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French tourists guilty in Sri Lanka over Buddha photos

Charles Haviland, BBC: A Sri Lankan court has given suspended jail terms to three French tourists for wounding the religious feelings of Buddhists by taking pictures deemed insulting.

Two women and one man were detained in the southern town of Galle after a photographic laboratory alerted police.

The pictures show the travellers posing with Buddha statues and pretending to kiss one of them.

Most of Sri Lanka’s majority ethnic Sinhalese are Theravada Buddhist.

Mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is strictly taboo in the country. The incident is alleged to have taken place at a temple in central Sri Lanka.

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We comb the internet, looking for news stories related to all forms of meditation, whether Buddhist or not. To date we have posted thousands of news stories that cover everything from meditation and health to meditating celebrities. When we publish a story that's favorable to or critical of one form of meditation, this does not imply that we agree with the stance of the original news story. Read more articles by .

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Comment from Lucila Viggers
Time: August 22, 2012, 6:13 am

Though these women were not respectful of the local customs, they were probably not aware of them. The statues are only objects and compassion and forgiveness are far better symbols of Buddhist faith. Religious zealotry will only alienate people. These two women should be sent back home and if they really don’t want anyone taking this type of photograph, the statues should be behind glass or supervised by an official so as to prevent this sort of thing.

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