Hard-line monks rally Sri Lanka as Buddhist front

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — With a bloody civil war over and a cautious peace at hand, a group of hard-line Buddhist monks is rallying Sri Lankans against what they say is a pernicious threat: Muslims.

In just over a year, the saffron-swathed monks of Bodu Bala Sena — or Buddhist Power Force — have amassed a huge following, drawing thousands of fist-pumping followers who rail against the country’s Muslim minority.

Buddhists have attacked dozens of mosques and called for boycotts on Muslim-owned businesses and bans on headscarves and halal foods. At boisterous rallies, monks say Muslims are out to recruit children, marry Buddhist women, and divide the country.

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