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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 04/26/2012
SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka, Buddhist destruction of a mosque halted
by Melani Manel Perera
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.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The mosque and the Hindu temple of Dambulla that arise in the sacred can not be destroyed the Minister for the Territory, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, announced today in an attempt to quell the violent protests involving Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus, and likely to create tensions in Sri Lanka. It all started last April 20 when nearly two thousand Buddhists - monks and lay people - attacked the mosque, interrupting the Friday prayer. Throwing rocks and chanting slogans, the protesters claimed that the area of Dambulla is sacred to Buddhism, and can not tolerate religious activities of other faiths.

In an attempt to quell the protests, on April 23 the Sri Lankan Minister of Religious Affairs announced the demolition of the mosque and Hindu temple, in order to make the area "sacred city" within the next six months. The Venerable Nayaka Thero Inaamaluwe Sri Sumangala, the Monk who leads the Golden Temple of Dambulla, welcomed "with satisfaction" the first move by the government. According to the bonze, in fact, for millennia the area belongs to the Buddhists, and Muslims and Hindus constructed their buildings for worship illegally. The Muslims of the area, however, claim that the mosque was built on a regular basis, 50 years before the area was proclaimed a holy place.

The Buddhist protests - and the initial reaction of the government -  sparked great controversy in Sri Lanka, not only from Muslims. For Anton Marcus, Catholic co-secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union, it was "a brutal and shameful attack and a huge insult to all the Buddhists in the country," because "led by Buddhist monks. " And even if something is illegal, he added, "it must be resolved in a democratic process."

A group of "concerned citizens" appealed "to President Rajapaksa and the authorities" to "curb this growing climate of intolerance. We really believe that people of this country, Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and Christians want to live in harmony with each other. "

According to Karu Jayasuriya, deputy of the opposition United National Party, "the government has failed to evaluate the situation, confusing a request with an order, especially in a sensitive area" such as a religious one.

The Golden Temple of Dambulla is situated in the central part of the country, 148 km east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. Completely carved in rock, the temple consists of five caves (hence the nickname "Temple of Caves"), whose walls are covered with paintings depicting the Buddha and other deities. In them there is also a collection of 157 statues depicting Buddha, Three Kings of Sri Lanka and four of the Hindu deity Vishnu and Ganesha. The temple is UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.

 

 


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See also
01/29/2011 SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka: Religious leaders condemn attack on Buddhist Maha Bodhi Temple
by Melani Manel Perera
07/17/2008 CAMBODIA - THAILAND
Dialogue begun, troops amassed at temple of Preah Vihar
10/29/2008 CAMBODIA - THAILAND
Cambodia, one of Asia's poorest countries, doubles military spending
07/29/2008 CAMBODIA – THAILAND
Cambodia and Thailand to pull back 1,200 troops from Preah Vihear
03/25/2009 CAMBODIA – THAILAND
Preah Vihear temple raises Thai-Cambodian tensions

Editor's choices
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ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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