Sri Lankan Expats Condemn Barring Of Muslims From Jumma Prayers


Sri Lankan expatriates in the Kingdom yesterday condemned a protest at a mosque in the Sri Lankan city of Dambulla where worshippers were barred from performing their Jumma prayers.

A group of Buddhist monks with the support of a large group of hooligans had staged a mass demonstration there.

Syed Hamid, marketing executive in a food supplying company in Riyadh, told Arab News that although this is the work of a few misguided people from the majority community, he found the involvement of the Buddhist clergy really disturbing.

“This is definitely against the teachings of their widely respected spiritual leader Lord Buddha,” Hamid said, adding the inaction of law enforcement forces was also a disappointing factor.

Nihal Gamage, the former president of the Sri Lankan Expatriates Society who is a practicing Buddhist, told Arab News that this was an unfortunate incident engineered by a group of people with vested interests.

“As Sri Lankans we have to co-exist with other communities in the island. We have already proven this concept at the Kataragama sacred area where one can find mosques and Buddhist and Hindu temples in the same quarter,” Gamage added.

Gamage said the incident was the work of a few who should be brought to justice without any delay.

Mohammed Mackeen, who works in the medical profession, said that he was worried since his family was living in the same Dambulla district where the incident happened.

H.M. Rafeek, president of the Sri Lankan Expatriates Society in Jeddah, said all Sri Lankans believe in communal harmony

“We have just finished an ethnic conflict and the government has been trying to bring all communities under one umbrella for its progress and prosperity,” Rafeek said, adding those who have personal grievances should report them to the concerned authorities.

Another community member, Mohammed Hashim, said these incidents would strengthen the claims made by the Tamil diaspora at various levels.

“Dambulla may be an unknown town on the world map but not any more. The mosque attack in this sleepy town was widely publicized in all the international media. It is now the responsibility of the right thinking leaders of the majority community to act and act fast,” Hashim said.

“Sri Lankan Muslims who stood by their motherland with all their might to protest again at the US resolution in the UNHRC in Geneva are disappointed by the gratitude paid by some unruly elements,” community member Ahmed Lebber Mohammed Sabir said.

“The world community and especially the Arab and Muslim world are watching with all eyes open. The Sri Lanka government should not treat this lightly. This is the time for it to prove to the world how it safeguards minority rights,” said a Sri Lankan worker, who wished to remain anonymous.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

4 thoughts on “Sri Lankan Expats Condemn Barring Of Muslims From Jumma Prayers

  • April 22, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Mosque was there for last 60years. Sacred city named in recently. But both can live harmoniously like in other scared places.
    This a foolish move but need to be punished soon.

  • April 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Sir, The incident has been blown out of proportion just because Muslims were stopped from their friday prayer. Have ever the media of world raised the issue of razing thousands of Hindu temples in Muslim Malaysia? The Muslims want every right where they are in minority but they have invoked Sharia in country where they constitute majority. Has any Buddhist or Hindu any right to follow their religious rituals in any Muslim country of the Arab world.

  • April 23, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Manoj Parashar, I am a Buddhist but it alarmed me when working in Sri Lanka to see and hear reports of ancient Hindu temples demolished for construction of a new concrete Buddha. This is not an isoloted event, and to igore it or ignore the politicisation of Buddhism in Sri Lanka is unwise.

    Although the Pali texts in Sri Lanka are some of the oldest in the world, it is disappointing my Sri Lankan Buddist colleagues, genuine Buddhists asked I bring translated texts from Thailand.

    Yes the media and the world does express outrage in instances to what you mention … such as the dynamiting of the Bamyan Buddhas in Afghanistan.

    I personally work in many countries of many faiths including fundamentalist Islamic and Christian areas. I observe my beifs, but do so in a respectful manner, and in return I have so far not been targetted.

    My personal experience in Sri Lanka both following the tsunami and during the conflicts …. including Muslim areas such as Arugan Bay, Puttlam, Mannar, is that on the whole the Muslim community is part of the national identity.

    Two wrongs never justified a right.
    This is a great opportunity for the government and the majority of Sri Lankan Buddhists (including politicised Buddhist establishment) to say that this is wrong and against national unity and cultural tolerance … and to not try and justify such acts.

  • April 23, 2012 at 10:19 am

    In any event a mosque in an area declared a sacred city is also doing a sacred function. In other words a muslim place of worship is not desecrating the sacred city.This is Buddhist fundamentalism in Sri Lanka.


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