Aug 16, Colombo: Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero, the general secretary of Sri Lanka's extremist Buddhist organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) claims that the Muslim minority in Sri Lanka funded by some Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia poses a threat not only to Sri Lanka, but to India as well.
In an interview with Pranay Sharma of the Indian news magazine, "Outlook", the extremist Buddhist monk said the Muslims in Sri Lanka are not necessarily a minority in terms of their wealth.
"They are a minority in number but if you look at their economic power and their international network, they are not a minority," the BBS Secretary said when asked how a smaller Muslim minority can pose a threat to the larger Buddhist majority.
Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero said the members of the BBS organization are not extremists and they work closely with moderate Muslim groups. However, they talk about Muslim extremism after realizing that there is an "unseen, unknown Muslim extremism" working in Sri Lanka.
He denied taking responsibility for inciting the communal violence that took place recently in the Sri Lankan coastal towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala and said their peaceful gathering was interrupted by Muslim extremists throwing stones at innocent women and children walking down the street.
Speaking of the growing demand to arrest him, Gnanasara Thero said the authorities cannot arrest him since he had not participated in any criminal activity.
"If they think that arresting me is going to solve the entire problem, then I am ready to go to jail. I have no issue with that. But if I have not participated in any criminal activity, how can they put me in jail?"
He dismissed the speculations that he is not arrested by authorities since he is close to the ruling party.
"We do not support any political party. But, there are times when we praise the ruling party and there are times when we praise the opposition parties if we think that what they are doing is the right thing. At the same time, if we think that they are doing something wrong, we will criticize them," he said.
When asked whether there will be anymore communal violence, the extremist Buddhist monk charged that the Muslims within their own community instigate clashes.
"Buddhists are very peaceful people and these problems are created only by such Muslims. They set fire to their own mosque and kill their own people who donít follow their instructions."
Read the entire interview here.