Attacks on Christians by Buddhist radicals rising in Sri Lanka; over 20 violent cases recorded so far this year

June 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-asia

Sri Lanka, June 28, 2017: Hollywood actor Richard Gere and Apple’s co-founder, the late Steve Jobs, may have given Buddhism a “peaceful face” in the West.

But that impression doesn’t last long when Christians living in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka speak about the real situation in their country.

According to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), Buddhist nationalists launched more than 20 attacks against Christians in the South Asian country since the start of this year, World Watch Monitor (WWM) reported.

Since the Sri Lankan people elected a new government in 2015, more than 190 incidents of religious violence against churches, clergy, and Christians have been recorded, according to the NCEASL in its May 27 report.

Sectarian violence remains unabated even though freedom of religion is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Sri Lanka constitution, the report stated.

Last March, a group of Buddhist monks barged into the Christian Fellowship Church holding a Sunday morning service in south-western Sri Lanka and put a stop to the service, threatening harm to the worshipers inside.

To make matters worse, when the police arrived to investigate, they even reportedly accused church members of “disrupting the peace.”

The pastor of the church named Sampath was even interrogated at the police station, where a mob of around 200 people led by about two dozen Buddhist monks gathered, shouting anti-Christian epithets. They also blocked Sampath and his wife’s passage home.

When they reached home, they found that their house had been pelted with stones, shattering the glass windows.

When Sampath confronted the mob who had followed him home, he was hit with a pole.

Just last month, thousands of protesters led by Buddhist monks held a protest action against another Christian church in Sri Lanka, according to UCAN.

In Sri Lanka, race and religion are linked amid the popular belief that “to be Sri Lankan is to be Buddhist,” according to Mahesh De Mel, NCEASL Missions Director.

Sri Lanka is the only nation in Asia which is majority Sinhalese, he told WWM.

“To locals, to be Sinhalese is to be Buddhist, so they always try to protect our being a Sinhala Buddhist nation,” De Mel explained.

“Locals think Christianity is a new kind of colonization,” he said. “They think you have a CIA agenda.”

Sri Lanka is ranked 45th on the Open Doors 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians face intense persecution.

– christian post

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