What is the reason behind the clash between two Muslim sects in Beruwala, Sri Lanka?

(July 26, 2009 -Lanka Polity) Two people were killed and around 40 were injured in a clash between two groups of Muslim sects in Beruwala. The clash was between the laymen of the ancient Buhari mosque (Jamaeth of Buhary Thaikiya) and the new Rahuman mosque (Sunnath Ansaary Jamaeth).

"Buhari mosque had its 135th annual Kandoory on last Wednesday and the Rahuman mosque apart from criticising the Kandoory had also conducted the Friday Jummah prayer (Sermon) on this issue angering the Buhary Thikiya Jamaeth party.The party of Jamaeth of Buhary Thaikiya went to the Masjidul Rahmaniya mosque of Sunnath Ansaary Jamaeth at the Mahagoda road in Beruwala and attacked the mowlavi who conducted the Friday Jummah prayer and others who were with him. Later they set fire to the mosque," reported Lanka Muslim Guardian website.

Weekend English newspapers reported the incident highlighting various causes that are contradictory to each other. 

The story of the Sunday Times was different from the Muslim Guardian. "clashes erupted over critical remarks made by an Imam (a cleric) who was leading Friday's Jumma prayers at the Buhari mosque against a Muslim group who style themselves as Thawheed. The group's members are strongly opposed to Muslim shrines and the conduct of feasts in mosques and are calling upon traditional followers of Islam to shed those habits," it said.

The Nation newspaper said, "Muslims who were attending Buhari Mosque had been holding a pooja for three days with the participation of a mass of devotees from 18 areas. Apparently, Muslims from Rahuman Mosque had questioned why Buhari Mosque was not allowing Muslim women to participate in the pooja that was being held there. And both partied had argued over the matter, which ultimately culminated in a clash that left two people dead and eight others injured."

According to Lakbima News, "The clash is the latest showdown in a long standing rivalry between the two Islamic sects, identified as Ahal Sunnat Jamaat and Thauhid. The latter strictly adheres to Islamic fundamental principles and regularly complained against the Ahal Sunnat Jamaat, which practices a ritual related to alms-giving involving meat, at a Mosque situated near the seaside."

Police imposed curfew to control the situation. Meanwhile, some people blame police for its inaction to control the situation.


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