Developments unfolding in Sri Lanka over the last few weeks look ominously similar to those in 2013-14, when a surge in targeted attacks against minority Muslims and Christians went unchecked by the Rajapaksa administration. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, an umbrella organisation for civil society groups, has recorded 25 attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned establishments since April, and the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka has reported over 40 incidents in 2017.
Mehmet Rizal is a UN Ambassador For Peace and presently based in the Philippines.
Towards the end of the interview, Rizal is invited to look at how Islam and Islamic values can aid social cohesion, in light of the growing Islamophobia in Sri Lanka. Rizal first admits that he was shocked to hear about the growing anti-Muslim hate campaigns in Sri Lanka, and how he thought, before he came to Sri Lanka, that the country was in fact a good example of inter-religious harmony. He also notes how history records rich interactions between Muslim and Buddhist values in Sri Lanka, and that he believes that the current unrest and hate is the result of forces from outside the country.
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