Card Ranjith calls on Muslims worldwide to defeat terrorism (photos)
by Melani Manel Perera

The Archbishop of Colombo rededicated St Sebastian Church three months on the day since the Easter Sunday attacks. A monument was unveiled in memory of the 263 victims. Even Muslims in Muslims countries suffer. The Vatican donated US$ 85,000 for the victims.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, made a powerful appeal on Sunday, three months after the bloody Easter Sunday attacks that left 263 people dead.

He made his plea during the rededication of St Sebastian Church in Katuwapitiya, one of the three Christian churches hit by terrorists.

In his address, the prelate said that Muslims worldwide "must step forward and protect their dignity and the spirit of the Islamic religion. I ask Muslims to join other religions to defeat the pressures that mislead young people and punish them for [the crime] of extremism. For this reason, I invite all Muslims to unite and try to overcome the danger of extremism around the world. Let people live freely.”

On Saturday, the cardinal issued another powerful message to Muslim and world leaders to assume their responsibilities and stop supporting Islamic extremism.

During the homily he lashed out again at those "groups that want to cause havoc in the country. These are not ordinary believers. As I said before, Muslims are not responsible. It is the action of international groups who use misled young people. This is why Muslims must unite with other religions to defeat together all the forces of evil.”

The Archbishop of Colombo stressed that "even Muslims living in countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen suffer."

Then, addressing Catholics, he said: "I ask our people not to feel anger towards Muslims or Islam. Don't think about ​​revenge. Muslims as a whole are not responsible for the actions of some stupid young men. Don't harass them, have respect for them.”

The rededication ceremony of St Sebastiano Church included the blessing of the place of worship, water and oil, followed by Mass, attended by many worshippers, priests and nuns.

The cardinal led the service, which was concelebrated by the two auxiliary bishops of the archdiocese, Mgr J.D. Anthony and Mgr Maxwell Silva.

At the end, a monument to commemorate the victims was unveiled. The ceremony, which saw orphaned children lay a flower for their lost parents, was full of emotion.

In concluding, Card Ranjith spoke about his recent meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican. "He (the Pope) also wept and told me to say that he is praying for you. The Holy Father said that your loved ones are in Heaven."

The Holy See donated some US$ 85,000 for the wounded and relatives of the victims.