Persecution of Christians in parts of Sri Lanka has taken a turn for the worse and believers are even being prevented from burying their dead. According to Release International, Buddhist monks are preventing Christians from using public cemeteries to make them feel unwelcome in their own communities.
According to the charity group, Buddhism is combining with nationalism, resulting in a surge in persecution. Release International added that a growing number of persecution cases in Sri Lanka have been linked to local government officials who have been closing churches and ending prayer meetings.
A leading human rights lawyer, who asked not to be named for her safety, said there have been 120 reported cases of persecution since the middle of 2015. She added that many other cases are going unreported.
The lawyer related that, “In one case, two Buddhist monks walked into a prayer meeting that a pastor was holding with some villagers. They shouted at him, they threatened him and when the pastor went to the police to lodge a complaint against them, the police officer said this is your fault, all of this is happening because of what you’re doing.”
She shared a troubling incident in which a group of villagers gathered at a Christian burial. “They started shouting this is not a place they can bury Christians and they will not allow it. “ As the villagers surrounded the public cemetery, the police arrived and, instead of helping the grieving Christians, supported the mob. They told the believers to bury the Christians elsewhere, in a location far from their village.
Release International’s Chief Executive Paul Robinson said, “You don’t normally associate Buddhism with violence, but time and again we hear that it is Buddhist monks who are leading the attacks against the churches. And our partners have found that the monks are being aided by pro-Buddhist authorities.”
Source: Article by Antony Bushfield
* representative photo used to protect persecuted Christians
Father, we stand together with our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka as they struggle just to live their lives in ways that honor You. We pray for them as they seek to honor the lives of godly Christian men and women by giving their earthly bodies respectful burials. We pray for them as they gather to pray and worship, and as they live their lives each day in villages where they are increasingly unwelcome. Encourage them with Your Word and Your Holy Spirit as they walk the path of suffering Christ walked and open their eyes to glory set before them. May Christ be reflected in them and may the gospel go forth in much power throughout the nation of Sri Lanka. In the name of Jesus who suffered and died that we might have life. Amen