The Religions for Peace global family is deeply saddened by the despicable acts of terror that targeted hotels and Christian places of worship in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa during the holy celebration of Easter. We join the leaders of the Sri Lanka Council of Religions for Peace (RfP Sri Lanka) and the people of Sri Lanka as they grieve the loss of innocent lives.
For Christians, Easter is a time to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and to recommit to practicing love and compassion. In post-war Sri Lanka, religious communities have worked side-by-side to cultivate in the hearts of people the virtues of love and compassion for the rebuilding of their nation. We cannot allow the misuse of religion and violent extremism to weaken our shared hope and commitment to peace and reconciliation.
His Holiness, the Supreme Patriarch of Sri Lanka, Ven. Kotsugoda Dhammawasa, Honorary Chair of RfP Sri Lanka, alongside his co-leaders from the Christian, Muslim and Hindu communities, condemned this heinous act of violent extremism and called for national unity and solidarity.
Religions for Peace stands with Sri Lanka’s religious communities in continuing their work to overcome violent extremism and to promote peace with justice and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
“It is with greatest pain that we learnt about the terrorist acts in Catholic churches of Sri Lanka during the Easter festivities and which took lives of hundreds of innocent people and caused injuries to few thousands,” the Catholicos said in the message, expressing sympathies to the people of Sri Lanka and strictly condemning the terrorist acts.
The Catholicos also urged in his message the authorities of Sri Lanka and international organizations undertake all the necessary measures to eradicate the crimes of religious intolerance and hatred.
The Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in the United Arab Emirates condemns the brutal and savage terrorist bombing that targeted several houses of worship and hotels in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
The Forum condemns this heinous crime with the same force that it condemned what happened a few weeks ago when the Christchurch mosque in New Zealand became the target of terrorist attacks. Every time horrendous crimes of terrorism are perpetrated in succession, it only emphasizes that fact that nothing unites terrorists except departure from religion and a spirit of hatred for humanity.
By what religion and by what rational mind is the targeting of places of worship and hospitality justified and vindicated where innocent people and peaceful worshippers reside?
The Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies reiterates that the status of places of worship – whatever their religions – is protected in Islam and defending them is a religious obligation of all believers. God says: “Were it not for God’s causing some people to drive back others, destruction would have befallen the monasteries, and churches, and synagogues, and mosques in which God’s Name is mentioned abundantly.” (Qur’an 22:40).
The Forum for Promoting Peace extends its deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the entire Sri Lankan nation, calling on all its components to adhere to their original model of harmony, coexistence and the rejection of the spirit of hatred, which these terrorist acts seek to spread.