FAQ :: Are Asian Buddhists peace loving or violently intolerant of Christians?

Sri Lanka, a small country located to the south of India, is largely Buddhist, with just 1 percent evangelical Christians throughout the country. The country’s constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, but Christians face persecution at the hands of militant Buddhists who do not want them in their villages and think all Sri Lankans should be Buddhist.

A pastor and his family were attacked in their home by a village mob while they waited for police to show up for a prearranged meeting. The family had filed a complaint with police after four Christians who attended a prayer meeting in their house were harassed.

The four Christians were leaving the evening of prayer on May 11, 2014 when they were confronted by about 30 people. The mob told them, “This is our village, you don’t belong here!” They also strictly warned the Christians never to come back to the village for prayer meetings, and told them if they did, they’d be assaulted.

The next morning, the pastor who hosted the meeting went to the police station file a complaint. Police asked the pastor to meet them at his home at 4 p.m. They also asked the four Christians who were accosted to attend the meeting.

The police were late. As the Christians waited, they heard a public announcement calling the villagers to a public meeting. Shortly afterward, 150 people surrounded the pastor’s home and began shouting, calling out slurs against the Christians. The family immediately called the police, who told them they were on their way.

Around 5:30, about 40 people from the mob broke through the security fence surrounding the house. Taking poles from the fence, they smashed the pastor’s van. Others poured into the home and attacked those inside, including the pastor’s wife.

The pastor was knocked unconscious with a blow to the back of his neck with a pole. Suddenly afraid that they’d killed him, the crowd immediately fled. The police arrived 10 minutes after the crowd was gone.

They took the Christians to the police station, where they were held for questioning for seven hours. Their attackers were neither questioned nor arrested. The pastor spent four days in the hospital recovering, and three others were hospitalized for two days.

The Christians filed a case against their attackers two weeks later. When the case was heard on May 29, 2014 a magistrate reprimanded the police and instructed that all the attackers be arrested immediately.