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Sri Lanka: government minister charges that bishop fuels religious tensions

Catholic World News - May 28, 2012

A member of the ruling cabinet in Sri Lanka has accused a Catholic bishop of encouraging hostility toward Muslims, drawing a sharp response from the bishop’s defenders.

More than 5,000 people—including Muslims and Hindus as well as Christians—rallied at the cathedral in Mannar to defend Bishop Rayappu Joseph after Rishard Bathludeen, the government’s commerce minister, made his charges. The Mannar diocese is located in north of Sri Lanka, in a region where Tamils are the ethnic majority. Most Tamils are Muslims, although there are substantial Hindu and Christian minorities. In Sri Lanka as a whole, Buddhism is the dominant religious faith.

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