RELIGIOUS FREEDOM THE LTTE ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM Courtesy LTTE International
THE LTTE ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
What is the policy of the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam on religion? Are they hostile to the tenets of religion?
Do they support the freedom of worship? What is the philosophical
perception of the Tigers on religion? It is natural that these and other
similar questions arise in the minds of the general public. The purpose
of this article is to present the policy of the Liberation Tigers on matters
pertaining to religion, removing all ambiguity.
The policy statement of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam unequivocally described the stand taken by the Tigers on religion. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam shall remain secular and shall guarantee the freedom of worship, a fundamental human right, to the followers of all religions. In addition, the organization shall encourage those followers to fulfill their spiritual aspirations and foster their religious and cultural values.
This brief clarification on religion in the policy statement of the
Tigers emphasizes three important aspects, namely secularism, freedom of
worship and the socio-cultural values of Tamils.
Let us now examine these three aspects in detail. Secularism means that the organization is impartial and does not favour any one religion. This policy ensures that the organization recognizes and respects all the religions of the people of Tamil Eelam while maintaining the position of local neutrality.
It will be erroneous for an organization that
has taken upon itself the supreme tasks of promoting Tamil national unity
and fighting for the liberation of the Tamil nation, to indulge in partisan
religious policies. Any such policy will be detrimental to the effort of
fostering unity among the Tamils. It is with this in mind that our
organization has from the very inception embraced secularism as its policy.
> The Sinhala government is partisan in religious matters. By declaring Buddhism as the state religion. It has conferred a favoured status to one religion thereby alienating the followers of all other religions. This narrow-minded religious fanaticism has been responsible for provoking Sinhala -Buddhist chauvinism which made the Sinhala-Tamil conflict even more acute. The Tamil nation that has long been confronted by the racial and- religious domination by the Sinhalese cannot afford to be split because of religious beliefs. Such a split will undoubtedly weaken our liberation struggle. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as the organization leading the liberation struggle of our people has to rise above the parochial religious boundaries in uniting the Tamils as a nation.
As the organization spearheading the liberation of the Tamils, we are fighting to secure the freedom and fundamental rights of our people. The reedom of worship is one such important right fundamental to all human beings. Our organization respects this noble right. The spiritual quest of humans to seek the eternal truth remains an endless journey for all societies and at all times. The search for the meaning of life and the mysteries of the universe continues to be a spiritual endeavor of man. Both religion and science serve as tools in this quest.
> It is the right of all humans to seek the truth in whatever form or by whatever means. This is their spiritual right. It is man's exclusive and fundamental right to choose in accordance with his spiritual aspirations the way he thinks and act. It is also his right to believe or not to believe, to pray or not to pray and to seek or not to seek. Viewed from this perspective, religious freedom in basically a freedom of thought. Our organization recognizes and respects this freedom of religious thought since this is vital for the independence of the individual and
the excellence of human progress.
> The religious pursuits of our people are inexorably intertwined with their culture. The cultural life of our people is the bedrock on which our nationalism is built. This nationalism in turn forms the foundation of our people's struggle to establish an independent state.
> Being a freedom movement, that is conducting a gallant battle seeking self-rule for our people on the basis of our right to nationhood, it becomes imperative that we have as our political aim the mobilization of our people on a national scale into a powerful force that has to be
> reckoned with. We recognize the reality that in order to achieve the above aim it is very important to preserve and protect all our cultural units that form the basis for our nationalism and national unity. Hence, we respect the religious beliefs of our people which influence their
cultural identity. Our organization will resolutely work for the enhancement of such religious beliefs.
Only in a society that honours and protects the rights and freedoms of individuals could there be advancement of human life. It is in such a society that human freedoms are rendered possible and justice and righteousness flourish. It is impossible to create a society where all these ideals could prevail without granting the freedoms of the individuals. Social experiments that focused on the materialistic aspects of life ignoring the freedoms of the individuals have proved to
be utter failures.
> These are times when the Tamil nation is striving to liberate itself from the chains of foreign domination. The liberation that is sought is not for land alone. The ultimate goal of this freedom struggle is to build an independent Eelam nation where every Tamil will be free to fulfill his or her spiritual aspirations without interference.
> It is important that all religions lend their unwavering support to our struggle to win the fundamental freedoms of our people including the freedom to practice the religion of choice. Today, a just and noble war is being waged for the liberation of a nation of people which has long been suppressed. It is therefore imperative that the revered religious organizations in our midst should false their voice in support of our noble war of liberation. This is in fact an inevitable moral obligation.
The supreme sacrifice made by our freedom fighters
for the liberation of
the people in indeed holy. In a broader sense this sacrifice could even
he described as a spiritual sacrifice.
OUR ORGANIZATION IS SECULAR. IT DOES
NOT FAVOUR ANY ONE RELIGION. WE RECOGNIZE AND RESPECT ALL THE RELIGIONS
OF OUR PEOPLE AND MAINTAIN NEUTRALITY.
Courtesy LTTE International Secretariat, 1994
Organized Christian Conspiracy against India
By Gurbir Singh
If you read the global propaganda being launched by theChristian missionaries
and their media agents, you would getthe impression that 2.3 million Christians
are being victimized in every district and every state and everycorner
of India. The fact that whatever conflicts that are
happening are strictly localized and isolated in few tribal areas where missionaries have been using aggressive tactics to convert the schedules tribes. They are reaping the results of their own success of their conversion efforts.Thanks to missionaries, some of these self-contained and
peaceful tribal and village communities have now been split and torn apart into hostile camps of converted and non- converted and they each are out acting out their distrust
and self-defense on each other. It is natural that such flare ups would happen from time to time in effected tribal and village communities. They do not happen everywhere and they do not happen all the time. India has thousands of districts and millions of villages. To use the happenings of few isolated locales to launch an organized, international propaganda campaign, claiming nation-wide victimology arouses deeper suspicions about the real and hidden agenda
behind such campaign.
1) How come a slap on some missionary in some obscurecommunity
in India gets heard loud on the front pages of Chicago Tribune and Washington
Post? How come western governments immediately pickup these inflated and
one-sided missionary propaganda and use their diplomatic, political and
media weight on the Indian government from top to bottom? These missionaries
have set up a vast international network in media as well as government.
They work very closely with western churches as well as western media
and western governments. Some of these media and governments put
on ruthless secular credentials and they constantly
persecute church and right-wing Christians in order to keep them away from power but they have found foreign church missions to be quite useful in putting a squeeze on governments in non-western countries.
2) Voctimology is normally a battle cry for power. It signals
a quest for power. Parties resort to victimology inorder to seek power.
Why are Indian churches detailing last 50 years of grievances all of sudden
in front of western media? Sonia Gandhi's campaign to seek political power
away from a Hindu government nicely coincides with the new-found victimology
of missionaries. They both are out to grab power and elevate themselves
over India and Hindus. It is not a co-incidence that Bill Clinton recently
signed a bill that allows American president, discretionary powers to impose
economic sanctions on nations for religious persecutions.
Why allow selectivity in choosing which religious persecutions to pursue? So you know where this American missile is headed. They are wel-orchestrated campaign by the western governments, western media and western missionaries to squeeze non-western governments. Once again, Indian Christians are acting as loyal stooges of western colonialist.
3) Christian missionaries want to impose economic policies
on India that favor the west. They want to paralyze any deviation from
such policies imposed by the west and carried out by their congress stooges
in India. Sonia's onion politics is trying to send a message to the
Indian government that - "do not to reverse or change the economic policies even when they hurt India. Otherwise we will politically exploit any and all fallout and transition at the commodity level." Christian victimology is trying to send equally stern message to India's majority that - "do not obstruct the path of western economic and military
interests in and around India and do not block the take over of India by a Christian Sonia or we will religiously exploit any and all fall out and aggressively go after India's poors and affected populace for conversions." Thus, stern message is sent from religious sphere as well as Political sphere, from western media as well as western governments. Their convergence and their timings are significant.
If all that Christians want is peace and tolerance, they should exhibit
the same towards Indians as well. Stop tearing apart families, communities
and villages through religious conversions of Hindus. Conversion pits the
converted against the non-converted. It produces
insecurities and distrust among both groups. The confrontations and violence are inevitable result of such conversion activities. Christian have a right and freedom to
practice their religion but they do not have a right and freedom to convert Hindus. Campaign to convert Hindus by charity, education, employment or under any other cover can
legitimately be taken as Christian attack on Hindu society. Organized campaign to convert Hindus by covert or political or economic means are sign of religious intolerance
practiced by the Christians. Organized effort to transplant west in India or to turn India into a consumer/labor slave colony of the west will meet harsh fate in India
By"Ravindran K. Paul" <email@example.com>
-Firstly I believe nobody is born with a religion. That is why it is one of the most fundemental freedoms of man.
Let me give an example. What is the religion of a child abandoned at
birth. Is it that of the parents? Is it that of those who adopt the child?
Is it that of the country?
To make it more complicated. What if it was a mixed marriage? To make it even more complicated. What if the parents converted after the child was abandoned and so on and so on.
Next, Christianity has nothing to do with the west. In fact Europe is less Christian than South America and some African countries. In fact even China has more Christians than many European countries.
There are millions of cases of drug addicts, drunkards, gamblers and
thieves who have converted from the religions they were born into to become
Are these people to be denied the right to better lives just because of these political considerations?
Further, there is no mention of the successful export of Hinduism to the west and its benefit to many. Should this be disallowed also?
The point is India has adopted so much western culture from music, dance, dressing, drugs and soon even pornography without violent protest. The greater attack on Hindu society has been from these forces. Are these then more desirable cultural changes?
Just as globalisation is breaking the barriers of trade and ideas, the
same will happen in religion too. To depend on such rhetoric to preserve
culture will surely fail.
This is not an attack against Hindu's. This state of affairs exists
in many countries and is definitely not unique to India.
Religious tolerance Vs Civilizational
Religions are not merely collection of rituals or private`opium' of
individuals. Religions are not merely privatematters of individuals or
matters of private communion with
god. Religions are not merely a way of worship or collections of places of worships or collection ofworshippers or bunch of dogmas, beliefs or philosophies. Religions are product of meta-physics and world-views. They are fountain-head of theologies which in turn have spawn
their own set of ideologies, philosophies, way of life, civilizations, cultures, histories, heroes and villains.
Yes. Religions have histories, heroes and villains. Religions have spawned civilizations and way of life. Yes.Religion is a complete package. Each of them has a way ofweaving radically different set of institutions and spheres in altogether different mix of importance, order and
hierarchy. These religions have spent millenniums achieving some kind of balance among competing pulls and natures of various institutions and spheres. They have nurtured their
civilizations with ocean of sweat and tears and defended them with rivers of blood. To religions, their own civilization is the most prized possession, defended at all
costs. Surest way to invite crusades or Jihads is to encroach upon religious domain.
In a multi-religious world, we need certain ground rules in order for
religions and their civilizational ambitions to co-exist and enjoy freedoms.
Tolerance and co-existence and non-
encroachment are absolute pre-requisites if we want to avoid religious wars as a way of life.
It is wrong to pit religions against each other and than expect religious
tolerance to survive. Modern ideologies have tried such tricks to take
over the political space from
religious civilizations. When religions are made to create a composite mix or made to encroach upon each other, religions produce intolerance. Yes, even the most benign and polite of
religions can react with hate and intolerance.
It is wrong to attack civilization, culture, way of life and yet expect
tolerance in return. It is wrong to strip down religions to a bare bone
level - ritual level or place of
worship level or individual level. This has an effect of de- coupling religion from its way-of-life and civilizational manifestations. Religion's way of life and civilization are attacked mercilessly by ideologies and competing religions on the one hand and this beaten-up religion is lectured to
observe tolerance and not allowed even murmur of protest. This can never work for long duration
It is wrong for one religion to seek full accommodation of its manifestation
of ideologies and civilization while limit the accommodation of other religion
to its mere ritual or
worship level. Accommodating complete civilizational manifestations is true religious freedom. Accommodating freedom of religion at individual level and/or at ritual level and/or at places of worship level are merely stripped- down and bare-bone version of religious freedom. They are
not equal or at par with full religious freedom. America might grant religious freedom at ritual/worship/individual level to non-Christians but it does not grant it at institutional/sphere/civilizational level. Similarly, other religions might grant Christians merely ritual level religious freedom, and bar any import of ideological or theological manifestations of Christian civilization.
Thus, religious tolerance implies that each religion will create its
own domain of existence and will not encroach upon the domain of others
because any such encroachment will
lead to loss of religious tolerance as well as loss of its own religious freedom. It should not demand religious parity or religious equality under such circumstances.
Similarly, any religious conversion means change ofcivilization as well.
Religious conversion is a form of encroachment on another religion. Unless
the converting person understands that such conversion amounts to conversion
of civilization and it would seriously result in
a loss of religious freedom and civilizational pursuit, conversion should not be permitted. Conversion has far reaching consequences at civilizational level where it gives
birth to need for religious/civilizational separatism in order to grant full religious/civilizational freedom and maintain mutual tolerance, co-existence and non- encroachment.
Among religions, the freedoms should be reciprocal and proportionate
to what one is given by the other religion. If one religion grants only
ritual level freedom, that is all it should expect in return and no more.
If a particular religion has a history of religious expansionism, it is
alright to suppress the freedom of such religion. Such action does not amount to religious intolerance. It amounts not tolerating the religious intolerance.