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Sri Lanka Facts

Score:57 / 100
Region:Asia
Persecution Type:Religious Nationalism
Persecution Level:High
Population:20,905,000
Christians:1,925,000
Main Religion:Buddhism
Government:Presidential Republic
Leader:President Maithripala Sirisena

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 41%
Church Life 60%
National Life 67%
Community Life 63%
Family Life 45%
Private Life 67%

Where Persecution Comes From

While the Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka is technically a secular state, its constitution states that the “Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place.” Most of the Christian persecution in the country is perpetrated by radical Buddhist movements, and at times these movements are also supported by local government officials. These radical Buddhist groups, namely the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS, translated as Buddhist Force Army) and the Sinhala Ravaya (SR), are led by Buddhist monks, and are known to stir up mobs that attack Christians and other religious minorities.

How Christians are Suffering

Converts from Buddhist or Hindu backgrounds suffer the worst of the persecution in Sri Lanka, subject to harassment, discrimination and marginalization at the hands of their families and communities. Because their conversion is regarded as a betrayal, they are constantly put under pressure to recant their faith. Many churches are targeted by neighbors, Buddhist monks and local officials who demand their closure, resulting in mobs and violent attacks. In school, Christian children are forced to study Buddhism or Hinduism, and some reports indicate that students have even been forced to participate in Buddhist rituals during school hours.

Examples

In January 2017, a mob allegedly led by a Buddhist monk attacked the Kithu Sevana prayer center in Paharaiya, northwestern Sri Lanka. The church leader there reported, “First they threatened us verbally. Then they came with wooden sticks, iron bars and knives and destroyed everything.”

In March 2017, a group of about 50 people, including Buddhist monks, forced their way into the Christian Fellowship Church in Ingiriya, Kalatura District, demanding that the Christians stop holding services and accusing them of disturbing the peace. When the pastor returned home from the police station, he found a mob waiting for him and the windows of his house smashed.

Comments

Pray for Sri Lanka

  • Pray for the pastors in Sri Lanka who are mocked and are frequently disturbed by their neighbors for conducting services. Please pray that they would not waiver in their faith, drawing strength from the Lord when they feel weary.
  • Many believers and churches are unaware of their legal rights and unprepared financially to face charges in courts. Pray for education and legal protection for pastors in Sri Lanka.
  • Please intercede for Sri Lankan believers, praying that acceptance for minorities in the country would prevail.

Stories from Sri Lanka

January 10, 2018

The 4 Major Trends Influencing Global Christian Persecution

World Watch List research indicates these growing movements are the life-altering forces influencing the persecution of Christians around the world.

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September 28, 2017

Assemblies of God Church Attacked by Mob of Nearly 2,000

Pray for the Christians in Devinuwara, a town in the Matara District of southern Sri Lanka, that they will continue…

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September 28, 2017

Denied a Classroom, Christian Teacher Holds Classes Outside

​Mary*, a volunteer Christian teacher at a Hindu boys’ school in Sri Lanka’s Matale District, has been teaching Christianity at…

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