Freedom of religion in Sri Lanka
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Freedom of religion in Sri Lanka has been historically upheld through religious tolerance and multiculturalism. The practice of Hinduism was allowed under Sinhala kings since the Anuradhapura era. Buddhist Sinhala kings gave protection to Muslims fleeing from Portuguese persecution and to Catholics fleeing from persecution by the Dutch after having defeated by the Portuguese.
Several Hindu temples were attacked in the riots of 1983 in Colombo and South of Sri Lanka.
Two of the holiest sites for Buddhists in Sri Lanka, the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree and the Temple of the Tooth, have been attacked and bombed by the LTTE. In recent times, the LTTE have also attacked several Muslim mosques in the North-Eastern parts of the country.
It is also noted recently that Majority Sinhalese Buddhist have organized vigilante groups who threaten religious activities of Hindus, Christians and Muslims by forceful intimidation and threats to stop construction of places of worship.
Most of Buddhist temples including Buddhist archeological sites in Northern province and Eastern province have been destroyed by Tamil militants.
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