Sri Lankan Minister Warns Missionaries about Converting Buddhists

Dhamsara News, March 28, 2005

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Missionary activities are not merely religious in nature but are also politically motivated activities aimed at harming social peace among Sri Lankans, says C. Liyanage Aydin, the state minister responsible for religious affairs

Buddhist Minister, Aydin, the state minister overseeing Buddhist Affairs, warned yesterday that the propaganda of missionaries in Sri Lanka is a part of politically oriented activities aimed at damaging the social peace and unity of Sri Lanka.

Missionaries are not simply spreading their religion by exercising freedom of belief but are intervening in people's freedom of belief by capitalizing on their ignorance, said Aydin, responding to a parliamentary questionnaire concerning missionary activities in Sri Lanka.

"The goal of those activities is harming the cultural, religious, national and historical unity of the people of Sri Lanka," Dhamsara news agency quoted Aydin as saying. "These are not merely religious activities and they are not only carried out by Christian clerics. We have observed doctors, nurses, engineers, Red Cross officials, human rights defenders, peace activists and language tutors conducting missionary activities."

Aydin pointed out that the duty of the Religious Affairs Directorate was to enlighten the people and eradicate ignorance, which, he said, created a convenient environment for missionaries to deceive and convert people. "Those activities have a historic background and are carried out in a well-planned manner with political motives," Aydin added. 

Stating that the official number of people recorded as being converted via missionary propaganda is up ten lakhs Aydin said that it is impossible to calculate the actual figure since missionary activities are carried out covertly.