With the defeat of Rajapaksa’s government in Sri Lanka’s presidential elections last week, religious minorities are hopeful of change and an increased freedom to worship. For the first time in Sri Lanka’s history, Muslims and Christians united in their political stand against the sitting president and in support of the opposition, in their desire to bring about change.
Under Rajapaksa, both Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka were increasingly being targeted by radical Buddhist nationalists, who believe that Sri Lanka should only be for Buddhists. According to the UN, in the last 2 years there have been over 350 violent attacks on Muslims and 150 against Christians and places of worship.
In July 2014, the UN issued a press statement calling on the Sri Lankan government to introduce measures to stop the promotion of racial and faith based hatred and violence against Muslim and Christian communities. It is possible that the lack of any such action led these communities to unite in the elections and vote in a new president, and a new hope for freedom to worship and to live in peace and safety.
- Pray for an ending to violence against the minority groups in Sri Lanka, and for the radical Buddhist nationalists to cease targeting Christians and Muslims.
- Pray for the new government in Sri Lanka, to bring in measures to protect minorities and to work for peace and freedom of worship in this country.