CAIRO - Facing a new wave of hate attacks, Sri Lanka Muslims have urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take decisive actions against extremist Buddhists who have been circulating rumors and misinformation insulting Muslims.
"These groups have been using the traditional media, social media, public meetings, posters, leaflets, and the circulation of rumors and misinformation insulting Muslims to inculcate a sense of fear and hatred of Muslims among Sinhalese," Head of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka N.M. Ameen said in the letter, Colombo Page reported.
They are using abusive language when referring to our religious practices and publicly calling for a boycott of businesses run by Muslims."
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He has also asked the President to instruct the police to take necessary action to stop incidents of harassment against minorities and their businesses.
"We see no substantive reduction in either the incidents of harassment of members of our community or the campaign by the extremist groups, he added.
Last week, a hardline Buddhist group known as "Bodu Bala Sena", or Buddhist Force, has called for the demolition of a 10th century Muslim worship place.
The new campaign against the ancient Kuragala mosque comes shortly after a vicious war by extremist Buddhists against halal food in Sri Lanka.
Over the past weeks, the Buddhist Force has staged rallies to call for a boycott of halal products in the country.
Earlier this month, Muslims agreed to abandon the halal logo on products to help ease tension by the Buddhist majority.
The Muslim appeal to the president is not the first.
Over the past months, the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka has called on the President to consider several requests made by them in order to stem the rising tide of anti-Muslim extremism in the country.
Among the requests made by the Council to the President are to take decisive action by publicly condemning the hate campaign of the Buddhist extremists.
They also urged him to defend equal rights for all citizens in the country as well as instructing the police to take necessary action to stop incidents of harassment against minorities and their businesses.
Further the Council requested the President to empower the police to respond to instances where such forces try to take the law in to their own hands and ensure that the authorities take action against the media when they contribute to the propagation of hate sentiment.
The Muslim calls followed an earlier letter from the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) expressing concerns over increasing reports of anti-Muslim ethnic tensions.
Sri Lanka has been thrown into tension following a string of serious incidents involving extremist Buddhist provocations against Muslims.
In June, some 200 demonstrators led by several dozen Buddhist monks converged on a small Islamic center in Colombo's suburb of Dehiwala.
Throwing stones and rotten meat over the mosque gate, protestors shouted slogans demanding the closure of the Muslim worship place.
Last April, a number of Buddhist monks disrupted Muslim prayer services in the village of Dambulla. The attackers claimed that the mosque, built in 1962, was illegal.
Weeks later, monks drafted a threatening letter aimed at Muslims in the nearby town of Kurunegala, demanding Islamic prayer services there be halted.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net