Relaymedia

Vandals Break Into Office of National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka

( [email protected] ) Jul 08, 2004 09:56 PM EDT

The office of the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) was vandalized on July 3 in what appeared to be a systematic search, according to the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).

"Sometime during the day, the attackers forced open the back door. They searched through desk drawers and filing cabinets, breaking locks and scattering their contents," reported VOM. "It is unclear at present what exactly they were looking for. Though money was taken from a cash box, robbery does not appear to be the primary motive, since a video projector, camera, computer and other items of value were not taken."

Currently, there are concerns that the break-in may be related to NCEASL's opposition to Sri Lanka's proposed anti-conversion legislation. The organization is presently conducting a public awareness campaign and their first advertisement in a Sri Lankan daily newspaper appeared on July 3. NCEASL suspects that the vandals may have been looking for documents related to the campaign. However, files related to finances and related to action against the anti-conversion bills before parliament were not kept in the office.

An NCEASL spokesperson told VOM, "We are more determined to stand firm and struggle on for religious freedom in Sri Lanka, whatever happens. Incidents like what happened on Saturday only strengthens our resolve."

According to VOM local authorities are "apparently taking a very laid back approach to the break-in and the NCEASL does not expect justice from the Sri Lankan police or courts at this point in time."

The organization has asked for Christians to pray for the continued ministry of the NCEASL and other Christian organizations fighting to protect the rights of Christians in Sri Lanka. "Pray that the anti-conversion bills presented before the Sri Lankan parliament will not become law."

The Voice of the Martyrs also urges Christians from around the world to protest to Sri Lankan authorities against this proposed legislation. VOM has provided Sri Lankan government contacts on their website. They can be found at http://www.persecution.net/news/srilanka_addresses.html