Sri Lanka: Christian Criticize Creation of Religious Police

Monday, May 12, 2014

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

The government of Sri Lanka has created a religious police unit to settle disputes arising from an increasing intolerance against minorities ​​by Buddhist groups, according to AsiaNews.

However, many Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka think that the new unit is disingenuous as it answers only to the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, which coincidently is tasked with furthering Buddhism. And members of Sri Lanka's Christian clergy told AsiaNews that the government's decision to help solve religious disputes was misleading since many Buddhist nationalists are already under the protection of the Sri Lanka government.

Last year, Sri Lanka's Christian communities were targeted by vigilante groups acting on behalf of the country's Buddhist Sinhalese majority. These groups have destroyed, or closed down numerous churches, notably Evangelical congregations whose preaching is perceived as a threat to Sri Lanka's Buddhist majority.

"The special unit will not solve the crisis we are experiencing," Rev. Emmanuel Sebamalai, a Tamil Catholic priest and human rights activist, told AsiaNews. "Its creation proves that there is a problem between Buddhism and other religions. However, the government supports Buddhists and helps their radical elements when they attack minorities with impunity."