|Persecution Type:||Religious Nationalism|
|Leader:||President Maithripala Sirisena|
Those who convert to Christianity from a Buddhist or Hindu background are subject to Christian persecution, harassment, and discrimination by family and community. They are put under pressure to recant Christianity. Additionally, Christian churches are frequently targeted by neighbors. This repeatedly leads to mobs protesting against and attacking churches, especially in rural areas. In some of these villages, Christian converts are verbally abused and asked to leave their villages.
Converts from a Buddhist or Hindu background suffer the strongest forms of persecution. They are subject to harassment, discrimination and marginalization by family and community. These believers are pressured to recant Christianity; conversion is regarded as betrayal. All ethnic Sinhalese (the majority in Sri Lanka) are expected to be Buddhist.
Similarly, within the minority Tamil population in the northeast, Sinhalese are expected to be Hindu. Non-traditional churches are frequently targeted by neighbors, often joined by Buddhist monks and local officials, who demand Christians close their church buildings regarded as illegal.
On September 9, 2018, a group of about 100 people stopped the worship service of a church at Beliatta, Hambantota District. They damaged a window, two motorcycles parked outside, and removed religious symbols hanging on the front door. Some forcibly entered the premises and threatened to kill the pastor and his family and demanded they stop gathering people for worship activities and leave the village.
The majority of state schools do not teach Christianity as a subject, and so Christian schoolchildren are forced to study Buddhism or Hinduism. There have also been reports that children were forced to participate in Buddhist rituals.
According to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), there has been a sharp increase of attacks on Christians, including violent attacks often carried out through mobs.
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