Buddhist Extremists Force Churches in Sri Lanka to Close

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

sri-lankaCOLUMBO, SRI LANKA (Worthy News)-- Police asked several churches in Sri Lanka to close on some Sundays during September because of threats from Buddhist extremists, according to Barnabas Aid.

In Sri Lanka this year there have been 45 anti-Christian incidents; many have involved attacks on church gatherings, but individual Christians have also been targeted.

At a church in Meegoda, Colombo district, Christians had gathered for prayer when a mob of about 30 locals led by three Buddhist monks forced their way onto the premises. One monk repeatedly struck the pastor over the head with a guitar until he was rendered unconscious. When the pastor's mother tried to intervene, she was beaten by the mob that later went on to destroy all the musical instruments, damage the furniture and break the windows.

When it was finished, the mob informed the congregation that this was a Buddhist village and demanded that their prayer meetings cease immediately.

At another church in Rathmalana, Colombo district, around 25 police officers turned away members of the congregation as they arrived for Sunday morning service because Bodu Bala Sena -- a powerful Buddhist nationalist group -- threatened to attack the church.

Sri Lankan authorities told church leaders that they must obtain permission from the Buddhist and Religious Affairs Ministry to operate even though they're not officially required to register with the state; this is proving problematic for Evangelical churches that are not recognized by the Religious Affairs Ministry.

In response to this deteriorating situation, Christian leaders in Sri Lanka have asked Barnabas Aid supporters to join them for ten minutes of prayer each day.