A coordinated campaign to spark terror on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka has resulted in estimated deaths of over one hundred Christian worshippers and hundreds more injured. Simultaneous explosions ripped through four luxury hotels and three churches in separate locations during Easter Mass, leaving the nation in fear and emergency services struggling to cope.
While no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, it appears senior officials were aware that terror activities had been planned. Ten days ago, Sri Lanka’s police chief put out a nationwide alert stating that suicide bombers would be trying to target “prominent churches” around the Easter celebration.
Two of the bombed churches are in Colombo, the nation’s capital, and one in the northern city of Negombo, a popular tourist destination.
Harsha de Silva, a Sri Lankan member of parliament, was on the ground immediately after the explosions in Colombo. He confirmed the locations of the attacks and said:
“Horrible scenes, I saw many body parts strewn all over.”
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe verified that these explosions were indeed targeted terror attacks, and said:
“I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today. I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”
At least two of the seven attacks have been confirmed as suicide bombings with the culprits identified in the Sri Lankan media.
Violence Against Christians
The destruction of churches worldwide is on the rise. Senseless vandalism, arson, and desecration are an almost commonplace event in 2018/19. In France last year there were, according to France’s Interior Ministry, between 700 and 877 acts of vandalism at Christian places of worship; that’s between 1.9 and 2.4 attacks per day.
This last week we witnessed the horrendous fire that swept through Notre Dame cathedral, which, so far, is thought to be only an accident. The world seems to have forgotten, however, that just in February, attackers entered Paris’ jewel and “broke the church’s tabernacle and daubed a crucifix in excrement on the walls of the church.”
The image below depicts all recorded instances of attacks, vandalism, desecration, and arson that took place in France during 2017 and 2018:
And 2019 is already off to a rapid start.
The Unspoken Persecution
Christians worldwide are facing threat, persecution, and worse. Since 2010, the Christian population of Iraq has fallen from 1.5 million to an estimated 250,000, many of whom were killed or displaced by violence. In 2016, the European Union officially recognized the murder of Christians in ISIS-held regions as genocide; the same motion in Canada, however, failed to pass.
During the same month as the tragic terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, that saw 49 Muslims slaughtered during their Friday prayers, up to 300 mostly Christian, mostly women and children were killed in a series of raids on villages in Nigeria.
But this isn’t, and should never be, a game of numbers. The persecution and murder of any people based on their faith is a tragedy that cuts to the heart. The Sri Lankan attack was a message of hatred aimed at people who would celebrate life, love, and resurrection; the murderers fail to understand that faith is stronger than their evil.