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Sri Lanka: Mainstream Media Coverage of Easter Sunday Carnage

Inflamed hatred and contributed to attacks on Muslims

by Latheef Farook

Sri Lanka’s mainstream media has traditionally been indifferent towards Muslim issues. On international affairs the local mainstream media has been depending on the western media which remains integral part of US-European and Israeli war machines destroying Muslim countries.
Thus the local media has been brainwashed to think on the lines of western media propaganda. This was clearly demonstrated in the coverage of Easter Sunday bombings and massacres.

The coverage blatantly provoked non-Muslims against the Muslim community. Country is passing through the worst ever political and economic crisis and in the midst came the Easter Sunday carnage due to the failure of President Maithripala Sirisena,Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe and the intelligence agents to prevent it for reasons better known to the three.

Therefore this is the time that the island’s mainstream media need to make its contribution to help bring the chaotic situation under control. Instead, mainstream media went into full swing demonizing Islam and describing every Muslim a terrorist inflaming hatred towards Muslims.

The island’s Muslim and Christian communities were living in peace and harmony. There was no conflict between them. However the two communities, both minorities, were subjected to periodic violent attacks on them by Sinhala racists, for no valid reason, often with government patronage.
This was the reason why, even today, no Muslim could understand why these lunatics who call themselves Muslims bombed churches, hotels and killed innocent people.

Meanwhile many speculate that it is highly unlikely that these few bombers got the capacity to commit such a sophisticated attack within 20 minutes. The carnage began at 8.45 and was completed at 9.05 .Thus within 20 minutes everything changed in the country Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella said this cannot be done without foreign involvement.

Many suspect that the carnage has all the hallmarks of US intelligence CIA and Israeli’s killing machine Mossad’s hand as it happened in the case of the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York .Though Al Qaeda was accused of bombing WTC, later it was proved that it was the joint work of US intelligence and Mossad to justify the invasion and destruction of Afghanistan.

This disaster was exploited by US-Europe and Israel to associate violence with Islam and started using the slogan Islamic terrorism. Western media went to town selling this deceptive slogan.

According to The Island newspaper on Wednesday 15 May 2019 Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith had said that the Easter Sunday attacks were the work some misguided local youths used by an international group to carry out multiple attacks. He also said ISIS is part of US war program. He explained, how united States manipulate and create wars only to sell weapons, destabilize and loot countries

Here in the island too many suspect that Easter Sunday bombings were the work of United States and Israel as destabilizing the island is of great benefit to them in the context of the rivalry between China and the US European-Israel -Indian axis.

The slogan Islamic terrorism was exploited by the local media mercenaries .They brought this slogan in full swing in the wake of Easter Sunday massacre to sow hatred towards Muslims in the island

As part of this conspiracy mainstream media started accusing ISIS of involvement in the Easter Sunday attacks not realizing that the ISIS is a US-Israeli creation to justify their wars on Muslim countries.

I wrote an article on 3 January 2015, explaining in detail how US equipped, Mossed trained and Saudi funded ISIS was established during the destruction of Syria to demonize Islam and divide Middle East into small states to ensure Israel’s supremacy in the region.
I sent the article to local media. However none published it. Today this very same ISIS is accused of involvement in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka.

President Sirisena could have acted swiftly to curtail this hate campaign in the media against Muslims. However he had failed to do so. After all it was under his watchful eyes Muslims were attacked in Gintota, Ampara, Digana, Akurana and the surrounding areas in March 2018 and the perpetrators taken to custody are yet to be brought to book.

Studying the coverage of the Easter Sunday massacre one was compelled to conclude that the island’s media was briefed and prepared in advance by powerful forces which were behind the carnage to demonize Muslims as violent people.

Meanwhile the Easter Sunday massacre was reported to have been committed by a handful of people. The question is what the entire community has got to do with these individuals. Why bring their religion Islam into this carnage? Why unleash violence against Muslim community which has already suffered immense due to racist politics since independence in 1948.

However no local media raised any such question. This was expected from the time former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the present President Sirisena wide opened the country for Israel after which violent attacks on Muslims began on a hitherto unknown scale.

This is the sickening state of affairs under Maithri-Ranil government which ended up as disaster for the country in general and Muslim in particular.

Shameful state of affairs of the media coverage made The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) and the Free Media Movement (FMM) to organize a panel discussion on “Reporting Sensitive Incidents” on Friday May 3.

A press release from the SLPI stated that the speakers shared their views on the need for responsible journalism during the prevailing situation in the country and emphasized on the importance of balanced and ethical reporting, and the need to avoid a competitive attitude to release news, while reporting accurately. It was noted that this was very sensitive a time as there are communities which are impacted, victimized and made vulnerable by the recent events

However today the media had done tremendous damage to sow hatred towards Muslims. For three long weeks after the carnage Muslim houses and business establishments were emptied of their even kitchen knives under search operations using emergency regulations. Once Muslims were disarmed organized racist thugs unleashed violence against Muslims since Monday 13 May. According to unconfirmed reports around 35 Muslim villages were destroyed in the Kurunegala district.

Gangsters set fire to houses, mosques, business establishments, factories and other such places aimed at crippling Muslim economy during curfew hours. This was done under the watchful eyes and the cooperation of security forces.

They started attacking from Chilaw and North Western province before spreading to Gampaha and Kurunegala districts. This is the Holy Month of Ramadan and the fasting Muslims were forced to flee to nearby jungles and paddy fields to protect themselves. Muslims all over the island were collecting food aid to meet the immediate demands of these victims.

However the shameful state of affairs was such that the media which continued to highlight the findings of even kitchen knives from Muslim houses for three to four days failed to produce pictures of burning mosques, Muslim houses, business establishments and the like. Even pictures of mob and police dragging a battered Muslim man in the street and burning Muslim villages, were of no news value to the bankrupt local media.

The irony is that these shameful crimes were reported to have committed under the watchful eyes of security forces during curfew hours in the country. This was the disgraceful and disgusting state of affairs of the island’s mainstream media which has sold its soul to local racists, regional and western war mongers.

Knowing very well the security situation and the plight of the unarmed and innocent Muslim community, President Sirisena left the island to China on the same day to attend the Asian Civilization dialogue Conference in Beijing. Violence against Muslims began the day President left for China.

Will the country be same again?

Will the traditionally peaceful Muslims who have lost faith in the government and the forces will be peaceful again? However, Sri Lanka will not be the same country as it was on 20 April 2019.

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