04/27/2019 Sri Lanka (International Christian Concern) – Nearly 10,000 soldiers were deployed across Sri Lanka to provide security for religious centers following last Sunday’s deadly Easter bombings. Among those protected were Sri Lanka’s Muslim community who participated in Friday prayers focused on calling for peace among all Sri Lanka’s religious communities.
Flanked by armed soldiers, Muslims in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo participated in subdued Friday prayers even though they were warned by security officials to stay home. At this prayer service, worshipers prayed for the victims of last Sunday’s attacks and for peace to return to Sri Lanka.
“It’s a very sad situation,” Raees Ulhaq, told Reuters. “We work with Christians, Buddhists, Hindus. It has been a threat for all of us because what they few people have done to this beautiful country.”
Following last Sunday’s suicide attacks, reports of retaliatory sectarian violence against Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority have caused many Muslims to flee their home and avoid worship centers.
Historically, Sri Lanka’s Christians have faced little, if any, hostility from the country’s Muslim community. In fact, due to their shared identity as religious minorities, Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka have developed a common bond.
On Easter Sunday, April 21, suicide bombers attacked three churches and three hotels across Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter worship services. Among the worst sites hit by these coordinated attacks was St. Sebastian’s Church where over 100 Christians were reportedly killed.
Days later, ISIS claimed responsibility for the series of bombings. Sri Lankan government officials have accused at least one local Islamist group of being involved. These government officials went on to claim that the attacks were a “retaliation” for the New Zealand mosque attacks in March.
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