Sri Lanka: Church under threat

Prayer June 17, 2008

National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL)

URGENT - IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Incident Report

(June 2008)

Church under threat

AOG Church

Middeniya, Hambanthota District

Four anti-Christian meetings were held in the area during 13th - 17th June. Banners and large posters were put up in the town and in buses. The banners read "Buddhists are in danger. Let's save Middeniya from fundamentalists" It invites people to attend a giant rally on the 22nd of June (Sunday) in Middeniya where they will "expose the great conspiracy".

The pastor, his family and other Christians in the area are fearful that the meeting may result in a violent reaction against them. At the previous meetings held in the area, shop keepers have been ordered not to sell food to the Pastor's family and taxi drivers have been ordered not to accept hires from them. The pastor, his wife and 3 little children are virtual prisoners in their home.

The local Buddhist temple has also initiated a petition against the existence of a Christian church in the area, collecting signatures on the 12th June. It is reported that they intend to send the petition to the President.

Even as this report is written (6pm, 17th June), posters and banners are being put up in neighbouring Weraketiya, around the area where a pastor from an independent Church works.

Anti-Christian meeting in school headed by school principal - Christian child beaten up by schoolmates

The Middeniya Maha Vidyalaya held a special meeting of all the students and teachers on 17th June 2008. The purpose of the meeting was to express opposition to Christianity and advertise the rally planned for the 22nd. The principal threatened students not to attend Church. Almost all the students in the school are Buddhists. After the rousing speeches, one Christian girl who is a grade 8 student was caught and beaten up by fellow students. They pulled her hair and beat her for going to Church. She is traumatized and afraid of returning to school.

Please pray:

For the Pastor and his family.

The little girl who was beaten up.

For all the Churches and Pastors in the Hambanthota District.

Wednesday 18th June (tomorrow) is a special holy day for Buddhist, celebrating the introduction of Buddhism by Arahath Mahinda to Sri Lanka over 2,000 years ago.

Please pray that the celebrations will not be used instigate violence against the Churches.