Hatred of Tamils and minority Muslims by Buddhist majority refuses to go away
Extremist Buddhists attacked Muslims and set fire to their properties and vehicles in Aluthgama in 2014. (ucanews.com photo)
Despite the war between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil dying down in 2009, embers of sectarian and religious conflict remain, according to rights activists and church officials.There are a number of groups who promote poisonous ideologies via poster campaigns, hate speeches and online, according to local media. It has flared up in several high profile incidents. The chief Buddhist monk of the Mangalaramaya temple verbally abused a Tamil government official in front of a police officer but no action was taken, according to a video released on Nov.12. reports from the area, the monk had also been preventing the police from evicting the encroachers. "There were police in the vicinity and they were afraid to take steps because of a recent incident in the north when policemen were arrested," he said. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe urged the police to take action against extremists on Nov. 20 and said that everyone had the right to take pride in their race and religion. His words came in a charged situation. Sinhalese Buddhists attacked Muslims and set fire to their property and vehicles in Dharga Town in 2014. The riots killed four Muslims and injured over 80 and displaced some 10,000 residents. "Hate speeches and such activities create religious and ethnic hatred and disharmony among communities who live peacefully," said Nihal Somasiri, a rights activist who works for inter-religious harmony. "There were hundreds of extremist activities under the former regime but the unfortunate thing is all these activities have reappeared under new government too," he added. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka said that the Muslim community is alarmed about the ongoing racist campaign carried out by extremist Buddhist monks. They said that young people have started social media campaigns against the Muslim community. "Muslims have a long history of peaceful co-existence," the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka said in a statement.
Some 10,000 Muslims were displaced after the riots in Aluthgama in 2014. (ucanews.com photo)
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