Unlike in the West, the threat of an anti-Muslim backlash in Sri Lanka has become reality. Two people have been arrested after Muslim-owned businesses and homes were attacked by a Christian mob in a Sri Lankan town rocked by the Easter bombings.
AU News St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, a Catholic-dominated town, was one of the locations targeted as part of a series of suicide bombings last month that killed more than 250 people.
Since the Negombo bombing there have been increasingly violent clashes in the seaside town, with Muslim-owned shops, homes and vehicles attacked and vandalised.
The attacks, believed to be carried out by a mostly-Catholic mob, have become so bad hundreds of extra troops were deployed to the town to impose a curfew on residents.
Social media was also shut down in a bid to quell the rising tensions and prevent “rumours” inflaming religious tensions even further.
A.M. Jeffry, a Muslim resident of Porutota village near Negombo, said the attackers burned a three-wheel taxi and a motorbike.
Rizwan Jeffry, a gem seller who is not related, said about 400 people rampaging in the streets attacked his shop. Some took precious stones kept in showcases, he said.
Unverified video circulating on social media shows mobs throwing stones at Muslim businesses, destroyed furniture inside homes, shattered windows and overturned vehicles.