear that the Muslim community has been reluctant to use Islamic traditions and principles for peace building, which could have helped to ease tensions, brought about by the 30 year old ethnic conflict. On the other hand this paper will briefly discuss some reactions from the majority Sinhalese to Islamic revival as well as some issues between the Tamils and Muslims and the reintegration of Muslims in the North. Finally, some pragmatic ways to ease tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in the greater discipline of conflict resolution are explored using traditions within Islam.
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