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ICC Note:

Christians in Sri Lanka have expressed their concern over threats and attacks on Christians and their places of worship in a signed statement to the government. The statement went on to urge the government to take steps to protect both Christians and religious freedom in general. Over the past couple of years, the Sri Lankan government has promised to tackle the issue of religious intolerance and promote religious freedom, but has taken little action to fulfill these promises. Will the government now act? 

06/21/2017 Sri Lanka (Daily Mirror) – The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), which represents the majority of non-Roman Catholic churches expressed its concern over the views expressed by some parties with regard to threats and attacks on Christian places of worships. NCCSL, an ecumenical body represented by 11 national churches and nine ecumenical organizations said that it was disturbed by some of the views expressed over the past few days in relation to the violence, intimidation and the threat posed against Christian churches in the country.

The statement was signed by the leaders of mainline churches including Bishop of Colombo, Church of Ceylon, Rt. Rev. D.R. Canagasabey, Bishop of Jaffna Diocese, Church of South India, Rt. Rev. Dr. Daniel S. Thiagarajah, President/Bishop, Methodist Church of Sri Lanka, Rev. Asiri P. Perera, President of Sri Lanka Baptist Sangamaya, Rev. Priyantha Wijegoonawardene, Pres-ident of Christian Reformed Church, Rev. Stanley Nelson and Chairperson of the NCCSL and the President of Presbytery of Lanka Rev. Saman Perera.

“We reiterate the fact that Christian churches have been subject to violence, intimidation and threats over the past few years. This is in addition to the many ongoing issues that the Christian community faces with regard to the construction of places of worship, the registration of churches, house churches, Christian education in state schools and the forced closure of churches etc. which successive governments have failed to address despite us having made clear representations to the relevant authorities,” they stated.

“We are of the opinion that the current crisis, which has been precipitated through TV debates and pronouncements of politicians, is only trying to deal with the visible wounds and symptoms of a problem without trying to address the root causes,” they stated.

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