Buddhist attack on Sri Lanka mosque heightens tensions


A Sri Lankan Muslim woman walks outside a vandalized mosque in Colombo on August 11, 2013.


Ishara S. Kodikara

At least a dozen people were hurt in the Sri Lankan capital Saturday after a Buddhist mob threw stones at a mosque during evening prayers.

Three people remained hospitalized from the attack, which sparked protests by hundreds of local Muslim residents.

The incident came after objections to the opening of a new mosque by Buddhist critics from a nearby temple. The mosque was being built to replace an old one set for demolition.

Sri Lankan authorities imposed a curfew after the attacks but it was lifted Sunday.

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Violence over the weekend continued, injuring four people. Police and anti-riot squads remained on high-alert in the Grandpass district of Colombo.

It is unclear if there has been any arrests.

Anti-Muslim violence is nothing new in Sri Lanka. Five months ago two Muslim businesses were burned after an anti-Muslim protest campaign.

Three Buddhist monks and 14 others were arrested in the attacks but later freed by police. 

The Buddhist Sinhalese community makes up three-quarters of Sri Lanka's 20 million people.

Muslims, who have maintained a low-profile during the country's brutal, sectarian civil war, make up about nine percent.

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