Buddhist Monks Instigating Anti-Christian Attacks in Sri Lanka
6/27/08 Sri Lanka (International Christian Concern) - The Buddhist Sinhala Nationalist Party (JHU) is associated with a new wave of attacks on Christian pastors and churches that is sweeping Sri Lanka.
The latest incident in this trend occurred on June 22, 2008, when Indrasaraa, a Buddhist Monk representing Omalse Sobitha of the JHU, led a pre-meditated attack against Pastor Pradeep of the Assembly of God Church in Middeniya. He gathered a mob of over 5,000 and attempted to enter the church after conducting a quick ceremony to re-name the road with a Buddhist title.
The police learned of the attack and provided a barricade in an attempt to keep the pastor safe. However, the mob managed to break through, and it took forceful action on the part of the police to drive them away. The attackers then decided to retaliate by distributing hate leaflets against the Christians.
The police advised Pastor Pradeep not to hold service on Sunday and was warned to not step outside of his home. The pastor stated, "I am afraid to leave home and have been unofficially told not to step out or else." Pastor Pradeep was told by the villagers that monk Omalpe Sobitha of the JHU personally announced that within 14 days they would drive him out and claim the land on which the church now stands.
On June 26, Pastor Pradeep received a letter from the Divisional Secretary's Office summoning him to a meeting on June 27 regarding the anti-Christian protests and mob that rallied against him. However, the pastor is not currently in a position to leave his home in light of the precarious situation in the village.
The attack on Pastor Pradeep is only one of the many attacks that are occurring against the pastors and churches in southern Sri Lanka. While Pastor Pradeep's church was being attacked, Father Ravindra of the Ampara Methodist Church was assaulted by three home guards from the Ampara Police. The police were reported to be off duty and they threatened Father Ravindra to not preach to Buddhists. The Methodist priest is currently receiving treatment for his head injuries at the Ampara Hospital.
In addition, there are reports that the Gospel Tabernacle Church in Ingiriya is under attack and that the pastor has been asked by the police to stop holding services. In the mean time, Pastor Jegan of the Kings Revival Church in Matugama who has been attacked many times in the past is still unable to hold full services at his church; a locally powerful JHU supporter has been successful in suppression of the religious freedom rights of Pastor Jegan and his congregation, with the help of the local police.
Pastors working in southern Sri Lanka see these attacks as only being the 'tip of the iceberg.' It is believed that the JHU is trying to again create religious strife after their unsuccessful attempts a few years ago.
Please contact the Sri Lankan embassy in your country to ask them to protect the rights of the Christian minority.
Sri Lanka Embassies:
Country Phone Fax Email
USA (202)-483-4025 (202)-232-7181 firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada 613 233 8449 613 238 8448 email@example.com
UK 2072621841-6 2072627970 firstname.lastname@example.org