Anti conversion legislation may quash missions work in Sri Lanka.

By April 18, 2005

Sri Lanka (MNN)–Anti-conversion legislation could have a profound impact in Sri Lanka. There’s concern that the bill could target missionaries and faith-based humanitarian aid workers.

This is the second time in two years that the bill has surfaced, backed by Sri Lanka’s Minister of Buddhist Affairs, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, and with the support of the JHU-party of nationalist Buddhist monks.

The short title of the proposed act is ‘Freedom of Religion Act.’ But the effect could be far-reaching. Voice of the Martyrs-Canada’s Klaas Brobbel says the Buddhists want to stop to the evangelism, so things like “…handing out tracts, portions of the Bible–all these things are seen as being proselytizing.”

The obvious application is against the church. Klaas says, “It would have a tremendous impact on the Christian community and many people could be jailed, could be fined, could be harassed; there’s all sorts of things that might happen.”

Sri Lanka’s Parliament is expected to vote on the law sometime in the next two weeks. Brobbel urges believers to not only pray, but also to speak up about what’s happening. “Pray that God will prevent this from happening, that the pressure will be enough. The fact that the bill was withdrawn last year, to be reintroduced, is a sign that pressure does work.”

Approximately 70 percent of the population in Sri Lanka are Buddhist, with only 8 percent being Christian.

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