Mosques attacked in Sri Lanka town after Facebook row, curfew imposed

The violence erupted in Chilaw a Catholic-majority town after a resident misunderstood a Facebook post as a threat against Christians. — AFP  File

The violence erupted in Chilaw a Catholic-majority town after a resident misunderstood a Facebook post as a threat against Christians. — AFP File

"The government on Friday ordered mosques to clamp down on extremists and to submit copies of sermons in new fallout from the Easter suicide bombings that left 258 dead", the Sri Lankan outlet Ada Derana reported".

"The intention of these groups who are causing violence is to cause disruption in public life and destabilize the country", he said.

A Reuters reporter saw a mob of several dozen young Sinhalese men wielding sticks and rods in what appeared to be a standoff in the town of Madulla in North Western Province.

Meanwhile, police curfew is now imposed within Chilaw city limits and is set to be lifted at 4 am tomorrow. While the Muslim population of Sri Lanka is about seven percent, almost equal to the Christian population, authorities deported 200 foreign imams in the country this month for being in the country illegally after their visas expired, and another 600 people authorities believe could be terror threats are allegedly in the process of being expelled. All the windows and doors of the soft pink building were smashed and copies of the Qur'an were thrown onto the floor.


Authorities suspect lakes and wells are being used as hiding places to hide weapons. A man, presumably Muslim, was beaten up.

Since then, Muslim groups say they have received dozens of complaints about people being harassed.

"Mobs had attacked him with sharp weapons at his carpentry workshop", the official said. Additional troops have been deployed in the city to bring the situation under control, they said.

The think tank said steps also need to be urgently taken to ensure authorities respond in a timely and effective manner to the incidents within the existing legal framework.


Seven suicide bombers struck two Catholic and one Protestant church and three luxury hotels on Easter Sunday.

The unrest was triggered on Sunday after a group of people stormed into Chilaw town following the Facebook post by a Muslim shopkeeper about "an attack plan".

Nalaka Kaluwewa, director general of the government information department, said: 'Social media blocked again as a temporary measure to maintain peace in the country'.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said police have arrested a 38-year-old Muslim businessman, Abdul Hameed Mohamed Hasmar, for allegedly writing the Facebook comments that sparked the violence.


Internet service providers said they have been instructed by the telecommunications regulator to block access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and other platforms.

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