بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The bleeding wounds in the body of the Islamic Ummah are numerous and increasing with the absence of the protective shield and the guardian Khalifah (Caliph); one of which is the tragedy of the Muslims of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka, Ceylon Island, Serendib, or the Rubies Island, as the Arabs used to call it in the past, is an island located in the Indian Ocean, south of India, and some people may be surprised that Islam had arrived in Sri Lanka in the first Hijri century through the Muslim merchants who arrived in that region and its people entered Islam because they saw the good manners, treatment and honesty of those merchants, and what they heard from them about this religion.
Muslims live in eastern and central Sri Lanka, especially in the Kandy region (central), and the island’s Muslim population is estimated at 9.7% according to an official census for 2012, but this percentage may have changed due to the increase in their numbers since this census was conducted. The number of mosques is estimated to be 2000, spread throughout the important cities and villages, and they also have private Islamic schools and institutes, and some sources indicate that they are considered the most educated group in the country.
Muslims of Sri Lanka have suffered from the colonial powers that have successively taken over the island; Portugal, The Netherlands and Britain, and they faced a challenge from the missionary missions supported by the Dutch and British colonial authorities, and they have suffered and continue to suffer from Buddhist criminality just as their fellow Rohingya Muslims suffer in Myanmar. As a result of the hatred of pagan Buddhists for Islam and Muslims, and their fear of the increase in the number of Muslims in those areas, where Sri Lankan Muslims are excluded, their homes, shops and mosques are targeted, and they are subjected to murder and torture, and they are restricted in performing their rituals and acts of worship. They have suffered greatly from the civil war between the Tamils and the Sinhalese during the period between 1983 and 2009, where the Tamil rebel movement at that time displaced more than seventy thousand Muslims from the north of the country, and hundreds of Muslims were killed. In March 2006, four Muslims were killed and others were injured in a hand grenade explosion thrown by unknown assailants at a mosque in the city of Akarabato, 350 km east of the capital Colombo, where hundreds of people were praying. Buddhists also launched violent attacks on a mosque in one of the capital’s neighborhoods in August 2013, causing Muslims to close the mosque and move their place of worship to an older mosque. Violence against Muslims resumed in June 2014, targeting two predominantly Muslim coastal tourist areas, behind which were Buddhists, which led to the killing of four people and the burning of hundreds of homes and shops. In 2017, more than twenty attacks on Muslims were carried out over a period of two months in the Gintota region, 115 kilometers south of the capital, including the burning of Muslim-owned companies and attacks with petrol bombs on mosques. At the beginning of March 2018, Muslim-owned homes and shops in Kandy district were destroyed, in the wake of clashes between Buddhists and Muslims that led to deaths and prompted the authorities to declare a state of emergency. The events erupted after a group of Muslim youths attacked a truck driver belonging to the Sinhalese Buddhist community after a traffic accident, which led to his death in the Dijana area, and the killing of a Muslim youth on 7 March 2018 after he was suffocated by the burning of a house in the same area. On 15 May 2019, an anti-Muslim group in Sri Lanka set fire to a factory north of the capital Colombo, while murders and attacks on Muslims took place during the same period.
Today, in addition to these and other crimes, the Sri Lankan authorities, driven by radical Buddhist monks, are exploiting the Coronavirus pandemic to spread Islamophobia, and worse, some prominent media organizations and nationalists close to the current government have blamed Muslims for being responsible for the spread of the virus in the country as did their neighbor, India, and on top of that, the Sri Lankan authorities have cremated the bodies of Muslims infected with Coronavirus despite their family’s refusal to do so, but, it was proven that some of those who they burned were not infected with the Coronavirus and there is no strength or power except in Allah.
For how long will these wounds continue to bleed in the body of the Islamic Ummah?! Is not there in the Ummah and its armies one who will move to support our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka and in all other Muslim countries?!
Oh Allah, to you we complain of our weakness, our helplessness and humiliation before people, O Allah, grant us your victory, which you promised.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
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