Sri Lanka’s Muslims constitute 9.7% of the island’s population as against 70% Sinhalese Buddhists, 13% Hindu Tamils and 7.4% Christians (who have both Sinhala and Tamil origins). While entirely Tamil-speaking, the Muslims rarely identify themselves as Tamils. It’s this sense of a distinct identity that, at the height of the civil war, made the community a target of both the LTTE and the Sinhalese groups. During the three-decade-long war, many Lankan Muslims worked as spies and private militia for the army.
Sometime in the 1970s, coinciding with Kerala’s Gulf migration, a number of Lankans took up low-paying jobs in the Gulf. With Saudi Arabia offering scholarships for religious studies, many Muslims also sent their children there — bringing in, many say, a new, Wahhabi form of Islam, distinct in character and doctrine from the religion that had until then been practised in Lanka.
Clearly Saudi Arabia is at the root of the problem. Are Muslims doing anything about it.
But there is a second problem. The sense of distinct identity; Ummah, that prevents national or regional/language identity.
Sikhs are falling into this very trap. The Khalsa.They must learn lessons from the Muslim predicament.