Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka in the third century BCE and the Buddhist Monks renounced all worldly and material attachments and simply don the saffron robe to pursue their spiritual journey, took the vow as ordained monks to preach and live by the teachings of the Gautama Buddha.
On the other hand Hinduism was practiced in many parts of Sri Lanka, before the period of Lord Buddha; Hinduism was the dominant religion in Sri Lanka before the arrival of Buddhism in the 3rd century BC and is evident from many Hindu Temples spread all round the island. There is no doubt the Teachings of Lord Buddha gave us a rich religion to follow and is practiced in several countries in the world including Sri Lanka. Many Tamils in North and East of Sri Lanka took to Buddhism long before it spread to the south, later the Tamils in Sri Lankan gave up Buddhism as the Tamils did in South India and accepted other faiths or returned to Hinduism.
With the arrival of Arab traders in the 7th century A.D., Islam began to flourish in Sri Lanka. The first people to profess the Islamic faith were Arab merchants and their native wives, whom they married after having them converted to Islam.
All three western colonial powers namely the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British that governed Sri Lanka in varying degrees during the period 1505 – 1948, had as the cornerstone of their imperial policy the conversion of the Sinhala Buddhists and the Tamil Hindus into Christianity.
By the 8th century A.D., Arab traders settled down on the island in large numbers, encouraging the spread of Islam. However, when the Portuguese arrived during the 16th century, many of their descendants now called the Sri Lankan Moors were mainly traders and merchants with spice trading networks spanning to the Middle East. The population of Sri Lankan Moors significantly declined during the Portuguese colonial rule due to the pogroms against the Moors, many of whom took refuge in the central highlands and Eastern Province of the country.
During 18th and 19th centuries, Javanese and Malaysian Muslims bought over by the Dutch and British rulers contributed to the growing Muslim population in Sri Lanka. Their descendants, now the Sri Lankan Malays, adapted several Sri Lankan Moor Islamic traditions while also contributing their unique cultural Islamic practices to other Muslim groups on the Island.
The arrival of Muslims from India during the same period also contributed to the growth of Islam in Sri Lanka. Most notably, Pakistani and South Indian Musylims introduced Shafi’i and the Hanafi school of thought, however most Muslims on the island still adhere to the traditional practices of Sunni Islam and Sufi order.
At the time of independence in 1948, a centralised form of Government was introduced in the country with two unequal ethnic communities with large difference in number and following four different faiths again that are not divided equally. It includes settlers from South India to work in the upcountry estates brought by the British. Needless to say there were some basic weaknesses in the political structure of Ceylon, as the government embraced only a small fraction of the population, made up of mainly Western Oriented Gentlemen known as WOGs, the English-educated Westernized elite groups that shared the values on which the structure was founded. These values appeared irrelevant and incomprehensible to the great mass of Sinhalese and Tamil educated, basically rural residents and unschooled citizens. The continued neglect of local culture as embodied in religion, language, and the arts created a gulf that divided the ruling elite from the ruled.
Today Sri Lanka is a Buddhist majority dominated nation, where unfortunately there was a civil-war for many decades. Though the civil-war was brought to finish in 2009, the ethnic conflict that caused it still remain un resolved. As the results minorities in particular the North-East Tamils and Muslims are constantly subjected to police and other security personnel harassment, surveillance and violence. Thus the North-East region of the country continues to remain one of the most militarised regions long after the civil-war was brought to finish more than a decade ago. Worse still the Tamil minorities of South Indian origin brought in by the British in the hill country