THE BLOG

Sri Lankan Muslims Need Protection Due to Anti-Muslim Attacks

18/06/2014 14:04 BST | Updated 16/08/2014 10:59 BST

The hard-line group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) have killed three Muslims and severely wounded more than 50 people in overnight attacks in the areas of Darga Nagar, Aluthgama and Beruwela, Sri Lanka.

Being a Sri Lankan Muslim myself, I feel strongly against the injustices of human rights that are prevalent in the country and fear for the wellbeing of my relatives and the whole Muslim community on the island.

It is apparent that there is insufficient human rights intervention or strategies from the Sri Lankan authorities to protect its Muslim citizens. Students fear travelling to school, businesses fear opening, mothers are left worried for their children and livelihoods are being destroyed with police watching the havoc in silence.

Sadly, there has been a long history of ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka and this has flared up once again, with several targeted attacks on Muslims over the past year by the BBS.

With the repeated riots against Muslims in Sri Lanka, it has become increasingly difficult for Muslims to live peacefully without the fear of widespread violence and an increased divide between the two sects.

More heart wrenching still are the increasing number of children and innocent victims being injured in these attacks.

Fathima Rizmiya, a resident of Aluthgama reported that her home was looted while her husband attended the mosque as she hid with her three small children in fear of being attacked.

Sithee Hameeda, a resident of Darga Nagar, one of the three towns attacked, said the mob broke into her home and stole jewellery and cash while her family hid in a room".

"Soon the house caught fire and we ran out because we could not stay with the smoke," she said. "We hid in the marsh and came back only after everything was over. Everything was destroyed we were left only with the wet clothes we were wearing."

The Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem has quite rightly reported that the Sri Lankan government has failed to protect its Muslim minority. Failed is an understatement. There needs to be more awareness of this issue in order to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to ensure accountability against attacks on Muslims.

Highlighting the need for intervention is important because those who have suffered harm have a right to truth and justice. Are we going to wait till the inevitable happens and let violence and tensions deteriorate or shall we raise this issue and provide a platform for minority groups to be heard and pave the way forward to end the violation of human rights so that people can live in peace.