Cardinal calls on Muslims to shed their cultural differences and integrate
Posted on May 17th, 2019

RUWAN LAKNATH JAYAKODY Courtesy Ceylon Today

Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday (14) called on all Muslims in the country to personally minimise and shed their cultural differences and integrate with the rest of society and the common culture, as one people and citizens of the country.

Muslim politicians, should be authentic in their faith and the core values of Islam instead of using religion as a label or for selfish purposes, he added.

The Cardinal along with several Buddhist religious leaders, also claimed that regional level leadership of various political parties and politically aligned groups and agents at the base and grassroots level were the lynch mobs (fuelled and motivated by the provision and consumption of alcohol) behind the spate of tense and riotous situations and violent attacks, in the past couple of days, targeting Muslim properties, including shops and mosques, in certain areas which led to the imposition of curfew and arrests. They thus called on all leaders of political parties to rein in and control their Party members and henchmen.

Advocating on behalf of the private nature of religion and worship, and the separation of religion from politics and vice versa, the religious leaders also reiterated their call to ban all national level political parties which contained references to race, ethnicity or religion in the names of their Parties as it only served to cause further divisions. They emphasised that, political candidates representing minorities should be able to contest from national level Parties for even the Presidency and Premiership, and should respect diversity.

It was also the view of the Cardinal and other religious leaders that all affairs pertaining to religion should be brought under the purview of one Government Ministry as was previously the case as opposed to having separate Ministries per religion.        

These views were expressed by Archbishop Ranjith and Chief Prelate of the Kotte Chapter of the Siam Sect, Ven. Ittepane Dhammalankara Thera at a Media conference convened yesterday at the Archbishop’s house in Colombo to make a special appeal for the public to refrain from giving vent to their emotions and causing chaos, taking the law into their own hands owing to a misguided sense of faux heroism and thereby disturbing the peace and unity, and instead act intelligently and patriotically, keeping emotions in check, maintaining calm, exercising compassion, love and patience, respecting dignity and individual liberty and freedom, and allow and assist the law enforcement authorities to carry out their duties, including search operations and obey their orders as that would constitute the highest tribute to be paid to those whose lives were sacrificed in the 21 April Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks on churches, hotels and elsewhere.

Archbishop Ranjith urged all to allow for Buddhists and Muslims to celebrate their forthcoming festivals, Vesak and Ramadan, respectively. 

When queried as to when the Catholic schools would commence their term, Archbishop Ranjith explained that permission had been granted to the schools chief authorities to decide on opening for the term after heeding the voices of parents and the advice of the law enforcement agencies. Whilst acknowledging that parents feared to send children to school, yet they did not fear to send their children to attend tuition classes, Dhammalankara Thera observed that the prevalent fear could be done away with if Parliamentarians including Ministers stood in front of countrywide schools for a couple of hours for a couple of days.

When questioned as to Tamil National Alliance MP, President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran’s recent statement that the Easter Sunday carnage was partially the result of the grievances of the minorities not being addressed by the Government, Archbishop Ranjith whilst acknowledging that minorities had legitimate problems which should be separately discussed and resolved. He pointed out that there was no evidence to indicate a direct link between the Easter Sunday attacks and unaddressed issues facing the minorities, and that therefore Sumanthiran’s claim was a case of overreach.

The Archbishop also took the security forces personnel to task over the recent incidents which revealed that areas and places previously searched and swept by law enforcement during search ops had revealed more weapons. We told them to do a thorough search area by area, house by house, irrespective of religion, yet this went unheeded, he noted. The searches have not been done properly, he further added.

He also bemoaned that their call to appoint a commission to probe the assets of politicians had fallen on deaf ears.

On Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s recent claim that Sri Lanka is not a Buddhist country, the two religious leaders said that such a view was one bereft of even the most rudimentary understanding of the country, its history and culture. He also cited examples of how well Christians and Catholics were treated in Sri Lanka when compared to the treatment afforded them in other Christian and Catholic countries (example – separate seats for clergy in public transportation).

2 Responses to “Cardinal calls on Muslims to shed their cultural differences and integrate”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Integrating with the Buddhists should not follow, marrying into Buddhist families and ending up bringing the offspring exclusively in the Christian / Catholic faith.

    This is what has been happening so far. At every mixed religious marriage which now is showcased with a Poruwa ceremony is followed by the Christian/Catholic priest coming and registering the marriage in the Church which makes a spiritual contract for the couple to raise their offspring in the Christian / Catholic faith.

    This unless changed certainly does not look like peaceful integration leaving aside cultural differences.

  2. Randeniyage Says:

    Another holocaust and Sinhala Buddhists loosing more ground but one mad group happy.

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