Sri Lanka's President briefed on proposed swastika ban by the European Union

By Isuri Kaviratne, The Sunday Times, Feb 11, 2007

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- The Religious Affairs Ministry has handed over a report to the President on the proposed ban by the European Union of the swastika, suggesting action to prevent its implementation.

Ministry Secretary P. Kodituwakku said the report details how the symbol has been used in Sri Lanka since ancient days by both Buddhists and Hindus, the importance of the symbol to both religions and the impact of the ban on them.

“We hope to take up the issue at the international level through the Foreign Ministry to show that the swastika was an ancient symbol of Hinduism and Buddhism for over 3000 years”, he said.

Though the swastika was considered as a symbol of luck, good fortune and well being by the two religions, it was given a new dimension in the 20th century.

Buddhists consider the swastika as the dhammachakka the main symbol of Buddhism and Hindus consider it as the symbol that ‘goodness prevails’. However it was branded as the symbol of fear during World War II as Hitler used it as the symbol of the Nazis.

The proposed EU ban has raised alarm among Hindus and Buddhists all over the world and many voices have been raised against it.

The Sunday Times on January 28 reported on the proposed ban and the action to be taken by the Religious Affairs Ministry.

The news report has also has been included in the report submitted to the President.