Religious Conflict in Sri Lanka

The conflict in Sri Lanka is mainly comprised of Hindus and Buddhists. The country is 69% Buddhist, 15% Hindu, and the Christian and Muslim minorities are both 8% . The overwhelming majority of Buddhist are seeking to 'cleanse' their island from anyone unrelated to what they see as superior Sinhalese Buddhism. Sinhalese Buddhists are  the government so no government action is being taken against the violence towards to the Tamils. Tamils are the Hindus in Sri Lanka. Starting in 1983 there was racial discrimination for 3o years which continues today even after the civil war has ended.

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are a militaristic Buddhists

The US and UK have charges Sri Lanka for failing to conduct unbiased investigations into the war crimes. However, the Tamil are still waiting for justice but the government is not taking action. The government refuses to recognize the LTTE as a issue.

President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa

The Muslim and Christian minorities have a history of non-violence in Sri Lanka. However, they are not exempt from the Buddhist government's extermination of religions that are making their country 'impure'.  There have been peace talks for years with the aim of disarming the LTTE but no consensus has been reached even with the UK's unbiased intervention. The Tamil are also prevented by the government from traveling to India to seek protection with a larger concentration of Hindus.

The religions are similar with origins in India. They also both believe in peace although it is not showed in this conflict. The strong influence of Buddhism in Sri Lanka comes from it being the home of Theravada Buddhism and is the oldest country related to Buddhism in the world. It is also important because Buddha’s tooth is preserved in the Great Stupa built to house such relics in Anuradhapura in north-central Sri Lanka.

Buddha's tooth temple

The Hindu presence in Sri Lanka is a result of Tamil diaspora so there is a Hindu community with cultural centers and temples. Satguru Siva Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora; with many temples and religious establishments being built by this community in their new homelands. Satguru Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna, an important figure in Hinduism, was one of the mystics of the 20th century. Yogaswami was the official satguru and counseling sage of Lanka's Tamil population in their times of struggle.

Satguru Siva Yogaswami

We can only hope for religious tolerance in Sri Lanka before the Christians and Muslims become more involved in the violence in defense of their people.


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