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Sri Lanka: Top Monk Calls For Stoning Of Muslims

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COLOMBO: Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero, a Sri Lankan monk, has called for the stoning of Muslims. As per reports, Thero’s remarks came after a wave of Buddhist attacks against Muslim settlements in Sri Lanka.

According to The Organisation for World Peace (TOWP),

The remarks by Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thero are likely to fuel communal tensions in the country. Activists, politicians, and the Muslim minority are concerned over the polarized state, just weeks after Muslims’ homes and businesses were attacked by Buddhists mobs.

The Buddhist-Muslim riots are apparently the aftermath of Easter bombings where almost 250 people were killed. Although ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack, the Lankan government blamed it upon two minority Muslim groups in the country.

Thero in one of his speeches expressed outrage over a Muslim doctor who was allegedly treating Buddhist women. Thero claims that the rogue doctor in question was secretly sterilising women in the central Kurunegala district.

“Some female devotees said [people like the doctor] should be stoned to death. I do not say that. But that’s what should be done”, Thero added on national television.

Thero’s assertions continued where he claimed that Muslim-owned eating places offer meals with sterilization pills to Buddhists.

Thero is the head of the oldest and most important Buddhist chapter in Sri Lanka, Asigirya Chapter. In a country of 21 million where Buddhists make up almost 70 percent while Muslims constitute 10 percent of the population, Thero’s comments may cause communal tensions within the country.

TOWP believes that Gnanarathana’s remarks are just one part of “normalising” the hate against Muslims. Failure of the president and the prime minister to condemn the sentiments only aggravates the situation.

According to AlJazeera, many of the human rights activists were particularly concerned of Thero’s remarks. A Colombo-based Muslim journalist while talking to AlJazeera expressed his fear in the wake of Thero’s speech,

“We can’t even imagine what could happen to us,” he said. “We’re afraid the speech will lead to more attacks on Muslims and their properties.”

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