Sri Lanka: Congregation attacked in church raid

June 29, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Attackers armed with clubs, knives and swords raided a church service in Sri Lanka; they beat up the pastor and worshipers and caused serious damage to the building.

The humble church building suffered severe damage

The humble church building suffered severe damage

Sri Lanka, June 25, 2013: The incident in Sugankerni, Batticaloa district, happened on the morning of 16 June. A mob entered the church building and began shouting orders that the congregation stop worshiping and the church close down.

The pastor and a number of worshipers were injured in the attack; some of them required hospital treatment.

It is thought that the attack was carried out by Hindu extremists, which is unusual in Sri Lanka, where most opposition to Christianity comes from Buddhists. This has been intensifying over recent months as the increasingly emboldened Sinhalese Buddhist lobby, which wants an exclusive ethnic and religious state, has been campaigning against the conversion of Buddhists by Christians and other minority groups, and also the halal slaughter of cattle by Muslims.

The church attack in Sugankerni was one of a number of anti-Christian incidents in Sri Lanka this month.On 5 June, a church building in Angulana, Kaluthara district, was broken into during the night and vandalised. The intruders tried unsuccessfully to start a fire in the building.

Also in Kaluthara district, posters have been put in up, in Ingiriya, saying:

We don’t need a church in the village, all we need is a Buddhist temple. Chase the Christian pastor from the village.Police have questioned the pastor about his church and also warned him that there is a threat against him.

Others are also in danger. On 16 June, Buddhist monks who were holding a meeting in Ambalanthota, Hambanthota district, about the cattle slaughter issue harassed a church leader who was passing by the event. He fled the scene, but they pursued him to the police station and made false allegations against him.

The following day, a 30-strong mob surrounded the pastor’s house, shouted threats against him and demanded that worship services be stopped. Police intervened and sent the mob away, but the pastor has continued to receive threats on an almost daily basis.

In Gangavereliya, Kegalle district, a meeting against Christians was held on 15 June by Buddhist monks along with Buddhist and Hindu villagers. They want to restrict church activities, especially the conversion of people to Christianity. At least one pastor in the area has been threatened in an effort to get him to stop holding worship services.

– barnabas team

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