By Matters India Reporter
Mumbai, May 4, 2019: The head of the Catholic Church and general secretary of Muslim theologians in India on May 4 proposed to send a high level interfaith delegation to Sri Lanka to explore ways to help the island nation struggling to recover from terrorist attacks.
“The most ghastly serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka’s churches and hotels on Easter Sunday have shocked the entire civilized society all over the world. We …condemn unequivocally these dastardly acts,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Maulana Mahmood A. Madani said in a joint press statement issued in Mumbai expressing solidarity with the terror victims.
Cardinal Gracias is the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and Maulana Madani is the general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind or the Council of Indian Muslim theologians.
On April 21, Easter Sunday, seven suicide bombers targeted three churches and three luxury hotels in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. At least 253 people were killed and more than 500 wounded. As many as 42 foreign nationals, including more than a dozen Indians, also died.
“Sri Lanka being our closest neighbor, we are ready with an offer of help to enable the victims to get over the unprecedented crisis in their lives. We propose to depute a high level delegation of various faiths to Sri Lanka to explore the possibilities of cooperation and also to offer our sincere condolence to the bereaved families,” says the statement from the cardinal and the maulana.
The Islamic State, a terrorist group, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
“The persons and the groups responsible for the serials blasts are anti-human, anti-civilization and anti-God. They are the incarnation of the most heinous forces on the earth,” say the two religious leaders.
Maintaining that associating the terrorists with any faith would be the “most sacrilegious to the faith itself,” the two urged followers of all religions to disown and condemn such barbarous individuals and groups. “It is our duty to expose them and banish them from civilized society.”
The cardinal and the Muslim scholar say terrorist attacks become “more gruesome” if they are carried out under the garb of religion and holy mission.
“Besides causing great loss of innocent lives, peace and harmony is destroyed. It is the prime duty of all faith leaders to stand up and use all our resources and to cleanse society of this evil,” they asserted.
According to them, the main purpose of the attacks on religious places during a religious feast was to divide people various faiths and communities.
“Therefore we feel it all the more necessary that we stand together with our Christian brothers everywhere and assure them that we share their sorrows and pains and express our solidarity with them,” says the joint statement.
The two leaders appealed to the government and law-enforcement agencies all over the world to be more vigilant and take effective precautionary measures making it impossible for any terrorist groups to play havoc with the life and property of civil society anywhere.
“We express our resolve to continue our struggle against terrorism and for global peace,” the two religious leaders said and the hope that media and peace-loving citizens of India will support and collaborate with their efforts.
They ended the statement appealing to “everyone irrespective of their religion, caste and creed to come forward to save humanity and to maintain social harmony and peace.”