December 2023

Reflecting on Women’s Roles in Religious Tradition

In the heart of Weligama, the Shrine of Christ the Healer Church Hall set the scene for taking participants on a reflective journey on past ethnic conflicts in Sri Lanka.

Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) members collaborated with Voice Our Talent (VOT) in organizing the programme under NPC’s Action for Religious Coexistence (ARC) project. Engaging in the reflection were 44 LIRC members, religious leaders from Weligama, officers from the Weligama Community Police Division, government officials and members of community based organizations.

Lakmal Pradeep, who facilitated the discussion, observed, "There is no end to the conflicts between people since ancient times due to differences among religions. This is clear from the study of the history of Sri Lanka from 1948, when we gained independence from the British, until now.” At the same time, he expressed optimism regarding the creation of a future filled with religious harmony. This could be done by outlining a roadmap for achieving religious harmony, addressing the roots of ethnic conflicts and preventing such conflicts in the future, he said.

Challenges faced by women in religious places were also discussed during the programme. The tooth relic and Sri Maha Bodhi were brought to Sri Lanka by two women. However, Buddhist culture restricted women from entering the bo tree area, so it was necessary to promote the religious empowerment of women.

Having an understanding of historical ethnic challenges from the past to the present was an essential part of forming a harmonious future for Sri Lanka. Initiatives such as the LIRC programme highlight the need to move forward with optimism for positive change.