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How can someone kill in the name of God, wonders Sri Lankan Cardinal


Press Trust of India Colombo
Sri Lanka's Roman Catholic leader Sunday said God is the reflection of love and kindness and wondered how someone can kill in the name of God as he referred to the Islamist militants who claimed the massive Easter Sunday bombings were on behalf of the Almighty.
As the country marked a week since the coordinated blasts hit three churches and three luxury hotels, killing 253 people and inuring over 500 others, Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, conducted the special private mass.
Attended by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe along with other leaders, the mass was shown live on television after Sri Lanka's Catholic churches on Thursday suspended all public services until the security situation improves.
The Archbishop, who started his mass with an appeal for peace and unity, said: "It is our faith which has been challenged".
"God is the reflection of love and kindness, so how can someone kill in the name of God?" Cardinal Ranjith asked in a reference to the militants who claimed that the attacks were on behalf of the almighty.
"What happened last Sunday is a great tragedy, an insult to humanity," he said, adding that nothing is more precious than the human lives.
The Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has claimed the April 21 coordinated blasts, but the government has blamed local Islamist extremist group National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) for the attack.
In a statement issued through its propaganda 'Amaq' news agency, the ISIS claimed that "the executors of the attack that targeted citizens of coalition states and Christians in Sri Lanka two days ago were with the group," according to the Site Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activities.
It listed the names of the suicide bombers, who were also shown in a video swearing allegiance to the terror group.
The ISIS statement, which was disseminated on the group's chat rooms on the app Telegram, said that the bombings had been intended to target Christians, as well as citizens of countries belonging to the coalition fighting the Islamic State.
The group referred to Easter as an "infidel holiday".
Sri Lanka has said that the NTJ was behind the attack and it was investigating whether they had international support.
A total of 106 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal, have been arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday blasts, the police said.
Nine suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through three churches and three luxury hotels on the Easter Sunday, killing 253 people.
Sri Lanka on Saturday banned the NTJ and a splinter group linked to the ISIS.
According to Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry, the number of foreign nationals who have been identified as killed remained at 40, including 11 from India.
Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million which is a patchwork of ethnicities and religions, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority.
Muslims account for 10 per cent of the population and are the second-largest minority after Hindus. Around seven per cent of Sri Lankans are Christians.

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First Published: Apr 28 2019 | 4:20 PM IST

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