USTPAC Condemns Sri Lanka for Attack on Mosque and Calls for Protection of Religious Freedom

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United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) condemns attack on Muslim mosque in Sri Lanka by Buddhist extremists, denounces government complicity, and calls for tolerance and protection of religious freedom for minority communities.

United States Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) denounces the recent violent attack on a mosque in Dambulla, Sri Lanka by a large group of Sinhala hardliners led by some Buddhist monks. “Tamils all over the world are united in solidarity with their Muslim brethren in Sri Lanka in roundly condemning the attack on Dambulla Mosque, and call upon Sri Lanka to halt its attempts to dislocate the Muslim worship place,” said USTPAC spokesperson, Dr. Elias Jeyarajah.

BBC reported that on Friday the 20th of April 2012 a tense situation arose as regular Friday prayer at the mosque was prevented by a 2,000 strong gang led by Buddhist monks who claimed that it was an illegal construction. The mob claimed that both the mosque and a nearby Hindu temple were built on sacred Buddhist ground. The mosque was also fire-bombed ( the night before. Local Muslim leaders confirmed that the Dambulla Mosque had been in existence for over 60 years and the trustees have legal documents regarding its construction.

This incident in Dambulla is not an isolated one. There are numerous reports including one by the International Crisis Group describing the destruction of Hindu temples and Christian churches by the Sinhala extremists with the support of the security forces and the government. “Last year a Muslim shrine was destroyed in the sacred city of Anuradhapura. In addition, in Ashraf Nagar the military has taken over land that belongs to 69 Muslim families, including land that was allotted for a Muslim burial ground,” said local Muslim leaders.

Officially sanctioning the intimidations, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Sunday issued orders for the removal ( of the mosque. “We strongly urge the Government of Sri Lanka to take measures to curb the growing trend of intolerance against minority communities,” said Dr. Jeyarajah. “USTPAC also calls upon the international community including the United States government to urge Sri Lanka to uphold religious freedom for all of its citizens.”

Media Contact: 202-595-3123
email: info(at)ustpac(dot)org
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