JHU monks, oppressors not freedom fighters- paper

[TamilNet, Sunday, 06 April 2008, 01:46 GMT]
Protesting against the statement in a Washington Post article that linked "militant monks in Sri Lanka's ruling elite with nonviolent Buddhist protesters in Tibet and Burma," Roger Severino, Legal counsel for Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said "saying that Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) fits the tradition of monks across Asia who have embraced political causes" confuses oppressors with freedom fighters.

Full text of the letter published in Sunday edition of Washington Post follows:

A March 26 news story ["As Fighting Flares in Civil War, Key Buddhist Shuns Nonviolence"] was accurate in that monks in Sri Lanka's Parliament have used religion and extremist ethnic politics to justify a harsh military response to the Tamil insurgency. However, it failed to report why they were elected in the first place.

The radical Jathika Hela Urumaya party rose to power after a wave of church burnings across Sri Lanka in 2004. The party both exploited and fostered this explosive environment by campaigning on a platform of Buddhist supremacy and on promises to criminalize religious conversions.

With attacks against Sri Lanka's Christian minority on the rise, I was shocked that The Post linked militant monks in Sri Lanka's ruling elite with nonviolent Buddhist protesters in Tibet and Burma.

Saying that the JHU party "fits into the tradition of monks across Asia who have embraced political causes" confuses oppressors with freedom fighters.

ROGER SEVERINO
Legal Counsel
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Washington

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a Washington, D.C.-based public interest law firm protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. We are nonprofit, nonpartisan, and interfaith. The Becket Fund operates in three arenas: the courts of law (litigation), the court of public opinion (media), and in the academy (scholarship), at home and abroad (international), the website run by the Organization said.

"Our cases garner extensive news coverage in all forms -- press, internet, television, and radio. In addition, our attorneys and professional staff deliver our message by publishing op-eds, delivering public lectures, and providing expert commentary on television and radio," another entry in the website said.


Chronology:


External Links:
WP: In Sri Lanka, Fear of Being 'Disappeared'
BF: The Becket Fund for religious liberty
WP: As Fighting Flares in Civil War, Key Buddhist Shuns Nonviolence

 

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