This article uses an important Sri Lankan Supreme Court case concerning religious sound as a starting point for thinking about the intersections of Islam, law, politics, and Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It argues that Sri Lankan Muslims find themselves in three interlacing legal “environments” at the present moment: in an environment of general laws governing religion, in an environment of special laws and administrative bodies for Muslims, and in a broader constitutional environment that grants special recognition to Buddhism. These environments offer differing opportunities and imperatives for expressing Muslim identity, religious equality, diversity, rights, and freedoms in contemporary Sri Lanka. Through a consideration of these legal environments and the way they affected the case, this article illuminates ongoing questions about the legal and political status of Muslims on the island and provides a snapshot of the legal debates and discourses that have flowed into and fortified recent anti-Muslim sentiments on the island.

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