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On the 21st of April 2019, Easter Sunday, multiple explosions rocked the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, leaving over 200 dead and hundreds wounded.

For the Muslim community in particular, the events of 21/4 mark a watershed moment for Muslim identity and representation in Sri Lanka. Almost overnight, being a Muslim has become an accusation as well as a religious affiliation.

However, this difference is somewhat ambiguous and poorly understood, and thus poses many challenges to the development of identity and representation of the Muslim community by themselves and others. The first challenge is that as a result of this historical understanding , most Muslims in Sri Lanka classif y themselves as the descendants of Arabs or ‘Moors,’35 despite its postcolonial derogatory overtones.36 Due to the fact Arab migrants were Muslims, the concepts of faith and ethnicity became fused over time, so a racial link became a religious link, thereby ascribing a racial homogeneity to a community perceived as such: the “Sri Lankan Muslim.”

 

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