Post-conflict interfaith activities, combatting religious extremism and mass atrocity in Sri Lanka

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Abstract

This study examines Sri Lanka’s conflict history and interfaith dialogue (IFD), situated with regard to the devastating 2019 Easter bombings. Religious identity has become more conspicuous in Sri Lankan society, as demonstrated in more religious extremism and interfaith activities, including among actors and groups who traditionally avoided such initiatives. Based on narrative analysis of interviews with representatives from the country’s four major religions discussing interfaith
activities, communal relations and Buddhist extremism, this paper highlights how legacies from the war have exacerbated long-lasting divisions and mistrust between the country’s ethno-religious groups, even if they were not the original conflict actors.
Following ethno-religious conflict, local-level interfaith activities have limited impact as they do not reach extremists and generally engage people already committed to non-violent social change. Since the civil war termination in 2009, faith groups and civil society have expressed reservations about inter-communal relations and the potential for further violence. These fears were realised with
the devastating Jihadi bombings in Easter 2019.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-124
Number of pages26
JournalRevista de Paz y Conflictos
Volume13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Terrorism
  • extremism
  • Sri Lanka
  • Interfaith
  • Muslims
  • post-conflict

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