Register All Sacred Sites and Bring Laws to Prevent Building Other Religious Places of Worship Therein
Posted on April 23rd, 2012

– Kumar Moses

The incident in Dambulla is sad and hurtful to all Sri Lankans. It should not have happened. A few years ago a Muslim shrine built on a previously Hindu shine was torn down in Ayodhya, India. Such practices must not be allowed in Sri Lanka. Most effective way to prevent recurrence of similar incidents is by banning anymore religious constructions without stringent approvals at the national and regional levels. Department of Archaeology must also be consulted.

There are places of religious worship relatively recently built in the Kataragama holy area where the practitioners don’t worship God Kataragama but bring in totally alien religious practices. They are an insult to the shrine that was in existence for more than 2,200 years.

The malicious attempt to build places of religious worship on top of ancient established shrines must be defeated. It is a direct attack on the people’s right to practice their religion as they have been practicing for the past 2,300 years.

Government must bring in laws to register all pre-colonial places of religious worship and protect them. No one should be allowed to build any other places of religious worship in any of these places.

It is also time Sri Lanka completely banned foreign missionaries and foreign financing of local religious activities. Since all four major religions are already well established, there is no need to externally fund selected religions. That disturbs balance and the harmonious coexistence.

Plight of the ancient Buddhist Shine, Muhudu Maha Viharaya in the East has been highlighted by the media. Similarly ancient Buddhist sites in Dighavapi have been damaged by a fundamentalist group. Any attempt to repeat violence against established historical sites must be met with military action.

The defence establishment must take serious note of the possibility of extremism creeping into the country via Middle Eastern sects. Cancerous spread of illegal radio stations propagating violence and harm must be clamped down. Some of the already actioned stations include New Moon FM, Kalmunai FM, Kathankudy FM, New Rise FM, Puttalam FM, Kalpitiya FM, Kalkudah FM and Beruwala FM. It is no secret there are many more operating clandestinely.

Amendments to the constitutional provision of freedom of religious practice are needed to allow everyone an equal right to practice their religion while respecting historical sites.     

A vote at the UNHRC in Geneva does not give any country a licence to tread over Sri Lanka. If a selected group of international actors are dragged into domestic affairs, there is nothing that prevents other powerful actors to also get involved.

At the same time it is also imperative that the government enforces sound pollution laws without favouritism. No religious place of worship should be allowed to use loudspeakers except for a day in the calendar. Sound pollution causes immense inconvenience and disgust to people around the country. Sadly, religious places of worship are at the forefront of sound pollution.

Unlike most other countries Sri Lanka allows public holidays for all major religious festivities reflective of the tolerant society. It must be appreciated and preserved.

17 Responses to “Register All Sacred Sites and Bring Laws to Prevent Building Other Religious Places of Worship Therein”

  1. AnuD Says:

    Register All Sacred Sites and Bring Laws to Prevent Building Other Religious Places of Worship Therein

    This is what exactly what Sri Lanka should do. there is no point of talking about 2500 years or more history if the changes in the society are allowed to erase those things. IF such things are allowed there won’t be any difference from the times when European colonials invaded the country or Crusaders or conquistadors are revived in a new form.

  2. AnuD Says:

    Every sacred place and historically valuable place should be given adequate protection by the constitution.

  3. Dham Says:

    “At the same time it is also imperative that the government enforces sound pollution laws without favouritism. No religious place of worship should be allowed to use loudspeakers except for a day in the calendar. Sound pollution causes immense inconvenience and disgust to people around the country. Sadly, religious places of worship are at the forefront of sound pollution.”

    Agreed fully ! This nonsense should come to a stop ! Even in Buddhist temples, there is no need for loudspeakers. 5.30 Allahu Akbar loudspeakers should come to stop !
    Out constitution has a specific section for Buddhism. Every day early morning any tourist will think this is middel east.

    Yes. it is very important to stop building any religious places in Sri lanka. It is a small country. You can go to any place by bus in an hour the most. If not you shift to a place near the nearest mosque.

    Look at Negambo. is there any place on earth like this ? Jesus everywhere and there is a dedicated Muslim area too.

  4. S de Silva Says:

    Thanks to Kumar and all the other contributors – Simply put: No planning permission, No construction! That should be the Law, imposed with rigour – S de Silva – London

  5. lingamAndy Says:

    Ref: No one should be allowed to build any other places of religious worship in any of these places.- Not fully agrred !
    Kumar Moses, except in N&EP , We need more Buddhist Shine !

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Various sections of society try to grab power and form Fiefdoms of their own, have their own ‘country’ within the country. This is done out of a sense of Fear of the Other/s. Even the majority community now suffers from this Fear.

    Building more places of worship is not the answer. People use places of worship to stamp their claim to those pieces of land on a forever basis. This is not the answer to Fear.

    All the Teachers/Masters when they were living had no ‘places of worship’. The Buddha, Rama & Krishna, Jesus & Mohammed (our main religions), had no temples, churches or mosques in their names in those days. It was after the Teachers/Masters passed away that various sacred buildings were constructed in their names. All the Masters/Teachers pointed to the Way Within, our Hearts, as the place of worship, through Meditation. All the various religious groups should get together and Meditate. That is the way to peace and harmony.

    Also, Sri Lanka too is caught up in a flawed World economic system. The present day economic system does not measure the Wellbeing of the Citizen. Instead it measures Wealth created in a country through Goods & Services. This is flawed. A person can have good Wellbeing & Happiness with moderate income. Anyone can see the truth of this. We need clean air, water and food. We need a good eduction system catering to the needs of the country. We need a feeling of safety and being accepted by society. We need meaningful jobs and an income to support us, in need and not greed or empty status and ‘show off’ stuff. We need to redefine what Success in Life means. We think that if a person is at relative peace with him/herself, then this is real Success. We need Goods & Services, but those factors ought to serve us, not vice-versa, making us enslaved to an economic system.

    It is up to the People of Lanka to make it all work out, for everyone.

    As for shrines of any type, we ought to put a stop to building any more shrines in Lanka. Register existing shrines and protect them. Noise ‘pollution’ ought to stop too.

  7. Charles Says:

    The Article says every thing that is important to be done, but who listens ? The Ministry of Buddhasasana and religious affairs, is not functioning. When a problem props up the Ministry intervenes to patch it up. It is not interested in finding feasible solutions or it is incapable of doing so.

    The mistake is giving this ministry to the Prime Minister. It should be given to some one more active and who can think, plan, and execute solutions to problems, and at the same time safeguard the interests of Buddha Sasana, while attending to other religious affairs with diplomacy without allowing them to interfere into the interests of the Buddhists.

    Even the Sambuddha Jayanthi was utterly messed up.

    Safeguarding the interest of Buddhsits is important as every thing that is of cultural and religious importance to the Sinhala people seems to be gradually eroding. The Buddhists who defend their interests are being called religious fanatics

    No body seems to care, and it is so disappointing.

  8. AnuD Says:

    Simply understand that there was no towards muslims in Sri Lanka because they came first as traders. Thereafter only they married Simhala women and settled in Coastal areas.

    But, see why Indian Hindus has so much animocity towards muslims. Because, INdia ahd the worst human massacre because of a muslim conquest. See how muslims are converting. They even marry women from other religeons, convert VIPs in the society. The use of legal means to expansion is the commonest method used here.

    So, think about the degredation of the majority civilization and the culture.

  9. geoff Says:

    This is very scary.

    Why can’t the government take the side of the people?

  10. lingamAndy Says:

    AnuD
    Ref: married Sinhala women- Not aggred
    than how come Muslim Mother tang is Tamil not Sinhala ?

  11. AnuD Says:

    It looks the Buddhist monk who wanted these illegal structures around Rangiri Dambulla was not appreciated by any one openly, I mean mostly by the media and by the NGOs. they openly know how Mosques and Churches use the countries own laws for their expansion.

    Journalists know very well how these people have brought suffering to the world and how they are doing it now. But, there is no one to talk about that openly. They are that courageous people with their own conscience. I feel sometimes what is the use of Journalists to Sri Lanka if they cannot take one straight stand for Sri Lanka when they live others’ mentality based on others’ interpretation.

    Law is blind. But, people can abuse others consideration,compassion and accommodation in their favour and abuse the system lawfully. So, people have to tolerate this SLOW- ENCROCAHING.

  12. sena Says:

    the multicolored temple at the foot of the Dambulu Gala should also be removed. It is an eyesore and demean the historic value of the ancient temple

  13. Voice123 Says:

    Ref: LingamAndy, AnuD
    How many Sinhalese women did Muslims convert? I was told most of them called “Indian Moors” originated as Muslim traders from the Kerala Mopla coast and Tamil Nadu which explains their use of Tamil language. Many of these are South Indians who converted to Islam. Thats why many look like Indians. Also the Borahs are from Gujarat and employ their mother tongue at home. Some may have come from ancient times from Arabia and Iraq and landed in places like Beruwala and married locals. Must be true because I havent met many Arab looking Muslims in Sri Labka. Perhaps a Muslim person can clarify this for us.

  14. Dilrook Says:

    Voice123 is correct.

    Apart from Borah and Malays, Muslims of Sri Lanka are from South India. That is why they are naturally conversant in Tamil. Ancient Arabs who travelled to Sri Lanka and settled down and their descendants are within modern Sinhalese. Trade with Arabia reduced with the waning of the Silk Road. Silk Road was at peak before Islam was introduced.

    It is not possible a considerable number of local Sinhalese women to have married Muslims and became Muslim. Sinhalese women were treated equal as men in almost all activities. No right thinking woman would become Islamic under these circumstances. Further, the society would not have tolerated one man marrying more than one woman simultaneously leading to violent reprisals and expulsion.

    British records of population indicates Muslims of Ceylon as Indian extraction.

  15. Dilrook Says:

    I agree with the writer that construction of all temples, kovils, mosques and churches should be regulated.

  16. lingamAndy Says:

    Ref: Voice123 & Dilrook
    Ref :Sinhalese women to have married Muslims
    is it majority Tamil women married to these muslims because almost all Our Srilanka muslim families mother language is Tamil ?
    Thanks, very interesting to know our histroty (in very civilsed maner) from our brothers !

  17. NLS Says:

    “It is also time Sri Lanka completely banned foreign missionaries and foreign financing of local religious activities”. This should be implemented ASAP !

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