Saturday, 04 August 2018 09:49

Examining Religious Tension in Beruwela

A series of dialogues with religious leaders in Beruwela, aimed at bringing together Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders to identify and discuss the root causes of religious tension and to make suggestions for possible solutions, is being held under NPC’s project, Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF).

The most recent dialogue was with 33 Muslim religious leaders where the issues they faced because of the actions of other communities were identified and possible solutions were suggested.

A meeting with both Buddhist and Muslim religious leaders, with the participation of Divisional Secretariat officers, police and local politicians, will be held for both communities to discuss their concerns and agree on possible solutions.

The idea of the dialogues originated in the action plan that was developed at the first meeting of the Beruwela Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) in March this year after the clashes between the Sinhalese and Muslim communities occurred in Kandy. The members of the LIRC suggested identifying early warnings of communal conflicts and taking action to prevent them.

The first two dialogues were held with 20 Buddhist monks at the Beruwela Divisional Secretariat. The fears and suspicions of Buddhist monks, many related to religious tension, were identified and discussed in detail. Muslim religious leaders also gathered on the same day discuss their concerns and come with possible solutions.