25 September, 2018

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Attacks Against Minority Muslims In Ampara, Eastern Sri Lanka

By Mohamed Fazil –

Mohamed Fazil

At least five people were wounded, and several shops and a mosque were damaged in a clash between majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims in Ampara, Eastern Sri Lanka, on Tuesday. The attack in Ampara transpired after a group of people accused a Muslim shop owner of incorporating “sterilization pills” into food. Although doctors in the field announced through social media that such an act is impossible, the Muslim shop owner should inquire for the court or a relevant authority.

The protracted conflict between the Sinhala and the Tamil transformed into the 26-year Sri Lankan civil war that ended in 2009 when the military defeated the LTTE. The state has yet to attempt meaningfully resolving this conflict. Unfortunately, anti-Muslim campaigns and numerous attacks against the religious rights and economy of Muslims increased after the civil war. The clash in Ampara is yet another widespread contestation between the Sinhalese majority and the Muslim minority who complained that in this incident, the police failed to control the mob attacks against them, the mosques, and other properties. Muslim politicians and civil society organizations requested that the government conduct impartial inquiry and take essential measures to arrest the culprits.

In a newly released report, Amnesty International (2017/2018) noted that last year, “Sri Lanka saw a rise in Buddhist nationalist sentiment, including attacks against Christians and Muslims.” In September 2016, a group of hardline Buddhist monks attacked the homes of Rohingya refugees in Boosa, southern Sri Lanka, and in November, dozens of Muslim homes and businesses were attacked near the southern city of Galle. According to media, these incidents are the main reason why the abovementioned report included such statements. In this light, the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) commenced on 26 February 2018. Media reported that Ampara incident has been informed to the UNHRC officials via some civil society organizations within this week. The ongoing session will reportedly allow international human rights organizations to submit the arguments they incurred from several parts of the world. The clash in Ampara along with the aforesaid report might also induce increased criticism on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC session, which may vehemently mar the image of the country.

It is important to mention here that attacks and discrimination against to the religious minority should stop to avoid another full-range of ethnic contestation, therefore following measures can be considered to avoid future clash:

If any clash or ethnic contestation were to occur anywhere in the island, then a high level of police authority in that region must be accountable for maintaining law and order. However, these attacks against minorities would only be inhibited if the police acted without partiality. The post-independence history of Sri Lanka imparts a powerful message to the Sri Lankan and international communities: partiality that originates from state police and security forces is one of the root causes of widespread violence against minorities.

Specially trained peace-keeping forces can be deployed in each district to control attacks against particular religious groups and to maintain a peaceful environment.

Furthermore, the government should ensure that its officials, including members of law enforcement bodies, respect religious freedom and abstain from discrimination based on religion or belief. Officials should also be trained on basic human rights, especially religious freedom.

Fragmented Muslim politicians and civil society must take collective dealings and request to the government to give safeguard and compensation for the attacks against to their community and property. Powerful ministers from the Muslim community must stop to gain political advantage during their people face challenges.

Hate campaign and violence against to Muslims are periodically happening in the different part of the country, immediately after the particular incidents Muslims are in the tense situation and are trying to get a solution in respect to the incidents mentioned above. But, these incidents are obviously well planned and periodically conducted by the majority extremists. Hence, spiritual leaders, politicians, civil society representatives, intellectuals and the ordinary public in the Muslim community and peace lovers from other faith groups in Sri Lanka should come under one umbrella and take a number of tasks to enhance peaceful coexistence in the country.

In turn, minority Muslims must respect other groups living in the country and their religious practices to avoid further discriminatory incidents.

According to the Amnesty International report, the numerous Muslim allegations against the police in the Ampara case are similar. The Sri Lankan government is accountable for safeguarding minority rights. We therefore await international response to these attacks against Muslims in Sri Lanka at the ongoing 37th UNHRC session. If this session positively considers contemporary violations against Muslims, then temporary dispassion may be afforded to them.

*MM.Fazil – Head, Dept. of Political Science, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    What is the p;ossibility some one is supporting the on cmoing UNHCR meeting. Fist fights, drunkrds fighting, killing each other are common, particularly when there is no communication amonng different ethnic groups, and particuarly when muslims try to build a wall between them and the others. People in that region complains are there only to clean your garbage. I heard, they rape sinhala women and leave them alone. So, there may be other things going around.

    • 4
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      What happened is the mosque was vandalized at ampara.

      • 4
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        Inter ethnic conflicts should be settled by fair minded civil society members of all communities, as politicians for political reasons are not going to take action and it is an expensive and long drawn procedure if taken to courts. As a first step this author should endeavour to settle a problem in Attapalam in Nintavur division, where a Muslim lecturer in his South eastern university has attempted with help of Muslim officials to appropriate part of Hindu cremation grounds. When Tamils protested with legal proof of ownership, police took them to custody and have instituted criminal charges against them. When Muslims complain of atrocities committed by Sinhalese, and at the same time commit atrocities on Tamils, it cannot be called justice. If the author fails to take action against his colleague for this criminal act on Tamils, then his campaign to bring perpetrators of crimes to justice becomes a farce, as he will be deemed concerned only about Muslims.

    • 6
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      Trolls who set one Sri Lankan against each other, and encouraging ethnic violence, should be tied to a tree and flogged.

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 10
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    Today all SIN KELE thugs arrested were given bail by ampara court. Ampara police who backs budda rowdies manipulated the case and helped to get bail . Hundreds of buda rowdies and kaavi rowdies were seen near court premises.
    SHAME ON POLICE KAARAYAA.. They are trying to make srilanka an other Budda Terror country like Myanmar..

  • 8
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    Who are minority Muslims? Are they different from other Muslims? Are they the same bunch in ISIL ? Also what the hell are Rohingyas refugees doing in Sri Lanka? Why the hell cant they go to Pakistan, Bangladesh. Why Sri Lanka.? These are the disturbing issues that upset the Sinhalese. See the comments on CT itself by Muslims insulting Buddhists their religion and their priesthood. It is high time that the sleeping Sinhalese wake up to this and protect their religion.

    • 4
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      Instigating violence, and spreading of false propaganda. Who knows who the commenters are? It could be anyone even the brainless trouble makers who want to set on against the other, like you.

      One word – Islamaphobia

    • 6
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      Hei hu… hu.. CT has full of intellectual peaceloving learned and moderate Gentlemen .
      Are you one of a BUDHU THUGs who attacked muslim thevalaya in Amapara ?
      Majority Budhists are always live with Muslims in harmony.
      Are they different from other Budhists? yes they Are not the same bunch in bodu balu sena kaavi rowdies .
      Also what the hell are sin keleayas refuge doing in Arab muslim countries ? Why the hell cant they live and earn in srilanaka ? If Muslim countries send back all sin kelyas back then your people go to beg in streets…. If Pakistan Muslims not helped our lankan Military force , Tamil terrorists would never have been defeated. You know this history ? You better study how Pakistan Muslims govntment helped our army in the final battle field..
      Buddha Racism and Rowdyism like yours are the disturbing issues that upset the whole community in our Motherlanka.
      You better wake up and protect budhist girls and children from KAAMADURU in pansala who are raping and abusing those innocents….
      You better wake up and protect all lands which are being grabbed by putting your Budda statue in midnight by your kaavi rowdies and then claim those lands are yours..
      Can you tell us WHY YOUR Siddartha , alias BUDDHA , LEFT WIFE AND CHILDREN AND WENT TO JUNGLE ? NO POWER TO RUN FAMILY LIFE………..????????
      because of so called BUDDA, hundrends of thousands Budist Sinkela Men and women do not and can not have family life so that craving for SEX thus became HOMOSEX GAYS and LESBINA sinners. Its shame to see how Bikkula are raping girls and boys in Pansala in Srilanaka.. Shame on your Rowdism and Racism..
      Your budda terror only help to create an other genocide on all Muslims and chrisitians in srilanka . If so , think what would be the future of Sri Lanka ?? Please stop your Racism and do good for our people.

  • 7
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    This is not the first time the Muslims and their properties came under attack by Sinhala – Buddhist zealots. Even under the Yapahalana rule, the Sinhala – Buddhist mobs are taking the law into their hands. This is because they consider themselves the chosen people of Buddha and therefore superior to all others. This mindset has been further fuelled by conferring foremost place and state protection to Buddhism by the constitution. The throat slitting gesture by the Defence Attache Brigadier Priyanka Fernando of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner is due to the same mindset. And President Mythripala Sirisena added fuel to fire by giving orders nullifying the suspension and reinstating the Brigadier in his job. According to the mindset of President Sirisena, he will not allow the war heroes to be put on trial for human rights violations and war crimes. Giving special status to a particular religion make the followers of that particular religion to think they are superior to other religious followers. That is why enlightened politicians have declared their country as secular. Mahavamsa capriciously states that Dutu Gemenu’s war cry was: “Not for Kingdom, but for Buddhism!” According to the same chronicle, when Duttu Gemenu was full of remorse over the slaughter of millions of lives during the war with Ellalan, a group of Buddhist Arahats (saints) who came to comfort him said “From this deed arises no hindrance in thy way to heaven……………Unbelievers and men of evil life were they, NOT MORE THAN TO BE ESTEEMED THAN BEASTS. But for thee, thou wilt bring glory to the doctrine of the Buddha is manifold ways, therefore, cast away cry from thy heart, O ruler of men.” This Mahavamsa mindset was displayed in full glare when Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing an election rally at Kilinochchi in 2014 told the Tamils” I am a Sinhalese Buddhist, this land belongs to the Sinhalese Buddhist and you Themilas have to listen to what I say.” Rajapaksa was reacting to the boo from the crowd that did not understand his colloquial Tamil.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 5
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    Superb piece of witing with constructive suggestions. Please keep going.

    Rameez

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 6
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    Mr Fazil
    One small suggestion. Is it possible for the Muslim leaders to agree to discontinue the loudspeaker on top of the Mosque? Can’t we think of a better technical solution something like using a mobile phone instead. Perhaps you may not know that Sinhala and Tamil children begin hating Muslims with that bellowing five times a day. It is such a nuisance which you Muslims do not realise. Our elder friends taught us some utter filth rhyming with the words Allah Hu Lalla which we used to shout with cusp hands on mouth. My real worry is this has given rise to a bigger monster – loudspeaker on top of the temple. While yours is just five brief periods a day ours is 15 hours non-stop. But under the existing circumstances we can’t tackle our problem until you oblige to relieve us from your side.
    Soma

    • 7
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      Why are Muslims practicing a ritual which causes non-Muslims to curse Islam 5 times a day, every day ? Is this what the Holy Prophet (sal) advocated ? I have posed this question to many Muslims and the response has always been the same – total silence.
      .
      The conduct of all religious practices in a Mosque comes under the purview of the ACJU. Mosques dare not suspend the practice of using external loudspeakers without consulting these Sunni Muslim ‘Priests’, who perceive themselves as ‘Enforcers’ rather than ‘Guides/Advisors’.
      .
      By continuing with this practice, the Muslims are only strenthening the situational factors (see my comment below) which influence the behaviour of anti-Muslim groups.
      .
      ……. and the Muslims then asks themselves “Why do some Sinhalese hate us ?”

      • 1
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        @ekelbroom !

        You can read my comment above with some Questions . Will you able to answer for us ?

        Maybe some knowledgeable persons in Islam can answer your questions.

        • 2
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          When Islam was introduced there were no loud speakers. Call for prayers were by a person climbing up and made simply by normal voice. It is the amplification of this call which is causing disturbance to people and must be stopped. Do not come out with excuses to justify your barbaric practice, and respond to Sinhala concerns.

  • 2
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    With all this vile behaviour of Buddhists , given the option a Moldivian would choose to live in Sri Lanka/India or Pakistan/Bangladesh? Muslims in their heart of hearts are aware that in view of the overall, all encompassing freedom and tolence they experience Aluthgama and Ampara are insignificant incidences.
    Soma

  • 3
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    Mohamed Fazil
    Outside parliament, ONLY Dr Bahu has come out strongly against the Ampara attacks. Inside parliament Sampanthan has. It will be more effective if Muslim MPs raise the issue in parliament.
    The 2014 Aluthgama pogrom was taken up by TGTE and will do so this time too. You are waiting for some NGO to take up the cause. Is it time for Muslim activists to agitate inside SL and Lankan Muslim Diaspora to take this up outside? We must start straightaway.

  • 6
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    Instead of blaming innocent Sinhala people, try to understand their heartbeat & live peacefully unless find somewhere else to live.

  • 5
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    A common error on the part of the Muslims when interpreting the recent violent anti-Muslim agitations by small groups of Sinhalese is to attribute such acts to dispositional attributes of the persons concerned and completely ignore the possible influences of situational factors.
    .
    These groups of Sinhalese are then identified as being the Cause of the ‘Muslim Problem’ and the obvious solution then is to urge the Government to take action against all such law-breakers so that the Muslims can continue to live in peace. By continuing to ignore the influence of situational factors in shaping the thoughts and behaviour of these anti-Muslim groups, one risks the possibility of mistaking the Symptom of the problem for it’s Cause. This would be like trying to cure an individual’s sneezing fits, instead of treating his bout of viral flu, to solve his health problem.
    .
    Have the Muslims even for a moment asked themselves as to what exactly makes these small groups of Sinhalese apprehensive, concerned and may be even fearful of the Muslims who have lived amongst them for 1000 years ? What is it about the Muslims that drives such persons to commit acts of violence ? If Muslims asks these questions from their good, close Sinhalese friends, the responses they receive may shock them.
    .
    Over the past 3 – 4 decades, the enhanced piety of the Muslims and it’s increasing and widespread visibility may have inadvertently, unwittingly contributed towards the creation of the situational factors that have led to the current break-down in Buddhist – Muslim relations.
    .
    If the Muslims are genuinely and sincerely interested in making meaningful contributions to the processes of re-conciliation and national harmony in their Motherland, then they must immediately stop building walls around themselves and start building bridges between the two communities using empathy and understanding as the foundations.
    .
    Tolerance does not necessarily mean acquiescence.

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
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    All religions in this country MUST adjust to our society, and not behave in a manner that provokes, or threatens anyone. At the same time, the thugs that represent the majority religion, must be condemned, and made to face a court of law, for any violence against people, homes, businesses, and Holy places. The government and religious leaders have to step in and caution all sides, and the priests, instead of advocating violence, should teach the people, to not provoke, and to respect the feelings of others. There is enough of blame to go around, and this country is known for ethnic tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamils, and the Sinhalese and Muslims for decades.
    Most of the time, it was for no particular reason. It is this organized campaign against the minorities that is troubling. There are outside elements that have their own malicious agendas, that we should be concerned about. The false rumors about sweets, the fear of Muslims taking over the country, and the most ridiculous fake news, that gullible thugs believe, and attack the minority must be stopped.

  • 2
    3

    the headline itself is deceptive…. Muslims are the majority in ampara district… good example of decoration of news against Sinhalese community…

  • 2
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    Muslims are very extreme in SriLanka. This muslim man is writing a propaganda. Its not real what happenings there. They only need to destroy Sinhalese people and rise up on their blood.

    • 3
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      Utter nonsense. Muslims know they cannot “destroy Sinhalese people”.
      Only ignorant people will buy that.
      Are they attacking Sinhala homes and Temples? Stop the false propaganda, you are only causing problems for the country.

  • 1
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    Quote: “clash between majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims in Ampara, Eastern Sri Lanka
    unquote:
    ———————————————————————-

    This article is completely warped from the beginning.”

    ———————-
    It should read as a group of drunkard Sinhalese attacked a Muslim owned restaurant,etc..
    This is how hate is stirred , You are dragging the entire Sinhalese population who had nothing to do with the incident .

    I kind request the Editors of CT as much as you go far not even to publishing some of your readers comments or editing it out totally ,I believe you should also responsibly edit articles no matter who the writer is before publishing it.
    This is very evident that either there are some small time Politicians or envious persons in the same trade involved in it.

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