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    » 04/30/2013, 00.00

    SRI LANKA

    Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims come together to stop religious intolerance

    Melani Manel Perera

    Thousands of young people stage a peaceful demonstration to show their desire to rid the country of ethnic and religious hatred. Recent acts of violence and persecution by Buddhist radical groups have raised concerns among the population.

    Colombo (AsiaNews) - In a spontaneous and peaceful manner, thousands of young Sri Lankan Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims poured into the streets of Colombo to protest against recent acts of violence and persecution perpetrated by radical Buddhist groups. Their aim is to stop ethnic-religious intolerance and emphasise the joy of diversity.

    "We're still recovering from a long civil war," Marisa De Silva told AsiaNews. "Yet we see signs of hatred grow in our society," said the Catholic woman and one of the organisers of the event.

    "As the youth of this country," she explained, "we feel that it is our responsibility to help build a Sri Lanka free from hatred. This is our first step, but we have a long road ahead of us. "

    Ven Baddegama Samitha, a Buddhist monk, was among the participants. He said he was "very happy about initiatives by our new generations to eradicate racism in the country. They have my blessings."

    In recent months, groups like the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and the Sinhala Ravaya (Sinhala Echo) have targeted the Muslim and Christian communities.

    The two extremist movements have set for themselves the mission of protecting the Buddhist community, most notably its language, Sinhala, and religion.

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    See also

    16/06/2014 SRI LANKA
    Authorities impose curfew after Buddhists and Muslims clash in the south
    At the end of a rally by the radical Buddhist Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), militants attacked Muslims in the city of Aluthgama. In his speech, the BBS leader allegedly incited violence.

    26/04/2012 SRI LANKA
    Sri Lanka, Buddhist destruction of a mosque halted
    For days, monks and lay Buddhists have called for the demolition of a Hindu temple and a mosque built in the sacred area of Dambulla. According to the followers of Buddha, the places of worship were built illegally. Criticism from the Catholic, Muslim and Hindu world: "An insult to all Buddhists in the country." Golden Temple, Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the major Buddhist temples in the world also located in the area.

    29/11/2008 SAUDI ARABIA
    "Drivers" shirt, cake with toy car: protest of Saudi women drivers
    Women who want to drive protest in the only country in the world where this is prohibited. In their view, the question concerns the recognition of their liberties.

    14/03/2008 CINA - TIBET - INDIA
    Shots fired in Lhasa. Police isolate Tibetan monasteries
    Police cordons around at least three monasteries in Lhasa, no one can enter or exit. Shots are heard, fired against monks in revolt who are believed to have burned a police car. The Tibetan government in exile repeats that it did not participate in the protest march that left from Dharamsala. Meanwhile, protests are growing over the arrest of peaceful demonstrators in China, but also in India and Nepal.

    19/06/2014 SRI LANKA
    Colombo, buddhist monk critical of anti-Muslim violence beaten by "unknown"
    Wataraka Vijiyha Thero, known for having condemned the actions of Bodu Bala Sena (the "Buddhist Brigade") against the Muslim community, was found on the outskirts of the capital unconscious, naked and with numerous cuts on his body.



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