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Attacks Against Muslim Community in Sri Lanka

Attacks Against Muslim Community in Sri Lanka

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Published by Thavam

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Published by: Thavam on Feb 08, 2014
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02/08/2014

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Saturday, February 8, 2014The Secretariat for Muslims in collaboration with the Muslim Council of Sri Lana has been documentin! the harassment, intimidation and "iolence #er#etuated by e$tremist !rou#s a!ainst the Muslim community in Sri Lana%The se"eral !rou#s of mons that identify themsel"es as sa"iours of Sri Lanan &uddhism and act in ways that are discriminatory of minority reli!ions ha"e not been !ettin! the same le"el of media co"era!e as in the early months of 201'% (owe"er, our documentation shows that their acti"ities by no means ceased% )urin! the time of the Commonwealth (eads of *o"ernment Meetin! from the 10th to the 1+th of o"ember, there was a dro# in re#orted incidents% (owe"er, the wee #rior to the meetin! and the wee immediately after the meetin! both saw incidents re#orted% -e discerned the followin! trends in the re#orts% Many of the incidents and the statements insultin! Muslims that were made to the #ress by mon led or!anisations, were re#orted mainly in the Tamil #ress% The #ercenta!e of such statements re#orted in the Sinhala and .n!lish #ress were far less% The cumulati"e result of this was that the Muslim sense of unease continued unabated while the awareness of such incidents in the lar!er Sri Lanan conte$t diminished% /t is ho#ed that this would also ha"e the salutary effect of reducin! the s#read of hate sentiment% )urin! the Se#tember to )ecember re#ortin! #eriod there were nine re#orted incidents tar!etin! mosues and other #laces of Muslim worshi# includin! the demolition of all buildin!s around the Shrine of bdul adir 3ailani located in &alan!oda%15 There were also attacs on the Mosue in )ambulla that was the site of much contro"ersy in 2012% Se"eral incidents were also re#orted from two ad6acent suburbs of Colombo 7 )ehiwela and ohuwala% The Muslim community li"in! in the "icinity of the )e"ana!ala Tem#le in Mawanella in the e!alle district also e$#erienced e$treme discomfort due to the a!itation of &uddhist !rou#s% /n )e"ana!ala the mons !rou#s are #rotestin! the #resence of 9nyaa!amiayan: or #eo#le of other faiths, in the "icinity of the tem#le which has also been declared a site of archeolo!ical im#ortance% /nterestin!ly, howe"er, the call is for the remo"al of the Muslims only who ha"e been li"in! in this area for o"er 100 years, not for the Sinhalese who also #o#ulate that area% Some of the trends noted in the hate rhetoric from the mons !rou#s are as follows%
 
There is a tendency to #ortray the Muslims as en!a!in! in acti"ities that are detrimental to the well bein! of both Sinhalese and Tamils% Certain criminal acti"ities are bein! attributed to Muslims% The fact that the ethnic identity of criminal elements is not their only characteristic, and also that in this country, acts of #etty crime are committed by members of more than one ethnicity is not hi!hli!hted% There was an instant when an attem#t was also made to #aint the Muslim #oliticians as traitorous by referrin! to alle!ed lins between Muslim #oliticians and the LTT.% ;Sendin! a wreath to Tamil Chel"am<s funeral was mentioned as indicati"e of such an alliance%= >ne mon accused ?auf (aeem of tryin! to brin! about .elam% There were three incidents related to meat consum#tion that were noted% The beef stall in )e"ana!ala was forcibly shut down% The beef stalls in the )om#e area were discontinued and durin! the dates close to the (a6 festi"al durin! which Muslims en!a!e in the com#ulsory sacrifice of an animal for distribution amon! the #oor, there was what was seen as a deliberate attem#t to delay the !rantin! of #ermits for this acti"ity in anaththota, in the e!alle district% ;See re#ortin! from >ctober 1@th, incidents no% '0, '1%=There were also se"eral statements made by the mons of the "arious !rou#s incitin! #ersons to "iolent action% >ne was the statement made in )e"ana!ala on )ec% 'rd% >n that day in )ewana!ala Aen% nuradha#ura mitha )hamma accordin! to news re#orts alle!edly claimed that he had destroyed the mosues in nuradha#ura, and wowed that he would destroy the ones in e!alle in the same way% t the &odu &ala Sena meetin! in nuradha#ura on Bth >ctober the ?e"% *nanasara stated that 9when different missionaries "isit your homes, there is no use informin! the #olice%: /m#lyin! that there are no laws to deal with the #roblems created by minority reli!ious !rou#s in the country the mon stated 9we ha"e to mae our own laws,: and further stated that 9we should use the broom%: >n the Bth of Se#tember the ?e"% *nanasara issues a warnin! that 9the #ublic will tae the law in to their own hands: if halal is not done away with% These statements on the one hand are a reflection of the !eneral deterioration of the law and order situation in the country% >n the other hand by celebratin! the acts of lawlessness and in"oin! a #utati"ely hi!her ethical order 9we ha"e to mae our own laws: the mons are !i"in! ethical endorsement for all inds of acti"ities outside the law%  ttacs on residences and businesses of #ersons identified as Muslims were also re#orted from three areas in the *alle district% ;>n 1th Se#tember, 12th >ctober and 18th )ecember res#ecti"ely%=The freuency of #ress statements, #ress conferences and #ress releases by the mons !rou#s s#eas to the manner in which concerted effort is bein! made to maintain the #ressure 7 the fear and intimidation on the minority !rou#sDand to ee# the issues ali"e with a Sinhala &uddhist ma6ority% The fact that few ma6or news#a#ers carry the hate statement on a continued basis is some small relief%

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