Sri Lanka to consider an Anti-Conversion Bill

By June 10, 2004

Sri Lanka (MNN)–Compass Direct is reporting that members of the Buddhist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party will present a “Bill on the Prohibition of Forcible Conversion” to the Sri Lankan Parliament within the next two weeks.

The current constitution supposedly allows citizens to worship, observe and practice a religion of their choice, but that could also change. Open Doors’ Jerry Dykstra. “Unfortunately, there’s also a plan to introduce three other bills that would have similar effect, restricting religious conversions, and establishing an independent Buddhist court system controlled by the Buddhist monks. So, we’re seeing that the Christians are going to suffer more.”
Dykstra says believers have faced the crucible of oppression before. They’ve come to understand that hardship often strengthens the church. Teams remain committed to their support. Dykstra couldn’t get more specific because of the security issues involved.

However, he says people are open to the Gospel because of the growing disillusionment playing a factor along with persecution.

The church, he says, while small, is effective. “On the bright side, over the past few years, even in the midst of civil war and persecution, the number of Christians in Sri Lanka has grown to about seven percent of the country. The Buddhists are the majority with about 80-percent.”

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