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Bling’s the thing in “The Miracle Dome” in Sri Lanka, and authorities now want to know where self-styled prophet Jerome Fernando, above right, got the dosh to pay for it all.
Fernando hurriedly left the Buddhist country on May 16, ahead of an overseas travel ban placed on him by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) after they received five complaints that he had made derogatory remarks about Buddhism and other religions.
Regarding the former, according to Christianity Daily, he said in a sermon that all Buddhists are in desperate need of Jesus and claiming that Buddha himself was searching for Jesus.
The investigation then escalated into a financial probe. Authorities, according to Sri Lanka’s Sunday Times will look into his finances in a bid to ascertain how “The Miracle Dome”—part of the Global Glorious Church— was funded.
The “Miracle Dome” complex has attracted much scrutiny in the wake of the controversy over questions regarding how it came to be built without planning permission, as well as who and how it was financed.
Construction of the complex began around 2015 and it was officially opened in May last year. The complex is described as a 5,000-seat “House of God.”
Image via YouTube
The CID has the power to arrest Fernando under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on charges of creating religious and communal disharmony
The department will also be looking into other alleged crimes he is accused of in the complaints, notably money laundering and whether there are others in Sri Lanka who might be linked to such activities.
Fernando’s website claims that he graduated in theological studies at the Asian Access School of Theology, which is affiliated with the Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary, USA.
Image via YouTube
He is also listed as the Chancellor of Osborne University of Theology, UK, appointed by his “Spiritual Father,” Zimbabwean “prophet” Uebert Angel, above.
In March this year, Angel was exposed by Qatar based television channel Al Jazeera’s Investigation Unit telling undercover reporters that he could use his status as a diplomat to launder millions of dollars through a gold smuggling racket.
UK-based Angel, who had been appointed Ambassador-At-Large and a Presidential Envoy by Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, told undercover reporters, posing as Asian criminals, that he could carry large amounts of “dirty money” using his high diplomatic status.
Following the Al Jazeera expose, South African authorities have vowed to investigate Angel, as well as others involved in money laundering.
Meanwhile it’s reported that that Google has terminated Angel’s 15-year old YouTube channel for violating its terms of service.
Unregistered churches in Sri Lanka
The Fernando affair has also raised the issue of unregistered churches. The Global Glorious Church in Colombo is not registered, but this breaks no rules, a according to the authorities.
Image via YouTube
However, the Buddhasasana Ministry now wants to change all that. A government minister—Vidura Wickramanayaka, above— is now preparing to submit a Cabinet paper proposing to make it a legal requirement for all religious centres and places of religious worship to register with the authorities.
No one is allowed to defame a religion or religious leader in public like that.
On Friday, messages were sent out to the pastor’s followers informing them that a service scheduled to be held at the “Miracle Dome” today (Sunday) has been cancelled.
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