The Bishop of Galle has warned of threats posed to religious minorities by some groups including the Bodu Bala Sena which he has termed as a “Buddhist Taliban” operating in Sri Lanka.
The Fides Agency reported that Bishop Raymond Wickramasinghe, the Bishop of Galle, had raised the concerns in a message sent to the agency.
Bishop Wickramasinghe fears that – a few years after the end of the civil war – a new violence can tear apart society.
For this reason he has decided to re-launch the promotion of dialogue and religious harmony through the Commission “Justice, Peace and Human Development.”
The Church has the task to “play a prophetic role,” he remarked, although this could be misunderstood, the agency reported.
“It should be noted that large traditional Buddhist organizations, entirely peaceful, disapprove the radical and violent approach, that sow the virus of hatred and religious fundamentalism in the Sri Lankan society,” The Fides Agency reported.
The agency claimed that recently, two churches were attacked and two others forced to close because of the pressure of the fanatics.
Among the incidents reported to Fides, on March 9 in Batticaloa, members of the Bodu Bala Sena set fire to a church at night.
Buddhist monks accused the pastor of the “Fellowship Church” in the town of Polonnaruwa of “proselytizing”, warning him to stop his ministry.
On March 17, a mob led by Buddhist monks broke into a church in Agalawatte, stopping the worship. Similar threats were reported at a meeting of the Pentecostal Church in Kottawa and in Galle.
According to information sent to Fides, in 2012 the Christian communities in Sri Lanka, of different denominations, registered about 50 cases of attacks by Buddhist monks.
In December, one thousand people in the grip of a religious fervor, including many Buddhist monks, attacked and wounded a pastor in Weeraketiya. (Colombo Gazette)