Freedom of religion in Sri Lanka

Freedom of religion in Sri Lanka has been historically upheld through religious tolerance and multiculturalism. The practice of Hinduism was allowed under Sinhala kings since the Anuradhapura era. Buddhist Sinhala kings gave protection to Muslims fleeing from Portuguese persecution and to Catholics fleeing from persecution by the Dutch after having defeated by the Portuguese.

This coexistence has been recently marred by isolated incidents and attacks on religious places by Buddhist mobs and by LTTE terrorists.

Several Hindu temples were attacked in the riots of 1983 in Colombo and South of Sri Lanka.

Two of the holiest sites for Buddhists in Sri Lanka, the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree and the Temple of the Tooth, have been attacked and bombed by the LTTE. In recent times, the LTTE have also attacked several Muslim mosques in the North-Eastern parts of the country.


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