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Buddhists march against Bangladesh violence

Hundreds rally against recent attacks

Buddhist monks were among the demonstrators Buddhist monks were among the demonstrators
  • ucanews.com reporter, Colombo
  • Sri Lanka
  • October 5, 2012
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More than 700 people protested outside the Bangladeshi High Commission in Colombo yesterday against attacks targeting Buddhist communities.

Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims, enraged over a Facebook photo of a burned Qur'an, allegedly torched at least 19 Buddhist temples and dozens of homes over the weekend in Cox's Bazar and Chittagong districts.

The protesters, including about 400 Buddhist monks, condemned the attacks and submitted a petition for the Bangladeshi government to rebuild all the temples and homes that were destroyed, provide compensation and protect human rights.

“We have witnessed over the years with growing concern the destruction of ancient Buddhist images, and Bangladesh is the latest example," said Venerable Kirama Wimalajothy Nayaka Thero, a prominent Buddhist monk." Some of the temples are 300 to 500 years old."

With monks from Malaysia, Brunei, Myanmar and Bangladesh among them, the protesters held a religious service and marched from Viharamahadevi Park to the High Commission, holding banners and Buddhist flags.

“We are not against Muslims but against extremism,” said Venerable Pragnaratana Thero, a Bangladeshi monk who studies at Buddhist and Pali University in Sri Lanka. "We want peace and harmony."

One group allegedly pelted stones and water bottles at the Commission, causing minor damage. Organizers said the vandals were unaffiliated with the protest. Police are investigating.

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