By: Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Now it is official. Extremist Buddhists and Hindus are forming a grand alliance against Muslims in South Asia. What damage they can cause Muslims is not really known, beyond a cowardly attack on Muslims here and a riot there.
However, they are certainly capable of embittering Hindu-Muslim and Muslim Buddhist relations across the region. Keeping this in view, the Dalai Lama had earlier this year appealed to the Buddhist extremists to stop attacks against Muslim minorities in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
The New York Times wrote recently: “It is folly for the governments of Mr Rajpaksa in Sri Lanka, President Thein Sein of Myanmar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India, or their political allies, to give even the appearance of tolerating these Islamophobic groups in a region that is too often convulsed by religious sectarian violence.”
Last month, the leader of the Sri Lankan group Bodu Bala Sena’s chief Galagodaththe Gnansara announced, “The time has come to ally internationally.” The recent past has seen several murderous attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka in which many people died. A more menacing figure, Buddhist terrorist leader of Myanmar, Ashin Wirathu, was sharing the stage with Gnansara.
Wirathu’s badge of honour comes from his gang’s relentless attacks on Myanmar’s poor, hapless Muslims, who pose no threat either to the majority Buddhists or the country. Sri Lankan Muslims and Christians had, fearing escalation of Buddhist attacks, requested the government to deny Wirathu a Sri Lankan visa. But their request was turned down.
Gnansara has claimed that he is in contact with “high-level” RSS functionaries in India to create a “Hindu-Buddhist Peace Zone” in South Asia. The NYT wrote that RSS spokesman Ram Madhav had denied it. However, Madhav has been writing in support of Buddhist extremists on Facebook and Twitter.
What the NYT has exposed was known to many people, that anti-Muslim Buddhist and Hindu groups were getting closer in their campaign against Muslim minorities. Such people have also been busy aggravating the Muslim-Buddhist tensions in the Ladakh region of J&K.
Muslims are not greatly perturbed about it because they know these groups will end up harming their countries more than they harm Muslims.