Five thousand Christians, Muslims and Hindus defend Mannar bishop against “vile” accusations *Dalai Lama: The teaching of Christ is a treasure for humanity

May 31, 2012 by  
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Sri Lanka, May 28, 2012: Sri Lanka’s Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, a Muslim, accuses Mgr Rayappu Joseph of stirring the Tamil community against Muslims in his region. People from across the country come together to demand an official apology. “No one defends our rights like the bishops,” Muslims and Hindus say.

More than 5,000 people, Christians, Muslims and Hindus, lay people, members of the clergy and  Senior and junior Tamil politicians, gathered yesterday at the Cathedral of St Sebastian in Mannar to show their support and express their solidarity with Mgr Rayappu Joseph, bishop of Mannar (Northern Province), against the “vile comments” of the Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

In a recent statement in parliament, the minister accused the bishop of stirring the Tamil population in his region against Muslims. He even compared the bishop to the Ven Innamaluwe Sumangala Nayak Thero, a Buddhist monk from the Golden Temple in Dambulla, who in late April backed a group of Buddhists who attacked a mosque.

With people coming from around Sri Lanka, rally participants stressed the “extraordinary courage” Mgr Joseph puts in everything he does. At the end of the meeting, people appealed to the minister to apologise to the prelate.

“The minister, a Muslim, should be condemned for his statement,” said Makkal Caddar, a retired imam. “We appreciate what the bishop is doing for all the people of Mannar.”

Similarly, for Sister Jacintha, a nun with the Sisters of Charity that represented  the Trincomalee & Batticaloa Diocese, the minister’s remarks “undermine harmony in the population.”

“We admire what Mgr Joseph does,” said Mano Iankaran Sharma, a Hindu. “His dedication is incredible. He works on behalf of each one of us, Tamil, Sinhalese, Catholics, Hindus or Muslims. I have never seen a Hindu priest do the same.”


Dalai Lama: The teaching of Christ is a treasure for humanity


Vienna, May 30, 2012: The Buddhist leader in Vienna for a series of political and religious meetings asks the Archbishop to visit the Cathedral of Saint Stephen: “Religions teach peace, we must practice it in all aspects of life.” Cardinal’s thanks for Nobel Laureates’ visit.

“Thousands of millions of people have found huge benefit in the teachings of Jesus Christ, which allowed them to live their lives to the full. This is a treasure for mankind.” With these words, the Dalai Lama thanked the Catholic archbishop of Vienna, Card. Christoph Schönborn, who accompanied him to St. Stephen’s Cathedral on the final day of his trip to Austria.

The Buddhist leader, who has travelled to Europe for a series of political meetings and meetings of prayer and teaching, has long insisted on visiting the church: “Since 1975 I have taken the pledge, as part of my battle to promote religious harmony, of going on pilgrimage to the places of worship of the places where I am. Christ’s teaching has deeply affected me and the atmosphere that I breathed in Lourdes and Fatima, to give just one example, was a ‘ inspiration. ”

The two religious figures spoke at length about the various aspects of monastic life. The Dalai Lama has stressed the importance of silence in the lives of some Catholic monks, which they have in common with those of other religious: “All religions convey the message of love and compassion. The religious conflicts, like those in Ireland and in Muslim communities , is a contradiction. ”

For his part, Card. Schönborn thanked the Dalai Lama: “For us it is a great joy to receive your visit. You have shown great love for our nation and I hope that we too have reciprocated that love. You spoke of  your commitment to live in harmony: I am a Dominican monk, and you too are a monk. I believe we have many points in common in our religious life.”


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