against insensitive use of religious symbols
From Neville de Silva in London
Sri Lanka has taken the initiative to muster
international support against the commercial exploitation of Buddhist
and Hindu religious symbols. High Commissioner Faisz Musthapha has
discussed the recent use of the Buddha image on commercial products
with the London-based envoys of Japan, South Korea and Myanmar and
is awaiting a meeting with the Thai ambassador to take a common
position against the use of religious symbols by manufacturers of
commercial products, diplomatic sources said.
High Commissioner has also written to the British Foreign Office
about the offence caused to Buddhists and Hindus by the insensitive
use of their religious symbols on products on sale. The High Commissioner
has requested the Foreign Office to inform relevant departments
to be alert to the use of such offensive material which hurt the
religious feelings of the Sri Lankan people.
Musthapha has also written to the British Chamber of Commerce drawing
its attention to the commercial exploitation of the Buddha image
and that of Lord Vishnu in male and female garments and other commercial
other products, he referred in his letter to the chamber's chief
executive to the sale of cassettes with a pictorial representation
of the Buddha and called the "Buddha Bar".
is said to have requested the organisation to make its members aware
that misuse of religious symbols is hurtful of the susceptibilities
of Sri Lankan people and is unacceptable. The High Commission's
offensive against such exploitation follows a move by Foreign Minister
Lakshman Kadirgamar to initiate collective action against such offensive
flurry of diplomatic activity comes after this correspondent informed
the High Commission four months ago about the sale of packets of
tea with a Buddha image on the package by a leading British supermarket
this the High Commissioner promptly wrote to the chairman of Sainsbury,
Sir Peter Davies protesting against the use of the Buddha image.
Sainsbury apologised for causing any offence and promised to withdraw
the offending packages.