Colombo: A Facebook comment allegedly sparked anti-Muslim attacks in Sri Lanka’s west coast on Sunday, reported Reuters news agency. A dispute erupted as a group of people began pelting stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stores. A local man was reportedly beaten up in the violent attack which took place in Sri Lanka’s Chilaw.
According to the screenshots of the Facebook posts by Reuters, one user had typed in Sinhalese, “It is difficult to make us cry.” Responding to the slur made against Muslim men, another user identified as Hasmar Hameed said in English: “Dont laugh more 1 day u will cry.” Meanwhile, Hasmar Hameed had been arrested in this regard, stated two locals of Chilaw which is a Christian majority town. Police also arrested Abdul Hameed Mohamed Hasmar (38) who created the Facebook post.
Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera reportedly said that a police curfew with effect from 6 AM on Monday has been imposed in the Chilaw Police area. The incident took place three weeks after eight suicide bomb blasts ripped across three cities of Sri Lanka and killed nearly 263 people. The attacks were carried out by Islamist suicide bombers on four hotels and three churches. Ever since the suicide bombings, Muslim groups claimed that they had received complaints of harassment from people across the country in huge numbers.
The churches remained shut in Sri Lanka for a consecutive second Sunday on May 5 in wake of the recent deadly eight suicide bombings that ripped through three cities, including capital Colombo on Easter.
Sri Lankan Catholics observed Mass in their homes on their televisions, as offered by Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo from his residence- which was attended mostly by priests and nuns. A letter from Pope Francis addressed to him was read out at the end of the service in which the pontiff said he prayed that “hearts hardened by hatred may yield to His will for peace and reconciliation among all his children.”
(With agency inputs)