( January 16, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Bangkok Post, Thailand's leading English daily, in its editorial opinion on Tuesday strongly castigated Sri Lanka's Bodu Bala Sena and Myanmar's 969 group for their activities, which completely contrary to the spirit and ideology of their religion.
The ideology, actions and speeches of both these groups are virtually identical, the paper said, adding that the BBS in Sri Lanka has attracted thousands of followers, who have staged numerous intimidating and provocative acts to harass the island nation's minority Muslim community.
The newspaper said that the Buddhists across the globe should be dismayed at the abuse of their religion by the Sri Lankan Bodu Bala Sena and Myanmar's 969 group, as they are opposed to other races and faiths.
The founder of the BBS, 37-year-old Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, summarises his beliefs and bias concisely: "This is a Buddhist nation," he says of Sri Lanka. "Not everyone can live under the umbrella of a Buddhist culture."
Indeed, it is a mystery how Sri Lanka's Galagoda Atte Gnanasara and Myanmar's Bhikkhu Wirathu, as monks in saffron, came to become so strongly bigoted, racist and confrontational. Their words and their support for violent action certainly are not found in the teachings of the Buddha, the editorial further said.
Both the BBS and 969 are opposed to Muslims. The Sri Lankan group is yet to commit killings, the paper observed.
In Myanmar, the 969 group has been accused of inciting and then supporting attacks which have killed hundreds of Muslims, and burnt down villages and homes across the country.
As in Thailand, a large percentage of Sri Lanka's Muslims are ethnically different to the Sinhalese majority, and speak Tamil among themselves.
The difference, of course, is that in Thailand virtually every Buddhist not only believes that the nation can shelter those of other races and faiths, they are proud of it, the editorial noted.