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Religious leaders condemn attack

2013 Jul 12

Religious leaders in Sri Lanka yesterday alerted the country to extremist and terrorist groups going to great lengths to cause religious disharmony, communal unrest and social division in South Asian countries, backed by some powerful organizations in the West with vested interests to destabilize regional peace between nations.



At a press conference in Colombo, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic and Christian leaders, the Co-chairs of Inter Religious Alliance for National Unity (IRANU), Ven. Galagama Dhammaransi, Hindu Priest Brahmasri Ramachandran, Kurukkal Babu Sharma, Rev. Fr. Sarath Hettiarachchi and Moulavi Hassan Mowlana, said last Sunday's blast at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar's Bodh Gaya, was a terrorist attempt to cause discord between Indian and Sri Lanka.

Addressing the media yesterday, they said they vehemently condemn the terrorist act just as much India has condemned it.



When it was pointed out that the Indian Police suspect the attack was carried out by a banned terrorist outfit called Indian Mujahiddin, Moulavi Hassan Mowlana, responding, said if it was carried out by any such outfit with an Islamic religious name, they should be punished, forthwith, because Islam does not teach a doctrine of attacking other religions or their places of worship.

"Just because they have a Muslim name and they wear a head-cover (hijab), they cannot be considered as Muslims if they commit acts of violence to harm other religions," he said.



"They are terrorists trying to create social division by causing disharmony between religious. We request the Indian Government to punish them if they had committed the serial blast," Moulavi Hassan added.

He went on to say, "It is clear to us that the attack was carried out on Bodh Gaya Temple with the aim of breaking the long-standing historic friendship between Sri Lanka and India."



He also said President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at a function in a mosque, had said all types of extremism should be made 'haram' (proscribed) in the country and one's love for the country should be promoted.

"This should be mooted not only in Sri Lanka but throughout the world to achieve peace and national unity between peoples and nations," he said.

Hindu Priest Kurukkal Babu Sharma said the multiple blasts at the Mahabodhi Temple was a shameful act that has threatened the co-existence of multiple communities in the Asian region.



Voicing his views, Rev. Sarath Hettiarachchi said, Bodh Gaya is the most important place of worship for Buddhists across the world. An attack of this nature should be stopped by India by bringing to book those who are guilty.

Ven. Galagama Dharmaransi Thera, addressing the media said, the attack on the place where the Lord Buddha, in his search for the truth, attained enlightenment, has saddened the Buddhist community, but fortunately had not aroused enmity amongst the different religious groups.



"The group that carried out the attack hoped to unleash hate against the Hindus. But that did not happen, due to the power of the Dhamma," he said, adding, "We request the public not to go to the Mahabodhi site on pilgrimage until the Governments of Sri Lanka and India, announce that the temple complex is safe for visiting pilgrims.

We are pleased that the Government of India is taking measures to restore the necessary facilities so that Buddhists across the world can visit Bodh Gaya in peace," the Thera added.

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