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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
From Print Edition


COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's government has advised the trustees of a 60-year-old Muslim mosque north of the capital to relocate the structure after angry protests by Buddhist monks.


Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne reacted after demonstrations by monks and their followers on Friday triggered tension in the pilgrim town of Dambulla.


"The prime minister as minister of Buddhist and religious affairs advised the trustees to have their mosque elsewhere," the premier's spokesman Sisira Wijesinghe told AFP. "They have been offered the choice of three alternate locations. Steps are being taken to immediately shift the mosque."


The Indian Ocean island nation, emerging from decades of ethnic war, is a majority Buddhist nation where monks are politically influential. A trustee of the mosque, Mohamed Mustafa, said they had objected to a forced eviction. "This mosque has been there from the mid-1940s," Mustafa told AFP.