Christians reaching out to help tsunami victims in Sri Lanka and India are facing dangers of their own.
In Sri Lanka, Hindu militants burned the houses of many Christians following a January 8 grenade attack on a funeral in the rebel-controlled east. Police attribute the first attack, which killed three people and injured more than 30 others, to religious tensions between Hindus and Christians.
A senior church leader who requested anonymity told CT, "We [were able to] keep this [latest] incident out of the news. It was the responsible thing to do under the circumstances. If reported [at the time], it would have led to serious problems and violence."
Also in Sri Lanka, Jathika Hela Urumaya, the nationalist Buddhist political party, wants the government to control the huge sums of money pouring in for Christian organizations. Christian leaders are cautious as they do their work.
"We are not linking evangelism with the relief work," said Godfrey Yogarajah of the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka. "It's a moment to demonstrate the love of God, and we are doing that on the humanitarian level. People are very grateful and cordial towards Christians' help."
Ajith Fernando of Youth for Christ agreed. "Christians by and large have been very sensitive," Fernando said. "Our approach has been not to practice overt evangelism."
Fernando said Christian efforts are being noticed. "Christians have been cleaning temples and working with other faiths," Fernando said. "The sincere efforts of the major Christian groups [have been] appreciated."
In hard-hit Nagapattinam, India (CT, February, p. 30), Hindu radicals from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) are posting notices accusing Christian pastors by name of converting ...1