A Muslim home in Sri Lanka was defaced with graffiti earlier this month as part of a Sinhala nationalist campaign sweeping across the island.
The graffiti – which spelt out the words “Sinhale” (Lions’ Blood in Sinhala) - was found spray painted over the walls of Muslim homes in Nugegoda.
The campaign, which has seen the slogan appear on public buses, police motorbikes and other vehicles, is being promoted by current UPFA Parliamentarian Udaya Gammanpila and the Sinhale National Movement.
Whilst the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka called for those responsible for the graffiti to be arrested, Mr Gammanpila remained defiant, stating that “no one can challenge the fact that Sri Lanka is ‘Sinhale’ and that even historically, pre-independence, Sri Lanka was recognized as a Sinhala nation,” according to The Sunday Leader.
Olof Blomqvist, Press Officer Asia/Pacific at Amnesty International told The Sunday Leader that “reports of new campaigns that may seek to sow hatred and incite discrimination, hostility or even violence against minorities in Sri Lanka are deeply concerning”.
“The past years in Sri Lanka have seen a disturbing trend where some political leaders have sought to manufacture religious tensions,” he said. “This has resulted in a jump in attacks on religious minorities like Christians and Muslims. Sri Lanka’s political leaders must do more to stop this trend, not try to add fuel to the fire.”
“Ending impunity for past attacks on minorities would help drive that message home,” he concluded.