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The New Orange-Green War: Buddhists Attack Mosque in Sri Lanka


Twelve people were injured and three remain hospitalized after a mob of Sri Lankan Buddhists attacked a mosque in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, on Saturday night. The mosque was built only a month ago after local unrest and sporadic attacks against Muslims forced the mosque leaders to relocate. Now the new mosque will close indefinitely in response to this weekend’s violence.

Sri Lanka and Burma, where Muslim communities have come under repeated attack by angry mobs, share a similar tension between these ethnic and religious groups, which used to coexist quite peacefully. In Burma, Buddhist monks have whipped up anti-Muslim fervor, urging people not to shop at Muslim businesses and working to impose a limit on the size of Muslim families. In Sri Lanka recently, similar animus has flared, the WSJ reports:

Buddhist nationalist groups complain Muslims are dominating businesses and conspiring to take over Sri Lanka demographically by increasing births and secretly sterilizing Sinhalese…. More than 20 mosques had been attacked since last year, said N. M. Ameen, president of Sri Lanka Muslim Council. Since September 2011 more than 30 attacks have been reported on Muslim-owned businesses.

There doesn’t yet seem to be the same level of hatred and violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka as there is in Burma, but distrust between communities is growing, and there are questions about whether the Sri Lankan police are really interested in protecting Muslim communities and discouraging attacks. Meanwhile, as the Sri Lankan economy suffers and citizens protest the rising cost of living, the government is accused of becoming increasingly authoritarian and cracking down harshly on dissent.

[Sri Lankan para-military Special Task Force Commandos (STF) stand guard outside a vandalized mosque in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on August 11, 2013, a day after a mosque was vandalized in the area sparking religious tensions. Photo courtesy of Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images.]

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  • stevewfromford

    Could it be that you reap what you sow?

    • Enemy Leopard

      It would help if you could point out what, specifically, Muslims in Sri Lanka have done to warrant these attacks. In the same vein: If they deserve what they’re getting, are they, in fact, getting everything that they deserve? Should there be pogroms? Forced expulsions? I’m not an expert on ethnic relations in Sri Lanka, so I need more information here.

      • Corlyss

        I wonder where the Chinese are in all this. They have a big interest in Sri Lanka. They want to sit on India’s front stoop as part of their effort to control the South China Sea and the sea lanes from the middle east to Asia.They got the Sri Lankan government to stop fighting the Tamils according to the UN’s “proportionality” nonsense and deliver the coup de grace to the feckless rebels who’d bedeviled them for 25 years. Maybe the Chinese figure to get rid of the Muslims there before they become the annoyance the Uighurs are.

  • USNK2

    All life is suffering…
    It would help if Mr. Mead had less US versus THEM headlines (Orange-Green War? really? is that a soccer grudge match?), and a better understanding of the intolerance of islam towards everyone else, especially the Hindus and Buddhists.
    Maybe Mr. Mead needs more mature interns who can spend twenty minutes doing background research before a post appears.

    • avery12

      ‘Orange-green war’ is a reference to the history of strife between protestants and catholics in Northern Ireland.

  • Atanu Maulik

    Religions of peace having a lively dialogue these days.

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