Colombo (AsiaNews) - On March 25 in Sri Lanka, Muslims will observe a day long strike (hartal), prayer and fasting to peacefully protest against the growing religious intolerance perpetrated by some radical groups of Sinhalese-Buddhist against the Muslim community. It is an initiative of the Muslim Rights Organisation (MRO), that hopes to make inroads into the government silence, "blind" before the widespread anti-Muslim sentiment promoted by some organizations. "We need - said Mujibur Rahman, MRO President, in a press conference - to live in harmony with the Sinhalese community in the country."
The Islamic association specifically refers
to Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)
and the Sinhala Ravaya
("eco Sinhalese"), two extremist groups whose mission
is to protect the Buddhist and
Sinhalese population and their religion. For this reason, in the past, members of these
organisations have repeatedly attacked
the Islamic community, launching smear
campaigns in the press or boycotting shops run by Muslims.
Out of a population of 21.6 million people, 73.8% are ethnic Sinhalese. The official religion is Buddhism, practiced by 69.1% of the population. With just 7.9%, Islam is the second religion of the country, followed mostly by Tamils.