Violence against Christians may increase as Christmas nears

By December 24, 2003

AUSTRALIA (MNN) — Christmas 2003 could be a repeat of recent Christmases.

In Indonesia, a Jakarta police chief has warned that intelligence information suggests Jakarta could well be the target of a bombing campaign this Christmas. Police officers will be stationed at more than 240 churches throughout Jakarta and its suburbs.

In Iraq, intelligence indicates that Iraq also may experience major terror attacks over Christmas, although reports admit it is unclear what the targets might be.

Italy reports security will be increased at some 8,000 major Christian sites in Italy, including St Peter’s Square, after a warning from Mossad (Israeli Intelligence Service) that there was a ‘high index of probability’ that ‘an important symbol of Christianity’ would be the target of a terror attack between Christmas and New Year. The Via della Conciliazione, the main road leading to St Peter’s Basilica, will be closed every night until 25 December, a precaution officials say was unprecedented.

In Sri Lanka, the situation is extremely tense due to the death last week of the prominent and much revered Sri Lankan Buddhist monk Ven. Soma Thero, a champion of Buddhist nationalism. He was in Russia receiving an award at the time of his death. An autopsy revealed he suffered a fatal heart attack. However, Sri Lanka’s ‘Supreme Council of Monks’ has called for his death to be investigated, saying they suspect foul play. Sri Lankan media have speculated there is a Christian conspiracy. According to the
Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (EASL), tensions are running so high that churches across the nation are postponing Christmas celebrations. Ven. Soma Thero’s funeral will take place on 24 December, Christmas Eve. EASL is requesting prayer for the nation.

And, security has also been stepped up in USA due to intelligence indicating that America may be a terror target over Christmas.

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