16 August 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  •    - Afghanistan
  •    - Bangladesh
  •    - Bhutan
  •    - India
  •    - Nepal
  •    - Pakistan
  •    - Sri Lanka
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia


  • » 01/14/2017, 15.28

    SRI LANKA

    Buddhists destroy a church in Sri Lanka. Christians continue to pray under a tree

    Melani Manel Perera

    The Kithu Sevana prayer centre is located in a village in north-western Sri Lanka. However, religious services are performed by clergymen who come from other places. On 5 January, a Buddhist monk and a dozen thugs attacked the centre. The latter "do not accept that some families converted. They don’t realise the blessing they receive through prayer."

    Colombo (AsiaNews) – "No attack can stop us. We shall continue to love God and pray under a tree," said Kamal Wasantha, leader of a small Christian community in Sri Lanka.

    He spoke to AsiaNews after their prayer hall was destroyed last week by some Buddhist thugs, headed by a local monk, who are still free.

    Despite this, the community harbours no desire for revenge. “We have not cursed them,” Wasantha said, “and shall not attack them in retaliation. Judgment belongs only to God. We do our part: prayers shall continue under a tree."

    Wasantha is a simple farmer. He leads prayers at the Kithu Sevana (House of Christ) in Paharaiya, a village in north-western Sri Lanka. The structure was a modest building where local Christians, around 15 families and 20 other worshippers, met to pray.

    A group of Buddhists attacked it on 5 January. "First, they threatened us verbally,” Wasantha said. “Then they came with wooden sticks, iron bars and knives and destroyed everything."

    People “begged the attackers not to damage the place of worship,” but "the Lord's house was pulled down in front of our eyes, as we asked God to forgive them."

    Rev Ranjan Palitha, who comes every week from Chilaw (more than 90 km away) to help Wasantha, said that the centre was built more than 15 years ago. "It was never attacked before, only verbal threats. This is the first incident that has the proportions of a real disaster."

    Revs Palitha and Adrian De Vissar celebrate the liturgy and lead the prayers every Sunday and Friday mornings. The two said that first inkling of what was going to happen came on 1st January, as they made their way home.

    "Our car was blocked by the Buddhist monk of Gothamiramaya, who used foul language towards us. He then threatened more serious punishment if we continued to conduct liturgies."

    After this incident, the two clergymen filed a complaint at the police station in Karuwalagaswewa and warned the Christian community.

    On 5 January, police summoned the clergymen and the monk and the same night the attack occurred. Although about 200 witnesses named the monk and 12 others as the attackers, the latter were freed on bail.

    Lakshan Dias, a Christian attorney, complains a lax attitude on the part of the police. They "know the names and facts about the culprits, who live in the same village. Sri Lanka has failed to uphold freedom of religion. The country’s dominant ideology, that of Buddhist Sinhalese, undermines the minorities."

    "Many Buddhists have converted and now live experiences of positive and rewarding life,” said Wasantha, himself a Buddhist convert to Christianity. “I too when I got closer to God felt a great consolation."

    "I cannot abandon my mission,” he explained, “just because of these malicious attacks by people who do not tolerate the 'great change' by some families in this village. They do not know the great blessings our community receives through prayer. "

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    22/07/2004 CHINA
    China tops world in censuring religious websites

    Access to AsiaNews also blocked



    24/06/2004 RUSSIA
    Freedom of expression on trial


    10/12/2004 PHILIPPINES – HUMAN RIGHTS
    Press freedom under siege, Filipino journalists says


    19/05/2010 PAKISTAN – ISLAM
    Facebook blocked by blasphemy regulations
    A judge blocks the social networking website until 31 May because some users organised a competition for Muhammad caricatures. Under Pakistani law, blasphemy can include the death penalty. Account creators say extremists cannot “take away our freedom of speech”.

    24/03/2016 09:17:00 CHINA
    Zhang Kai, lawyer who defends China’s crosses from demolition, is released

    After appearing on television to "confess his crimes" and spending six months under "house arrest", the lawyer was released. Together with activists for civil liberties, he defended the Christian churches against Zhejiang province authorities.





    Editor's choices

    LEBANON – MIDDLE EAST – VATICAN
    For Eastern Catholic patriarchs, the genocide of Christians is an affront to all humanity

    Fady Noun

    Afflicted by wars, emigration and insecurity, Christian communities have now become "a small flock" amid the indifference of the international community. Patriarchs appeal to Pope Francis and the international community. Catholics and Orthodox share the same problems. The end of Christians in the East would be "a shameful stigma for the whole 21st century".


    KOREA
    Korean Bishops say no to “unreasonable provocations', call for a stop to the nuclear escalation by working for the “coexistence of humanity”



    Korean bishops issued an Exhortation today on the rising tensions around the Korean peninsula. North Korea but also "neighbouring countries" are at risk of "hasty unrestrained action" that could lead to the "death of innumerable people" and "deep wounds for the whole of humanity." They call for reduced military budgets and more spending on human and cultural development. They urge using "conscience, intelligence, solidarity, piety and mutual respect". A prayer is set for the feast day of the Assumption, which is also Korean Independence Day.


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®