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Buddhist Extremists and Muslim MinoritiesReligious Conflict in Contemporary Sri Lanka$
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John Clifford Holt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190624378

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190624378.001.0001

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Gossip, Rumor, and Propaganda in Anti-muslim Campaigns of the Bodu Bala Sena

Gossip, Rumor, and Propaganda in Anti-muslim Campaigns of the Bodu Bala Sena

(p.119) Chapter Five Gossip, Rumor, and Propaganda in Anti-muslim Campaigns of the Bodu Bala Sena
Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities

Kalinga Tudor Silva

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the origins and structure of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and how it articulates its anti-Muslim rhetoric. It is important to note that the rise and relative persistence of the BBS may reflect entrenched prejudices among the Sinhala–Buddhist population in an era of postwar political triumphalism. After theorizing how rumor is used to mobilize political ill will and violent public actions against an “ethnic other” to incite “moral panic,” the chapter reviews BBS literature that allegedly exposes the manner in which Muslims seek to gain a population advantage in Sri Lanka; how Muslims have deployed political strategies to gain power far beyond their proportional representation in the country; and how elected Muslim members of parliament, especially those with cabinet portfolios, have exploited the patronage system to benefit Muslim businesses.

Keywords:   Bodu Bala Sena, BBS, anti-Muslim rhetoric, Sinhala Buddhists, rumor, ethnic other, moral panic, BBS literature, Muslims, patronage system

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