Sri Lanka: Legacies of nationalism, national identity and the future of Sri Lankan Muslims
The Sri Lankan Muslims are the descendants of Arab traders who began visiting Sri Lanka during the 7th-century. Since their early settlements, the Sri Lankan Muslims have lived in harmony among the Sinhalese people in Colombo, Kurunegala, and Kandy districts which are predominantly, the majority Sinhala-Buddhist areas and in the East Coasts of Sri Lanka. They are arguably the most integrated ethnic group in Sri Lanka.
The question then is, why have Sri Lankan Muslims been subjected to violence by the majority Sinhalese Buddhist whose core values are based on peace and non-violence? The seminar will focus on the economic and cultural issues as the root causes of clashes between the majority Sinhalese-Buddhists and Muslims. It will provide insights into the complexities of the Sri Lankan identity issues focusing on the Sri Lankan Muslims in the context of Sri Lankan history, national identity and ethnic conflicts. It will trace the issues from the first major Sinhala-Muslim clash in 1915 and up to the recent clashes in March 2018 in a ‘histro-political’ context. The presentation will conclude with policy questions relating to Sinhala-Muslim ethnic violence‘s impact on the country’s future.
About the Speaker:
Sunil Govinnage is a Sri Lankan-born Australian. He has worked as career public servant in Perth for over 20 years. Prior to his arrival in Perth, he worked as a foundation member of the Bangkok-based Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre. He has presented on Sri Lanka’s development, ethnic conflicts and national identity issues in Australia, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom. He taught sociology, politics & social justice at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle from 2005- 2008. He is also a bi-lingual poet and his work has been anthologised in Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, United Kingdom and the USA. At present, Sunil is a final year PhD candidate at the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute.
ENTRY: Free, but please RSVP via [email protected]