The Global Mail has a good piece on rising BBS bile. Here’s the money quote:
Gnanasara turns very angry at the mere mention of Muslims and Islam, which is hardly the demeanour one expects of a pious Buddhist monk. Withanage’s previous, more moderate explanations of BBS activism now pale before a bilious Gnanasara who seems to rail at the notion of anyone who isn’t a Buddhist. “Don’t talk with us,” Gnanasara yells. “Any Muslims, they are very bad people here. They are creating all problems here.””
All Muslims? I ask.
“Yes, all Muslims same!” Gnanasara yells. “No chance here! We want to stop this extremist work of Muslims. They are not going to destroy our culture. Buddhist people are very peaceful.” (Global Mail)
It’s an interesting look into the fundamentally incoherent worldview of the BBS and other extremist groups. They are racist but have to pretend to not be racist on technicalities. Anytime you have to mask your view to qualify that it’s not racist, it probably is racist.
Honestly, a lot of average, reasonable people are like this. They’ll say, “I’m not a racist but…” and then go on about how Muslims are this or that. For an older generation it’s somewhat accepted and even for younger people they honestly do have experiences that make them think Muslims are unscrupulous or money-grubbing or whatever. What I would caution, here, however is attributing the behavior to a religion or group of people based on a small sample, even if that is most of the people you meet. Because I can say it’s not most of the Muslims I know, so it’s really not fair to them, nor to the millions of Muslims around the world.
Any category that stretches into the millions is, IMHO, not useful for judging people on, especially not harshly. But I digress. The monks in this BBS movement are really a shame to Buddhism. And their lay leadership doesn’t even seem to know where the Buddha was born, as you can read in the interesting article.