Sri Lankan Buddhist mob attacks mosque in Colombo

A Buddhist monk walks by a police cordon around a vandalized mosque in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo

Buddhist-led violence erupted in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, this past weekend. According to a Reuters report, “A mob of Buddhists, who are mainly ethnic Sinhalese in Sri Lanka, threw stones at a three-storey mosque and nearby houses in a central Colombo neighbourhood during evening prayers on Saturday, residents said. Later, hundreds of Muslim residents took to the streets, some clutching sticks, to prevent any further attacks on their community, witnesses said.” At least twelve people were injured in the ensuing melee until police locked down the area under curfew. At issue seemed to be the location of the brand new mosque, which had drawn protests by Buddhist monks after its opening a month ago.

Reuters reported the United States embassy in Colombo said “the incident was particularly troubling in light of several recent attacks against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka,” also noting that such events mirrored the Buddhist-majority violence against Muslims in Myanmar that has recently gained international attention.

“‘Targeting any place of worship should never be permitted and we urge calm from all sides. We call for prosecution of perpetrators in this attack and an end to religious-based violence,’ the embassy said.

According to a New York Times story, “In a separate incident, a hand grenade was thrown at a Buddhist temple in the Jaffna peninsula, on the northern tip of the island. There were no injuries, police said.”

Read the full Reuters report here.

Photo by Eranga Jayawardena/AP.