Sri Lankan author arrested: report

March 27, 2010 (AFP) – An author who wrote a book about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam has been arrested in Sri Lanka accused of unspecified “anti-state” activities, police said Saturday. The woman, identified as Malini Perera, was taken into custody during the week under tough emergency laws, police spokesman Prashantha Jayakjody told AFP without elaborating.

Media reports said the writer, a native Sri Lankan who is resident in Bahrain, was detained while on holiday on the island after trying to mail two copies of her book to undisclosed recipients abroad.

Majority-Buddhist Sri Lanka projects itself as a secular country but is highly sensitive to any debate on Buddhism.

The BBC’s Sinhalese language service quoted a friend as saying Perera had written a book on why she converted to Islam, but had not been disrespectful of Buddhism in the work.

“She only talks about religious unity,” the unidentified associate told the BBC. “There is nothing offensive in her book. She is being denied legal assistance and is yet to be charged.”

The exact title or the publisher of the book was not immediately known.

This month, Sri Lanka refused a visa to US singer Akon