Positioning Muslims in Ethnic Relations, Ethnic Conflict and Peace Process in Sri Lanka

  •  Mohammad Agus Yusoff    
  •  Nordin Hussin    
  •  Athambawa Sarjoon    


Sri Lankan Muslims, the second largest minority ethnic group with 9.4 per cent (2012) of the total population has been victimized in the cause of ethnic politics, ethno-nationalism, and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Like other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, the Muslims also have a historical origin that follows a set of distinctive ethno-centric cultural and religious practices. They have contributed much to the communal harmony, socio-economic and political development of the country throughout the history of Sri Lanka. However, the ethnic distinctiveness of Sri Lankan Muslims has always been questioned and the community has been violently targeted in the cause of time. The ethnic politics and ethno-nationalism of both major ethnic groups, the Sinhalese and the Tamils have impacted a lot on the Muslims of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, most of the initiatives adopted to resolve the ethnic conflict have also failed to address the grievances and to accommodate the interests and demands of the Muslims. The devastating effects of the conflict on Muslim community and the continuous neglect of their interests in the discourses of peace process pushed them to politically mobilize for advocacy politics. On this backdrop, this paper pays attention on the historical survival of Muslim community, their position in ethnic politics and peace process in Sri Lanka. The main objective of this paper is to record the historical incidents related with the Muslims in Sri Lanka without pointing fingers at any party in these processes. The analysis of this paper is descriptive and interpretive in nature and only the secondary data is used for the analysis.

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