April 2012


Doctrine divides, Action unites

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Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka Prevent Friday Prayers at Mosque

National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka

We strongly condemn the blatant display of religious intolerance which occurred on Friday April 20, 2012, where the mosque in the town of Dambulla was laid siege to by a large mob, claiming that the mosque was built on sacred Buddhist land and hence illegal. The mosque in question has been in existence for more than 50 years. The Muslim devotees were prevented from engaging in jummah prayers, and the mosque was sealed by the police. It is unthinkable that a democratic country should consider the demolition of a place of worship sacred to one religious community in order to preserve the sanctity of another. All religious sites are equally sacred and should be treated with respect by all communities.

A Qur’an tattered by Buddhist monks who tore pages out of it
during the attack on the Dambulla mosque on April 20, 2012.
(Photo by Navin at http://groundviews.org)

The frequency of similar acts of religious intolerance against minority religious communities is disturbing, particularly at this juncture of our history where we are emerging from a devastating war which polarized our society ethnically. The Sri Lankan social fabric is made up of many ethnic and religious communities, and every one of them should be respected and protected as per the Constitution of Sri Lanka, which grants to all citizens the freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the right to practice their religion, either alone or with others, in any part of the country.

We call upon the government to resolve this matter in a just and equitable manner, to treat all religions with equal respect in keeping with our Constitution and to desist from practicing or promoting, either directly or tacitly, any act or procedure which
discriminates against one community or favors another.

We call upon all religious leaders to exercise respect for all religions and to resolve any issues of contention through amicable dialogue rather than inciting religious hatred and to promote a culture of unity, acceptance and magnanimity.

* The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) was established in 1952 and today consists of five Christian denominations, 74 churches and Christian organizations that represent more than 200,000 evangelical Christians in the country.