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Posted on 04/17/2009 4:06:31 AM PDT by kellynla

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, April 16 (Compass Direct News) – Buddhist mobs attacked several churches in Sri Lanka last week, threatening to kill a pastor in the southern province of Hambanthota and ransacking a 150-year-old Methodist church building in the capital.

On April 8, four Buddhist extremists approached the home of pastor Pradeep Kumara in Weeraketiya, Hambanthota district, calling for him to come out and threatening to kill him. The pastor said his wife, at home alone with their two children, phoned him immediately but by the time he returned, the men had left.

Half an hour later, Kumar said, the leader of the group phoned him and again threatened to kill him if he did not leave the village by the following morning. Later that night the group leader returned to the house and ordered the pastor to come out, shouting, “I didn’t bring my gun tonight because if I had it with me, I would use it!”

“My children were frightened,” Kumara said. “I tried to reason with him to go away, but he continued to bang on the door and threaten us.”

Police soon arrived on the scene and arrested the instigator but released him the following day.

Subsequently the attacker gathered Buddhist monks and other villagers together and asked them to sign a petition against the church, Kumar said. Protestors then warned the pastor’s landlord that they would destroy the house if he did not evict the pastor’s family by the end of the month.

Fearing violence, Kumara said he canceled Good Friday and Easter Sunday services and evacuated his children to a safer location.

Methodist Building Ransacked

Earlier, on Palm Sunday (April 5), another group of men broke into the 150-year-old Pepiliyana Methodist Church in Colombo after congregants concluded an Easter procession.

The gang entered through the back door and windows of the building late that night; witnesses said they saw them load goods into a white van parked outside the church early the next morning.

“They removed everything, including valuable musical instruments, a computer, Bibles, hymn books and all the church records,” said the Rev. Surangika Fernando.

The church had no known enemies and enjoyed a good relationship with other villagers, Rev. Fernando said, adding that the break-in appeared to be more than a simple robbery.

“My desk was completely cleaned out,” he said. “They took important documents with details of parishioners such as baptism and marriage records, which are of no value to thieves. They even took what was in my wastepaper basket.”

Local police agreed that robbery was an unlikely motive and that opponents from outside the area were the most likely culprits. Investigations were continuing at press time.

Finally, anti-Christian mobs in Vakarai, eastern Batticaloa district, intimidated church members gathering for several worship services during Holy Week.

“What can we do?” pastor Kanagalingam Muraleetharan told Compass. “The authorities and the police say we have the right to worship, but the reality is that people are threatened.”

The Easter incidents are the latest in a long series of attacks against churches and Christian individuals in recent years, many of them instigated by Buddhist monks who decry the growth of Christianity in the country.

Members of Sri Lanka’s Parliament may soon enact an anti-conversion bill designed to restrict religious conversions. Human rights organizations and Christian groups have criticized the vague terminology of the legislation that, if passed, may invite misapplication against religious activity.

The draft “Bill for the Prohibition of Forcible Conversions” was referred to a consultative committee of the Ministry of Religious Affairs in February for further deliberation, prior to a final reading and vote. (See, “Parliament to Vote on Anti-Conversion Laws,” Jan. 26.)

According to the most recent government census, Protestant Christians number less than 1 percent of the total population in Sri Lanka, but they remain the primary target of religiously motivated violence and intimidation.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: buddhist; christian; methodist; religion

1 posted on 04/17/2009 4:06:32 AM PDT by kellynla
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To: kellynla

The Buddha would not approve.

2 posted on 04/17/2009 4:13:18 AM PDT by allmost
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To: kellynla

The Buddha who threatens to burn down your house is not the true Buddha.

3 posted on 04/17/2009 4:15:44 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: kellynla

Now this is odd. Everywhere in the world I have been to so far, the Christians have pretty good relations with the Buddhists.

Obviously they disagree on a lot of points but to do violence to another person over reasons of religion is anathema to everything Buddhists believe — again, based on my experience. It is totally counter to the Eightfold Path.

Having said that, some people call themselves Buddhist who aren’t, just as some people call themselves Christian who aren’t.

I am not casting any judgments at this point, but there is one thing I am sure of. Buddhists are not Muslims and there is no tradition of proselytizing by force in Buddhist thought.

I will be watching this story with interest.

4 posted on 04/17/2009 4:19:03 AM PDT by Ronin (Just when you're winning the rat race -- along come faster rats....)
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To: kellynla; Ronin

I’m thinking agitators from India might be behind this.

5 posted on 04/17/2009 4:34:45 AM PDT by jimtorr
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To: kellynla

That’s pretty strange. You don’t hear a lot about rampaging Buddhists.

6 posted on 04/17/2009 4:54:06 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: allmost; wardaddy; dixiechick2000

Isn’t “buddhist attack” oxymoronic?

7 posted on 04/17/2009 5:11:53 AM PDT by Yudan (Living comes much easier once we admit we're dying.)
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To: kellynla

Buddhists and Christians usually coexist well. However, in every traditionally Buddhist area, their are people who are not religious. These attackers of the church may have been political operatives. My suspicion is that they could be Tamil Tiger supporters. Note that the article points out that the 150-year-old church had no record of problems with its neighbors. The attackers were a gang of thugs. Where did they come from?

A problem with Buddhism is its passivity. The police apparently did nothing in this case.

Formerly Buddhist India was overrun by violent Muslims, and Buddhism was essentially wiped out in its area of origin. Buddhism survived on Sri Lanka, because it is an island. The civil war there was instigated by immigrant Tamils, Hindus from the mainland. The Tamil Tigers are a terroristic guerrilla movement. It took years for the Buddhist majority to mobilize and to effectively defend themselves. At last they are doing the job, and have almost succeeded. The guerrilla sympathizers have now turned to demonstrations, trying to pressure for a cease fire to save their skins, arguing that it is needed for the sake of civilians whom they themselves are using as shields.

It would be an expected tactic for the Tigers to do anything necessary to embarrass the country, including attacking the Christians, who have links to other countries, and whose plight (they imagine!) might stir up antipathy towards the majority in Sri Lanka.

8 posted on 04/17/2009 5:47:46 AM PDT by docbnj
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To: Yudan; wardaddy; allmost

Maybe the Buddhist’s work for DHS. ;o)

9 posted on 04/17/2009 7:56:06 AM PDT by dixiechick2000 (Rightwing extremist on the DHS hit list...and proud of it!)
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To: kellynla

I am not surprised. There has been an increase in radicalization in both Buddhist and Hindu countries.

A group that helps Persecuted Christians throughout the world:

10 posted on 04/17/2009 8:03:36 AM PDT by reaganaut (ex-mormon, now Christian. "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see")
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There are apparently some people around the world who have entirely too much time on their hands...if these clowns would focus on their own religion, families and work instead of worrying about the “Jones” down the street...they'd be doing something constructive...
11 posted on 04/17/2009 8:24:47 AM PDT by kellynla (Freedom of speech makes it easier to spot the idiots! Semper Fi!)
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