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Muslims close shops in fear as extremist Sinhala Buddhist monks meet in Kandy

Muslims shops in Kandy will remain closed this weekend as extremist Sinhala Buddhist monks from the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) announced it will meet in the town tomorrow.

“All Muslim-owned shops are likely to be closed on Sunday to avoid any possible confrontation, as thousands of monks are expected in the town for the conference,” Niyaz Muheeth, president of the Kandy Muslim Traders Association, told Reuters.

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU), also called on Muslims to avoid visits to the central district.

The BBS announced that the meeting in Kandy, the town which houses a Sinhala Buddhist relic, in order to decide who to back in the upcoming Sri Lankan presidential elections. The town was also the site of delay anti-Muslim riots last year which resulted in the destruction of Muslim homes and businesses.

Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, the head of the extremist group who was released from prison earlier this year told a press conference last month, “We will either mould our political leaders, or we will send them home”.

See more from Reuters here.