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Sri Lankans protest Iran's ban on Buddha statues


18:11, February 20, 2013

COLOMBO, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of Sri Lankan protestors marched to the Iranian embassy here on Wednesday, calling for a ban on Buddha statues in that country to be rolled back and for the Iranian government to respect religious rights, an activist said.

The protest, which took place in the morning, was also participated by several Buddhist monks who headed the organization "Sihala Rawaya." "This morning we staged a peaceful walk to the Iran embassy. This is not a racist organization but one that has been formed to protect the right of the Sinhalese community. During 2nd and 3rd Century BC Iran was a prominent Buddhist country so it is very important to our history. Iran has now destroyed Buddhist ruins and now banned Buddha statues,"said Sihala Rawaya Chairman Akmeemana Dayaratne Thero.

The organization also called for the Iranian government to respect the religious rights of thousands of Sri Lankan migrant workers, most of whom are Buddhist residing in Iran. "We ask that the Iran government gives Buddhist Sri Lankans the chance to practice their religion and allow people to keep Buddhist statues. If they cannot do so then send those statues to Sri Lanka,"he claimed.

Iranian embassy officials were observed filming the protest.

International media reported that an Iranian cultural official had rejected some media reports alleging that he has called for a ban on the imports and sales of Buddha statues in Iran, saying that his remarks have been "misquoted".

Secretary of the Headquarters for Supporting and Protecting Cultural Works Saeed Jaber Ansari had dispelled the previous reports by telling Iran media that he had only meant the illegal import of cultural items, including but not limited to Buddha statutes.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:GaoYinan、Yao Chun)

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