Colombo, Apr 8 (): Sri Lanka, yet to address the reconciliation measures of Tamils displaced by decades’-old civil war now begins to spit fire on Muslims, with the anti-Muslim campaign spearheaded by Buddhist monks pickling momentum in the island nation.
A Muslim political leader Azad Salley said that they just finished hunting the Tamils, without solving any of the issues, and now they are starting on the Muslim hunt. “Virtually all minority communities are being threatened,” he added.
Last month,Muslim-owned Fashion Bug retail chain was vandalized by an aggressive mob of nearly 500, mainly comprising of Sinhala Buddhists who hurled stones at the security camera installed at the establishment. When this anti-Muslim hatred campaign unleashed by the Buddhist monks was captured by a cameraman of a local television station, he was attacked by the violent mob.
The Buddhist monks are reaching out to the youth and spreading their anti-Muslim hatred through public speeches and scheming theories spread through social media.
Attacks and vandalism on Muslim establishments and shrines have been reported regularly in Sri Lanka. In September 2011, a group of about 100 Buddhist monks virtually reduced a Muslim shrine into a rubble in Anuradhapura, a UNESCO world heritage site.The whole demolition was staged in the presence of senior police officers.
In April 2012, Muslims offering prayers in a mosque in Sri Lanka were forced to abandon their Friday prayers in the central town of Dambulla when about 2,000 Buddhists, including monks, held a demonstration demanding its demolition.The mosque was evacuated shortly after the protest, fearing attack on them and destruction of the mosque building. This incident provoked anger among Muslims.
The key umbrella group of Sri Lankan Muslims had then told BBC that radical Buddhists were trying to damage peaceful co-existence between the country’s main ethnic communities. A monk from Dambulla had told the BBC that their actions were necessary because Sri Lanka was “the only country to safeguard Buddhism.”
Sri Lanka’s ethnic Sinhalese Buddhists comprise almost 75 per cent of the country’s 20 million people and have power over the government and the military. with a prominent presence in Sri Lanka, they exercise authority and threat on the minority Muslims who form only about a meagre 9 per cent of the island population.