Lakshman realised that his traditional Hindu faith was not giving him the answers he needed. He began searching for someone who could tell him about the one true God who created the heaven and earth. Lakshman was looking for the Almighty God who could show him the straight path. While visiting a mosque with a friend he decided that he could find the truth among those attending the mosque. He changed his name and became a Muslim.
Historically, Sri Lankan Muslims increased in numbers mostly through immigration, however, now there are many conversions among native Sri Lankans. These converts are coming from the traditional Tamil Hindu and Roman Catholic communities. Tamil newspapers contain the names of converts on an almost daily basis.
Long-Term Observation in Sri Lanka
The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has a total population of 19 million, made up of mostly Buddhists. Muslims account for between seven and eight percent of the population. A revival of Islamic fundamentalism is occurring in the country and orthodox Islamic teaching is on the increase. Generally, there is one mosque per 20 to 30 Muslim families. Long-term observers have noticed a marked increase in the number of women observing purdah (the traditional Islamic dress code), which is a relatively new phenomenon in the area.
Today in Sri Lanka
Currently there are only a few known Christian workers among the 1.2 million Muslims of Sri Lanka. Pray the Lord of the Harvest to send labourers to this tropical country. Pray that the Sri Lankan churches will catch the vision to reach out to the many Muslims in their communities. A project is under way to translate more of the Scripture into the Tamil dialect used by most of the Muslims. Ask for wisdom for the translators, printers and distributors of this resource. Just as translators need to be able to communicate well in two languages, graphic artists need inspiration to get their message across. In addition the means and attitudes used in literature distribution can sometimes determine if it will be read. A Radio broadcast targeting the Sri Lankan Muslims began in 2003. Pray that these Gospel broadcasts will have a broad audience and that some Christians will be ready and able to help those who respond to the broadcasts.
Pray for the Muslims of Sri Lanka:
* Pray for an effective planting of the Gospel seed in the lives of the Muslims of Sri Lanka.
* Pray that Sri Lankan Christians take every opportunity to share of their Faith in Christ with the Muslims.
* Pray for a release of labourers to serve in this great country.
* Pray for Indian churches to send out evangelists and people who are motivated to work especially among the poor Sri Lankan Muslims.
* Ask God to reveal Himself supernaturally to these Muslim communities, and that their hearts would be open to God. May they seek the truth and find eternal salvation.
Background on Sri Lanka (World Factbook)
The Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced beginning in about the mid-third century B.C., and a great civilization developed at the cities of Anuradhapura (kingdom from circa 200 B.C. to circa A.D. 1000) and Polonnaruwa (from about 1070 to 1200). In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty seized power in the north and established a Tamil kingdom. Occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century and by the Dutch in the 17th century, the island was ceded to the British in 1796, became a crown colony in 1802, and was united under British rule by 1815.
As Ceylon, it became independent in 1948; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972. Tensions between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil separatists erupted into war in 1983. Tens of thousands have died in an ethnic conflict that continues to fester. After two decades of fighting, the government and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam formalized a cease-fire in February 2002, with Norway brokering peace negotiations. In January 2008, the government officially withdrew from the ceasefire, and began engaging the LTTE in the northern portion of the country. In May 2009 the war was officially over.
Economy of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is engaging in large-scale reconstruction and development projects following the end of the 26-year conflict with the LTTE, including increasing electricity access and rebuilding its road and rail network. Additionally, Sri Lanka seeks to reduce poverty by using a combination of state directed policies and private investment promotion to spur growth in disadvantaged areas, develop small and medium enterprises, and promote increased agriculture.
About Sri Lanka
Population: 21,481,334 see note at the bottom (July 2012 est.) World rank #57
Life Expectancy at Birth: 75.94 years. World rank #83
Ethnic groups: Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10%
Religions: Buddhist 69.1%, Muslim 7.6%, Hindu 7.1%, Christian 6.2%, unspecified 10%
Languages: Sinhala (official and national language) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, other 8%
note: English is commonly used in government and is spoken competently by about 10% of the population
Literacy: 91.2% — Male:92.6%, Female: 90%
School Life Expectency: 13 years
Population Note: since the outbreak of hostilities between the government and armed Tamil separatists in the mid-1980s, several hundred thousand Tamil civilians have fled the island and more than 200,000 Tamils have sought refuge in the West.
Suicide bombers in Sri Lanka – Video
A documentary about the side of the Black Tigers and why they believe in what they do.