President meets religious leaders
[February 10, 2004
- 9.30 GMT

Senior dignitaries of the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Islamic clergy were invited to a special meeting with President Kumaratunga, to discuss the current wave of Religious Intolerance in the island. Among the others invited to the President’s Office for yesterday’s [9th February] meeting were Ministers, Leaders of the civil society, Senior Police Officers, Provincial Governors, legal luminaries and leaders of NGOs.

President Kumaratunga told the assembly that she was very disturbed at the increasing incidents of attacks on Christian places of worship. The President stressed this disturbing trend has to end and sought the views of the distinguished gathering. She said the time had come for civil society to help combat this wave of crime and that it was a deep social problem and that community policing was essential.

An outcome of yesterday’s meeting was the creation of a National Advisory Council, to combat crime and social problems at village and urban levels. The apolitical Council appointed yesterday is made up of religious leaders and members of the civil society with no Police representation.

A lively two hour debate followed, with the members of the clergy and civil society making meaningful contributions towards finding solutions. The clergy refuted the concept of religious strife and said the current situation was brought about by politically motivated fringe elements and assured the President they would resolve the matter through the Council and multi religious committees within communities.

The role of the media, the political interference in Police matters and the importance of inculcating proper values in children through the schools system were also discussed.









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Last Updated Date: February 10, 2004  - 9.30 GMT.


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