Muslims petrified, fear backlash in Sri Lanka after serial blasts
The Hakim family has barely moved out of their house ever since the Easter Sunday terror attacks. It doesn't help matters that they live right across the Ibrahim household in Dematagoda. Two of the main bomber brothers, Inshaf and Ilham Ibrahim, lived here along with Ilham's pregnant wife Fatima who was the ninth suicide bomber. She blew herself up in the very same house when cops raided the premises. The Hakim family has known the Ibrahim family for years. Today, they fear of the outcome of these attacks by a Muslim group.
The head of the family was picked up by cops on Sunday and is yet to return. Speaking to India Today Mrs. Hakim said, "I am very disturbed. My husband and many others from the colony have been taken in for questioning. He hasn't returned yet. He knew the Ibrahim family very well. We didn't suspect anything in the house. They seemed like a good family. Can't believe what has happened."
Her 14-year old son Abdullah Hakim used to play with the kids of the Hakim family but ever since the attack, he hasn't stepped out. Speaking about the family, Abdullah said, "The ladies never came out, only the men used to come out. It is a quiet neighbourhood. We never suspected anything wrong." The entire neighbourhood of Dematagoda wears a barren look. Most houses have been locked up and people have gone away to their relatives' homes to stay out of trouble. Noor a neighbour said, "Everybody has gone out because they don't want trouble."
Mrs. Hakim has called her father to stay with her and her three children since her husband is in custody. "I am scared because i do not know what will happen outside. Have asked my children not to go outside. Don't know what other people are thinking," she said. Expressing hope, she said, "Not every Muslim is like that. Only few have gone the wrong way. But some people now will think every Muslim is bad, that is my fear. I believe in Allah and he will save us. We have done no wrong."
There have been cases that have been reported of minor incidents against the Muslim community in various parts of the country. Burqas being asked to be removed and families being rounded up by groups of people. However, no major incident has been reported yet. Mohammed Fayaz, a Colombo local said, "It saddens me that Muslims, who are my neighbours, have done this. It puts a black spot on all Muslims."
Three hundred and fifty nine people, including 39 foreign nationals were killed in the Easter Sunday carnage. Many of the arrested people have suspected links to the NTJ, the group blamed for the bombings.
(India Today TV/with agency inputs)