Posted by: becketfund | January 24, 2009

Sri Lanka: Guidelines for Missionary Activity

COLOMBO – The Commission on Unethical Conversions has recommended that written approval from a District Secretary must be made compulsory for the construction or expansion of places of worship to minimize unethical conversion of Buddhists to other faiths, The Sunday Times reported on January 24. The Commission in its report said that this applies to Buddhist temples, churches, kovils, mosques and other places of worship and that the Pradeshiya Sashanarakshaka Balamandalaya should be notified when such approval has been obtained from the District Secretary within two weeks, upon which the DS should publicize the requirements of the place of worship, carry out an investigation and then announce his/her decision on the matter. The commission recommended that newly registered religious or missionary institutes should handover an affidavit or take an oath promising only to engage in religious work among already established followers and not convert those from other faiths to that of their own. Article 9 of the Constitution states that the Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14 (1)(e). The report determined that privileges of a foremost place are not applicable to other faiths than Buddhism.

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