With so many stories flying around about possible abuses committed by religious groups in the regions affected by the tsunami, this story from Salon was a welcome break. The author, Jeff Greenwald, flew to Sri Lanka to work as a relief worker in the wake of the disaster. He describes a visit to a mosque and the Sri Dalada Maligawa temple (home of the Buddha’s Tooth Relic), and talks with religious leaders who are looking past religious divisions. This story was particularly inspiring:
. . .the monk we hope to see — Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala — did something rather extraordinary, considering the events of 1998 [the bombing of the temple by Tamil Tigers]. Four days after the tsunami, he and his monks loaded 26 trucks with food, medicine and supplies. They drove the trucks due east and delivered the supplies directly into the hands of the Tamils near Trincomalee.
Over the years, monks preaching ethnic strife have been instrumental in stirring unrest between the Sinhala and the Tamils. Hopefully, more religious leaders like Bhante Sumangala will help inspire reconciliation among the people of Sri Lanka.