Christian Community in Sri Lanka

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

What support the Church of England is offering to the Christian community in Sri Lanka in response to the recent terrorist attacks in that country.

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Chair, Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill Committee

These were appalling and despicable attacks, and those affected were in the prayers of millions right around the world on Easter Sunday. They were clearly directed at the Christian community in Sri Lanka not just in their churches, but in secular environments such as hotels where they were having Easter Sunday lunch. The Anglican Church in Sri Lanka is small but active, and it is working closely with the Anglican communion to build its capacity in the local community and to better protect itself.

Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for that answer. It is indeed tragic that 257 Christians were killed in the attacks directed at them on Easter Day. Everybody is entitled to freedom of religion and belief. Does she agree that the message we should send out from this House is that no faith sanctions conflict against another?

Photo of Jeremy Lefroy Jeremy Lefroy Conservative, Stafford

Will my right hon. Friend pass on to Christians in Sri Lanka just how much we admire their peaceful and dignified response, and indeed that of all Sri Lankans, to this atrocity?

Photo of Caroline Spelman Caroline Spelman The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Chair, Draft Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill Committee

I certainly will pass that on. The Archbishop of Canterbury immediately called the Bishop of Colombo after these attacks, and has offered support and help to bring the perpetrators to justice. The bishop himself has called for

“the safety of places of religious worship and to prevent any individuals or group taking the law into their hands or provoking acts of intimidation or violence against any community or group.”

This remains crucial in that country.