Lankan writer and convert to Islam held by Mirihana Police

By Megara Tegal

A Sri Lankan woman who has written two books about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam has been arrested, although the police have not made it clear on what charges she is being held. It is reported that the writer has been in police custody for the past eight days.

Police spokesman Prishantha Jayakody confirmed that Sarah Melanie Perera is being held at the Mirihana Police Station, but said he had no details relating to the reasons for the arrest. It is understood that the contents of the two books have been deemed “offensive” to Buddhists, and that Ms. Perera’s arrest followed an attempt to courier copies of her books to Bahrain. The 38-year-old writer has been a Bahrain resident since 1985.

According to Dr. M. G Zulfick, spokesman for Niyas Moulavi, Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Coordinator to the President, Mrs. Perera was arrested by the Wellampitiya Police, who then handed her over to the Mirihana Police. The Mirihana Police have informed Dr. Zulfick that Mrs. Perera will be detained for 30 days.

“Mrs. Perera has written research about Islam,” Dr. Zulfick told the Sunday Times. “She has not committed a crime, nor has she attacked anybody by name.”

Dr. Zulfick said Mrs. Perera’s family had objected to her changing her faith in order to marry a Bharaini Arab.

Born to a Buddhist family, Mrs. Perera is reported to have embraced Islam in 1999. Her books have been published in Sinhala.

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