World Bulletin / News Desk
Police have been asked not to jump to conclusions after a gas attack on a Muslim student house over the weekend saw 24 students rushed to hospital.
While local officials have said that they suspect the attack in the country's southwest may have been religiously motivated, a researcher at the Documentation Centre of Cambodia told the Anadolu Agency on Tuesday that such religious discrimination would be new to the country's Muslim fraternity.
"Religious or sectarian conflict or animosity between Muslims and non-Muslims rarely occurs," said Farina So, who leads the centre and has been researching the lives of Cham Muslims in Cambodia since 2003.
"They share a history, lived through the Khmer Rouge and worked together to build the nation,” so discrimination is not something that Cham typically contend with.
The Phnom Penh Post reported Tuesday that the attack saw poisonous gas allegedly sprayed into a house near an Islamic school where female Cham students aged 12-22 years old were staying.
One victim said she had alerted others in the house after seeing two men acting suspiciously.
The students are then reported to have begun vomiting and fainting; 24 eventually taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Police have cited “rancor with each other over their religion in the community” as a likely motive.
On Tuesday, So underlined the importance of carrying out a through investigation "rather than looking immediately at the rumors".
"[It's important] that they do a rigorous study, because it may impact relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.”