Christian advocacy groups are calling on the Sri Lankan government to act against persecution of Christians in the South Asia island nation.
Since early September, at least three instances of harassment and violence against Christians have been recorded, according to International Christian Concern (ICC). The attacks come five months after ISIS-inspired terrorists killed 259 people in a string of Easter bombings.
ICC reports that in the nation’s Gampaha District, a mob of 100, led by six Buddhist monks and 15 police officers, threatened members of Zion Revival Church, demanding they cease worship, and warning they would arrest the pastor if he ever entered their village again.
In Batticaloa District, an angry mob with sticks attacked and beat six Christians, five of whom were taken to a local hospital.
And in the nation’s Badulla District, local government officials blocked construction of an Assemblies of God church due to opposition, after initially approving it.
“As Sri Lanka’s Christians recover from the devastation wrought by the Easter Bombings, these reports of persecution continue to instill a sense of fear among Christians,” said William Stark, regional manager for South Asia at International Christian Concern.
According to Open Doors, persecution of the minority Christians by followers of Buddhism, the majority religion, is growing. Sri Lankan Hindus, though smaller in number, also tend to persecute Christians.
Above: Inside St. Sevatian’s Church in Negombo after a bomb blast went off and killed worshipers during the Easter service on April 21, 2019.
Photo: Perera Sameer/UPI/Newscom