Four female Christian workers were brutalized in an attack on September 17, and unidentified motorcyclists burned down the Assembly of God church in Kotadeniyawa on September 23. So reported the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka. The alliance also said a fire gutted the Assembly of God church in Kesbewa on September 25.

Anglican Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe, chairman of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka, cited "a link between these attacks on churches and the growing demand for a ban on conversions."

Buddhist leaders called for a ban on "unethical conversions" at a convention of 1,500 Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, on September 23.

But animosity toward Christian groups has been rising for months. In July the country's Supreme Court declared that Christian groups could not register as social charities. The court said their proselytizing work contravenes the Sri Lankan constitution. Sri Lanka is a majority Buddhist nation.

Churches are seeking relief through the National Christian Council. "We are appealing to the government and those responsible for law and order to [protect] innocent people to worship and ensure their fundamental right to practice their religion," Illangasinghe said.

Evangelical Christians constitute less than 1 percent of the population in Sri Lanka, numbering about 120,000.

Related Elsewhere

More on Sri Lanka is available on the CT world report page including our recent piece on "The Joy of Suffering in Sri Lanka."

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.