More than 80,000 Sri Lankans, who are working in the Middle East, have already embraced Islam, Genaral Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) movement, Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera told ‘Asian Mirror ’
He added that Sri Lankans have converted themselves into Islam due to fear, intimidation, personal gains and perks .
“People love their lives and they think embracing Islam would assure their security. Some change their religion mainly for personal benefits. We believe this shows the inability of the political authorities of Sri Lanka. According to the constitution of Sri Lanka, they are committed to protect Buddhism. If Sri Lankan expatriates in the Middle East are changing their religion that shows the Sri Lankan political authorities have turned a blind eye to their duties. They have failed to protect the Buddhist community of the country,” Gnanasara Thera charged .
Meanwhile, Dubai authorities claimed on Monday that more than 2000 foreign citizens, including a large number of Sri Lankans, have embraced Islam in Dubai, in 2013 .
Rashid Aljunaibi, a senior official of a religious establishment in Dubai, had told ‘Khaleej Times’ that this was a significant rise as 1,907 Arabs and foreigners embraced Islam in 2012 in comparison to 1,380 in 2011, 1,500 in 2010, and 1,059 in 2009 .
“The new Muslims are originally from the Philippines, China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cameron, Kenya, Nigeria, USA, Italy, Germany, Britain, Ireland, Australia, Myanmar, Syria, Jordan, as well as Latin America .”
Aljunaibi had said the centre spares no effort to introduce Islam to non-Muslims in the best, easiest, and most tolerant and persuasive way possible. “The centre distributed up to 56,215 books, brochures, CDs, and cassettes about Islam translated in several languages; English, Tagalog, Indian, and Chinese last year .”
He said people are attracted to the merciful and rational teachings of Islam which orders its followers to be honest, fair and kind to all people, irrespective of their religion, race, language and colour .
“A unified certificate is now issued to authenticate a new Muslim’s identity in association with the Dubai Courts, and the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai,” he had told ‘Khaleej Times .
Commenting on the matter, another senior spokesman of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), said the Foreign Affairs Ministry should conduct an inquiry into the issue and take action against Sri Lankans who have embraced Islam .
The spokesman also said the Sri Lankans who have embraced Islam in Dubai have betrayed the country. “This is also a form of treachery. They betray their motherland and religion in search of personal gains. The Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Employment Bureau should collect information about Sri Lankans who have embraced Islam in Dubai and take necessary action against them. They should be forbidden from stepping into the country,” he said .