Former Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa Denies Links To Pastors Fernando, Uebert Angel
Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former President of Sri Lanka has denied having any links with Pastor Jerome Fernando or Zimbabwean Pastor Uebert Angel.
The authorities are investigating links between former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and preachers Uebert Angel and Jerome Fernando. Fernando is being investigated for controversial statements he made about Buddhism and other religions. A complaint was lodged with the criminal investigations department against him. Zimbabwean preacher Uebert Angel has been accused of offering to launder money through a gold-smuggling scheme and claimed he had the approval of Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The authorities have said they will look into the links between the preachers and Rajapaksa as part of ongoing investigations.
Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that he had met the preachers only once when Pastor Jerome’s office sought a meeting during Rajapaksa’s time as Prime Minister.
Rajapaksa condemned the recent derogatory remarks made by Pastor Jerome against religions, stating that there is no room for communal disharmony or hatred in Sri Lanka.
He clarified that the meeting was cordial and had taken place as an official meeting during his tenure as Prime Minister and Minister of Religious Affairs. The former president reiterated his condemnation of the recent statements made by ‘one of these individuals’ against religions. Daily Mirror quotes him as saying:
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I strongly condemn remarks made by any individuals who attempt to cause communal disharmony in Sri Lanka especially when we fought hard as a nation to bring in unity and end all divisions.
I have no links to the Zimbabwean Pastor Uebert Angel or Pastor Jerome Fernando but I recall that there was a request from Pastor Jerome’s office to meet me when I was the Prime Minister.
It was a cordial meeting during which both the Pastors conducted a small prayer meeting with me and my wife. Since it was an official meeting, the pictures were released to the media. I have met Pastor Jerome and Uebert Angel only during that instance and have held no other meetings with them nor do I have any personal connections with either.
As the Prime Minister and Minister in charge of Religious Affairs at that time I always gave priority to meeting with religious heads as well as those connected to religious establishments as a part of a goodwill gesture and in order to see what issues they faced.
In Sri Lanka, Buddhism is the largest religion, with 70.2% of the population practising this religion. Hindus make up 12.6% of the population, Muslims make up 9.7%, and Christians make up 7.4%.