meets religious leaders
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.
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
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
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Date: February 10, 2004 -