Religious Interface and Contestations Between Buddhists and Muslims in Sri Lanka ( Sinhala)
This study examines the claim made by researchers that there is a shift in conflict dynamics in post-war Sri Lanka from ethnic hostilities to largely religiously inspired hostilities (Wickramasinghe 2015, Herath and Rambukwella 2015, Klem2011) due to the rise of BBS and aggressive Muslim reform movements.
The study focuses on three religious sites with a multi religious heritage in central Sri Lanka which do not provide evidence for an unambiguously religious turn in social conflict in Sri Lanka in the post-war era. The religious sites studied with a history of multi religious engagement between Buddhism and Islam have potential for promoting conflict as well as solidarity. The current situation in these three sites do not indicate a major rupture in terms of inter religious relations. The study concludes that while these sites have become entangled with externally driven campaigns for religious purification that can certainly contribute to both inter religious and intra religious tension, it is difficult to argue that what we have witnessed is an irreversible change in the nature of social tension in Sri Lanka.
Kalinga Tudor Silva is Professor Emeritus at the University of Peradeniya andDirector, Research at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Kandy. Afrah Niwas is a Research Assistant attached to the Department of Arabic and IslamicStudies, University of Peradeniya and W.M.K.B. Wickramasinghe is a ProgrammeOfficer for a World Bank funded project on urban development in Kandy.