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Sri Lankan police struggled to keep up this weekend with a series of mob attacks on mosques, the latest occurring Monday, in retaliation for a series of suicide bombings on Easter that killed over 350 people. The assailants are believed to belong to the country’s Buddhist majority.
The Colombo Telegraph reported Monday that President’s Counsel Mohamed Ali Sabry used Facebook to offer a public tally of the number of attacks that morning outside of the capital. The attacks allegedly occurred while the government had imposed a curfew.
Mosques - Jumma - Mosque - Mosques - Kiniyama
“3 mosques, 1 jumma mosque and 2 small mosques were attacked and pillaged in Kiniyama, Bingiriya in Kurunegala District while curfew was in place this early morning,” Sabry reportedly wrote. “This is getting out of hand. Enough racism. It’s not going to solve the issues but further escalate it.”
Prior to these attacks, Reuters reported that authorities had imposed a curfew in the first place in response to a string of attacks against mosques and other locations frequented by Muslims. In at least one case, police said they arrested the suspected assailants but “people in the mostly Buddhist district [of Kurunegala] then demanded their release.” Buddhist monks called for the investigation of a local mosque in one instance shortly before the attacks.
Attacks - Vandalism - Broken - Windows - Bicycles
The attacks consisted almost exclusively of vandalism: broken windows, damaged bicycles parked outside one of the mosques, and Qurans left strewn on the ground in some mosques, an act of disrespects that in some Muslim-majority countries would trigger prosecution.
In Sri Lanka, however, the attacks prompted a nationwide shutdown of social media. Some of the attacks, Reuters claimed, began with disputes on Facebook and Whatsapp that erupted in real life. In western Sri Lanka, a mob threw stones at a mosque after a local Muslim identified as Abdul Hameed Mohamed Hasmar posted the message “1 day...
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