Muslims flee, Christians grieve in Sri Lankan town torn by violence


Ahmadyya Fazl Mosque, Negombo.  Suggested reading: The Muslim Times’ Collection on Islam’s Condemnation of Terrorism

Source: Reuters

By Alasdair Pal and Sunil Kataria

At least 359 people perished in the coordinated series of blasts targeting churches and hotels. Church leaders believe the final toll from the attack on St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo could be close to 200, almost certainly making Negombo the deadliest of the six near-simultaneous attacks.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Pakistani Muslims fled the multi-ethnic port an hour north of the capital, Colombo. Crammed into buses organized by community leaders and police, they left fearing for their safety after threats of revenge from locals.

“Because of the bomb blasts and explosions that have taken place here, the local Sri Lankan people have attacked our houses,” Adnan Ali, a Pakistani Muslim, told Reuters as he prepared to board a bus. “Right now we don’t know where we will go.”

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks, yet despite Islamic State being a Sunni jihadist group, many of the Muslims fleeing Negombo belong to the Ahmadi community, who had been hounded out of Pakistan years ago after their sect was declared non-Muslim.

The fallout from Sunday’s attacks appears set to render them homeless once more.

Farah Jameel, a Pakistani Ahmadi, said she had been thrown out of her house by her landlord.

“She said ‘get out of here and go wherever you want to go, but don’t live here’,” she told Reuters, gathered with many others at the Ahmadiyya Mosque, waiting for buses to take them to a safe location.

Sri Lanka’s government is in disarray over the failure to prevent the attacks, despite repeated warnings from intelligence sources.

Police have detained an unspecified number of people were detained in western Sri Lanka, the scene of anti-Muslim riots in 2014, in the wake of the attacks, and raids were carried out in neighborhoods around St Sebastian’s Church.

Police played down the threats to the refugees, but said they have been inundated with calls from locals casting suspicion on Pakistanis in Negombo.

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2 replies

  1. Understandable in a way, but still crazy, that Pakistani Ahmadi Muslims, fleeing from their own Pakistani terror, now facing the backlash in Sri Lanka from terror committed by so-called Muslim terrorists. May Allah have mercy on all (Muslims, Christians and what-ever)

  2. Aliya Sooltangos Bhunnoo

    Aliya Sooltangos Bhunnoo Just whatsapp my refugee fb friend of Negombo. All refugees are staying in the mosque. The gate is guarded by heavy police force. They are safe inside but not eating properly. Shops are closed. Still angry mobs on streets.

    (copied from fb)

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