Tracking Coexistence Understanding Perceptions of the Religious Other

This study is based on an analysis of people’s perceptions of the ‘religious other’. The data was collected at the end of 2019 by interviewing 1,000 respondents in four multi-religious districts: Ampara, Colombo, Galle and Mannar. The sample consisted of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Roman Catholics in equal proportions.

The study generates some preliminary findings on how different communities perceive religious tolerance and coexistence. By presenting different life scenarios and talking to 1,000 men and women of different age groups from four areas reflecting the diverse religious composition in Sri Lanka, the study seeks to enhance our understanding of inter-group and intra-group relations in Sri Lanka, as the country struggles to build social harmony and religious cohesion. The study seeks to influence law, policy and social interventions that can eliminate or at least reduce religiously motivated violence, and promote respect for and tolerance of the other.