Over five hundred Sri Lankan-Americans- Muslims and non-Muslims held a protest demonstration in front of the United Nations on Wednesday to seek the world body’s help for the protection of Muslims from deadly attacks by a hardline Buddhist group in the country’s south-west region. At least three Muslims were killed and 75 people seriously injured in violence on Sunday when Buddhists went on rampage against Muslims in southern Sri Lankan coastal towns. It was part of an increasing pattern of violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka since 2012. This has mirrored events in Myanmar, where there has been a surge of attacks by majority Buddhists against Muslims. The demonstrators chanted slogans and waved placards, reading “Muslims Want Peace”, “Buddhists Preaching Violence” “Respect All Regions Equally.”
The demonstration got underway after the Sri Lankan Muslims offered Zuhr prayers in he Dag Hammarskjold Plaza outside the United Nations.
Following the peaceful protest, the organizers of the rally submitted a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, calling for the protection of Muslims and other minorities from the deadly attacks by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).
“The recent attacks against Muslims in Sri Lanka and their property by Sinhala extremist elements led by Bodu Bala Sena, are highly abominable incidents of racism,” the letter said.
“These attacks and all attacks against Muslims for the last two years have taken place with the Government of Sri Lanka actively tolerating or promoting the extremist group and the Police watching the anti-Muslim attacks without preventing, or taking action against the perpetrators of violence,” it noted.
“The Muslims of Sri Lanka, like other communities that live in the country, have co-existed in peace and harmony. Following this premeditated and meticulously executed plan of attack, the Muslims have a widespread fear of persecution and insecurity.”