Religion Consultants Reply to Sri Lanka: ‘When It’s Time to Defend the Minority, We Haven’t At all times Performed So’

Sri Lanka, website of the Easter morning terrorist assaults this previous Sunday, is a Buddhist-majority nation. The dying toll of the Easter bombings has risen above 300 as of Tuesday, and specialists of non secular tendencies and violence say the assaults may put a pressure on Christian-Muslim tensions not simply in Sri Lanka, however worldwide.

The Easter bombings come amid a fragile interval for inter-faith relations. Final month 50 folks had been killed in a capturing at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and this previous October noticed 11 killed at a capturing in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Sri Lankan officers say the Sunday assaults had been carried out by a neighborhood Islamist militant group referred to as the Nationwide Thowheed Jamaath. There’s suspected worldwide help as nicely.

Ed Stetzer, the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair for Church, Mission and Evangelism at Wheaton School, instructed The Washington Submit with regard to Sri Lanka: “Here’s a nation that has pluralism and yet still had religious terrorism. It reminds you there isn’t one solution, no one safe place. It’s surprising.”

Some specialists say the assaults could possibly be a turning level for a worldwide Christian-Muslim dynamic already fraught with rigidity. Steve Bezner, pastor at Houston Northwest Church and a pacesetter on inter-faith dialogue, instructed the Submit the Sri Lanka bombings could possibly be “a bit of a turn” for Christians and Muslims. He mentioned his church hosted a gaggle of Muslims on Easter Sunday, and he was anxious somebody at his church would “say something stupid” to the company. He defined that whereas the non secular minority appears to be like totally different in Sri Lanka than the US, the place most individuals of religion establish as Christian, the written regulation of non secular freedom doesn’t all the time manifest as such in each nations: “When it’s time to defend the minority, we haven’t always done so.”

Evoking concern and division is a part of the definition of terrorism. Many specialists level out that whereas the assaults may exacerbate the fragility between Christians and Muslims, it’s vital that individuals on either side not play right into a persecution narrative which may not exist, particularly in a spot like Sri Lanka the place each Christians and Muslims are within the non secular minority.

Mathew Schmalz, a professor of non secular research on the School of the Holy Cross who studied Catholicism in Sri Lanka, instructed the Submit: “Persecution of religious minorities throughout the world is real. A lot of this can be exploited to fuel theologies of ideologies of grievance. Both evangelical Christians and Catholics feel society is unwelcoming to them. It’s unfortunate if Christians rely on a superficial understanding of victimhood. It plays into their own prejudices.”

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