Sri Lanka, Card. Ranjith: No to religious or ethnic political parties
by Melani Manel Perera

They divide the country, says the Archbishop of Colombo. Religious extremism was behind last year's Easter attacks. Criticism of the authorities’ failure to identify those responsible. Christians do not need a sectarian party to obtain their rights.

Colombo (Asia News) - Religious and ethnic parties must be banned: they do nothing but divide the country, says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, in his homily for the National Day of the Sick, delivered in the basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatte.

Referring to the Easter attacks last year, and to the slow progress in investigations to find the culprits, Cardinal Ranjith recalled that religion must not divide or kill people: "If one religion destroys another, what is its meaning? Show me where such a God is!”.

According to the Archbishop, religious extremism has spread dangerously in the country. He wonders if religious leaders are responsible for the attacks. The suicide bombers targeted three churches - two Catholic and one Protestant - and three hotels. The explosions caused about 280 deaths, including 45 foreigners, and nearly 600 victims.

After more than a year, justice has still not been done. "The investigation is underway - underlined Cardinal Ranjith - but the authorities have not found out who planted the bombs, who the organizers are and who financed the raids”.

He continued that it is of serious concern that those politicians and officials who failed in their responsibilities have yet to be identified: "We ask and hope that the government will keep its promises to the Church, punishing those responsible".

The previous government was criticized for failing to investigate properly. “It behaved like Pontius Pilate - said Card. Ranjith - washing its hands. These politicians and officials do not understand the suffering of the victims; it is a question of humanity. What did Buddha and Mohammed preach about peace and the merciful God?”.

About 30 years ago, a Christian group told the Cardinal that the faithful needed a Christian sectarian party to win their rights. "I told them we don't want any Christian political parties," explained the archbishop. "The unity of Sri Lanka was shattered after independence and today we discuss issues such as what is its national language, who is the original people and who owns this country. It is really sad - concludes the prelate - that we are still divided by race, religion and language ".