Sri Lanka lifts curfew as Muslims fear more violence

COLOMBO, August 11, 2013 (AFP) – Sri Lankan police lifted a curfew on a Colombo neighbourhood Sunday after a Buddhist-led mob attack on a mosque raised religious tensions and left the Muslim minority fearing further violence. Hundreds of police, including anti-riot squads and elite Special Task Force commandos, remained on alert in the Grandpass district following overnight violence which wounded at least four people.

“The curfew was lifted this morning, but we have a strong presence in the area,” a police spokesman said.

There was no immediate reaction from the government to the violence, which followed Buddhist objections to the opening of the new mosque, but Islamic clerics expressed concern.

“We were surprised because we thought things were settling down,” Fazin Farook, spokesman for the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, Sri Lanka’s apex body of Islamic clerics, told AFP.

“With this attack, we are worried again and we see this (anti-Muslim) trend continuing. We condemn this attack.”

Farook noted that the latest violence came five months after an anti-Muslim campaign culminated in the torching of two Muslim-owned businesses just outside the capital.

Three Buddhist monks and 14 others who were arr