ASIA - Asian Bishops: conviction for violence against Buddha, more effort against divisions

New Delhi - "The Asian Bishops strongly condemn the violence against Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya. They also condemn the mentality of division, discrimination and communalism that breeds violence. They demand a serious commitment with regards to inter-religious harmony and justice, especially towards the poor and towards minorities": This is what Fr. Nithiya Sagayam, Executive Secretary of the Office for Human Development in the "Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences" says to Fides Agency, expressing the position of the Federation on the assassination attempt which yesterday morning, July 7, hit the sacred complex of "Bodh Gaya" in the Indian state of Bihar. This is the most important Buddhist shrine in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to preliminary investigations on the attack, the violence seems to be of islamic matrix, which could be connected to the violence that Muslims are suffering in Myanmar by Buddhist extremists.
Fr. Sagayam, who is also director of "Udhayam," a Center for Peace started by the Capuchin friars in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, reiterates the importance of working at a local level: "Every bishop in his diocese is called to work for peace , reconciliation, harmony and social justice. It is important that this work is carried out in different areas, in different dioceses, in many Asian nations. Asia is a continent that needs peace as a prerequisite for authentic human development, respectful of the dignity of every person".