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* Muslim ally of Sri Lankan government condemns torching Muslim-owned shop
Tue, May 20, 2014, 09:18 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 20, Colombo: A Muslim ally of Sri Lankan government strongly condemned the torching of a Muslim-owned business in Mawanella, a town in Kegalle District of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan government Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen said he and his party, All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC), strongly condemn the "dangerous act" and urged the authorities to take immediate action and initiate investigations to find the offenders.

An unidentified group has set a Muslim-owned hardware shop on fire on May 18. Muslims in the area believe that this was a deliberate act by anti- Muslim elements.

Minister Bathiyutheen said when he visited the site on Sunday, the Muslims in the area told him that this was an intentional act by anti-Muslim elements to create tension between communities.

He said he has instructed the Police in the area to take necessary action and to forward the incident to the Government Analyst immediately and called on the authorities to initiate immediate action and investigations to find the offenders.

"There have been several such acts in various other parts of the country targeting Muslim businesses. Such acts appear to be instigated in order to destroy the valuable peace that dawned in the aftermath of the 2009 victory of President Mahinda Rajapaksa," the Minister said.

This attack is the latest on a series of anti- Muslim attacks and anti- Muslims campaigns started by the extremist Buddhist organizations in the island.

A mob led by Buddhist monks on May 09 set fire to a shop owned by a Muslim trader in the town of Aluthgama in southern Sri Lanka.

"My party and I, the ACMC, strongly condemn this dangerous act," Minister Bathiyutheen said.

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