Sri Lankan pastor gunned down
The situation for Christians, their churches, and pastors has taken a turn for the worse as violence in Sri Lanka is on the rise. The cease-fire between the government and the main rebel group, the Tamil Tigers, is pretty much history
Compass Direct reports:
Late last Sunday (February 17) two men gunned down a Sri Lankan pastor, the Rev. Samson Neil Edirisinghe, 37, killing him instantly. They also shot his wife Shiromi, 31, leaving her in critical condition. The couple's 2-year-old son received minor injuries and is still in shock after witnessing the shooting. Edirisinghe was buried today in Ampara, in eastern Sri Lanka, where he served as pastor of the House of the Lord Church. The church met in a local YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) hall where Edirisinghe taught English classes for the British Council. Shiromi was receiving treatment in the intensive care unit of Ampara Hospital at press time.
The Advocacy Desk of the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka has released an important statement, condemning the killings and calling for the national police to do more. In their statement, the NCEASL said:
Organized attempts by any individual or group to breed religious tension and incite religious hatred - be it in Ampara or anywhere else, must be condemned by all right thinking people irrespective of religious affiliation and calls for urgent action by the Government to put a stop to this ugly trend.
It is disturbing to see the widening gulf between the ethnic groups in our country confounded by
the erosion of trust between religious communities. Recent media reports on the arrest of a Pastor for alleged involvement in LTTE activity has seen a veil of suspicion drawn over Christians. It is the sacred duty of the Government and the law enforcement authorities to conduct impartial investigations and deal with any guilty party under the law and release without
prejudice those who are found innocent.
We strongly condemn the murder of Pastor Neil Edirisinghe and the attack on his family. We call upon the IGP and the Police force in Ampara for immediate and impartial investigation whereby those responsible for this crime will be dealt with under the law.
We pray for the restoration of peace and understanding between communities and individuals in
Christians in Sri Lanka in recent years have seen surges of violence, sometimes targeting them, and sometimes just as the result of the unresolved conflicts at the national level.
The highly regarded International Crisis Group on Feb. 22, 2008, released an important update on how Sri Lanka has returned to a climate of conflict.
Look here for a 2004 article in The Weekly Standard.