Sri Lanka, on alert for Ramadan. Card. Ranjith: the first Masses on May 5th

On May 6th,  the holy month of fasting and prayer for the Muslim faithful  begin.  The Archbishop of Colombo has refused to use an armored car and asks for protection for the country.  Among the victims of Easter, 42 foreigners and 45 children were identified.


Colombo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In Sri Lanka, after the kamikaze attacks that bloodied the island on Easter Day, the alert for Islamic terrorism remains high.  The authorities report that at the moment the danger concerns above all the Muslim community that lives on the island that is preparing to celebrate Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer for the faithful of Islam.  Here the month (variable according to the countries according to the lunar calendar) will begin May 6th.

Meanwhile the tension remains high for the Christian community.  Yesterday Card.  Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, after refusing the armored car made available by the government, announced the reopening of the churches from May 5, with the celebration of Mass.  "We will begin with a few Masses - he said - and we will see if we can increase them little by little.  Everything will depend on developments in the situation".  On the fact that he refused the armored car, he said: "I'm not frightened.  I don't need the escort to move.  The Lord is my protector.  Rather, I want protection for my people and my country. "

The announcement of the resumption of liturgical services represents the hope of a return to normality for the Christian faithful, who last Sunday for the first time in their lives followed Mass with a live television broadcast, after the closure of all the churches in the country following the  attacks.  The ban on entry into all Christian places of worship was ordered by the ecclesiastical leaders themselves, as a precautionary measure after the massacres carried out while the faithful participated in the Easter services that killed 253 people and wounded another 500.  Among the victims, the investigators identified 42 foreigners and 45 children.

While raids continue in the country, investigators still seem to be groping in the dark.  The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the massacres, but the authorities in Colombo believe that the responsibility lies with two local Islamic factions (National Thowheed Jamath and the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen) with alleged foreign ties.  Amid all this confusion, the voice of Card. Ranjith rang out yesterday, with blunt criticism of Colombo's holes in its emergency management.