Kandy Forum vehemently condemned the recent attack on Buddhist statues in Mawanella and urged the government to pursue strong action against unruly elements preventing the possibility of such a heinous act in the future.
“Religious extremism and exclusivism are destructive for entire humanity. Respecting other religions, culture and values is very vital and fundamental requirement for a pluralistic society like Sri Lanka. Cultural pluralism really means coexisting and interacting different cultures without conflict and confrontations,” Kandy Forum said stressing that all Sri Lankans should come together to strengthen national integration.
The full statement issued by Kandy Forum is as follows:
Religious Harmony and National Development
Statement of Kandy Forum on Recent Mawanella Incidents
Kandy Forum is seriously concerned about the recent incidents of damaging the Lord Buddha’s statues at the Mawanalla areas allegedly done by some misguided Muslim youths who, we believe, if it is so, do not have proper understanding of Islam and the serious consequences of their action. The incidents are really shocking and unbelievable for any person who loves peace and coexistence.
We, the members of Kandy Forum, vehemently condemn these types of irrational and unlawful actions and urge the Government to take necessary steps to curb such elements and to prevent such incidents in the future.
We all witnessed the emergence of religious hatred and violence among different religious communities in the recent past mainly because of prevailing socio political and economic disparities and lack of value based education in this country and also due to the impact of global politico-religious developments.
Religious extremism and exclusivism are destructive for entire humanity. Respecting other religions, culture and values is very vital and fundamental requirement for a pluralistic society like Sri Lanka. Cultural pluralism really means coexisting and interacting different cultures without conflict and confrontations.
Islam by definition is a religion of peace. It preaches religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence with the people of other faiths. Qur’an categorically says that “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). The constitution of Medina or the Medina Charter, a written document prepared by the Prophet himself in 622 AD, was the first political document in the human history that encouraged cooperation and solidarity in a plural society consisting Muslims, Christians, Jews and other tribes. This spirit of Islam continued throughout the Islamic history. Muslim religious and cultural organizations must take necessary steps to spread this rich Islamic tradition among their younger generation.
Everyone must understand that, it is a fundamental right of every citizen to follow what his or her faith. Others have no right to disregard this by violence or force in the name of religion. All religious faiths and cultures have to be given due respect in Sri Lanka.
Religious segregation and hatred are very much harmful to the national integration and development. In this context we wish to propose that the government, educational institutions and the civil society organizations should seriously involve in promoting religious harmony and multiculturalism in this country starting from the schools. The existing religious curriculum should be broaden accordingly. Comparative religion must be introduced as subject in all the religious and higher educational institutions to cultivate a better understanding of religions. Interreligious and cultural activities should be promoted.
We appeal to the concerned people of all the communities to jointly work together towards religious and ethnic harmony, social integration and national development.
Members of Kandy Forum
Prof. M A Nuhman
Prof. M A M Sitheeque
Prof. M S M Anes
Prof. M I Mowjood
Dr. A S M Nawfal
Dr. A L M Mahroof
Mr. M M Niyaz
Mr. A J M Mubarak
Mr. U M Fazil
Mr. J M Niwas
(163, S W R D Bandaranayeka Mawatha, Kandy)