Sri Lanka’s Muslims defy mosque ‘ban’ to pray for peace

Special Sri Lanka’s Muslims defy mosque ‘ban’ to pray for peace
People perform Friday prayers at a mosque in Kattankudy. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2019

Sri Lanka’s Muslims defy mosque ‘ban’ to pray for peace

Sri Lanka’s Muslims defy mosque ‘ban’ to pray for peace
  • A senior member of the mosque’s congregation, who gave his name as Abdul Aziz, told Arab News that the weapons were stored in the mosque because there were fears of revenge attacks

COLOMBO: Friday prayers in Sri Lanka were performed peacefully and passed without incident, despite an appeal from a government minister for Muslims to stay away from mosques for security reasons and out of respect for victims of deadly bombings last weekend.
Muslims prayed at mosques in the capital Colombo as well as other places including Kandy, Beruwela, Galle, Kalutara and Ratnapura.
Mohammed Reyyaz, from Colombo Dewatagaha Mosque, told Arab News that the prayers were conducted successfully and without any problems.
He added that turnout was only 75 percent of the normal Friday congregation. Some worshippers were absent because they had taken extended leave because of the security situation.
A. H. M. Iqbal, secretary-general of Maligawatte mosque, told Arab News that there was 100 percent attendance.
He thanked Archbishop Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for the compromise, tolerance and friendship extended to the Muslim community following the blasts that hit churches on Easter Sunday.
But there was a troubling discovery in one mosque in Colombo. Armed forces found a cache of 46 swords and 15 daggers in a room belonging to the imam. Police had been acting on a tip-off. The imam was taken into custody for questioning.
A senior member of the mosque’s congregation, who gave his name as Abdul Aziz, told Arab News that the weapons were stored in the mosque because there were fears of revenge attacks.
There were hauls elsewhere in Sri Lanka. In Samanthurai, a township in the eastern province that is mostly populated by Muslims, police found an ammunition dump including state-of-the art drones owned by an extremist group.