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Sri Lankan police officers patrol outside an attacked mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.   — Photo by AP
Sri Lankan police officers patrol outside an attacked mosque in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013. — Photo by AP

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police lifted a curfew on a Colombo neighbourhood Sunday after a Buddhist-led mob attack on a mosque raised religious tensions and left the Muslim minority fearing further violence.

Hundreds of police, including anti-riot squads and elite Special Task Force commandos, remained on alert in the Grandpass district following overnight violence which wounded at least four people.

“The curfew was lifted this morning, but we have a strong presence in the area,” a police spokesman said.

There was no immediate reaction from the government to the violence, which followed Buddhist objections to the opening of the new mosque, but Islamic clerics expressed concern.

“We were surprised because we thought things were settling down,” Fazin Farook, spokesman for the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, Sri Lanka's apex body of Islamic clerics, told AFP.

“With this attack, we are worried again and we see this (anti-Muslim) trend continuing. We condemn this attack.”Farook noted that the latest violence came five months after an anti-Muslim campaign culminated in the torching of two Muslim-owned businesses just outside the capital.

Three Buddhist monks and 14 others who were arrested in connection with the arson attacks in March were later freed as police and the victims did not press charges.

“We thought things were settling down since then. The government had also done a lot to calm the situation, but this incident came up suddenly and that has worried the community,” Farook said.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Council, an umbrella organisation of Muslim civil society groups, also expressed concern.

The council said the attack occurred despite assurances from state authorities that the new mosque in the area could stay despite protests from a nearby Buddhist temple.

“There were police deployed to guard the mosque, but unfortnately the constables were unable to maintain law and order,” said council president N M Ameen.

“The community is very worried and concerned about safety.”A security official told AFP Buddhists had objected to the new mosque which was constructed to replace an older place of worship that was earmarked for demolition.

“The Buddhist temple had objected to the relocation of the mosque and the troubles started during Saturday evening prayers of the mosque,” the official said, asking not to be be named.

All four people injured in the attack, including two police constables guarding the mosque, remained in hospital Sunday.

Residents said temple bells summoned dozens of men who stormed the mosque and started throwing stones and beating up worshippers.

Several homes in the area were also damaged, residents said.

President Mahinda Rajapakse's ruling coalition includes the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress, the country's largest Muslim political party.

However, radical Buddhists recently forced Islamic clerics to withdraw halal certification from food sold locally, claiming that it offended the majority non-Muslim population.

Seventy per cent of Sri Lanka's 20 million population follow Buddhism while Muslims are the second largest religious minority with just under 10 per cent after Hindus who make up about 13 per cent. Others are Christian.

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Comments (39) Closed

M Khaleeq Aug 11, 2013 01:17pm

Buddhist are supposed to be non-violent people. What has annoyed them so much that they have also turned against Muslims??

vigilant Aug 11, 2013 01:30pm

Who said Buddhist are most peaceful people???

Youth Aug 11, 2013 02:45pm

Sri Lanks is a peaceful friendly country. The government should deal with iron hand with persons engaging in communal riots & showing dis-respect to Mosques. The recent trend of aggression seen amongst the Buddhist Monks should be investigated. Minorities must be protected.

Alex Aug 11, 2013 03:06pm

Being a Budhhist this is very sad and revolting. We don't eat meat because life is the foremost thing for us and these acts are just contradiction of our daily lives. Maynmar people suffered the similar problems. We love life irrespective of whose it is. Please my brothers let go of any ill feelings toward your fellow humans regardless ofbtheir beliefs. Don't fall prey to some money-maker's over-zaelous statements.

Gerry D'Cunha Aug 11, 2013 03:35pm

where ever there are 'muslims' there is trouble - I am not exaggerating, find the facts in many non-muslim countries.

Mac Aug 11, 2013 04:57pm

@M Khaleeq: hahahahahahaha...M Khaleeq..... the whole world has been asking the same question abt the muslims for the last 1000 yrs........ do u have any answer for it?????

rajesh Aug 11, 2013 05:50pm

Remember the Bhamian Buddhas and intolerance of islam (false peace). the School children at Beslan. Not to mention all the other millions of murders in the name of God.

Ravindia Patel Aug 11, 2013 05:50pm

@M Khaleeq: Cat is innocent animal but if somebody confine her in close area and start beating, she can also become violent.

truthful Aug 11, 2013 05:53pm

@M Khaleeq: guess the muslims might have annoyed them ?

Taimur Aug 11, 2013 06:07pm

They are done with Tamils, so what Next? here you go, i think its Indian influence as usual but Sri Lanka must deal with iron hand and keep their country's good look

Taimur Aug 11, 2013 06:09pm

@Gerry D'Cunha: yours comments are evident lack of knowledge and the facts on global issues going around, SL is peaceful country and muslims there are small minority, it is obvious more to do with regional powers playing power game!!!

budhist Aug 11, 2013 06:44pm

@M Khaleeq: food for thought

sam Aug 11, 2013 06:45pm

@Gerry D'Cunha: Well...I never knew 'rest of the world' is so peace loving!!!!!!

t Aug 11, 2013 06:57pm

Fear is an intrinsic when the walls of the forefathers religions are seen falling down, men are turned in to beasts...............

khalid Aug 11, 2013 07:07pm

In this CIVILIZED world people feel good at Muslim bashing irrelevant of them being victims or otherwise.

FromOtherSide Aug 11, 2013 07:28pm

Oh yeah Mac? The bombs on Japan were made and dropped by Muslims? World war 1 and 2 were waged by Muslims? The Vietnam war was started by Muslims? Wow.,,you have studied so much, you definitely know more than historians.

notsotruthful Aug 11, 2013 08:27pm


By building a mosque?

Shahid Awan Aug 11, 2013 09:01pm

@Ravindia Patel: Who is the cat here?

Pankaj Aug 11, 2013 09:04pm

@Youth: have you tried to protect budhists ever in last one thousend years ? Don't forget Pakistan and Afganistan was once buddhist dominated region.

Tariq Mehsud Aug 11, 2013 09:54pm

I still consider Sri Lanka to be a more open and more tolerant nation. Things will get back to normal soon.

nooffence7 Aug 11, 2013 10:39pm

Muslims all over the world need to introspect how adversely their culture affects the rest of the world.

malik Aug 11, 2013 11:44pm

@M Khaleeq: I think it is a mix of different things. Halal food, new mosque (maybe on some old temple), demanding sharia laws and so on.

Ammy Aug 11, 2013 11:46pm

@truthful: i guess u r forgetting the causes of establishment of LTTE. like wise now they have nothing else to do they started this. first asking to remove the halal label from food products then about HIjab then to ban slaughter houses and here v go nw! every time Muslims are no to b blamed :) cheers

Cayne Aug 11, 2013 11:52pm

@Gerry D'Cunha:

Where ever there are people, there is trouble whether they are Muslim, Jewish or Christian. No one group has a monopoly on irrational and violent behaviour.

Mohideen nowfer Aug 12, 2013 12:18am

@Alex: Dear Ales I am still a Sri.Lankan holding only a S/L passport.I left my country in 1972, due to an undemocratic system . Since 1958 and up to now the recial violance continue, small and large scele. Also there are few fanatic monks create disturbence . This dosent mean all the Sinhalese population are the same.These fanatics should be brought before Justic and set an example . Prabakaran was born due to these violance against the minority community . Well lets see the role of Arab world?Are these fanatics realize that the Country's main revenue comes from Muslim countries? Buddisam is a very peacefull religen , but I doubt that these monks has any thing to do with the teaching of Lord Budda. The Maha sanga should take appropriate against these stupid fools , who are creating another conflict in Sri Lanka. Being a muslim I found the first buddist temple in 1984 in Rome. One of the responsible to get a bill to legalize thousands of thousands illegal immigrants, including thousands of Singhalese.


Samson Greta Aug 12, 2013 03:22am

Islamic countries have banned Buddhism. No single temple allowed. Muslims are looked up on as enemies

Samson Greta Aug 12, 2013 03:24am

@Alex: But they are killing monks. its difficult to practice Buddhism in their own countries

Samson Greta Aug 12, 2013 03:25am

@M Khaleeq: Muslims attacked and bombed the birth place of Lord Buddha. Its like someone bombing Mecca. Muslims need to understand this. also Bhamian destruction

Samson Greta Aug 12, 2013 03:25am

@Youth: Govt. should deal with iron hand deport Muslims back to Muslim countries

TooManyIndiansHere Aug 12, 2013 04:57am

@M Khaleeq: To think that Pakistan helped them so much in their war against the Tamils, ungrateful nation.

Raza Aug 12, 2013 06:03am

@truthful: Guess that's why Sikh's got burn't in India after Indira Gandhi's assassination? Guess that's why the 120 million Dalit's get treated like dirt and their women raped in India?

Need more info? I hope that your mentality does not represent all people of your faith because I have not lost faith in the human race despite all the horrors we can force upon our kind. There are good people where you live and I am sure they share my thoughts.

mirza Aug 12, 2013 06:42am

It's shocking news from the Sri Lanka and from Buddhists: both are known as tolerant toward Muslims. What happened so suddenly? Somebody must be fueling this. I believe Sri Lanka will deal with it wisely and effectively.

Sri1 Aug 12, 2013 06:51am

@Gerry D'Cunha: I disagree. What about the muslim nations? Are most of them in peace, tranquility and harmony? Fact is that most have their faith-addled problems too - even forgetting the ones that the west interfere with.

Ali N Aug 12, 2013 08:00pm

During war against Tamils, Sri Lanka had no better ally than Pakistan.Now Buddhists are becoming militant, monks are their version of 'jehadists" . It started in Burma and is spreading in Sri Lanka. Buddhist monuments were destroyed in Afghanistan, it has nothing to do with Muslims of Sri Lanka. Pakistanis know it very well who is behind these attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka.

Ranatunga Aug 12, 2013 08:23pm

Just look at yourself, before commenting. u guys burnt chruch and conerted lot fo hindu gals to Musilm. now you are talking about minority issue.

Shame on u guys.

Adam Aug 13, 2013 01:42pm

no religion teach to disturb other religion worship places or the worshipper, such action will shake the peace in sri lanka and government should take serious action against the group who does such hatred attacks.

M Irfan Aug 14, 2013 06:29am

Troubles are not created by The Muslims but this is only their reaction to what others do against them.......

M Irfan Aug 14, 2013 06:33am

Troubles are not made by the Muslims at first but it is only their reaction to what others do against them.......

lolz Aug 14, 2013 08:34am

@FromOtherSide: none os them are in the name of religion