HINDU AMERICAN FOUNDATION MEETS RELIGIOUS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS IN SRI LANKA

DATE: April 25, 2005

Members of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) Board of Directors met with Hindu and Buddhist leaders in the months following the December 26, 2004 tsunami that devastated the country. The HAF leadership heard concerns from Hindu and Buddhist leaders over tsunami relief from non-governmental organizations being tied to affected victims converting to Christianity. In a groundbreaking new project, HAF also announced that it would look into the flow of money for tsunami relief to investigate claims that a disproportionate amount of money was being utilized by non-pluralist groups.

HAF leaders heard additional concerns from Hindu and Buddhist leaders about the lack of unity among Indic religions, and the need for pluralistic traditions to join together against exclusive ideologies that threatened the tolerant and pluralistic nature of Sri Lankan society. The Sri Lankan spiritual leadership felt that a law was needed to protect Sri Lankans from fraudulent and coerced conversions, much like what was in place in some states of India, such as Gujarat, and hoped that the proposed “Freedom of Religion Act” would pass.

Finally, HAF leaders expressed hope that peace would prevail so that the country could start rebuilding its economy and work to preserve the great pluralistic spiritual traditions that have been present.

For further information: please contact HAF.

HAF is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization not aligned or affiliated with any political entity, party or organization.