Concerns grow over safety of Muslim community in Sri Lanka

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After a series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka Sunday, concerns have grown over the terror attacks, which could be used to inflame ethnic and religious conflict in the country, particularly against the Muslim minority population.

Two Muslim groups in Sri Lanka condemned the attacks on churches and hotels in the country. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka said it mourns the loss of innocent people in the blasts by militants who seek to divide religious and ethnic groups. The All Ceylon Jammiyyathul Ulama, a body of Muslim clerics, said targeting Christian places of worship cannot be accepted. Sri Lanka’s Muslims make up about 9 percent of its 21 million people and mostly live in the east and center of the island. Some Sinhala Buddhist groups have threatened Muslims and their businesses on social media, while attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned properties have reportedly continued.

Muslim communities across the world have suffered numerous hate attacks over the past years with many blaming the surge on an anti-Muslim discourse existing in the media and supported by the politicians. The Christchurch mosque terror attacks became the latest example of growing far-right terrorism, a well-known global threat. Extremist politics, including extreme nationalist and white supremacist politics that appear to be at the core of the latest terror attack on Muslims in New Zealand, have been part of daily politics for a long time. The rise of global extremism, with the flourishing of the right in Europe and U.S. President Donald Trump and the alt-right in America, has emboldened potential terrorists.

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