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In continuing violence against Christian churches in Sri Lanka, late last week Buddhist monks from the Bodhidumarama temple in Wadduwa, Sri Lanka incited a mob to march against an evangelical church, intending to "rid our village of the fundamentalist plague."

On the evening of June 19, around fifty monks, accompanied by one hundred and fifty others, marched from the Buddhist temple to the church. When they arrived, they found only two parishioners, along with the pastor's two daughters. After demanding that the pastor be brought to them, they began throwing chairs and tearing down Scripture banners, as well as physically threatening the pastor's daughters.

One of the daughters managed to call police, who were unable to control the mob when they arrived. After damaging the church, the mob finally left with no arrests being made.

The next morning, the pastor cancelled services, as he had done the previous Sunday because of threats. Again a large mob gathered and tried to force their way into the church, despite police guards. The rioters threw gasoline bombs, bricks and rocks, damaging the roof and windows. A parapet wall also collapsed. The police used tear gas to disperse the crowd, as well as firing shots into the air. The pastor was eventually forced to announce that he would stop holding meetings at the church.

 

Minister of Buddhism,
Ratnasiri Wickramanayake

Pray for the pastor and members of this church, along with Christians throughout Sri Lanka facing ongoing violence and opposition from individuals as well as the government. Earlier this month it was announced that various bills were to be introduced in the Sri Lankan parliament to restrict religious conversions (click here for more details). A bill introduced by the Minister of Buddhism, Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, has been approved by the cabinet. Click here to read a copy of the proposed bill. It is expected that this bill will be considered a high priority when parliament reconvenes on July 20. The Voice of the Martyrs is urging Christians from around the world to write to Sri Lankan authorities protesting this restrictive legislation. For addresses that you may write to, click here.

For more information on persecution facing Christians in Sri Lanka, click here.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC supports persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka as they witness for Christ in hostile environments through Biblical training, legal aid, and advocacy, as well as rehabilitation and emergency assistance.

Project Funds: Relief and Development, Legal Defense

Country Information

Population
22,576,592 (July 2018 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Sinhalese (74.9), Sri Lankan Tamil (11.2), Sri Lankan Moors (9.2), Indian Tamil (4.2), other (0.5)

Religion (%)
Buddhism (70.2), Hinduism (12.6), Islam (9.7), Roman Catholic (6.1), Evangelical Christianity (2.0)

Leader
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Sri Lanka

Let's unite our hearts in prayer for those in Sri Lanka who are being persecuted for their faith, thanking God for what He is accomplishing despite the opposition. Ask that His people will be encouraged, strengthened and equipped by the promises of the Bible – the Sword of the Spirit – knowing that He is watching over His Word to perform it (Ephesians 6:17; Jeremiah 1:12). May they not only overcome the strategies of the enemy, but also serve as effective witnesses to those in need of eternal salvation and deliverance from spiritual captivity.

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