Extremists attempt to make Buddhism Sri Lanka's state religion

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has reported an attempt by Buddhists extremists in Sri Lanka to make Buddhism the state religion and curtail religious freedom by prohibiting the conversion of Buddhists to any other religion.

The extremists “have drafted an amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution which would make Buddhism – currently offically the ‘foremost religion’ – into the state religion. Article 9.5 of the proposed ammendment states: "To convert Buddhists into other forms of worship or to spread other forms of worship among the Buddhists is prohibited."

Even though freedom to practice other religions is provided for by the ammendment, they can only be practised "in peace and harmony with Buddha Sasana [Buddhist teachings]," a qualification which leaves itself open to wide interpretation.

CSW points out in their report that “anti-conversion laws and the proposed constitutional amendment…directly contravene Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Anti-Christian violence and the complicity of Sri Lanka’s newspapers in the spreading of anti-Christian sentiment in the country were also reported by CSW.

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