Last Saturday, we felt at peace & wrote in our weekly email – “This is such a weekend for simply chilling out. Taxes are done & paid; Notre Dame is going to be reconstructed; Indian elections going on well; Mueller report out ending a 2-year saga.”
1.Terrorist Attacks in Sri Lanka
How wrong were we? Because the next day, we woke up to the horrific massacre of Christians in Sri Lanka, of peaceful worshipers who had gone to their churches to pray. In a very well-planned & deliberately inhumane series of bombings, over 275 people died, almost all Christians of Sri Lanka.
It seems that the Sri Lankan authorities were caught sleeping on the job because both Indian & US intelligence had warned them about the possibility of such an attack. Based on recent news reports, it seems the mastermind of these attacks was a well-known Wahabi Muslim extremist named Zaharan Hashim, also known as Mohammed Zaharan. There was nothing secretive about this preacher. Enough complaints about him had reportedly been made to Sri Lankan authorities by other communities including Sufi Muslims.
For example, in one of his online “sermons”, Zaharan reportedly said,
- “There were three types of people: Muslims, those who had reached an accord with Muslims, and “people who need to be killed”. Idolaters, he added, “need to be slaughtered wherever you see them”.”
How & why was this man ignored? We don’t know but can hazard a couple of guesses. First, Sri Lanka had not been hit previously with such a barbaric & large terrorist strike. So there was both complacency & lethargy in the Sri Lankan intelligence & police authorities. Secondly, like many other Asian countries including India, export of labor to Middle Eastern Muslim countries is a big component of Sri Lankan economy. So there might have been a serious reluctance to taking steps against externally funded organizations, especially those like Zaharan’s that preach Saudi Wahabi Islam.
Now, after a week, the terrorists & the terrorized seem clear. A group of extremist, Wahabi Muslims launched a devastating terrorist attack on Christian Churches & foreigner-frequented luxury hotels in Sri Lanka killing hundreds of innocent people.
2. 9/11 >>> Iraq Invasion
Think back to the far worse 9/11 terrorist attack by Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaida on the New York World Trade Center & the Pentagon. It was crystal clear even then who the terrorists were and where they came from – trained Saudi Arabian Al-Qaida terrorists operating out of Afghanistan. It was the greatest shock ever inflicted on America.
But how was it used? Don Rumsfeld, the then Secretary of Defense, used the famous saying attributed to Winston Churchill and, according to New York Magazine (& other sources as we recall),
- “before the week was out, he was urging the president not to let the crisis go to waste, to use it as an opportunity to remake the world by ousting Saddam Hussein.”
It was almost as clear then as it is now that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks &, actually, he was against Al Qaida because he saw them as a threat to his rule. But that did not matter to Secretary Rumsfeld. The 9/11 attack had created a thirst for retaliation against those who attacked America and that was used to build a case for the removal of Saddam Hussein & a regime change in Iraq.
The point is that a crisis is often exploited by dedicated die hard haters for their goals, however unrelated the goals might be to the crisis at hand. Now that seems to be happening again with the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks.
3. Long-standing Mission against Buddhists/Hindus of NYT, WPR et al
Based on published information, it seems clear that the attacks in Sri Lanka were planned acts of terrorism by a section of Sri Lankan Muslim minority against the Sri Lankan Christian minority, perhaps as retaliation against killings of Muslims by a Christian terrorist in New Zealand. It also seems clear that the Buddhist majority in Sri Lanka was not involved in the attacks in any way.
But look how articles by the New York Times and World Politics Review (WPR) have spun this reality. The latter article almost ignores the increasing extremism in the Sri Lankan Muslim minority & seems to place the blame almost entirely on the Buddhist majority of Sri Lanka:
- Anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence have surged in Sri Lanka since 2011. Drawing on Islamophobia to justify their violence, Sinhalese-Buddhist mobs led by monks have repeatedly targeted Muslims, their shops, businesses and places of worship. Extremist outfits like the Bodu Bala Sena have run violent campaigns calling for the boycott of halal-certified meat and accusing Muslims in Sri Lanka of forcibly converting Buddhists to Islam. In 2018, an incident of road rage quickly escalated into attacks targeting Muslims.
- Sri Lankan analysts have been raising alarms about this systematic violence against Muslims, which echoes the violence by Sinhalese extremists against Tamils that played a role in stoking Tamil militancy. Dayan Jayatilleka, an academic and former diplomat, warned last year that “such violence cannot but have the effect of radicalizing Muslim youth and marginalizing Muslim moderates. We have come one step closer to the emergence of Islamist terrorism in Sri Lanka.”
What utter crap is this? If this were as true & as deep as the article portrays, wouldn’t the radicalized Muslim group led by Zaharan Hashim have attacked Buddhists in Sri Lanka by bombing Buddhist places of worship? Isn’t that the pattern of ISIS and Al-Qaida? Don’t we all remember the terrorist attacks in Paris & Brussels? They were not directed at other minorities but were aimed exclusively at the French & Belgium societies that have Christian majority.
After raising the irrelevant bogey of the Buddhist majority, the WPR article gloats – “These words proved to be all too prescient“. The implication is the radicalization of Sri Lankan Muslims & their conversion into Christian-killing terrorists stems from Buddhist actions against Muslims & not from worldwide Muslim terrorist creating centers run by Saudi Wahabis, Al-Qaida & ISIS.
The WPR article is written by a woman named Sudha Ramachandran, a Tamil-Hindu name. That may be why her article at least exempts the Hindu majority of India from any culpability in radicalizing the Muslim minority in Sri Lanka.
In contrast, the New York Times article written by authors with non-Hindu names, Hannah Beech, Dharisha Bastians and Kai Schultz, had no such reservations. Like Don Rumsfeld, the New York Times did not want to let the Sri Lankan terrorist attacks go to waste. So they used the barbaric devastating attack by a Sri Lankan Muslim minority against the Sri Lankan Christian minority to heap abuse & deliberate bigotry against the group the New York Times seems to hate the most – the Indian (or as they say “Hindu”) majority in India and the Government of Prime Minister Modi.
This should not surprise anybody. Remember our argument about the hierarchy of religions in American media in our June 1, 2013 article A Religious “Caste” System in American Media & NGOs? In that article, we argued that the US media, led by the intellectual leadership of the New York Times, had laid out a religious hierarchy of Christians & Jews first, Muslims second and Buddhists/Hindus/Jains/Sikhs at the bottom.
That may soon have to be altered a bit. Because we have noticed that, especially after the election of President Trump & Prime Minister Netanyahu, the religious hierarchy of Israeli Jews in US Media seems to have been downgraded to just below Muslims; also the religious hierarchy of Christians, especially “white” American Christians, has been lowered to be equal or a tiny bit below Muslims.
For example, look what a Google search for “easter sunday 2019” displayed – the first is a New York Times article titled Sri Lanka’s Muslims Face an Angry Backlash After Easter Sunday. So both Google & the New York Times deem the intense pain & suffering of the Sri Lankan Christian victim community subordinate & almost irrelevant to the backlash in the attacker Muslim community. We are willing to bet that order would have been different in 2013.
But, as you must have guessed, there is no change in the absolute bottom status of Buddhists & Hindus in the US Media Religious Hierarchy. Just look at the above two articles in NYT & WPR to see how the Buddhist & Hindu majorities in Sri Lanka & India have been blamed for the attacks by ISIS-influenced segment of Sri Lankan Muslim minority against the Sri Lankan Christian minority.
Guess die hard dedicated haters don’t need any logic or reasoning. All they know is to not let a crisis go to waste and to spin it against those they hate.
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