In the days after the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, a group of local men gathered outside the home here of one of the bombers to establish what they called a neighborhood watch—and prevent the Muslim family inside from committing more terrorist acts.
Inside, the bomber’s family grappled with grief over what one of their own had done and fear that his actions could bring reprisals against their Muslim minority.
“It is very hard to face people because of what he did, even just going outside is difficult,” said a sister of the bomber, 22-year-old law-school graduate Ahamed Muath Alawudeen. As she spoke, cries of her distraught mother echoed off the tile floors of the spacious home in an upscale Colombo neighborhood.
Since the Islamic State-linked attacks killed more than 250 people at Sri Lankan churches and hotels, Muslims have reported getting detained in security sweeps for simply carrying the Quran. In other cases, they have been refused access to public buses and taxis. On Sunday night, an apparent car accident in the city of Negombo, the scene of one of the bombings, led to a clash between Muslims and non-Muslims, news reports showed.
Sri Lanka’s Muslims, who make up less than 10% of the island nation’s population, have seen lesser sparks turn into fury against them. Last year, in days of religious riots, mobs of Buddhist extremists targeted Muslims for beatings.
Security forces now deployed across the Sri Lankan capital to prevent more terrorist attacks are also on alert for sectarian reprisals.
Families of Sri Lankan suicide bombers are struggling to understand how it happened, and fearing reprisals against their Muslim communityhttps://t.co/Ua94jEhbeu
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) May 7, 2019