Jun 11, 2019

Sri Lanka's Muslims face persecution in wake of terror attacks

Muslims arrive for prayers at the Grand Mosque in the capital, Colombo. Photo: Chamila Karunarathne/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority is facing increased persecution in the wake of an Easter Sunday terror attack which left 258 dead.

The latest: President Maithripala Sirisena lamented growing religious and ethnic divisions yesterday, saying, "If we divide and fall apart, the whole country will stand to lose. Another war will break out.”

Recent incidents:

  • A Muslim doctor was accused without evidence of secretly sterilizing 4,000 patients, claims which “are particularly incendiary on an island where hardliners within the Buddhist majority have accused Muslims of seeking to use a higher birth rate to spread their influence,” Reuters reports.
  • All 10 Muslim government ministers resigned in protest last weekafter a prominent monk accused three Muslim politicians of links to terrorism. They warned of a dangerous “hate culture.”
  • “Since the bombings in April, police have not just randomly arrested Muslims, who are about 10% of the population, but responded lackadaisically to repeated mob attacks against Muslims and Muslim-owned businesses,” per the Economist.

Go deeper

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Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.