monks in dambulla protest; threaten violence

An article in the Daily Mirror today reported that Buddhist monks, as well as others, are demanding the removal of a mosque and Hindu Temple in Dambulla, on the grounds that “the construction area was inside the Buddhist sacred zone and that erecting houses of worship for other religions there, was illegal”.  The mosque has allegedly stood there since 1962 (says Reuters), although the head priest at the temple denies that this is true. Edit – April 23: I Talking to friends over the weekend, I learned the definition of a “sacred” Buddhist ground – in ancient times, kings gave over parcels of land (usually only through a verbal communication) to people who had done great services, or to temple complexes. The monks’ claim that the land mistakenly went to the mosque makes the situation more complicated, certainly, but what makes their behaviour deplorable and disgusting is their threat to resort to violence if the mosque was not removed – and that they interrupted Friday prayers to deliver this message. Incidents like these are evidence that intolerance does not just disappear, even when confronted by a bloody, 30-year civil war.

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