By Robin Gomes
The Catholic Church of India and a leading Islamic organization of the country have issued a joint statement vehemently condemning the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka. They also plan to send an inter-faith delegation as a gesture of their condolence and solidarity with the victims.
“We, the undersigned, condemn unequivocally these dastardly acts. The persons and the groups responsible for the serials blasts are anti-human, anti-civilization and anti-God,” said the statement signed by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and Maulana Mahmood A. Madani, the General Secretary Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind, an Islamic scholars’ organization.
The coordinated bombings of April 21 by a group of Sri Lankan nationals linked to the Islamic State group, targeted 3 churches and 4 hotels that killed more than 250 people, including foreigners, and injured over 500.
Describing the perpetrators of the attacks as “the incarnation of the most heinous forces on the earth,” the two leaders said, “to associate them with any faith would be most sacrilegious to the faith itself”.
Card. Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, and Madani called on all faiths to “disown and condemn such barbarous individuals and groups.” “The terrorist attacks become all the more gruesome if launched under the garb of religion and holy mission,” they wrote, calling on people of all faiths to “disown and condemn such barbarous individuals and groups”. “It is our duty,” they wrote, “to expose them and banish them from civilized society.”
Noting that the attacks on religious places during religious festivals such as at Easter are perpetrated to create a divide between people of various faiths and communities, the two leaders expressed their closeness with Christians everywhere, sharing their sorrows and pains.
The CBCI and Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind also proposed to send a high-level delegation of various faiths to Sri Lanka to explore the possibilities of cooperation and also to offer their condolence to the bereaved families.
Their message with an appeal to “everyone irrespective of their religion, caste and creed to come forward to save humanity and to maintain social harmony and peace.”