A demonstration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, brought together several hundred people on Tuesday, including representatives of religious organizations opposed to the Israeli war in Gaza. The event was organized by the World Community of Buddhists, an international organization founded in 1950 in Colombo and made up of representatives from 27 countries.
Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim leaders were present at the gathering, as well as residents of the Sri Lankan capital. Together, they chanted “Free Palestine,” while holding banners reading “Stop the massacre,” “Stop bombing Gaza” and “Pray for Gaza,” as well as Palestinian flags. (Arab News)
Dr Sudath Dewapura, president of the Sri Lankan chapter of the World Association of Buddhists, said all those who joined the protest could "no longer bear" the killing of innocent civilians as Israel's war on Gaza began. in its fourth week: “All Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, everyone here today wants to stop the war,” Dr. Dewapura said. “They must stop the war. » (Arab News)
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have halted most travel to and from Gaza since the militant group Hamas launched a coordinated terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of more than 1 people. Since then, the IDF has carried out a campaign of massive bombings as well as limited ground invasions that have left more than 400 people dead in Gaza, according to health authorities in the Gaza Strip, who added that nearly half of those killed in Gaza were children.
“More than 420 children are killed or injured every day in Gaza – a number that should shake every one of us,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. (Al Jazeera)
After the protest, organizers submitted a request for further action to the United Nations office in Colombo.
“I am very sensitive to what is happening there,” the brother said. Lionel Peiris, Franciscan of the Anglican Church of Colombo. Brother. Peiris was part of a World Council of Churches fact-finding mission to report on the structural injustice and abuses inflicted on Palestinians by Israel. “It is a racist state which practices apartheid, which does not allow Palestinians to enjoy their rights,” he told the newspaper. Arab News. “Their land was confiscated from them, their water, their means of subsistence, their orchards were taken away from them. I saw it with my own eyes. (Arab News)
Brother. Peiris told reporters that he took part in the rally in Colombo in the hope that his presence would add to voices around the world: “The world must stand up for justice, truth and fairness. » (Arab News)
Brother. Peiris was among a number of religious leaders who met directly with the Palestinian ambassador to Sri Lanka last week to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Shreen Abdul Saroor, a women's rights activist in Sri Lanka and one of the protest organizers, said the Colombo rally in solidarity with Palestinians, who have faced "the systematic annihilation of their culture, their territory, their homeland, their right to life,” has attracted interfaith support. (Arab News)
“All of these things over the last 75 years have been confiscated by Israel,” Saroor added, while calling for more interfaith support to “ensure that Palestinians have the right to their homeland, and to call for a ceasefire.” immediate fire and put an agreement in place.” end this brutal war now. (Arab News)
In an interview with journalists, Dr Fathima Shameera said, “Children are not the terrorists. Why are you killing children? Think of the Palestinians who are dying. (Arab News)
Buddhism is legally recognized as the state religion of Sri Lanka, a country of some 22 million people. According to 2012 census data, 70,2% of Sri Lankans identify as Theravada Buddhists, with 12,6% claiming Hinduism as their religion, 9,7% identifying as Muslims, and 7,4% as Christians. Buddhism enjoys many special privileges under the constitution of Sri Lanka, although the constitution stipulates freedom of religion for all citizens.