Fresh violence erupts in Lanka as Muslim-owned restaurant comes under attack

UN condemns anti Muslim attacks in Sri Lanka

The majority are Sinhalese, a largely Buddhist ethnic group.

A total of 146 suspects have been arrested in Kandy - 135 over violence and 11 for violating the curfew - since March 4, a media report said yesterday.

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) is dismayed that a concerted effort is being made by extremist elements from the Sinhala Buddhist community to spread falsehood and hatred, and to instigate destruction and violence against the Muslim community of Sri Lanka.

Suspects can be detained for long periods under the state of emergency.

Armoured vehicles and heavily-armed troops guarded Kandy, the epicentre of the violence where internet services remain suspended and an evening curfew is in place.

A large number of Muslim-owned businesses in the island nation remained shut in protest against attacks by mainly Buddhist Sinhalese, but some shops in the Muslim neighbourhood opened on Friday. A night curfew has been imposed in the city.

In 2014, violence directed against Muslim minority groups broke out in the southwestern town of Aluthgama, following a rally by hardline Buddhist nationalist monks, resulting in the death of at least three Muslims.

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The violence has raised fears of instability in Sri Lanka, a South Asian island nation still struggling to recover from almost three decades of ethnic civil war. "At the same time, the authorities are folding their arms and watching", said Muslim businessman M. Jaffer, as quoted in Thursday's DailyFT newspaper.

Holidaymakers have been urged to avoid the hill resort, which is home to Sri Lanka's holiest Buddhist shrine, the Temple of the Tooth Relic.

The government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as the unrest escalated when a Muslim man was found dead in a burnt-out building, a day after a Sinhalese man died of injuries sustained in an attack carried out by Muslim men.

In the US, Facebook helped spread foreign propaganda before the 2016 national elections; in Europe, Germany recently enacted a much-watched law requiring the company to remove hate speech within 24 hours or face major fines.

"There is some fear among Muslims that they could be targeted ..."

Mobs also set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the east of the country last week.

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