Sri Lanka (MNN) — While the Norway brokered peace deal
remains in place in Sri Lanka, it's largely being ignored by government and
rebel leaders as renewed civil war looms. The violence and fear of terrorist
activity has put Christians in the crossfire.
Back to the Bible's country director James Kanaganayagam,
speaking from Sri Lanka, says itinerant pastors are targets. He says a pastor
was recently arrested after going into a new area. "When going into new
areas, people are very suspicious. This guy therefore has been arrested. Based
on your name and the area you come from, you could be branded as a
Kanaganayagam says this isn't an isolated event. "It's
been happening quite a lot. There have been many abductions in the northeast
and even in Colombo. So, it's certainly happening increasingly."
Christians are concerned about the attacks against them.
Kanaganayagum says there's an increasing anti-Christian sentiment there and
it's causing problems for outreach. "We had this program for our youth a
couple of days ago. Only a few actually showed up because possibly the fear of
coming into the city knowing that they could be arrested. So, there is a
general fear of moving around unless you have to."
Personal evangelism has replace large evangelistic events because of that sentiment.
The anti-Christian sentiment is also being felt by Back to
the Bible radio broadcasts. "(Radio Stations) don't want our programs
because they're Christian programs, but they can't openly say that. So, one way
of getting our programs off the air is by giving us unreasonable commercial
rates which we are unable to pay."
They were forced off the air on one station, Kanaganayagam
says. "But, on the other hand we are thankful to God we are able now to
get on a government station. Of course we've lost the audience and we've got to
(regain) that audience."
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