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Sri Lanka Buddhist Mob Attacks Colombo Mosque

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Sri Lanka Buddhist mob attacks Colombo mosque

(BBC)

Buddhists and Muslims clashed after the attack, and police imposed a curfew in the area.

Last month, a group of Buddhist monks had protested near the mosque, demanding it be relocated.

In recent months, hardline Buddhist groups have mounted a campaign against Muslim and Christian targets.

Several houses were also damaged in Saturday’s clashes. Two of the injured were policemen guarding the mosque.

A Muslim resident of the area said that a mob threw stones at the mosque when worshippers were performing evening prayers, the BBC’s Azzam Ameen reports from Colombo.

The police and special task force commandos were dispatched to the area and have been able to bring the situation under control, a police spokesman told the BBC.

Buddhists monks had reportedly protested against the presence of the mosque but had agreed to allow Muslims to continue praying there until the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

But area Muslims says Sri Lanka’s religious affairs ministry had given them permission to continue using the site and had also provided special police security due to the threat of possible attacks.

Fears of persecution
The past year has seen mounting religious tension in the country as hardline Buddhist groups have attacked mosques and Muslim-owned businesses, as well as churches and clergy.

In February, one group also called for the abolition of the Muslim halal system of certifying foods and other goods.

Buddhist hardliners accuse Muslims and Christians of promoting extremism and trying to convert Buddhists to their own faiths.

Both Muslims and Christians have denied the accusations, correspondents report.

The Buddhist Sinhalese community makes up three-quarters of Sri Lanka’s population of 20 million.

During Sri Lanka’s bitter civil war, the Muslims – a small Tamil-speaking minority, about 9% of the population – kept a low profile, but many now fear that ethnic majority hardliners are trying to target them.

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  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    Well, bear in mind that there’s an odd intersection between evangelical Christianity (which is very much a Western phenomena) and the neo-Cons. Both are against secular Arab nationalism, or indeed any forms of strength or independence outside of the West. As for the evangelicals, they are often in direct conflict with indigenous Christian minorities such as the Copts, Assyrians, Ethiopians, African Initiated Churches are the like. Indeed, in media discourse foreigners and non-whites are often portrayed as non-Christians by default. Christianity is portrayed as almost exclusively a ‘Western’ religion.

    As for Gabriel and Spencer, they aren’t really ‘West Asian’ Christians.

    Spencer is a convert to the Melkite Church, inspired by his mentor (another white convert), and has never been very clear on his origins. He could be of Middle Eastern descent, or Bulgarian, Greek, Macedonian, Serbian, Ukranian… He always vaguely refers to his ancestors as ‘refugees from the Ottoman Empire.’

    Gabriel is stranger. She claims to be from Lebanon, and could well be, but her story is clearly exaggerated to suit her didactic purposes. She looks more black African than Arab to me, and while I wouldn’t be shocked by such features in Egypt, Sudan, Yemen or the like, it is a bit odd for Lebanon. Either way, regardless of her heritage, she is not a Maronite. She seems much more aligned with Western evangelical Christianity, including her speaking tours, which always target such groups but seldom include Orthodox or Oriental Churches.

  • Diego Hernandez

    Robert Spencer and Brigitte Gabriel are of West Asian Christian origin themselves. However, their neocon partners did everything they could to destroy the secular Arab nationalism which made space for Christianity in Arab society. Too independent for their liking, apparently. The Islamophobes’ alleged support for West Asian and North African Christians has always been of dubious worth due to how their bloodthirstiness would not spare Christians much more than Muslims, as the Iraq disaster demonstrated.

    In the case of Sri Lanka, the Christians are being targeted alongside (as opposed to by) Muslims so they serve no real propaganda purpose.

  • Talking_fish_head

    I guess its just human nature, we always seem to try to find small, minute things about people and hate them for it

    George Orwell said it best in his book (Animal Farm) : “All Animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”

  • Tanveer Khan

    Now that I think about it, Im not sure why I was so surprised that Christians were being affected.

  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    Doesn’t surprise me much. My only question is whether or not the Western media will cover it. Non-Western Christians aren’t covered much, nor is anti-Muslim violence, though I would expect the self-proclaimed ‘defenders of Christianity’ like Robert Spencer, Brigitte Gabriel, and the like to say something. Maybe their hatred of Muslims outweights their sympathy for fellow Christians…

  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    Really? Because I don’t see it from where I’m standing. You got any citations? What I DO remember is the 30 year civil war between ethnic Tamil (and mostly Hindu) separatists and the Sri Lankan government, which is majority Sinhalese and Theraveda Buddhist. When the Portuguese reached Sri Lanka, it was King Senarat Adahasin who gave Muslims shelter. Its only really in the past decade or so that we’ve seen any anti-Muslim violence on the part of Buddhists in Sri Lanka. In fact, it was the Tamil Tigers who initiated a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the 90s, despite the fact that most Moors SPEAK Tamil.

    Given the anti-Buddhist violence and discrimination we have seen in Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere, one might just as easily claim that Christians have a long history of hating and killing Buddhists. Especially considering how the traditionally Buddhist lands such as Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and even Tibet were carved up by various European powers as colonies or spheres of influence. But then, that’s too uncomfortable for most Westerners to think about.

  • mindy1

    This is truly sad :'( we are 99 percent the same genetically so why fight over who we worship? Seems so pointless..

  • mindy1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM4vblG6BVQ yup the more things change the more they stay the same

  • Yausari

    “Buddhist hardliners accuse Muslims and Christians of promoting extremism.” Become an extremist to stop extremism. Oh brother… not this again -_-

  • Tanveer Khan

    Christians are being attacked too? Smh….

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