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Religions for Responsible Governance appeals to citizens to stand united

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 2 May 2019 01:28

Following is a statement by the Religions for Responsible Governance:

The Religions for Responsible Governance is deeply saddened by the terror attacks aimed at two Roman Catholic churches, in Colombo and Negombo, one Evangelical Church in Batticaloa and three hotels in Colombo city. These attacks were not only against the innocent Christians on a holy day in their calendar but also against all of humanity. We consequently condemn these senseless and brutal attacks. 

The attacks were planned and spearheaded by members of a small extremist Muslim group who preached hatred and violence. It has been revealed that they had foreign assistance and direction. In the aftermath of the attack, the Muslim community is in a state of shock and fear that the prevailing tensions could lead to intimidation of a whole community and a communal backlash. 

In the circumstances we admire and commend the leadership of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, and Pastor Thirukumar of the Zion Church of Batticaloa, whose public interventions helped prevent more violence. We also deeply appreciate the stance of Muslim leaders who distanced themselves from these attacks and extremism, while also expressing their sorrow at the sufferings caused. 

We place on record our gratitude for the services of police, armed forces and all medical personnel while offering our condolences to the families of the three police officers who died in service.

However, various elements in society are trying to take advantage of the situation and create communal tensions. Media institutions can play a vital role and we appeal them to promote harmony. Religious leaders should guide youth to save them from extremist ideologies and certainly, this is not the time to get political advantage out of the issue. Our motherland faced three major uprisings after independence and there were several communal and religious clashes among different ethnic and religious groups. As a nation we have not explored the root causes of these ethnic and religious clashes and uprisings. Instead, we have done our best to control the effects – with some successes and some failures. The effects can be controlled in the short run but in the long run the root causes should be eliminated.

Collectively, the majority communities and the minorities in the line of ethnic and religious divisions should take effective steps towards genuine and serious introspection, in order to identify and eliminate delicate policies and sensitive issues which would impede in achieving sustainable co-existence and harmony. Those belonging to all communities and religions in this country, have lived together harmoniously in the past, as one group of people, despite our numerical differences. We need to return to that situation. We all as peace-loving citizens, should stand united, opposing those who advocate violence and terror as a means of provocation or retaliation and also befriend and protect the frightened. 

As a multi religious group concerned about righteous governance, we sincerely appeal to the authorities and all fellow citizens to work in this direction to rise from the ashes of this grave incident in the history of our motherland.

Signed by

1.Venerable Galkande

Dhammananda Thero

2.Venerable Yatalamatte Kusalananda Thero

3.Reverend Bishop Duleep de Chickera 

4. Reverend Father Anslem Fonseka

5.Swami  Gunatitananda Saraswati

6.Ash Sheikh S.H.M. Faleel 7.Sheikh Ziyad Ibrahim 8.Ven Tenzin Lekdron 9.Jezima Ismail

10. Dr. Tara de Mel

11. Harsha Gunasena

12. Nuwan Subasinghe

13. Shakhuntala Seneviratne

14. Alagan Kanagaratnam

15. Geetha Kanagaratnam

16. Nang Loung Hom

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