April 15, 2014 05:08 pm
The US based Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) has classified Sri Lanka’s Bodu Bala Sena as a ‘Religious and Cult Terrorist Group’. The same organization has classified the LTTE, British Tamil Forum and the Canadian Tamil Congress as terrorist groups.
Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) based in Washington has published core analyses of 3,800+ groups that have been known to aid and abet political violence or terrorist organizations. One of the world’s largest databases of terrorist groups, their leaders, locations, and affiliations, TRAC includes hate/racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, lone wolves such as Timothy McVeigh, groups such as al Qeada and government counterterrorism campaigns.
In its report on the BBS, TRAC states that, ‘the BBS engages in hate speech and attacks against minority religions.’ It has organised various campaigns against the country’s minority Muslim and Christian communities which, according to the organisation, poses a threat to Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese-Buddhist identity, TRAC adds.
In the TRAC analysis in terms of the BBS ideology it has classified it as a ‘Religious (all) and Cult Terrorist Groups’. And in terms of tactics TRAC claims that the BBS uses, ‘Armed Assault’. And the targets of BBS has been named as ‘Attacks on Infrastructure.’
When contacted by Ada Derana on this classification, CEO of BBS Dilanthe Withanage stated that classifying the BBS as a terrorist group is a joke. He completely rejected the terrorst group label adding that the BBS has always acted in a transparent manner.
This was done without any proper inquiry into the BBS and in itself shows the offensive the world had launched against Buddhists who are a minority in the world, he claimed. Commenting on the photo of the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organisation, Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero posing with the Burmese monk Ashin Wirathu, Withanage claimed that Wirathu thero was not involved in terrorism.
Excerpt from TRAC report;
Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS - translated as the Buddhist Power Force) is a radical Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist organisation based in Colombo, Sri Lanka that was formed during 2012. The BBS seeks the enforcement of Buddhist predominance in Sri Lanka. It has organised various campaigns against the country’s minority Muslim and Christian communities which, according to the organisation, poses a threat to Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese-Buddhist identity. The BBS engages in hate speech and attacks against minority religions. Its headquarters are located at Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandira in Colombo. Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandira is owned by the Buddhist Cultural Centre, an organisation founded by Kirama Wimalajothi.
Ethnicity and religion are closely linked in Sri Lanka, with the Sinhalese majority predominantly Buddhist, the Tamils mostly Hindu, and Muslims regarded as a separate ethnic group.
The BBS’s mission is to “save the Sinhala race,” which makes up 74 per cent of the population in Sri Lanka, by means of non-violent and violent attacks on places of worship. At rallies, monks claimed Muslims are out to recruit children, marry Buddhist women and divide the country. Their extremist ideology is seen in violent attacks, calls for the boycotts of Muslim-owned businesses and properties, bans on headscarves and halal foods and derogatory language to describe Muslim Imams.
At one meeting Gnanasara called on each Buddhist to become “an unofficial policeman against Muslim extremism” and said “so-called democrats” were destroying the Sinhala race. Gnanasara also referred to Muslims: “We want to stop this extremist work of Muslims. They are not going to destroy our culture. Buddhist people are very peaceful.”
TRAC Analysis: Ideology
Religious (all) and Cult Terrorist Groups
TRAC Analysis: Tactics
TRAC Analysis: Targets
Attacks on Infrastructure