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Korean President Lee to Apologize for 'Bias' Against Buddhists

Chosun Ilbo, Aug 26, 2008

Seoul, South Korea -- President Lee Myung-bak is to apologize to Buddhists over the government's apparent religious bias and instruct his administration to prevent a recurrence of incidents that inflamed the faithful.

<< South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. In 2006, Lee was said to have sent a video prayer message to a Christian rally where the worship leader called on God to "let the Buddhist temples in this country crumble down!"

This decision was prompted by plans for a Buddhist rally Wednesday to protest against the religious bias of the Lee administration.

A senior presidential official on Monday said Lee will “express regret over the latest series of government's actions that caused misunderstanding with Buddhists and instruct government agencies to rectify wrongs and prevent the recurrence of a similar incident."

The decision follows alleged attempts by several government agencies to privilege information about Christian churches over Buddhist temples.

Lee was apparently prompted to try and bring the situation under control under threat of the Buddhist rally. But Lee, a devout Protestant, is unlikely apologize to Buddhist circles directly or meet with Buddhist leaders.

Cheong Wa Dae is considering adding a clause to the Government Employees Act with a view to meeting Buddhists' demand for legislation on the prevention of religious bias.

But it will not accept Buddhist circles' demand for the dismissal of Police Commissioner Eo Cheong-soo and for immunity of anti-U.S. beef protesters who have been staging a sit-in on the compound of Jogye Temple.

More information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Myung-bak

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