The social arm of the Archdiocese of Colombo has launched an initiative to promote interreligious coexistence among Sri Lanka's various religious groups. In the initiative organized by Caritas Colombo, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Catholic religious leaders led a float starting from Negombo, July 29. Led by people belonging to the four main religions in Sri Lanka, the float commenced its journey at Agurukaramulla Temple. It stopped at main religious places and requested devotees to place their signature on a billboard which depicted the Sri Lankan map. It received over 2,000 signatures.
Peaceful country, one family
Father Lawrance Ramanayake, director of Seth Sarana-Caritas Colombo, said the initiative was a need in Sri Lanka. "Our effort is only to build a peaceful country with interreligious coexistence. Religious leaders can take leadership of this matter," said Father Ramanayake who organized the float.
"We hear of various conflicts occurring in various parts of Sri Lanka in the name of ethnicity and religiosity mainly. It is very important to set an example for the country that all can live as one family," said Venerable Yatawatte Ganarama Thero, chief Buddhist monk of Bodirajarama Maha Viharaya in Negombo.
Attacks against Muslims, Christians
The inter-faith event came in the wake of recent wave of attacks on minority groups, mainly Muslims and Christians, by hard-lines Buddhist groups such as Bodu Bala Sena and Rawana Blakaya. A mong the attacks was a petrol-bomb attack on Mallawapitiya mosque on May 21 and several attacks on Muslim-owned businesses.
Caritas Colombo has established five interreligious fora in Negombo with participation from different religious leaders. They include various activities such as the joint celebration of main religious festivals. (Source: UCANEWS)