03/23/2013, 00.00
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Sri Lanka Islamic group: fasting, striking and praying for peace with Buddhists

by Melani Manel Perera
The Muslim Rights Organisation (MRO) will launch a peaceful protest against the widespread anti-Islamic feeling of some radical groups of Sinhalese-Buddhists. Growing religious intolerance and social boycott of Muslim minority.

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​​.


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