Legacy of civil war should serve as a warning of the costs of ethnic and religious conflict.
Across Asia, religious fundamentalism is posing a growing threat to liberal society. Even Sri Lanka, a country that has only recently emerged from a bloody civil war involving religious as well as ethnic differences, may once more be at risk.
Islamist militancy is generating the most headlines. In Bangladesh, for example, liberal commentators have been killed by alleged Islamic fundamentalists. In Malaysia, self-declared atheists have been bullied by militant Islamic organizations. In Indonesia, Muslim fundamentalists have seized the political initiative.
But a virulent strain of Buddhism has also emerged as a danger in parts of Asia, particularly in Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka. The threat to liberal societies may be less dramatic but is nonetheless real.
These majority-Buddhist countries have similar experiences of a religion that is the embodiment of tolerance and pacifism giving rise to extremism and the baiting of minorities.