Muslim author held in Sri Lanka for offending Buddhists

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From the TimesOnline. By Jeremy Page

An expatriate Sri Lankan woman who wrote two books about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam has been arrested while on holiday in Sri Lanka, apparently for causing offence to Buddhists.

Sarah Malini Perera, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in Bahrain since 1985 and converted to Islam in 1999, was arrested last week under the country’s strict emergency laws, according to the police.

They declined to give precise details of the 38-year-old writer’s offence, but suggested that her books were deemed to have caused offence to ethnic Sinhalese Buddhists, who account for about 70 per cent of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people.

News of her arrest came just a few days after protests by Buddhist nationalists prompted the Sri Lankan Government to refuse a visa to Akon, the Senegalese-American singer who had been due to perform in Colombo next month.

Buddhist activists stormed the concert’s media partner last Monday to protest over the video for Akon’s song Sexy Bitch, which showed bikini-clad women dancing by a pool in Ibiza with a Buddha statue in the background.

The two incidents have raised concerns about the growing influence of hardline Buddhist nationalists on Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition, which is widely expected to win parliamentary elections on April 8...

Read the full article at the TimesOnline.

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