Muslim and Christian leaders condemn the Easter massacres in Sri Lanka (photos)

'United against Hate' organised a protest in Delhi. Asian Churches expressed their solidarity. For Muslim activist, "Christianity and Islam, can walk together" as Francis suggested.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - To defeat the threat of terrorism, "we must create bonds of mutual trust and bridges between religions," said Ovais Sultan Khan, a Muslim leader of "United Against Hate" (UAH), "just as Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar [Ahmed el-Tayeb] did" when they signed the Document on Human Brotherhood in Abu Dhabi in February.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Khan condemned the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka against three churches and three hotels and expressed his solidarity with the Christian victims.

"We may belong to different faiths, but we must unite," he said. "Terrorism is not just about Muslims; it's a much bigger problem. The two great religions, Christianity and Islam, can walk together, as suggested by the pontiff. But we need more dialogue to eliminate the chain of bloodshed. For us, the attack on the mosques of Christchurch and against the churches in Sri Lanka have the same importance."

Yesterday, the UAH organised a protest in New Delhi, in front of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. They were joined by Sikhs and Hindus. There were Catholic priests, nuns, and lay people, almost 200 people in all.

Another UAH leader, Nadeem Khan, said: "All sectors of society and Muslim groups in India were present. We wanted to send a clear message: terrorism is against all religions. We pray for those who lost their lives. All of us are close to our Christian brothers in this moment of pain."

The protest in New Delhi was organised in cooperation with the Archdiocesan Commission for Ecumenism. The slogan was 'We are all Colombo. We are all Christians'.

John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council, also participated. He stressed its importance both because the protest was held on a "working day" and because many Muslim groups also joined it, organisations like Jamaat e Islami e Hind (JIH) and Jamiat e Ulema e Hind (JUH) representing Deoband Ulema.

For Lenin Raghuvanshi, executive director of the Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) in Varanasi, the "Tragedy in Srilanka is an attack on humanity. It is part of an alarming fascist way of thinking."

He went on to say that "We need to promote diversity and pluralism" as well as a "welfare state and security system against terrorism, based on the rule of law. We also need to promote a reconciliation process for all cognitive and contextual mistakes too."

A few days, Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, strongly condemned the massacres in Sri Lanka. "The Church in India is very saddened by the attacks on the churches. We offer our solidarity to the families of the victims and to the survivors. On this day of celebration in the hope of resurrection, our brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka are devastated by the senseless violence. We pray that the Risen Christ will bring peace.”

For this coming Sunday, the Latin rite bishops of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) are calling on the faithful to observe a "special day of prayer for the tragedy in Sri Lanka".