Sri Lankan Muslims have faced discrimination in different forms over the years. Justice For All has worked on Sri Lanka as needed in the past, now is the time for sustained advocacy for Sri Lankan in our ummah.
Sri Lanka gained independence from the British in 1942 and later changed its name from Ceylon in 1972. Sri Lanka has a population of 23,044,123 according to July 2020 statistics. Buddhism is the official religion with 70.2 percent of the population, followed by Hinduism at 12.6 percent, Islam at 9.7, Roman Catholic at 6.1, Christianity at 1.3, and other at .05.
There was a 26 year Civil War between the Tamil Tigers and Sinhalese Buddhists from 1983 to 2009 in Sri Lanka. Many Tamils are Hindu, while others are Christian. Being a minority in the country, they were disenfranchised by the majority Sinhalese nationalists and this led to the war. The armed Tamil Tigers fought mainly against the Sri Lankan army during this period, and it ended with the Tigers’ defeat. The United Nations reported that 40,000 civilians were killed at just the end of the war.
Many Tamils are still displaced since the war and missing individuals have never been found. Families who returned to the northwest island of Iranaithivu in 2018 had been gone for 25 years. This was the first location that those who died to Covid-19 were allowed to be buried, so it can make more sense as to why those just returning home would protest the Sinhalese majority government’s actions of trying to pit minorities against each other.
Post-Easter Bombing Islamophobia
Since the Easter bombing of April 2019, Islamophobia has been on the rise in Sri Lanka, in particular by the Buddhist Sinhalese Nationalists. Those who committed the atrocities were outliers of the Sri Lankan community and few – yet Sri Lankan politicians and Sinhalese nationalists have used this to justify harassment and policies directed toward an entire religious group. Since then, there have been attacks on women wearing hijab, boycotts on Muslim businesses, social media rumor and propaganda campaigns, and other orchestrated and directed attacks.
After COVID, Sri Lanka was forcing cremation (burning of bodies) of Muslims, while the WHO recognized both burial and cremation as safe.
Muslims rightly see this as another attempt at the marginalization of their religious rights and citizenry.
The Sri Lankan government has used the Covid-19 pandemic as a justification for further abusing the rights of minorities. Christians and Muslims bury their deceased, while Hindus and Buddhists cremate theirs. From March 2020 to March 2021, the government forbade anyone who died from Covid-19 to be buried. They claimed this was because the burial could contaminate groundwater, although there was no scientific evidence and UN experts, and the World Health Organization and medical professionals have stated that burials are safe.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) has been utilized to target mostly Muslims and Tamils. Up to 1,000 Islamic schools are to be closed by the government. Face veils such as burqa and niqab are to be banned, and all Islamic religious items coming into the country are banned. Those who are suspected of racial, religious, or social disharmony can face up to two years in prison without trial under new regulations which call for ‘deradicalization.’ This is terrifyingly parallel to what China is doing to Uyghur Muslims in East Turkestan.
Tweet At President of Sri Lanka
Call Sri Lankan Ambassador To The United States
Call the Sri Lankan Ambassador and ask that they stop burning Muslim bodies. Add you info and the system will automatically connect the call. Use the script provided. https://www.justiceforall.org/sri-lanka-task-force/call-the-sri-lankan-ambassador-stop-burning-muslim-bodies/
Call Sri Lankan Ambassador To Canada
Call the Sri Lankan Ambassador and ask that they stop burning Muslim bodies. Add you info and the system will automatically connect the call. Use the script provided. CLICK HERE
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