Sri Lanka’s Muslims ‘demonised’ after Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s Muslims ‘demonised’ after Easter bombings, by Anbarasan Ethirajan at the BBC.

Until a few months ago, Mohammed Iliyas, was doing a thriving business in his hardware shop in western Sri Lanka. Now trade has plummeted and his losses are mounting. …

Minority Muslims live among the majority Sinahalese community in this area. For decades, Mr Iliyas, who is a Muslim, spent his days serving people from all religious communities. …

“Since the Easter Sunday bombings, almost 90% of my Sinhalese customers have stopped buying from my shop. My business has gone down significantly and I have lost hundreds of thousands of rupees,” Mr Iliyas said. …

Islamists linked to little-known local groups targeted high-end hotels and churches in Colombo and in the east of the country killing more than 250 people, including foreigners. The devastating attack, claimed by the Islamic State group, shocked the nation. …

There have been attacks on Muslim-owned businesses and houses in several parts of Sri Lanka, with the worst violence in May. …

Muslims make up nearly 10% of Sri Lanka’s 22 million people, who are predominantly Sinhalese Buddhists. About 12% of the population are Hindus, mostly from the ethnic Tamil minority, and 7% are Christians. …

“Muslim women working in government offices are facing problems. In some places, those who are wearing only headscarves are being asked to go home and come back wearing a saree,” said Juwairiya Mohideen, director of the Muslim Women Development Trust.

Some Sinhalese women refuse to sit next to Muslim women wearing the traditional Abaya — a long loose-fitting robe — on public buses, she said.

A reader notes:

The BBC obviously can’t understand why this might be. You know: if your relatives and community are blown to bits by Muslims because your relatives and community aren’t Muslims, you ought to just put up with it and say it’s all good for diversity — shouldn’t you? you certainly shouldn’t be hard on Muslims.