2018 anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka
|Anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka|
|Date||26 February – 10 March 2018 (|
|Target||Mosques, Muslim-owned property, and Muslim civilians|
|Widespread looting, assault, arson|
|Ampara District: 5|
Kandy District: 10
|Motive||Kandy – Fatal assault on a |
Ampara – Allegations of 'sterilization pills' in food served at a Muslim-owned eatery
The Sri Lankan anti-Muslim riots were the series of
Rioting in Kandy District began in
Social media networks including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were blocked in parts of the country in an effort to prevent mobs from organizing their attacks and spreading propaganda. However, the block on the social media networks were uplifted after 72 hours and the cabinet minister,
The government revealed that about nearly 465 houses, businesses and vehicles were destroyed and promised to compensate for the families who were severely affected due to the communal violence.
After few weeks since the end of the anti-Muslim riots, a new CCTV footage revealed that some police officials and politicians were aiding to develop the communal violences against the Muslims. It was confirmed that the deficiencies and ineffective attitudes of the police are to be investigated and questioned by the Sri Lankan government.
Despite mostly coexisting peacefully, many Sinhalese are suspicious of Muslims, believing that their slightly higher birth rates threaten their demographic supremacy, while others view Muslim businessmen as exploiting poor Sinhalese. Some political analysts believe that Sinhalese extremists are trying to transfer remaining hostility against Tamils onto the mostly Tamil-speaking Muslim population. Another factor is increasing Arab influence over Sri Lankan Muslim culture in recent years including the building a number of mosques using money coming from Arab countries and the adoption of the
Sri Lanka has seen several communally charged incidents between the majority Sinhala community and the country's Muslim minority. Ampara District had experienced tensions since 2017, with Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forced conversions and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.
The recent communal violence in Kandy is the first since the
Late at night on 26 February, a group of youths arrived at a restaurant on D.S. Senanayake Street in Ampara town. The meal served by the restaurant contained elements resembling tablets. The youth shared a video of the owner, a Muslim man, supposedly admitting that the food contained sterilization pills. The owner of the restaurant was physically attacked by a mob, who then spread the word about the incident. The police arrested the restaurant owner as a result of the video. The claim made by the video was later proven to be false; the owner had in fact nodded his head in fear of the angry mob, without actually knowing the Sinhala word 'wandapethi' (sterilization pills), and thus without understanding the question he had been asked.
At 2 PM on 22 February 2018, a Sinhalese
The motive behind the attack has not been clearly established. Some reports state it stemmed from a road accident where the trucker had damaged the