Christian persecution intensifies in Sri Lanka amid a proposed Anti-Conversion Law.

By July 25, 2005

Sri Lanka (MNN)–Mobs descending on church gatherings and public beatings are incidents becoming common scenes in Sri Lanka.

They are what is behind the pervasive thought that persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka is on the rise and will likely continue to be.

Glenn Penner of Voice of the Martyrs, Canada says the country is a cauldron of potential violence that has believers very concerned.

He cites several of the factors that lead them to believe persecution will increase. “We have seen some attacks being led, particularly by Buddhist monks, attacking congregations and churches. There are court cases that are going on right now that are harassing believers. [There are] disputes over the tsunami relief aid–accusations that some groups have been using tsunami aid to induce conversions.”

The mindset of the people does not take conversion from Buddhism lightly. In fact, the growth of the church has been behind two pieces of legislation that are now in Parliament.

The anti-conversion bills may cause even more fierce opposition, since the way of the legislative interpretation is uncertain. The pending legislation is also a concern for foreign workers involved in mission work in Sri Lanka.

It isn’t clear when Sri Lanka’s Parliament will vote on the anti-conversion bill. Penner says at this point, prayer is their strongest tool. “The special representative of the United Nations was recently in Sri Lanka and found absolutely no evidence that anyone had ever been bribed to become a Christian. That is not going to stop militant Buddhist organizations from trying to pass some sort of restrictions on Christian activities in Sri Lanka.”

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