23 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 04/26/2012 13:56
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.

 

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

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
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.