Christians in Sri Lanka: Many Muslims have come to us asking for forgiveness

This blood-stained Christ statue in Negombo Church has become a major symbol for the brutal attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

The Christian community is still in a state of shock and uncertain about the motivation behind these attacks. This is because it took place in a country where they have not experienced many problems. For this reason, they are now beginning to think the attack was not only religiously motivated.

FR. JOSEPH IGNATIUS NIROSHAN VAZ
Sri Lankan Priest
“We are walking very slowly to find out the real truth. We cannot say this attack is really against Christians.”  “There are many Muslims that are coming forward asking for forgiveness. This is because some of their members are involved in it. Many Muslims are coming forward asking for forgiveness.”

Fr. Niroshan Vaz is from Sri Lanka. He knows some of the victims caught up in these attacks. According to him, although Catholics are very angry about these attacks, they know they are called to forgive.

FR. JOSEPH IGNATIUS NIROSHAN VAZ
Sri Lankan Priest
“Even in this moment of suffering, we ask Christians to forgive them.”FLASH “We have to wash away our anger with our tears. There are many mothers, many fathers who are crying as they have lost their children. There are also children who have lost their parents. Some families are no more.”

Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Italy, who is also a Catholic, believes forgiveness is necessary despite the pain.

DAYA. S.J. PELPOLA
Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Italy
“It is a hard thing to ask for. However if you believe in your faith you have no choice but to forgive. You have to forgive. I think the Catholics and other Christian communities in Sri Lanka are well versed in their faith and they will forgive. I have no doubt about this.”

The ambassador says these attacks are a tragedy for the whole country. This is also because Catholics have always been important in relations between different religious communities, especially since the end of the war in 2009. For this reason, there is fear these attacks could fracture this peaceful coexistence.

DAYA. S.J. PELPOLA
Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Italy
“The people feel we will go back 10 years.”  “Right now we have to admit that the attacks were on the Catholic community. However, we cannot say for certain it was meant for the Catholic community. I believe it was meant to draw attention to a radical Muslim organization.”

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Italy has received many messages of support from all over the world. However, although he appreciates these signs of affection, for him Pope Francis’ constant remembrance of Sri Lanka is very important.