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    Religious leaders must counter extremism Featured

    August 31, 2019

    Extremist elements could be seen in every religion and every country and the religious leaders have a duty to act against them, Archbishop of Canterbury Most Reverend Justin Welby said yesterday.He made this observation when he met with the Mahayanake Theras of the Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters of the Siyam Nikaya yesterday in Kandy.
    Archbishop Welby pointed out that modern communication tools have helped the spread of extremist ideas fast through the Internet, adding that this has become a severe problem.The Archbishop of Canterbury visited Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy and he was escorted to the Chamber of the Sacred Tooth Relic by Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela Bandara. Thereafter, the Archbishop of Canterbury called on Malwathu Chapter Chief Prelate Most Ven Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddartha Sumangala Thera and Asgiriya Chapter Chief Prelate Most Ven Warakagoda Gnanarathana Thera.

    The Most Revd Welby, observing that he was glad to have been able to pay a visit to the Temple of Tooth Relic in Kandy, which is considered the “heart of Buddhist people”, also said that the intention of his visit to Sri Lanka was to look into the well-being of people affected by the Easter Sunday terror attacks. “Many problems have been mitigated as the religious leaders acted in a very responsible manner immediately after the terror attacks.
    I appreciate it. There are individuals who hold extremist views even among the Christian community. Religion is not the source of violent emotions. Such feelings are due to hatred in one’s heart. Trying to force one’s religious ideology or other opinions on to another is the main cause of these problems. He must individually and collectively act to mitigate the disputes in the society. There are instances we cannot wholeheartedly agree to what the other person says, but living together respecting such differences is important. Social disputes occur due to unwillingness to accept differences,” he remarked.
    The Malwathu Chapter Chief Prelate observed that violent acts by ethnic and religious extremist groups are a bane to the country’s development. “Sri Lanka, being a developing country, was thoroughly affected by the recent attacks. No religious leader endorses violence. All of them preach about peace and unity. The problem is that those who endorse extremist views fail to grasp the real spirit of their own religion,” said the Mahanayake thera.
    The Asgiriya Chapter Chief Prelate said that the sentiment that ‘all are human beings despite the ethnicity and religion they belong to’ must always be upheld. He added that only handful of people have been pushed to extremism.Bishop of Colombo of the Church of Ceylon Rt Revd Dhiloraj Canagasabey and Kurunegala Bishop Keerthisiri Fernando also participated.

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