Published: 12:00 GMT Standard Time - Tuesday 06 March 2012
Pastor beaten and threatened with death by Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka
Country/Region: Sri Lanka, South and East Asia
A church pastor in Sri Lanka was issued with an ultimatum during an attack by Buddhist monks in his home: leave the village or face death.
The incident, which happened on the afternoon of 20 February, started when three monks turned up on the pastor’s doorstep in Ambalangoda, Galle District.
He invited them in, and within minutes a group of around 30 monks entered the property. One of them spoke against the pastor’s Christian activities and warned him not to convert Buddhists. As the pastor attempted to respond, the monk slapped him in the face and hit him repeatedly until his wife and mother intervened.
The monks then issued an ultimatum that the pastor and his family leave the village, where he has been serving the church for over ten years, or else face death. He was warned that their house would be bombed or set on fire.
The monks took several photographs on mobile phones of the pastor and his family.
During the night of 22 February, the gate of the pastor’s property was vandalised with a warning message telling him “not to incite the village” and a drawing of a skull and cross bones.
Both incidents were reported to the police.
Christians and churches in Sri Lanka, mainly in rural areas, are subjected to sporadic but intense attacks, often by Buddhist extremists, but sometimes by Hindu or Muslim groups.