Religious Persecution in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka plans to establish itself as a racially-pure Sinhala-Buddhist country.
The periodically revised constitution of the country (including the new one being proposed) reiterates a superior status to Buddhism and the Sinhala language.
This is the primary cause for the raging war with the Tamil inhabitants.
Tamils, however, are not the only targets.

The following is a report by
The Christian Consultation of Sri Lanka.

(25 Km North of Colombo)

Application to Build a Church Rejected

The local authority rejected an application made by the Assemblies of God to build a church on land belonging to the church, on the grounds that "It will be a nuisance to the Buddhists in the area."
The Assemblies of god of Ceylon is taking the matter to the Supreme Court in a fundamental rights application.
This case is of great significance to the entire Christian community, as no permission has been granted by local authorities to construct churches in the recent past.
Please pray for the Christian groups working in Sri Lanka, who will face the brunt of the reaction to this court action.
Already many pastors have received threats and attacks in this district.

(85 Km North of Colombo)

Attack on the Assembly of God Campsite

The National Youth Camp of the Assemblies of god, which was held from 21st to 24th May 1997, was attacked on the 22nd. A generator burned, a water pump stolen, cadjan fence burned, tents slashed and the site was stoned. On the 24th, after all the campers had left a group invaded the site and burned down the buildings. Two large buildings and two smaller ones were completely destroyed. The damage is estimated to be over Rs. 400,000.00 (US$ 7,000.00).

Although the Police and a cabinet minister were apprised of the situation, the police have not made any headway in the investigation and there have been no arrests. The villagers have asserted that they are 'against Christians being the area.'

Jeevana Diya Church attacked by a mob

Apparently encouraged by the lack of police action, pressure is being applied on other churches in the area. The houses of the believers of the Jeevana Diya Church were visited by men armed with swords and poles on 8 June 1987 from 5 p.m. to midnight. They were threatened and asked not to attend any church meetings. The pastor was threatened with death if he conducted service on the following Sunday. The local officials requested him to stop the services in order to maintain the peace and the services were not held.

Hettipola workers threatened

Workers in a Jeevana Diya Church in a nearby town were also threatened and warned not to come into the village.

(77 Km Northeast of Colombo)

Dutch Reformed Church attacked

The pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church (oldest Protestant Church in Sri Lanka) was threatened and asked to leave town. When he refused his telephone and water supply were disconnected.

A Buddhist movement called SUCCESS to oppose Christian Gospel work is behind this attack. The movement also planned to conduct a Buddhist ceremony at the Assembly of God campsite on 20th June. 200 Buddhist monks planned to lead a procession to the site. The church lodged an entry with the police.

Ten thousand signatures were collected in a petition to remove all Christian churches from the area.

(214 Km Northeast of Colombo)

The pastor of the foursquare Gospel Church in Aluthweva was attacked while returning from a prayer meeting on the 28th July at about 10 p.m., by a group of 6-10 men armed with clubs and a sword. Another person who was traveling with the pastor was also attacked. The pastor who managed to escape to the nearest police station was told by the police officer-on-duty that the offense was not serious enough to warrant recording of the complaint. The pastor was later admitted to the hospital. Their motorcycle he was traveling on was found smashed up. There have been no arrests.

The Christian Consultation of Sri Lanka,
PO Box 122,
Sri Lanka.