Sri Lanka: September 11 also changed Sri Lanka
The attacks in New York have upset the political and military balance in Sri Lanka. The Islamisation of the costumes, even among the rich and moderate Muslims, is the second consequence. The opinion of a Sri Lankan professor of Political Science at the University of Philadelphia.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Colombo - President Bush's war on terror was “cunningly and selfishly” employed and exploited by the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, against the Tamil rebels and their political opponents. This is the opinion of A.R.M Imtiyaz, associate professor of the Department of Political Science at Temple University in Philadelphia, on the changes in Sri Lanka following the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, September 11, 2001. Yesterday the United States celebrated its tenth anniversary of the attack.
The teacher explains: "September 11 changed the political balance of Sri Lanka-military, emphasizing the divisions within the Tamil rebels and weakening of the political class in those years. Rajapaksa found the post September 11 political and military climate in his favour. The LTTE (Tamil Tigers) failed to understand the geopolitics behind those attacks: they have made mistakes and in an indirect way helped Rajapaksa. The policy proposals of the Tamil rebels could have had positive results, if the world had not witnessed these brutal attacks. " For this "if it were not for Sept. 11 - reiterates Imtiyaz - the current political class would have faced serious difficulties."
In 2001, in fact, the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels - for twenty years engaged in a bloody civil war - had reached a truce, brokered in Norway. However, the peace was short-lived: Rajapaksa (strong opponent of the LTTE) won the presidential election of 2005, and soon resumed the conflict in a more bitter fashion than before, which ended only in 2009.
According to the Professor, the 2001 attacks led to a deep polarization among the Muslims of Sri Lanka (about 10% of the population, 1.7 million according to the latest census, ed), who felt increasingly pushed to follow orthodox 'Islam. "After that date - the Professor said – even among the Muslims of Colombo, known for relatively liberal lifestyle, there has been an increasing Islamization. Women forced to wear the hijab, thanks to systematic campaigns of the importance of Islamic dress ".
"Those behind these campaigns - Imtiyaz ends – do not use physical violence, but rely on the actions of the West against Muslims in the Middle East. Attitudes towards Sri Lanka’s Muslims have nothing to do with the promotion of democracy, but only with their personal interests. "