Strong evidence of unethical conversions

Jan 8th, 2009

The Commission Report on Unethical Conversion of Buddhists, launched Tuesday, states that it has overwhelming evidence of Sinhala Buddhists, along with Tamil Buddhists and Tamil Hindus, being converted to other religious by unethical and unfair means due to poverty and unemployment. [ad#200×200]The Report recommends the government appoint a Special Investigation Division to probe into all harmful religious groups and cults which were set up after the 1972 Constitution and take measures to proscribe them.

Article 9 of the Second Republican Constitution of 1978, accords Buddhism the “foremost place” and commits the government to protecting and foster the religion The report proposed that all religious and missionary institutions when registering should take an oath or pledge that they will undertake to uplift the religious wellbeing of their adherents and not that of other religions, and also to refrain from engaging in conversion by unethical and undue means.

The Commission was established in Mihinthale on Poson Poya Day,on June 11, 2006 to inquire into the conversion of Buddhists into other religions through unethical means and ruses and was headed by retired High Court Judge Sarath Gunathilake. All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) President Jagath Sumathipala, Cultural Affairs Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene and Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and Mahanayakes and members of the Maha Sanga were present at the lauch..
The report also recommended that written approval be obtained from the District Secretary for setting up or expansion of all temples, churches, mosques, shrines and prayer centres and that this approval be intimated to the Sashanarakshaka Balamandala of the area within two weeks. Such a request should be published in newspapers and the decision should be declared subsequent to a public inquiry, the report stated.

It also recommended that the government take immediate steps to re-present the Bill against Unethical Conversion which lapsed with the prorogation of the Parliament as a State Bill, and that all Buddhist organisations at grass-root level should pressurise their representatives for its due enactment. Full details of all places of worship, prayer centres, pre-schools, day-care centres, elders and children’s homes, non-governmental organisations and special projects should be provided to the District Secretariat and that necessary legislations for the due supervision of the same be enacted. Read Full Article >>


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