Sri Lanka, hundreds of radical Buddhist attack Islamic community
by Melani Manel Perera
Led by Buddhist monks, the group threw stones at a store and injured dozens of people. Two extremist Sinhalese-Buddhist associations target the Muslim and Christian minorities to "protect the Sinhala race and the Buddhist religion."

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of Buddhist radicals have attacked a warehouse owned by a Muslim and injured dozens of people in Colombo. As videos of the episode reveal, some Buddhist monks led the attack, throwing stones against the deposit. The incident occurred late last night in a suburb of the capital, where the stores of the famous clothing chain Fashion Bug are located. The police placed the area under security.

The attack is the latest episode of religious intolerance perpetrated by some radical groups-Sinhalese Buddhists, who have long targeting the Muslim community. In particular, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and the Sinhala Ravaya ("eco Sinhalese"), two extremist groups whose mission is to protect the Buddhist Sinhalese population and their religion.

To protest against this growing anti-Islamic sentiment, March 25 last Muslim association has called a strike (hartal). In response, the BBS issued a statement in which he stated that "Sri Lanka is not a multi-racial and multi-religious country, but a Sinhalese and Buddhist nation," and therefore "must be prepared to protest against extremist Christian and Muslim groups working in the country. " Some monks support these radical Buddhist groups. One of them, Ven. Thero Medagoda Abayathissa, urged the Sinhalese families to "have at least five or six children, so that the Sinhala population can grow and protect the country's Sinhala and Buddhist race."

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.