PressTV – Islam and Life: Against Racism | Tariq Ramadan

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US report exposes India’s mistreatment of minorities

The report of the US Commission on Religious Freedom elaborates on how laws discriminate against Christians and Muslims.

The Milli Gazette Online

Published Online: Feb 19, 2017

New Delhi: India fails to comply with international standards on freedom of religion leading to the discrimination and persecution of religious minorities, said a new report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The report, “Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India” said that, although the country’s Constitution guarantees equal rights to religious minorities, the government fails to comply with international standards.

It also enumerates India’s failure to ensure the rights of Dalit people, those from socially and economically poor castes, once considered untouchables.

“Religious minority communities and Dalits, both have faced discrimination and persecution due to a combination of overly broad or ill-defined laws, an inefficient criminal justice system, and a lack of jurisprudential consistency,” the report said.

Hindus form the majority 80 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people while Muslims form some 15 percent. Christians, the second largest religious minority, form just 2.3 percent. Dalits and tribal people make up 70 percent of India’s 27 million Christians.

In 2016, at least 10 Christians were killed and over 500 members of the community were attacked for their faith or for allegedly converting people to Christianity, said a report by the Catholic Secular Forum in January 2017.

“Symbolic and structural violence has increased in the country since 2014. The government needs to respond to such violence in a much more sensible way rather than denying it,” said Samuel Jaikumar of the National Council of Churches in India, a union of all Protestant and Orthodox Churches.

Laws help discrimination continue

The U.S. report said that seven of the 29 states have adopted laws banning religious conversions, which has resulted in inequitable practices.

The report said that state governments have described church humanitarian aid and development “as a cause of improper and unethical conversions.”

The report also said that India’s law to regulate foreign funding has consistently been used against civil society organizations, charities and other non-governmental organizations that question government policies.

In June 2015, India put the leading Christian charity, Caritas International, on its watch list. The charity, which is the social arm of the Vatican, was scrutinized for alleged “anti-India activities,” the report said.

Referring to the Indian Divorce Act 2001 that restricts inheritance, alimony payments, and property ownership of people from interfaith marriages, the report said the law is “problematic.”

“The act also interferes in the personal lives of Christians by not allowing marriage ceremonies to be conducted in a church if one of the partners is non-Christian,” it added.

The cow protection laws in India which restrict or ban cow slaughter are “often mixed with anti-Muslim sentiment,” the report said. Cow slaughter “has remained a perpetual source of tension between Hindu, Muslim and Dalit communities.”

In recommendation, it said that India should stop harassing groups, reform anti-conversion laws, and establish “a test of reasonableness” surrounding prohibitions on cow slaughter. It also asked India to adopt the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. (ucanindia.in)

http://www.milligazette.com/news/15401-us-report-exposes-india-s-mistreatment-of-minorities

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Halal Accreditation Council gets ISO certification from SLSI

The Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Limited (a not for profit organization duly incorporated under the Companies’ Act No. 7 of 2007 of Sri Lanka and referred to as HAC) was recently certified ISO 9001:2015 by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) for its Quality Management System.

The official presentation of the certificate took place at the SLSI Director General’s office on 15 February 2017. It was handed over by Mr. Gamini Dharmawardana, the Director General of SLSI to Mr. M. J. M. Fari, Head of International Relations of HAC in the presence of Mr. Ali Fatharally, the Director and CEO of HAC.

The ISO 9001:2015 certification is a clear declaration that HAC has set up a fully-fledged infrastructure having in place all the prerequisites dictated by ISO 9001:2015 certification. It reinforces the commitment of HAC to quality management and commitment to serve its clients.

The process-based Halal compliance certification activities of HAC is now well synchronized with a declared quality policy; an effective management of documentation and records; a well-established resource management; an efficient process control, measurement and analysis and a conscious commitment to pursue continual improvement. This holistic quality management system is set in motion at HAC to serve the cause of Halal and to gain the utmost satisfaction of its customers, the HAC halal compliant certificate holders.

The ISO 9001:2015 certification from SLSI conferred on HAC has another significance to Halal compliant certification activities. The certification serves as testimony to transparency and sustainability of HAC that operates in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multi-cultural environment like Sri Lanka where confidence building is of utmost importance.

HAC sincere believes that the award of ISO 9001:2015 has provided HAC the solid foundation to build on other relevant international standards to be able to obtain certifications to add more value to HAC Halal certification.

HAC wishes to emphasize that Halal standards which are derived from Islamic religious principles call for utmost quality, safety, hygiene, and benefits in product for the welfare of human beings irrespective of their faiths, creed, or cultures. Halal certification establishes both ethical products and ethical consumerism.

In brief, ISO 9001:2015 has conferred upon HAC very visible and worthy fundamentals such as credibility of having an internationally recognized standard; risk-based thinking; efficiencies of integrated processes; engagement of employees; clearly defined and transparent decision making; striving for customer satisfaction and constantly pursuing continual improvements. All these shall be adhered to by HAC as realities and not as mere concepts confined to documents.

HAC assures that all its activities will ensure conformance to requirements and best practices claimed through ISO 9001:2015 certification so as to further strengthen and increase confidence in HAC Halal certification of all its stakeholders.

(Media Release)

http://www.lankabusinessonline.com/halal-accreditation-council-gets-iso-certification-from-slsi/

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The TRUTH Behind What REALLY Happened!

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Why Buddhism, A Religion Of Tolerance, Is Falling Prey To Hate-Speech: Panel

The rise of hate speech in Buddhist-majority countries like Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka is of grave concern – and something that states should tackle, says a noted Thai Buddhist intellectual, because of the danger it poses.

“It’s very dangerous, much more dangerous than weapons,” said Mr Sulak Sivaraksa, an internationally-regarded Buddhist activist, during a recent panel discussion on the Channel NewsAsia programme Between The Lines.

The principles of non-violence and tolerance may be central to Buddhist teachings, but – amid the rise of nationalist Buddhist sentiments – hate speech has gained prominence among hardline groups which use it to incite violence, destruction and even death against certain groups.

In Sri Lanka for example, a group of monks formed Bodu Bala Sena in 2012 in the name of protecting the country’s Buddhist culture; it has since carried out hundreds of attacks against Muslims and Christians. In Myanmar, hardline monks of the ultra- nationalist Ma Ba Tha group have been fuelling sentiment against the Muslim Rohingya.

Social media has facilitated the proliferation of angry rhetoric. Mr Sulak urged governments to make hate speech illegal, given its ability to incite violence. “I agree with freedom of speech, you can have different opinions and you can discuss openly. But if you use hate speech and distorted speech… this should not be allowed,” he said.

But how is it possible that a religion of peace and empathy like Buddhism can fall prey to hate?

WHEN FEAR OVERRULES SYMPATHY

Dr Mano Laohanavich, professor of Buddhism at Thammasat University, suggested that some Buddhists lack an understanding about other religions.

“They study only their book, their text, which is exclusively about their own truth. And this truth must be the one… that is the best, the only,” he said.

And when they believe their values to be paramount, they disregard other religions, or even fear that their own is under threat, said Dr Eakpant Pindavanija, a director at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University.

He cited the example of the Rohingya refugees in Thailand – how an initial wave of pity for these migrants turned into anger once some Thai people realised they were Muslims.

“Suddenly … the hate speech comes: ‘Oh! They are here because they want to destroy this country, they want to destroy our Buddhist society’… So the feeling of sympathy has gone,” Dr Eakpant said.

WHEN FEAR OVERRULES WISDOM

The average Buddhist also does not really understand the teachings of Buddhism itself, its true purpose and meaning, said Dr Chantana Banpasirichote Wun’gaeo, an Associate Professor (Department of Government) at Chulalongkorn University.

Also, where there is a religious majority and a minority, it’s usual for the majority to think “we decide and you have to follow our ways”, said Dr Mano.

”They use identity as the principle on which to create difference, and the politics of fear overrules wisdom or compassion,” he added.

And politicians often take advantage of such sentiments in their quest for power, the panel noted.

“If you look into the religious conflicts all over the world, it has to do with (the) mobilisation of bias, very much from the leadership level,” said Dr Chantana.

THE ANTIDOTE: WORKING TOGETHER

One way to counter the swell of hate and fear, Dr Mano suggested, is to create a safe environment and a platform where people of different faiths can discuss their beliefs, share food, even pray together and help solve society’s problems such as poverty together.

In his experience, when people of different religious identities work closely together, it can lead to greater understanding and a mutual respect. He cited the example of how the earthquake in Kaohsiung, Taiwan years ago galvanised Buddhists, Muslims and Catholics to join in rescue efforts.

When such varied faiths get together, “that could be very powerful – not because they are different but because they are united”, said Dr Mano.

Mr Sulak provided hope for the situation in Myanmar. Arguing that the incidences of Buddhist monks attacking Rohingya were perpetrated by a minority, and tended to dominate the news, he noted that in actuality in Myanmar: “A lot of Buddhists and Muslims are working together beautifully.”

– CNA

http://www.asianmirror.lk/opinion/item/22333-why-buddhism-a-religion-of-tolerance-is-falling-prey-to-hate-speech-panel

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Club Sandwich-Submarine Dispute Results in Forcible Shut down of Muslim Owned Businesses in Dambulla

A dispute with a Sinhala customer over the ordering of food items in a Muslim owned hotel has resulted in communal tensions flaring up in Dambulla town located 165 km from Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo.

According to reports in websites specialising in news concerning the Muslim community ,the dispute which occurred on Wednesday Feb 8th 2017 , turned into a physical clash between the customer and hotel staff in which the customer was injured. Following this a gang of Sinhala speaking persons invaded the hotel and attacked the Muslim manager.

Thereafter a mob assembled in Dambulla and staged a demonstration against the Muslims after which all Muslim owned businesses in Dambulla were ordered to be closed. All Muslim shops,hotels and other businesses in Dambulla were shut down at 7 pm on Wednesday

According to news reports a Sinhalese woman had allegedly ordered two club sandwiches by telephone from a Muslim owned Hotel in Dambulla at noon on feb 8th. Instead the hotel had reportedly sent two Submarines by mistake. The woman then brought the submarines to the Hotel to be exchanged for club sandwiches.

The Hotel manager had refused saying the customer had definitely ordered submarines and the Hotel had not made a mistake. She was also accused of causing confusion while ordering food items on earlier occasions too.She went back

After a while the woman’s husband came to the Hotel with the submarines and wanted club sandwiches. The manager refused and an argument ensued. The enraged husband then allegedly threw the submarines at the managers face. This resulted in a physical altercation. The customer was allegedly assaulted severely by the manager and other hotel staff.

After some hours a gang of Sinhala speaking persons came to the hotel and allegedly beat up the manager. They forced the hotel to shut down.

Thereafter a Sinhalese mob assembled in the town and staged a demonstration against Muslims. All Muslim owned businesses were forced to close down. By 7 pm all Muslim owned enterprises were shut down

On the following Thursday Feb 9th morning when Muslim businesses started opening a gang of Sinhalese thugs went around Dambulla ordering the shops and hotels to be closed. The Muslim owners were compelled to shut down the businesses which remained closed the next day also as Friday Feb 10th was a Poya day.

Affected Muslim businessmen appealed to UNP Parliamentarian Ranjith Aluvihare, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake and several Muslim ministers in the Sirisena – Wickremesinghe Govt. Due to political pressure the Police officer in Charge in Dambulla Chief Inspector Wickramaratne deployed special security for Muslim businesses on Saturday Feb 11th. Thereafter Muslim owned enterprises that had remained shut from Wednesday night to Saturday morning began resuming business cautiously. Though tensions prevail there is a visible Police presence affording greater protection to the Muslim businesses.

Meanwhile Police arrested both the Sinhala customer and Muslim hotel manager and produced them before the Dambulla magistrate who remanded them until Feb 22nd. Both had been hospitalised following the clash. No further arrests were made.

Representations have also been made to President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to ensure adequate and durable security for Muslim businesses in Dambulla

Police stated that the situation was now quiet and normalcy was being restored gradually

And it was all due to a dispute over club sandwiches and submarines!

NEWS UPDATE

The situation in Dambulla has returned to Normal. Al Musli owned businesses in Dambulla were fully open on Monday February 13th. Representatives of the Dambulla Sinhala Traders Association and Muslim Businesspersons had a friendly discussion to resolve outstanding problems on Sunday Feb 12th. Meanwhile the Muslim restaurant manager and Sinhala customer whose altercation led to the crisis in Dambulla have both agreed to arrive at an amicable settlement of the dispute. Both of them had been arrested earlier by Police and remanded until Feb 22nd. Representatives of the Dambulla Mosque administration met with both at the Remand prison and got both to agree to an amenable sentiment

http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/51369#more-51369

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Justice Marsoof Commission Finalizing Recommendations For MMDA Amendment

Chairman of the Committee appointed to make recommendations for the amendment of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), former Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Saleem Marsoof has announced that his Committee is in the process of finalizing its report, while assuring that the recommendations will benefit the Muslim community at large.

Issuing a statement, Marsoof said, “The Committee is now in the process of finalising its Report, and would like to announce to the general public with utmost responsibility that it is working unitedly to make its recommendations for the amendment of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act in such a manner that will benefit the Muslim community at large.”

The Committee headed by Marsoof was appointed in July 2009 by former Minister of Justice and Law Reform Milinda Moragoda with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers, to consider and recommend amendments to the MMDA No 13 of 1951.

“In view of the extremely sensitive nature of the issues involved, this Committee called for representations form the public through notices published in English, Tamil and Sinhalese newspapers. Apart from the very respected Quazis, theologians, lawyers, scholars, and researchers, who have sent their views and suggestions, detailed representations were also received from associations such as the Council of Muslims of Sri Lanka, the All Ceylon YMMA Conference, The Muslim Lawyers’ Association, the All Ceylon Muslim Marriage Registrars’ Association, the Quazi Judges’ Forum of Sri Lanka, the Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum, the Kandy Forum, the Galle Muslim Cultural Association and the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulema, to name only a few,” the statement said.

Marsoof said that Committee had to necessarily take time to examine in great depth all the views, proposals and other representations received from the public, and in order to facilitate the process, had several public sittings to clarify and verify these representations. The Committee also had several consultations with the Fathwa Committee of the All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulema as well as the Director and staff of Jamiah Naleemiah. “This Committee has given anxious consideration to the problems faced by the public and their many concerns, in the context of the principles of Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh), Sri Lanka’s Constitution and the applicable laws and procedures, and has attempted to evolve solutions to some serious social and legal problems and issues in harmony with the law of the country,” he said.

“As you may be aware, this Committee consists of erudite personalities in the caliber of reputed scholars, renowned lawyers and other professionals, who are conscious of the need to bring about urgent and appropriate reforms to both the substantial and procedural laws constituting the Quazi Court system consistently with the principles enshrined in the Holy Quran, Hadis, Ijma and Qiyas,” Marsoof assured.

Members of the Committee appointed by the former Minister of Justice Millinda Moragoda comprises:

Mr. Justice Saleem Marsoof P.C (Chairman)
Ms. Dilhara Amerasinghe (Secretary)
Mr. Justice Abdus Salam, member of the Right to Information Commission
Mr. Justice Mackie Mohamed Judge of the Civil Appellate High Court
Mr. Shibly Aziz P.C
Mr. Faisz Mustapha P.C
Deshabandu Jezima Ismail
Ash Sheikh Rizwe Mufthi, Chairman of the Jamiathul Ulema
Prof. Sharya scharenguivel, former Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Colombo
Mr. Razmara Abdeen, Attorney-at-law
Ms. Safana Gul Begum, Attorney-at-law
Ms. Fazlet Shahabdeen, Atorney-at-law
Ash Sheikh M.M. Mubarak, Secretary of the Jamiathul Ulema,
Ms. F.B. Juranpathy, Member of the Mediation Commission
Dr. M A M Shukri, former Director of Jamiah Naleemia
Mr. Nadvi Bahudeen, Chairman of the Quazi Board of Review

https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/justice-marsoof-commission-finalizing-recommendations-for-mmda-amendment/

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Oxford Union – Islam And The 21st Century – Dr Zakir Naik

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Muslim boy, aged 7, made monk revolts the Buddha’s vinaya tenet

by Don Manu

Dimbulagala chief incumbent hails it a historic event but will it be flashpoint to spark bigotry’s fires again?
Perhaps it is his karmic destiny to enter the Noble Order of the Sangha and follow the path of the Buddha at so young an age. Or perhaps it is his father’s good fortune to have found a convenient 24/7 care centre free of charge to relieve himself of his paternalistic duty of having to fend for the boy whilst the mother’s working abroad in the Middle East as a house maid.

Seven-year-old Ismail Aslama was recently ordained as a monk at the Dimbulagala Forest Monastery and given the new name Rathnapure Siri Sudarshanalankaram, the chief priest of the monastery, the Ven. Millane Siriyalankara Thera announced this week. He said that a certain Hameed Ismail, the father of the boy, whose wife was employed abroad had brought the child to the monastery and offered him to the Sangha. The chief monk hailed the ordination of the Muslim boy as a historic event and proudly declared: “This is the first time in the long history of the Dimbulagala Aranya Senasanaya that a Muslim has been ordained as a Buddhist monk.”

All very well. Except for one thing. Given the boy’s tender age and his mother’s absence from the country, does it revolt the Buddha’s Code of Vinaya tenets? Consider this.

Rahula was the only child, the only son of Prince Siddhartha. On the day of his son’s birth, Siddhartha realised another fetter, another barrier had risen to bar him renouncing the world to find the cause of universal woe. The more he lingered, the more he dilly dallied, the more would the tentacles of attachment grow to bind him to the world’s materialistic life and make it impossible for him to break free and leave his father Suddhodana’s Kapilavatthu kingdom.

That night he left. Under cover of darkness though lit by a pale yellow moon he embarked on an unknown path, on an unknown journey, in an unknown quest to find an unknown treasure.

Seven years later – one year after attaining the ultimate bliss of Enlightenment – he returned as Gautama the Buddha to his father’s Kapilavatthu kingdom. Yasodhara, his wife, who he had left behind in his search for the elusive Truth that would free mankind from accursed sorrow, was eagerly awaiting his arrival. She dressed the young prince, the Prince Rahula, in the best of clothes, and pointing the Buddha out to the young boy said thus:

“There is your father, the Prince Siddhartha, now known as Gautama the Buddha. Behold him son, behold that golden coloured ascetic resembling Brahma on earth. He is your father. And he has great treasures. Go, go to him, and ask for your inheritance. Say to him: I am Prince Rahula, your only child, the son and heir to your fortune. After my consecration as King of Kapilavatthu, I intend to become the Chakravartin, universal monarch. To become one I need wealth. Give me your great wealth: for the son is the owner of what belongs to the father.”

When young Rahula, aged 7, had walked up to his father, the Buddha, and said what his mother had bade him say, the Buddha remained silent. The boy persisted in repeating his request but still the Buddha gave no answer. When the Buddha finally left the palace after finishing his mid day meal as the guest of his father Suddhodana, young Rahula trailed behind, repeating again and again the refrain: “Give me my inheritance.”

No one stopped the young boy and neither did the Buddha prevent him from following him. When the Buddha reached the park with Rahula’s shadow still falling on his robe, the Buddha contemplated thus: “He desires his father’s wealth but it goes with the world and the world is full of woe. What I can give him is not the wealth of worldly riches, which I stood to inherit from my sire had I not renounced it all and taken the path I took; but instead I shall give him the infinite wealth of the Dhamma which I discovered all alone. I shall give him the noble wealth I received at the foot of the Bodhi by the banks of the River Neranjana. I shall make him a beneficiary of the transcendental riches I gained and bestow it ‘pon him as his rightful inheritance.”

The Buddha then called the Venerable Sariputta and asked him to ordain the seven year old boy as a member of the Noble Order of the Sangha.

When news reached the palace, Yasodhara was aghast. She had lost her husband who had left her and their new born son to go in search of some elusive truth. Now she had lost her son too, and was left bereft of the only joy she had left in the world. She rushed to her father in law, King Suddhodana, and grieved at his feet.

Suddhodana was also perturbed to hear the news. Along with Yasodhara, he had been the guardian of the boy during Siddhartha’s absence. Now he, too, was heartbroken to learn of the void created, grieved to face the loss of hope and happiness he had found in his grandson and pained to learn he had no direct heir to succeed his throne. The King, his world turning in turmoil, went to meet the Buddha; and told him thus:

“When thou renounced the world and left the palace, it was a source of great pain to me. It was the same when my other son, Nanda, left to join thee. And now my only grandson, Rahula, whose presence in our midst – Yasodhara’s and mine – had been the only ray of sunshine to light the darkness of these palace walls, whose voice had been the only lilting melody to resound with cheer through these long hushed corridors, whose childish mischief had been the only bundle of jollity to make us laugh, even in grief, both to me and to his mother Yasodhara, has been taken away from us without our knowledge, let alone our permission. We have been left entombed even before our bodies have run cold. Now it has been done. And it’s too late to reverse fate. But bear with me when I say this: The love of a father or a mother towards a son cuts through the skin, the flesh, the sinew, the bone and even the marrow. Grant, Oh Gautama, grant me as thy sire the request I make of thee: that henceforth the Noble Ones may not confer ordination on a child without the permission of his parents.”

The Buddha readily agreed to the King’s request. Even though he, as Siddhartha, was Rahula’s father, he had no right as a Buddha to ordain minors without the consent of both parents. He had unilaterally ordained Rahula only because he was his son and because the boy had been clamouring for his inheritance and this was the only inheritance he could give him, ordination being the only coronation he could bestow. But a child was not the sole property of a single parent. A child belonged to both parents equally. And the Buddha decreed and made it a Vinaya Rule that henceforth no ordination of minors could take place unless the voluntary consent of both parents had first been obtained.

Now take the case of Vessanthara. The legendary king of the Jatakas who for certain reasons, renounced his kingdom and went into exile to the forest with his wife and two children, a son and a daughter. One day, while the wife was away deep in the woods, gathering firewood to keep the home fires burning, an old man happened to stop by at Vessantara’s hamlet. When Vessanthara had nothing to offer him in terms of hospitality as custom demanded, the old man asked the exiled king whether he could take away the two children. Hardly batting an eyelid, Vessanthara obliged and handed over the children to the old stranger for good.

This selfless act of a Bodhisathwa, a Buddha to be, has been hailed through centuries as a supreme act of generosity. But the poet who wrote the masterpiece, the epic Vessanthara Kaviya, whilst praising the selfless act of Vessanthara as tradition demanded, also posed the question through the mouths of the two innocent children who were so freely given away, whether Vessanthara possessed the right to do so, without first gaining the permission of his wife and the voluntary consent of his two children to go with a total stranger, whom the poet through the use of innuendo conveyed to be a rather unsavory nasty character. In modern day parlance, a gonibilla or bogeyman at best or a pedophile at worst.

The question that arises now is whether, in the backdrop of the Buddha’s tenet contained in the Vinaya Code which regulates the admittance of the laity to the Buddhist order of monks, the ordination of a small Muslim boy, only 7 years old, without the express consent of the mother who is presently abroad and, like Vessantara’s wife, gathering the monetary firewood to keep the home fires burning, is correct and in keeping with the rules of admission to the Sasana?

Secondly, the chief incumbent of the Dimbulagala Aranya has hailed the Muslim boy’s ordination as evidence of religious harmony. He said: “This is the best precedent for religious harmony and national unity.” It’s no such thing. On the contrary, done in this cavalier manner, it will only have the opposite effect and may well indeed be the flashpoint to ignite bigotry’s flares again.

It is only natural that no followers of any religion, be they Muslims or Christians, will rejoice the loss of any one of their adherents to another faith and raise their faludahs after Friday’s Jumma prayers or sip their communion wine at Sunday mass in celebration that one of their flock, a lamb at that, had been snared and sneaked over the fence and is now grazing on a different pasture of an alien faith.

Not so long ago, certain sections of the Buddhist community, led by the Bodu Bala Sena were up in arms over the conversion of Buddhists to other faiths. Churches were stormed, mosques were attacked and, in the religious violence that erupted in Beruwela in 2014, one Muslim was even killed. Now that a Muslim boy has been ordained as a Buddhist monk, and, as it transpires, even without his mother’s knowledge or permission, will it not provide the justification for adherents of religions to do the same? How will it affect Buddhist sensitivities, if Muslim Muezzins were to trumpet from the turret tops of mosques or Catholic Bishops were to proclaim from their pulpits, the news that scores of little Buddhists boys have become Islamists or Catholics?

The Buddha was the first missionary. And, during his 45 years of missionary work, he converted thousands of Hindus and Jains to Buddhism. But he did so by preaching his Dhamma and those who followed him did so only after realising the validity of his message. There were no underhand conversions.

In present day Lanka, the right to preach one’s own gospel must be allowed. But not the right to kraal small ignorant children to the fold when the mother’s slaving away abroad. And then to hail it as a historic achievement and blare the bulletin from the Chuda Manikya at the pinnacle of the stupa atop Dimbulagala Rock.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/170129/columns/muslim-boy-aged-7-made-monk-revolts-the-buddhas-vinaya-tenet-226460.html

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Beyond Debate: A Friendly Dialogue Between Christians & Muslims (Part 1)

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