Fracturing Community : Intra-group relations among the Muslims of Sri Lanka (Sinhala)



cover nadeenEthno-religious violence has a long history in Sri Lanka dating far back as 1883. The Muslims of Sri Lanka have been victims of sporadic attacks by the Sinhalese and Tamil majorities since the early 1900s with the most recent attack being in 2014. While the recent turn towards violence against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka can be attributed to the ethno-nationalist rivalries (McGilvray 2011) of the Sinhala Buddhist (political) majority of Sri Lanka, this paper hypothesises that anti-Muslim sentiments are also a result of the internal conflicts regarding the practice of Islam within the Muslim community. These conflicts, manifested in the form of visible, symbolic Islamisation, cause suspicion and fear among members of other communities.

This study examines intra-religious relations within the Muslim community of Sri Lanka by identifying the different Islamic groups, their composition, motivations and interactions through the lens of social movement theory.


Mohamed Faslan and Nadine Vanniasinkamare Programme Officers at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies