By Emily Watt | 2 June 2020
SRI LANKA | Government Begins Anti-Conversion Campaign
One year after the Sri Lankan Easter church bombings, the Sri Lankan government has begun plans to introduce new anti-conversion legislation, outlawing the choice to leave one religion for another and putting Christian communities at risk.
In a speech to the Annual Convention of the All Ceylon Buddhist Councils, Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, targeted religious minorities. He labelled religious minorities as “threats facing the Sinhala Buddhist nation,” as more families turn away from their Buddhist beliefs in favour of religions like Christianity.
One local Open Doors partner said, “in rural areas of the country, most pastors and church planters are isolated within Buddhist villages. Already they are experiencing strong opposition from the villagers, local authorities and other religious group leaders.
“If such a bill were to be passed, these pastors and workers would be subjected to more discrimination, and, due to the vaguely defined terms, even charitable actions could be punishable by prison sentences or fines.”
The Prime Minister’s remarks come as Christian communities mourn the first anniversary of the Sri Lankan Easter church bombings, in which a coordinated extremist attack took the lives of over 250 people.
But despite pressure from authorities and a heightened risk of violence during Easter, Christians in Sri Lanka are standing steadfast in their faith, and with your help, are empowered with the tools to follow Jesus, no matter the cost.
Pray For Sri Lanka:
- Pray that despite pressure and the risk of persecution, believers in Sri Lanka will continue pursuing God relentlessly.
- Pray for God-given wisdom over Sri Lankan leaders; that they usher in a new season of reconciliation between religious groups.
- As Christians experience increased persecution over Easter, pray for their protection and that they remain bold in faith despite the risks.
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