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The Catamaran looked to leaders and followers from various walks of faith to gather their views on reconciling as a nation, following the ethnic unrest post Easter Sunday attacks.

25.11.2019  |  


A Hindu priest, Kurukkal Ajantha Kumar, of Sri Muttumari Amman Kovil of Mahaiyawa in Kandy states that people of all religions have been visiting their kovil, regardless of racial division. This was up until the war that was rooted in racial conflict. The fact that it was a war that stopped people from coming to the gods for blessings prove that the problem isn’t between god and man, but with humankind themselves.

“There is a massive Bo tree that hangs over the roof of the kovil, providing shade to all people. Buddhists worship at both the temple and the Bo tree, there is no question as to whether it is only for one particular faith to worship in this space,” Kurukkal Ajantha Kumar expressed during a programme of reconciliation at the kovil. This program was to highlight the need to unite to fight for religious harmony and also facilitated visits to the Temple of the Tooth and Meera Makkam Mosque in Kandy, along with the Ampitiya cathedral, to better understand customs and practices. This venture was organized by the National Caritas Programme, Sethsaviya of Anuradhapura and Setik Institute of Kand, and was also for a networking event among the religious and community leaders to promote religious cohabitation.

Ven. Walakumbura Dheerananda Thero of Anuradhapura, Fr. Bennet Mallawa, Fr. Desmond Perera of Kandy, Moulavi H.M. Risvan of Kattu mosque of Kandy, and other priests were attending the reconciliation programme as well. This was a new experience for the people in the area.

A passing tour guide remarked, “If we can all unite and work alongside our religious leaders then our politicians will not be able to carry on as they have been all these years,” The tourists around the guide nodded in agreement to this statement.

Commenting to The Catamaran, Moulavi H.M. Riswan from the Kattu mosque of Mahaiyawa expressed his sorrow about the Easter Sunday incident. Director of the Setik Institute of Mahaiyawa, Fr. Desmond Perera pointed out that we have gains as well as losses in history. We suffer today because of lost peace, trust and love. “We need to act based on inter-faith peace, trust and love to gain them back,” he emphasized.

“Hindu philosophy teaches us that the colour of blood is the same red in all of us,” said Kurukkal Ajantha Kumar, the priest of Sri Muttumari Amman Kovil. “The thirty-year war could not divide us in terms of religion, therefore we must not let a few religious extremists destroy the unity among religious communities.”

“Some streams of media have acted irresponsibly, promoting suspicion,” said Fr. Benet Mallawa, the director of Seth Saviya of Anuradhapura, “instead of branding one’s self according to a religion, we must identify the core values of that religion and live according to our conscience.” He further pointed out that value for humanity must be taught in schools in addition to general education on individual religions.

Do we continue to fight like we are blind to reality or should we love each other? We must not forget that future generations are leaning on the decision we are planning to take.