Colombo, April 25 (IANS): Sri Lanka’s Muslim community should not be blamed for the Easter Sunday suicide bombings that authorities have blamed on a local Muslim group, the Archbishop of Colombo said on Thursday.
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjit said that Muslim politicians and others from the community had offered their condolences and said they had nothing to do with the Sunday horror that killed 359 people and injured hundreds.
“Hence, I am of the opinion that the Muslim community had absolutely nothing to do with these attacks,” the Daily Mirror newspaper quoted him as saying.
But the Archbishop said he could not fathom why the Catholic community was subjected to such atrocities.
“I have been personally open and friendly towards the Muslim community as we share a common ancestor in Abraham,” Cardinal Ranjith said.
“However, the reason why they chose us would emerge in the future.”
He said that members of the Muslim community had met him at Inter-Religious Council meetings where they expressed their condolences and insisted they had no connection with what transpired on Easter Sunday.
Addressing the media, he said the government should have told him “if they knew something was about to take place”.
In such an event, he said the community would have cancelled all the masses and services during the Holy Week.
He was referring to published reports that Sri Lanka had been warned by intelligence agencies about possible terror attacks during Easter but the warnings were ignored.
“I have also told my Catholic population not to raise their hand against anyone because that’s what we Christians have to follow,” the Cardinal added.
He said he had stopped all festivals taking place in churches until the situation was brought back to normal.