Sri Lankan Christians Faces Challenge from Buddhist Monks

Ambassador from the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has recently concluded a one-week official visit to Sri Lanka. The trip has drawn the Alliance’s attention to the serious persecution that the Christians received from Buddhists.

According to WEA Goodwill ambassador, Johan Candelin, who is also the International Director of WEA Religious Liberty Commission (WEA RLC), ?46 places of worship have been closed down over the last four months, and as such, the world should really take a closer look at the growing trend of nationalistic Buddhism in Sri Lanka.?

There is also an anti-Christian campaign going on in the media. Newspapers, books and banderols are used for the hate and disinformation campaign. Many Christians suffer from direct attacks by mobs with firebombs etc.

It is obvious that the religious status is deteriorating especially after the anti-conversion legislation passed by the Jayalalitha government in Tamil Nadu in late December 2003. Law would be made to punish those converting people from one religion to another by use of inducements and it will serve as a model for the whole Sri Lanka.

Christians in Sri Lanka will really face a very great challenge in winning over the opposite religion because of the monks?active political role in contesting poll in the coming Election of Parliament Party on 4 April.

Ambassador Johan Candelin commented, “if the newly formed party of Buddhist monks, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) is elected, it will be a threat to religious liberty. There is also possibility of heighten Buddhist nationalist zeal.?

Nevertheless, Christians in Sri Lanka still endure hard with hope under the help of WEA. The Catholic churches also stand on the side of Christians to defend their ground.

Moreover, conversion to Christian faith is skyrocketing particularly in the village where the gospel is spread. Church authorities have pointed out that they target on planting churches in 25,483 villages in Sri Lanka and the number is increasing. There are about 480 evangelical groups meeting weekly all over the island.