In Ramazan this year, some Muslims started a thakkiya (small mosque) on Kadawatha Road , Dehiwela and were conducting tharaweeh prayers. The mosque was operating on a very low key and causing no hindrance to anyone. However some Sinhalese villagers banded together, along with a few monks who then sent a delegation to this mosque demanding them to stop conducting prayers. The activities of the mosque were stopped overnight. Some Sinhalese villagers had already started intimidating Muslims in the area and dumping garbage right in front of the building in question.I support unhindered freedom of expression as long as you do it on your own property (which in this case is not true) but people need to realize the 'blow back' that comes with this kind of intolerable behavior.
Around February 23rd 2008, this building was reopened as "The All Ceylon Muslim Educational Conference" but some Sinhalese villagers banded under the leadership of some extremist monks, hung black flags in the vicinity and defaced the walls of the building with racist posters. A fresh pile of trash was also dumped just outside the parapet wall and some garbage thrown in over the wall as well.An ad hoc meeting was arranged adjacent to the mosque and presided by monks, where it is alleged that many racial statements were issued.
Some Sinhalese villagers then kept overnight vigil by assembling at close by Sinhalese houses and drinking through the night and singing and reveling. The police had posted two officers at the point to watch out for any mishaps, but a confrontation has been avoided.. [link]
All terrorist groups - be it Tamil, Islamic or Catholic - are born and sustained by exploiting a perceived grievance of the 'people' they claim to represent. For LTTE it's the Sinhalese majoritarianism as perceived by the general population of Tamils, for Al-qaeda it's how the general Islamic population perceives American foreign policy. Objectivity matters little here, it's perception which counts.
Sri Lanka so far has somehow being lucky in avoiding Islamic extremism which has gripped some parts of the world, The Muslim lobby groups (including Muslim-dominated parties) have rarely invoked religious sentiment in political demands and has played only soft-ball identity politics. It's in everyone's interest to keep it that way. The last thing anyone would want now (including perhaps the LTTE) is another terrorist movement.