On the occasion of the bloody attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka with more than 300 dead and many hundreds injured, the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) expresses its sympathy and solidarity with the brothers and sisters in Christ as well with the families of the victims in Sri Lanka. "We are shocked at the level of hatred and violence that so many people have fallen victim to at Easter," said Jochen Motte, member of the UEM management team.
Pastor Sujithar Sivanayagam of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka, who will lead a seminar on peace work and human rights of the UEM in Wuppertal in July this year, reports on the consequences of the bomb attack on an independent Protestant church in the city of Batticaloa in the east of the country: "The explosion took place in an independent church in the centre of the city of Batticaloa. The number of casualties has risen to 27, including many children. Four people are still missing, more than 40 are injured. Access to the social media is closed until further notice. We have visited many affected families and participated in funerals. The situation is still serious. All shops are closed. Security has been tightened. Police and military patrol the streets and secure every church. The Pasikudah region is secured by military forces due to the tourism there. According to a government decree, schools in the country are closed until 28 April. As parents, however, we are afraid to send our children back to school if the government cannot guarantee the safety of the schools."
Already last week the head of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka, Asiri Perera, reported on intimidation of parishioners of a church in Anuradhapura by extremist circles. The UEM member church had so far unsuccessfully asked the government and the police to protect the parishioners from attacks.
With the participation of Christians and Buddhists from Sri Lanka as well as representatives of Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious communities from Indonesia, Tanzania, Cameroon, the Philippines, Rwanda and Namibia, the UEM will hold the second interreligious peace conference in Tanzania's Zanzibar in September this year. With it the international communion of Protestant churches visibly stands up against violence, hatred and extremism and for religious freedom as well as for a peaceful coexistence of religions.
UEM Online Editorial Office