By Colombo Telegraph –
“We appeal to the President, state institutions and officials, and those in the executive to take the utmost heed of this growing trend of intolerance. We strongly believe that the people of this country, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Christian and Burgher wish to live in harmony with each other. We also strongly believe that it is a minority of persons who take to violence in riding rough shod over the rights of others. We strongly urge the state to take measures curb this growing trend and to do its utmost to make minorities feel in every way people of this country. In the post war context this is of the utmost importance for reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. We also appeal to religious and community leaders to initiate dialogue at all possible levels so that minority communities feel secure. We pledge our support for a pluralist Sri Lankan society. ” issuing a statement a group of concerned citizens says.
Below we produce the full statement;
Concerned citizens’ statement against religious intolerance
It is with great concern that we the undersigned protest against increasing religious intolerance in Sri Lanka in regards to minority religions. We specifically condemn the recent violent attack on the Mosque in Dambulla. The Hindu community has also been asked to move their temple. The Dambulla Khairya mosque had been in existence for over 60 years and has legal documents regarding its construction. On Friday the 20th of April 2012 a tense situation arose as regular Friday prayer at the Mosque was prevented by a gang led by Buddhist monks who claimed that it was an illegal construction. The group stated that both the Mosque and Hindu shrine were built on sacred Buddhist ground. It is further regrettable that law enforcement authorities could not take appropriate action to stop the forceful entry and threatening the community and they were seen to be prevented by the unruly gang from performing their duty as public servants.
On the 22nd after a discussion with the Prime Minister, it has been announced that the Mosque and Muslim families living within the area will be relocated. The Muslim Trust is still in negotiations with the government. While we are in support of reaching a solution through negotiations with the Muslim community, we would like to stress that any decision taken on this issue should not be unjust towards the minority communities in the context of post-war Sri Lanka.
The mosque has been in existence for over 60 years and the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim persons in the region had been living together in a spirit of amity for decades, if not centuries. Yet, today we see a growing trend of intolerance to minority religious, which the state has done little to check. The incident in Dambulla is not an isolated one. Last year a Muslim shrine (Dargha) was destroyed in Anuradhapura. In Ashraf Nagar the military has taken over land that belongs to 69 Muslim families, including land that was allotted for a Muslim burial ground. In Illangaithurai Muhathuwaram (now renamed Lanka Patuna) a Shivan shrine was removed and a Buddhist statute was built in its place. A group of Buddhist monks and people attacked the four Square Gospel Church in Kaluthara North last year. The Police have prevented the church from functioning claiming that it would lead to a breach peace. In Ambalangoda the Assembly of God church was attacked in February this year. A pastor in Kalutara was attacked and a house belonging to a Christian was ransacked by Buddhist monks alleging that the church was engaged in conversions. The police failed to frame charges against Buddhist monks. Recently the government has also tried to pass the Town and Country Planning bill which allows for religious land to also been acquired in municipal and urban areas for economic, social, historical, environmental or religious purposes. Even though the bill has been challenged in court and withdrawn there is a plan to bring the bill back as law through other avenues. Such acts increase the sense of insecurity that minorities in general feel in this as regards the practice of worship and co existence.
Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious community in which religious acceptance and protection of religious and cultural rights and the freedom to practice their religion anywhere in the country is a basic tenet of the Constitution and a protection assured to all citizens.
We appeal to the President, state institutions and officials, and those in the executive to take the utmost heed of this growing trend of intolerance. We strongly believe that the people of this country, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Christian and Burgher wish to live in harmony with each other. We also strongly believe that it is a minority of persons who take to violence in riding rough shod over the rights of others. We strongly urge the state to take measures curb this growing trend and to do its utmost to make minorities feel in every way people of this country. In the post war context this is of the utmost importance for reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. We also appeal to religious and community leaders to initiate dialogue at all possible levels so that minority communities feel secure. We pledge our support for a pluralist Sri Lankan society.
1. Affected Women’s Forum (Akkaraippattu)
2. Association of War-Affected Women
3. Centre for Human Resource Development (Viluthu)
4. Centre for Human Rights and Development
5. Centre for Mass Communication and Media (Mannar)
6. Centre for Policy Alternatives
7. Equal Ground
8. Families of the Disappeared
9. Human Rights office Kandy
10. IMADR- Asia
12. Jaffna Civil Society for Equality
13. Lawyers for Democracy
14. Mannar Women’s Development Federation
15. Mothers and Daughters of Lanka
16. Mullaitheevu Women Development and Rehabilitation Trust
17. Muslim Women’s Trust – Puttalum
18. Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum
19. National Peace Council
20. Red Flag Movement
21. Right to Life Human Rights Center
22. Rights Now Collective for Democracy
23. Sakhi Collaboration
24. Stand Up Movement
25. Voluntary Service Development Organization
26. Women’s Action Network
27. Women and Media Collective
|28. A.L.M Bashir- NESAM, Nindavaur
31. A.S.Mohamed Rayees
32. Ashila Dandeniya
33. A.W.A. Jihad (Muthur People’s Forum)
34. Aliyar Hazarat (Sammanthurai)
35. Ameena Hussein
36. Anberiya Hanifa
37. Ann Jabbar
38. B. Skanthakumar
40. B.F. A. Basnayake
41. Beryl Perera
42. Bhavani Fonseka (Attorney-at-Law)
43. Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe
44. Brito Fernando
45. C.De Silva
46. Cayathri Divakalala
47. Chandragupta Thenuwera
48. Chathurika Senanayake
49. Chulani Kodikara
50. Damaris Wickremesekera
51. Darshana Liyanage
52. Dayapala Thiranagama
53. Dileepa Witharana
54. Dishani Jayaweera (Attorney-at-Law)
55. Divakalala Sundaram
56. Dr. Camena Guneratne
57. Dr. D. H. S. Maithripala
58. Dr. Danesh Karunanayake
59. Dr. Dharmasena Pathiraja
60. Dr. Farzana Haniffa
61. Dr. Harini Amarasuriya
62. Dr. Kumar David
63. Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi
64. Dr. M. Vethannathan (University of Jaffna)
65. Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan (Point Pedro Institute of Development)
66. Dr. Nishan de Mel
67. Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuthu
68. Dr. Philip Setunga
69. Dr. Philip Setunga
70. Dr. Ranil D. Guneratne
71. Dr. Ruvan Weerasinghe
72. Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran
73. Dr. Shamala Kumar
74. Dr. Sumathy Sivamohan
75. Dr. T. Jayasingam
76. Dushi Kanapathipillai
78. Faizun Zackariya
79. Francis Devarani (Ampara)
80. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
81. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos
82. Fr. Nandana Manatunga ( Human Rights Office Kandy)
83. Fr. S. Maria Anthony, S. J.
84. Fr. T. S. Josuwa (Kavithalaya Kala Mandram)
85. Fr. Terence Fernando
86. Fr. V. Yogeswaran
87. F. Solomantine
88. Gamini Viyangoda
89. Godfrey Yogarajah (General Secretary, National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka)
90. Gowrie Ponniah
91. Harean Hettiarachchi (Programme Manager)
92. Harshana Rambukwella (Senior Lecturer- Open University)
93. Hashintha Jayasinghe
94. Himali Nawalage (Sales Manager)
96. J. C. Weliamuna (Attorney at Law)
97. Jagath Weerasinghe (Artist)
98. Jake Oorloff
99. Jehan Mendis (Teacher)
100. Jehan Perera
101. Jensila Majeed
102. Jeyasankar Sivagnanam
103. Jezima Ismail
104. Jovita Arulanantham
105. Juweriya Mohideen
106. K.Arulanandarajah (Kalmunai)
107. K.Arumugam Asoka (Mahashakthi Foundation, Akkarappattu)
108. K.E.Tharagowri, Kalmunai, Ampara
109. K. L. Shafi Hatheem ( Kalmunai)
110. K.Nihal Ahamed (Humanitarian Elevation Organisation, Addalaichenai)
111. K.Niroshan (People’s Progressive Development Society, Akkaraippattu
112. K.Praba (Thambiluvil)
113. K. R. M. Wickremesinhe (Attorney at Law)
114. K.S Ratnaval-(Attorney at Law)
115. K.Sukirtha (Ampara)
116. Kasun Pathiraja
117. Krishna Velupillai
118. Kumudini Samuel
119. Kusal Perera
120. L. Perinpanayagam
121. Lakshan Dias
122. L. Yaseen Bawa ( Bakary, Oluvil)
123. Lal Wijenayaka (Lawyers for Democracy)
124. M.A.C. Humaid ( Health Education, Social and Sports Organisation, Akkaraippattu)
125. M.A.M. Rifaz (Addalaichchenai)
126. M. Casim Kulanthahi Mararaikar ( Kalmunai)
127. M.I. Haidar (Akkaraipattu)
128. M.I. Rezard (Muthur Youth Social Development Organisation)
129. M. M. Nazeer ( Oluvil)
130. M.R.M Naufil (Mannar Grand Mosque)
131. M. Thiruvarangan
132. Mahaluxumi Kurushanthan (Mannar)
133. Mahesh De Mel (Director, Waves of Hope)
134. Mahinda Hattaka
135. Mahisha Warusavitharana
|136. Malcolm Peter (Alliance Development Trust)
137. Manjula Gajanayake
138. Mano Ganesan, (Civil Monitoring Commission)
139. Manzoor A Cader. (Rtd Registrar Sammanthurai)
140. Marisa de Silva
141. Mawlavi Bazeer (Sammanturai)
142. Melani Manel Perera (Christian Women Journalist)
143. Melanie Perera (Alliance Development Trust)
144. Melisha Yapa (Marketer/Banker)
145. Menaha Kandasamy
146. Minna Thaheer
147. Mohammed Mahuruf
148. Mohideen Bawa Parikari Ibralebbai. (Oluvil)
149. Monroe Jayasuriya (National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka)
150. Mujeeb Rahman
151. N. L. Pakeer Ali (Oluvil)
152. N.Shanthi (Akkaraipattu)
153. Nadya Perera
154. Mirak Raheem
155. Nandala Maduranga Kalugampitiya
156. Navin Weeraratne
157. Nicola Perera
158. Nimalka Fernando
159. Niyanthini Kadirgamar
160. Pala Pothupitiya (Artist)
161. P. Thanbirajah
162. P.N. Singham
163. Padmini, Women’s Centre
164. Peter Rezel
165. Priya Thangarajah (Law Student)
166. Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne
167. Prof Maithree Wickramasinghe
168. Prof. Priyan Dias
169. Prof. S.H. Hasbulla
170. R.M.B. Senanayake
171. Raghu Balachandran (Methodist Church of Sri Lanka)
172. Rajani Chandrasegaram
174. Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon (Campaign for Free and Fair Elections)
175. Rajiva Godagedara (Accountant)
Hade Sheriff / April 24, 2012
Never in History of Sri-Lanka minority was treated so degradingly by this regime & Bhuddhist Monks.
C. Wijeyawickrema / April 24, 2012
1. How many in this list are non-Buddhists?
2. Can they deny that other religions from the Middles East do not allow their believers to accept Buddhism as a way of living? In other words they must submit to their god and not accept anything else.
3. When 7.8 billion in world is on one side and Buddhists on the other keeping hands tied and preach compassion could end in wiping out Buddhist symbols from this Island as happened in Korea etc.
4. What kind of 60 year prescription apply to religious property? This is a case of toleration killing the one who tolerated.
Denzil Washington / April 24, 2012
Mr. C Wijewickrama
You must be a buddhist because you were born a Buddhist! If you understood or follows buddhism you will not write a such a stupid statement. Lord Buddha was a tolerent of all religions in a grand civilisation of his time. Please remember & learn “awihimsawadaya”.
I have no other words for your stupid ignorance & arrogance.
Budunge Saranay saha trivida ratnathraye pihitay.
Toronto / April 24, 2012
Mr. C.W. – Answers to your questions:
1. The question should be how many Buddhists and why?
2. Not much of a difference when compared to Sri Lanka.
3. How can something so good be wiped out of Korea (if so good)?
4. Same as 2000+ years – keeping in mind Buddhism was also imported from India.
Mohideen / April 25, 2012
My dear fellow Sri lankan dont try to compar sri lanka with other countrys Muslims are living in Sri Lanka for past 1230 years,Think broad
wenn the religious symobls despair from the buddists it is not the falt of others first you pracice and give a example.
Asif / April 25, 2012
Reference to Point 2.We muslims of Sri Lankan origin are born and bred in Sri Lanka and we are not worried about other countries.As a Citizen of this country we have equal rights and that matters a lot to us.
Toronto / April 24, 2012
Where were all these people when over 100 Christian churches were attacked in the past few of years?
Toronto / April 24, 2012
Where were all these people when over 100 Christian churches were attacked in the past few years?
a voter / April 25, 2012
What is your argument?
Because some were silent when churches were attacked, they should remain silent for ever?
It is sad that not many raised their voice when Churches were attacked. But this is a very good time to reopen even those cases.
Toronto / April 25, 2012
That is my argument!
It is good for people to wake up at least now.
Asif / April 25, 2012
Correct,turning the other cheek is not the solution when u are under attack.By defending your rights by striving(Jihad) is neccessary.
Vasu / April 24, 2012
What is illegal and legal in terms of building a mosque?
This mosque was built before 50 years
A muslim minister was sent to muslim countries to vote against Tamils in UN Human Rights Commission last month.
Soon after the muslim community faces the arrogance of the buddhist chauvinism.
And the chief buddhist monk who organized this riots says this video is fake, the same story after publishing the Channel4 video
Hopefully not a discussion about “wearing some undershirts under the safran cloths which is not usual in sri Lanka” and nominationg a local expert commission
How many hindu temples were destroyed in north and east to build buddhist temples?
All the security zones will be converted to buddhist sacred zones in next years in north and east.
We are not matured enough to run a multiethnic multireligious state.
Our tendency is to create always disharmony among different grouphs
Kamiss TB / April 25, 2012
No one has the right to stop anyone from performing his prayers – as happened last Friday at Kattankudy. The Muslims who were there should be commended for not giving back in kind to the thugs and hooligans under different robes. Even the Sinhala population of the area did not participate in this dastardly act of some outsiders out to create rift between Muslims and Buddhists. Long live the unity of Sri Lankans!
prabath / April 25, 2012
Budda never promoted violence and buddism is not a religion of violence.It is sad some people resort to violence.
Mohommad was a violent man preaching against everybody else who is not a muslim.It is good that every muslim person does not resort to violence.
Be honest and do some unbiased research you will find out the truth.
Asif / April 25, 2012
Prove to us from the religious text that Mohammed(PBUH) was a violent man if you are truthful.Dont Just say things from mere listening to western media.
He is best of the humankind ever and thats the reason today islam is the fastest religion in the world with 2.2 billion faithfuls.
Thrishantha / April 25, 2012
The best way to protect Buddhism is to practice Buddhism. It is a religion that encourages us to look inside us. In simple three verses Buddhism is – Sabba-papassa akaranam,(keep away (abstain) from all evil) Kusalas-supa-sampada,Doing good, (To cultivate the good) Sacitta-pariyodapanam;Purifying one’s heart; (to purify one’s mind)Etam Buddhana sasanam.These three things are the teaching of all the Buddha’s.(84,000 volumes of Lord Buddhas teachings “Dharma Skandha” is summarized in 3 short verses here containing immense power of Buddha’s virtues or the ability to do good (I copied from s Buddhist youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0Mz0aRRV6g ), so this is not my interpretation). So, Buddhism will be lost with the loss of these three attempts from the followers. Build more monasteries than sending more monks to the parliament.
Mohottige / April 25, 2012
It is true that Buddha was a peacefull man, preaching peace. Mohammed maybe was a peacefull man also, but the aim of Islam is to spread his teachings in all ways, even with violence and the Tolerance is not the word one thinks of when looking at how muslim majorities behave in many muslim countries. All non Muslims are termed “Infidels”. The Christians in Irak have to flee from the mother land because of persecutions from the Muslim community. Did the Muslim Taleban show tolerance even to harmless Buddhist figures/statues in Afghanistan? No.
Does the new regime in the Maldivian Islands respect and protect their own country’s past history when in connectionwith the recent military coop (triggered by the old dictator and Islamic fundalists) 7-8 men entered the national museum and broke every historic artefact from Buddhist and Hindu dominated past. And why did Bhuddism and Hinduism disappear from the Maldivian Island in the first place after Muslim Arabian traders settled there? And why is Buddhist synbols still not allowed in that country? Does this point at Islam as a tolerant religion? Certainly not! Still Islam, (as ultraconservative Christians) claim that the earth is only 6000 years old! But Islam among many of their followers must not be questioned at all, no matter what nonsense coming out from it. I respect Islam and Muslims, but I expect Islam and Muslims to show the same respect to followers of other religions and philosophies as well, otherwise they are not credible…
Colombo Analyst / April 25, 2012
It is alleged that the Prime Minister Jayaratne made a disbolically false
statement that Muslim leaders agreed to relocate the mosque and acted like a dictator by making an Order to demolish the mosque
Is he civilized enough or does he have the noble Budhist sense to tender an unreserved apology for his action.
Arjuna Iddamalgoda / April 26, 2012
First they came for the English Speakers and the Burghers
Those who were able,packed their bags and emigrated……….
Then They came for the Tamils
In 1958, 1977 and 1983 they were raped and pillaged
More than 50% were driven to seek asylum elsewhere
Then when those who were left behind tried to fight for justice they were annihilated and the surviving stragglers were quartered in camps….for their own protection, ofcourse.
Now they are going for the Muslims; the men will be asked to drop their trousers, then Firdouse. Rape the women and behead the children.
Then it will be time to finish the Christians!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe in less than 50 years, Sinhadweepa will finally be Buddhist heaven. The sooppu-karayas will have achieved nirvana!