Con­stant fear and in­tim­i­da­tion

David Jones on the con­tin­u­ing threat of religious ex­trem­ism in the world

Llanelli Star - - LETTERS -

DUE to the con­tin­u­ing threat of fur­ther at­tacks, it was im­pos­si­ble for churches in Sri Lanka to re-open this Sun­day, and so ser­vices were trans­mit­ted on lo­cal and na­tional TV.

Fol­low­ing sur­veil­lance by the Sri Lankan mil­i­tary even more bomb-mak­ing equip­ment was dis­cov­ered and the ac­tion that fol­lowed re­sulted in more loss of life.

Such an en­counter is a re­minder of the con­tin­u­ing threat of religious ex­trem­ism that ex­ists not only in Sri Lanka but many other coun­tries in the world.

Our thoughts and prayers con­tinue for those who lost their loved ones and for the many who re­main in hospi­tal and deeply trau­ma­tised by the bomb­ings on Easter Day.

A re­cent re­port by the Pew Re­search Cen­tre con­firmed that Chris­tian­ity is the world’s most per­se­cuted re­li­gion.

From China to Syria, Pak­istan, Afghanista­n, In­dia, Libya, Iraq, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Egypt, Myan­mar and North Korea Chris­tian mi­nori­ties are ha­rassed, marginalis­ed, op­pressed, ex­iled with much loss of life.

There is scant ac­knowl­edge­ment of this in the world news me­dia, with much greater reporting of a cathe­dral fire than the con­stant fear and in­tim­i­da­tion that so many who fol­low Je­sus suf­fer.

How­ever, of great en­cour­age­ment was that when these mur­der­ous at­tacks oc­curred those who ran to help and even now still sup­port the sur­vivors and their fam­i­lies are Bud­dhists, Hin­dus and Mus­lims who joined with Chris­tians and those of no faith to res­cue, comfort and give sup­port.

There is a com­mon hu­man­ity that binds us to­gether which is be­yond and above all religious dif­fer­ences and through such acts chal­lenges the evil of religious ex­trem­ism.

The mes­sage of Je­sus is of love, for­give­ness and hope. On Easter day this year in Sri Lanka many were sub­jected to an evil which re­mains be­yond the com­pre­hen­sion of all peo­ple of true faith and none.

When­ever and wher­ever such acts oc­cur ev­ery sense of de­cency, com­pas­sion and com­mon good are de­voured by the wicked­ness of such ex­trem­ism. Such evil will never have the fi­nal vic­tory and this was clearly shown by a mother griev­ing the loss of her son.

Stand­ing with his pho­to­graph in front of one of the churches and through her tears, she de­clared be­fore the world me­dia. “Farewell my son, but just for now”. I’d say Amen to that, be­cause within those words is the Chris­tian hope and as­sur­ance that will never al­low the bomb mak­ers and teach­ers of rant­ing ex­trem­ism to win the day. The Easter mes­sage will soon be pro­claimed again from the churches in Sri Lanka: “He is Risen, He is Risen In­deed!”

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