The leader of the Bodu Bala Sena said he wanted to create an “Asian alliance” with Burma’s 969 group, in order to protect Buddhism in the region.
Speaking to The Australian BBS’s chief monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara said his organisation’s “struggle is to protect an innocent society from a violent group”, namely Muslims on the island.
He defended his organisation’s links with Burma’s 969 and radical monk Wirathu, who has been accused of inciting ethnic violence in the country, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of Muslims. “I know I am not a terrorist and I know Wirathu is not a terrorist, though unfortunately the western media has categorised him as such,” said Gnanasara.
“We want to create an Asian alliance to protect Buddhism and keep the region peaceful,” he continued. “People think Buddhists are very innocent, that even if you hit them from behind or shoot them in the head they should keep quiet and accept… Is that what the world is expecting from us?”
His comments were echoed by BBS spokesman Dilanthe Withanage, who said “the rate things are moving we fear in 20 years’ time we (Buddhists) will no longer be in the majority”.
Withange though spoke out against Christianity on the island, saying “there are some pastors, when you convert to Christianity, who will make you put your foot on the Buddha’s head, or even urinate on it”.
When asked how the Buddha would have reacted to the situation, however he conceded, stating “he would have turned the other cheek”. “But if Sri Lankan leaders had not fought to protect Buddhism when Europeans came, I don’t think we’d have this temple here today.”
See the full piece from the Australian here.