CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 December 2018

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Mentality of division leads to attack on sacred Hindu place

Rome (Agencies): The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences condemned a terrorist bombing of the Bodh Gaya (Mahabodhi) temple complex in Bihar, India.

A series of nine small blasts rocked the site injuring two monks on July 7.

Father Nithiya Sagayam, the executive secretary of the Office for Human Development, told Fides news agency, “The Asian bishops strongly condemn the violence against Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya.

He added that they also condemn the mentality of division, discrimination and communalism that breeds violence.

“They demand a serious commitment with regards to interreligious harmony and justice, especially towards the poor and towards minorities,” he concluded. 

Bodh Gaya is the most important Buddhist shrine in India, as it is believed to be the place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment (bodhimandala). It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A July 11 report from the Times of India reported that two Twitter messages probably originating in Pakistan and sent by the Indian Mujahideen, considered a terrorist organisation by the State Department of the United States of America, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Tint Swe, the chairperson of the Burma Centre Dehli and a former member of the National League for Democracy, told AsiaNews, “The attack at Bodh Gaya is a threat to national security and to religion in India and Myanmar.”

He expressed fears that the incident may also have an impact on the Union of Myanmar, which has long been the scene of violent ethno-religious conflicts between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority.

He said, “It is unlikely that Buddhists will respond with guns and bombs, but the campaign of anti-Islamic hatred might find new strength.”

 

He concluded, “I urge the Burmese not to act against Muslims, who have lived with us for years.”

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