28 September, 2020

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Sri Lanka Muslims Decry Radical Buddhist Mosque Attack – BBC

By BBC NEWS ASIA –

The main umbrella group of Sri Lankan Muslims says radical Buddhists are trying to damage peaceful co-existence between the country’s main ethnic communities.

The statement came three days after hardline Buddhists tried to storm a mosque, after which the government said it would be demolished and relocated.

Buddhists in the central town of Dambulla have defended their actions.

But the issue has provoked anger among some prominent Muslims.

The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka said it was “deeply concerned” at the attempted destruction of the mosque in Dambulla last Friday.

It said the building was lawfully registered and was 50 years old.

The council said that radical Buddhist elements – against the will of the majority – were consistently undermining ethnic co-existence. It called on leaders of Sri Lanka’s majority Buddhist faith to re-establish good ties.

Mohamed Saleemdeen, a board member of the mosque, denied it was an illegal building.

He told the AP news agency that it had been there long before the area was declared a sacred zone about 20 years ago.

But prominent monks in Dambulla say the mosque is illegally built on ground sacred to their religion.

On Friday the building was fire-bombed.

Video of monks and other hardliners trying to storm it later showed one monk addressing the crowd in overtly racial terms, saying the campaign against the Muslim building was a victory for “those who love the race, have Sinhalese blood and are Buddhists”.

The BBC’s Charles Haviland in Colombo says that a monk was seen exposing himself against the mosque as an insult.

‘Safeguarding Buddhism’

Buddhist leaders in Dambulla say they now intend to demolish 72 structures in the sacred area that they say are unauthorised, including the mosque and a Tamil Hindu temple.

A Dambulla monk told the BBC that the actions were necessary because Sri Lanka was “the only country to safeguard Buddhism”.

He said that if encroachments continued there would be no Buddhist land left.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is overseas but senior Muslim politicians from his government have condemned the official decision to demolish the mosque.

While most of Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority are Buddhists, Muslims are regarded as the third ethnic group, after the mainly Hindu Tamils.

There have been appeals for calm, including from a Sri Lankan Muslim blogger who said it would be irresponsible for Muslims to respond to current events in a “reactionary” way.

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Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    What is illegal and legal in terms of building a mosque?
    This mosque was built before 50 years

    A muslim minister was sent to muslim countries to vote against Tamils in UN Human Rights Commission last month.
    Soon after the muslim community faces the arrogance of the buddhist chauvinism.

    And the chief buddhist monk who organized this riots says this video is fake, the same story after publishing the Channel4 video

    Hopefully not a discussion about “some undershirts under the safran cloths which is not usual in sri Lanka” and nominationg a local expert commission

    How many hindu temples were destroyed in north and east to build buddhist temples?

    • 0
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      Yes this is very bad a few eveil and radical people doing these Tamil style terrorist acts on others.. I hope they will be punished.. and the CH4 video was a pure work of comedy… Full of laughter.. Dead terrorist who did similar thigs like those radicals are inncoent.. my foot.

  • 0
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    There are no illegal and legal terms when you deal with the GOD. The all powerful mighty Lord can give sign for anyone to build a mosque anywhere. The Mighty lord will appear in a mysterious form and tell you that this place should be kept clean and do the victuals or he will be not happy. That’s simple science. I cant believe you people. Only in Saudi Arabia you can speak with the Lord in Arabic. But in Vathican you have to do prayers following Bible the second testament by the King James. Not the first which is so close to Torahs the Jew Bible. Lord Al Mighty designated people in his likeness and you or nobody can question him. Because it’s clearly written in our holy book.

  • 0
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    All the religions teach tolerance and spread goodwill and peace among all human beings. But some people lack to gain religious knowledge and admit themselves as preachers. I did not expect to see such a offensive scene in the media many prominent Buddhist monks behaving in a mosque with such humiliating manner and I don’t think they will accept the same thing in Buddist temple either. Billions of faiths who pray in Mosques in more than 150 countries are comport with their religion.

  • 0
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    History and Russian historian say the Mosque was built 5o years ago. A mosque also a sacred place. How new sacred place can erase another existing sacred place?. Is it just, before we talked about the religious freedom in Sri Lanka??

  • 0
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    Ha the bbc.. Shame the BBC keeps very silent.. when muslims and mosques are roasted by NATO bombs every day… And when mosques are fire bombed in Europe and USA.. and when Qurans are burnt in those countries.. The bbc then plays the terrorist card..

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