Protests and debates rage throughout Sri Lanka over a mosque. Radical Buddhist factions, with the majority of the majority [Buddhists] who seem to not be bothered, have recently attacked the said mosque in an attempt to demolish the building. The problem itself is not about the mosque, like the issue of minarets in Switzerland, but about the location of the mosque similar to other issues concerning religious buildings. This particular mosque, called the Jumma Mosque, is built on land that is considered sacred to Buddhists in the town of Dambulla, northeast of the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
The mosque, approximately aged 56 years, has also been targeted by the Jathika Hela Urumaya, a Buddhist political party, which stated to reporters that there could be no compromise regarding the “illegally built” mosque.
In response to the attack and the government’s decision to demolish and relocate the mosque, overwhelming numbers of Muslims protested by temporarily shutting down all of their businesses.
Banks and even government institutes have screeched to a halt as a result of protests.
Minor clashes have been reported between protesters and police. Protests are still ongoing throughout the Saindamaradu, Samathurai, Kalmunai and the Batticaloa areas while throngs of people continue to demonstrate in the capital city of Colombo.
Muslim-led political parties also participated. Among them was the Muslim Congress which announced that it was mulling over whether or not to withdraw support of the United People’s Freedom Alliance which is currently in power and is also the political party of the Sri Lankan Prime Minister who authorized the demolition of the disputed Jumma Mosque.
It is not just the Jumma Mosque under fire but also a Hindu temple which is also being targeted by radical Buddhists for also existing on the sacred area of Dambulla.
(Cover Photo: Eranga Jayawardena / AP)