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Christians attacked and church desecrated with human waste in Sri Lanka

Country/Region: Sri Lanka, South and East Asia

Christian homes were attacked by a mob, a pastor was assaulted by a Buddhist monk, and a church was desecrated with human waste in three separate incidents of anti-Christian persecution in Sri Lanka.

sri_lanka_4X3.jpg
Map showing the location of Sri Lanka

The most recent, on the evening of 19 July, happened in Badulla District, where the homes of the five Christian families in Dehiwinna village were attacked by a mob of around 50 people. The attackers threw rocks and stones at the houses, damaging roofs, and smashed windows with clubs and rocks. As threats were shouted at them, some of the families fled to the jungle until the violence abated. A grocery store made of wood belonging to one of the families was broken into and demolished; some goods were stolen. The owner was caught and beaten up by the attackers; he required hospital treatment for his injuries.

There are reports of plans to force these Christian families to renounce their faith or leave the village.

Pastor assaulted

In an earlier anti-Christian attack, on 10 July, a pastor was attending a meeting in the village of Keviliyamaduwa, Ampara District, about land distribution when he was assaulted by the Buddhist monk who had convened the gathering, and other assailants. They later followed the pastor to his home and continued to abuse him and members of his family verbally; the monk kicked him while he was near the entrance to the property. The pastor was taken to hospital, suffering from injuries to his arm and severe pain from blows to his stomach.

Church desecrated

On 5 June, a church in Mahawewa, Puttlam District, was desecrated with human waste before the Sunday morning service. The mess was cleared up by the pastor and others, and the service started as normal. At 10am the congregation of around 300 worshippers was warned that a mob was heading for the church to disrupt the service. Within half an hour a 200-strong mob carrying placards forced their way into the church and began shouting threats. A lay leader who tried to speak with them was beaten and left bleeding from the nose. The intruders, some of whom were armed with clubs, continued to shout, demanding that the service be stopped. Police arrived, but rather than dealing with the aggressors, they asked the pastor to stop the service. Fearing for the safety of the congregation, he complied, and as they all left, the mob clapped and cheered, claiming victory.

Sri Lanka is around 70 per cent Buddhist, with Christians comprising some eight per cent of the population.

Although Buddhism has a reputation for being peaceable and non-violent, Sri Lanka has a strong Sinhalese Buddhist movement that wants to impose its identity on the whole country, and some of its members are prepared to use force.

Sri Lankan Christians are therefore subject to attacks by Buddhist extremists, as well as facing incidents of persecution from Hindus and Muslims. Buddhist extremism in Sri Lanka is expressed in organised opposition to some churches, especially in rural areas and places seen as Buddhist preserves. Christian buildings and church leaders are sometimes attacked.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • On this Good Friday, give thanks to God for the death of Christ and for His gift of eternal life. Praise Him too for the example of those Christians who have persevered in their faith at the risk of their lives and who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. Pray that their martyrdom will inspire their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ to endure whatever hardships befall them and will convince their persecutors of the truth and power of the Gospel. Pray too that their bereaved families and churches will not grieve without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 12 hours ago

  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

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